The other night I woke up and suddenly thought this might be a good thread to start, some advice for new teachers (or anyone new to a job situation). For my initial post, it will mostly come from the Oopsie School of Unintentional Learning, (otherwise known as the School of Life). 1. Every paycheck, save some money, even if it's just 1.00. This does not include contributions to retirement plans or specifically budgeted money: this is money saved for unforeseen circumstances. Just 1.00 per 2-week payday=$26.00 per year that you otherwise wouldn't have. In 40 years, that will add up to $1040.00. So even that least amount will be something in your pocket should worst come to worst when you are approaching 65 years old. 2. Budget. I like using a spreadsheet. Be strict with your budget, but also realistic. It's best to budget for more than the precise amount so that you have extra in each budgeted column, again for unforeseen circumstances and for inflation. A mistake I often made was to decide, "Well, I can get by with this much," but I found my optimism wasn't always realistic. 3. It's important to budget some "mad money" (as my uncle and aunt called it) for frivolous spending. There will be times when you'll want to spend money on restaurants, visiting friends, etc. At the same time, don't be a mad hatter with your money. Popular must have items aren't really must haves. They can wait until you've built up a more solid financial situation. Safety should be at the foremost of your spending. Some apartments are unhealthy, unsafe, or both. Trust me, it's not fun opening an apartment door every night and seeing a guy across the hallway staring out his door all night or watching police investigate a murder in the next door parking lot. Cell phones are a need, not a luxury, but at the same time, expensive smart phones and expensive plans can wait. Always carry a cell phone with you, especially in malls, so that you may dial 911 as needed, and it's important to never hesitate dialing 911. If help is needed, help is needed. (A quick reminder, too, despite current rumors, 711 is not a non-emergency number for police; it's the number to dial a relay service for the Deaf or people with speech differences). A car might be a need, and a reliable car might mean spending extra cash. Keyless entry is an important safety feature. Depending on your weather, the newer control features might be a necessity, too. For single adults, a car that allows you to quickly check under and inside, especially the backseat floor, for hidden intruders is a must. Cable TV might not be a priority. Internet is becoming a necessity, but you might be able to start out with free dial up--check your local library. Back to smart phones, some plans are cheaper than WIFI. Sometimes TV plans on smartphones are cheaper than regular TV, and certainly a large screen might be something to wait on. Libraries provide free entertainment--DVD's and even books. Food: go veggie and limit meat or pre-made foods. It's healthier, you'll have more energy, you'll save on doctor bills and medicine, and the extra energy makes it easier to save money. Watch out for impulsive spending; at the end of a hard teaching day, walking into a mall and buying a small item does give a dopamine rush, but it also eventually wears away at your savings. It adds up. A little here and a little there after a few months becomes a tremendous amount here and there. 4. Watch out for muggers. Don't trust every person who comes to your door, asks to use your phone (like the lady in my apartment my 4th year of teaching who asked to use my apartment phone--duh! We were in the lobby and the apartment office was open. They could have given her a phone to use. Also we were standing right next to a pay phone); or the people who approach your car in a parking lot. Walk with a purpose, like you have confidence, not like you're nervous, and know your surroundings. Always think, I'm approaching a corner, I'm approaching a large mailbox, I'm walking by a parked car. Back to cell phones, don't be distracted, especially by texting and walking, but...talking to someone on a cell phone, especially in a mall restroom, is a good safety feature. I often talk to Joe, my invisible friend, on my cell phone. Pay attention to your intuition, too. If your brain gives you a funny feeling, it's not just kidding, something barely perceivable has been noticed. Any other suggestions from other veteran teachers?