Get it fresh.
Financial experts are always telling you to grocery shop on the cheap: cut coupons, join wholesale clubs, and buy in bulk. But guess what: your health is worth it. Packaged foods might be cheap and perpetually on sale, but fresh produce and whole grains give your body the nutrients it needs to stave off colds, obesity, and disease – oh and also, you guessed it, expensive medical bills. In fact, studies have shown that buying healthy food and cooking at home (as opposed to “cheap” fast food and prepared meals) is actually less expensive in the long run: a typical family of four will spend nearly $30 for a meal at the drive-through window, while a basic and nutritious meal of rice, beans and fresh vegetables makes enough for a few days’ worth of leftovers for less than $10.
You’re worth it!
Lipstick and mascara might seem essential to most women, but financial experts are constantly telling you that they’re luxury items. But a team of Harvard researchers found recently that wearing a moderate amount of makeup makes your colleagues take you more seriously (well, if you’re a chick). Researchers showed subjects the same woman with varying degrees of makeup on, and the one with a moderate amount of makeup on (clean and professional looking but not overdone) was assumed to be the most “competent.” Considering that a decent tube of lipstick costs around $8, it’s a small price to pay to make a good impression and tell people that you care about being presentable. Plus, it’s a quick and inexpensive way to glam up your wardrobe without buying new clothes or accessories.
Keep it steady.
So you’re finally making dough. Before you move on to the big “life” purchases like a house or a car, many financial experts will tell you to start throwing money at your student loans. The earlier you can pay them off, the better. But if your student loans operate on a sliding scale, you might want to put on the breaks. It’s a snowball effect: the faster you start paying them off, the faster your monthly payment can ramp up. Paying off your student loans too aggressively can also damage your credit score, making your creditors take notice if you slow down again too quickly. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, as you never know what curveballs (or pink slips) might come your way down the road. Better to stick to the original plan, even if you get that huge bonus – after all, slow and steady wins the race!