Making Money

I’ve saved the best for last. If you can master even one of these, you’ll have a head-start on your friends. Master all four, and you’ll be on the road to wealth. No kidding.

* Spend less than you earn. Don’t earn much? Then don’t spend much. If your spending and income are roughly even, you have two choices: earn more or spend less. When I was in college, I worked as many as four jobs at once. This gave me a lot of spending cash. (Unfortunately, I didn’t do a good job with the spend less part of the equation.)
* Be an outstanding employee. Good work habits can pay enormous dividends, leading to recommendations and contacts that you can use after you’re out of school. Several of my classmates turned work-study jobs into launching pads for future careers.
* Start your own business. Can you install a hard drive? Can you strip a computer of spyware? Can you perform minor car repairs? Do you have a pickup truck you could use to haul furniture? Are you a passable guitar player? Charge cheap rates and exceed expectations. Word will spread. When you’ve built up a customer base, you can raise your rates a little. This is an awesome way to make money.
* Learn to invest. Find a discount broker and begin making regular investments. Sharebuilder is a great choice for college students. It costs only $4 to make a scheduled stock purchase, and you can invest any amount of money, even $20. Don’t obsess over the details yet. You can worry about high returns and low fees later. Right now the most important thing is to develop the investment habit. (Ad: Buy Stocks for $4 at ShareBuilder.) Ten years from now, you’ll thank yourself. If you can find a way to invest $1000 a year for the next ten years, you can set yourself up for life. No joke.

ShareBuilder-Welcome page

You’re ahead of the game just by reading this list. Now do yourself a favor: subscribe to Get Rich Slowly via RSS or via email (see the sidebar). Then go visit I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Ramit’s advice is targeted directly at young adults.

Also, if you can find it, pick up a copy of Young Money, a magazine for college students. (Browse the magazine’s archive of money management articles online.) Finally, download the free PDF “40 Money Management Tips Every College Freshman Should Know” from Scholarship America.

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