Financial Tips for Young Professionals

Website teaches 20- and 30-somethings how to save without suffering.

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I recently discovered the website Feed the Pig, which is sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Advertising Council. It's dedicated to helping Americans between the ages of 25 to 34 take control of their finances. Since I fit into that age group, I decided to see what it could do for me.

Calculators on the website helped me figure out that if I bring lunch to work every day instead of eating out, then I'll save around $5,500 after three years. (That's assuming lunch costs around $10 and bringing it from home costs around $3.)

That's not bad—that amount of cash would help me make a down payment on a much-needed new car, for example.

The website and its companion site, 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy, also offer useful articles on paying off debt, buying a home, and paying off student loans. I especially like the tips on creating a budget, which includes room for occasional rewards, such as eating dinner at a nice restaurant.

It got me thinking about financial goals for 2008, which is only a few weeks away. If you are willing to share your money-related ambitions for the New Year, whether it's paying off $10,000 in student loans, buying a new house, or creating an emergency fund, please E-mail me at alphaconsumer@usnews.com. I may feature your goals in an upcoming post.