Until last week, Erin Brady was a Financial Accountant for Prudential Retirement in Hartford, CT. Now, she's Miss USA 2013 and talking numbers with Talking Numbers.
While Erin's new schedule means she won't be able to go back to work any time soon, she knows a lot about personal finance. So, we asked this aspiring MBA to tell us her three top tips for saving money.
Miss USA's Three Top Tips for Saving Money:
Tip #1: Always pay yourself.
Erin says: "My dad always told me from Day 1 that no matter how many bills I have, every time I get paid, always put something away. Whether $20 or $100 every week, make sure you pay yourself first because you never know when you're going to be in a predicament where you're going to need money. I've always learned that no matter how much in bills I have, I put money away for myself."
Tip #2: Start saving ASAP.
Erin says: "Open up a Roth IRA or some kind of a retirement plan ASAP. As soon as I got out of high school, I opened up a Roth IRA. I think a lot of kids my age are not educated on it. They don't realize the importance of saving now because you're going to be working forever. Who knows when Social Security's going to run out? You're going to make sure to be secure when you retire. Definitely start putting away now for retirement."
Tip #3: Pay your debts first.
Erin says: "Obviously, like everyone else my age, I have student loans. I think it's really important that any extra money you have to put towards your debts because [paying the minimum due] is like pouring water in a bucket with a hole in the bottom – you're never going to pay it off. You're always going to have something due to somebody else and you're paying interest. Try to pay everything off as early as you can before you're just paying interest to everybody else. Make sure you pay off your debts – credit cards, school loans, car loans – you don't want to be in the hole forever!"