Be budget-savvy. Identify where and how you are spending your hard-earned dollars so you can plug money drains. "You really do need to track everything and create categories to put things in perspective," says Shaffer. Software and apps such as Quicken and Microsoft Money make budgeting and tracking expenses easy.
Reign in credit card debt. Review your credit card statements to see which debt you can tackle first. Get a feel for the payoff amount using an online calculator.
Get insured. "As a young professional, your biggest asset is not your retirement account, but your ability to earn money," says Shaffer. Protect your paycheck by obtaining disability and life insurance coverage. Disability insurance coverage replaces a portion of your income if you cannot work due to a disabling accident or illness. Life insurance offers long-term security for you and your family if something unexpected were to happen.