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  • How to create a budget: Spend 50 to 60 percent of take-home pay on fixed expenses like rent.
  • Pay off debt: The first step is to stop acquiring new debt.
  • Raise credit score: Check your credit report for mistakes.
  • Protect identity: Leave your social security card at home.
  • Invest your money: Make sure you have the basics covered like saving for retirement and paying off debt before you explore other investing options. 
  • File taxes: Figure out if you even need to file taxes to begin with.
  • How much to tip: The average tipper gives 17 to 20 percent gratuity in restaurants. 

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