I have a good friend that is ready to take a few financial leaps. She's 28, about to buy her first car (currently borrows from her parents) and lusting over buying a house. We were in grad school together and she has a hefty student loan bill. The other drains on her finances are a cute, but extremely mischievous dog. In the 6 month's she's had her puppy she's had 2 of the worst diseases puppies can get, chewed her way through many leashes, and at times required a special (expensive) diet.
Back in February we talked about paying off our student loans earlier and I encouraged her to open an ING account. After we talked she sent a few extra payments in, but otherwise didn't really act. Now that the need for a car and house down payment is looming, and with all of the economy fun she's decided she needs some direction.
We talked about things on our walk from her local ice cream/gelato shop.* When we got back to her place we got her an ING account (earning her $25, me $10), started a budget at PearBudget, and discussed whether she should cash in some Treasury bonds. Her plan is to have some of her paycheck go straight to ING for savings and track what she spends over the next month. She doesn't have any problem paying off her credit card bill at the end of the month, but she said she pretty much buys whatever she wants. I have been spending a lot on things that I think are frivolous, so I'll be traking my spending with her.
*Honey lavender gelato- need I say more?