My last normal job, we did a variation on tip number 1, which was LUNCH CLUB. First rule of lunch club.... Every Monday, a Lunch Club member brought lunch. Usually a casserole kind of thing and a dessert, but often salads or chili or even a range of Mediterranean finger foods the one time a person forgot it was his week and had to run out and buy something. It wasn't a fixed rotation, but there were usually five or six of us, and so you had to pick a week somewhere in each 5-6 week cycle. There were actually two Lunch Clubs - vegetarian and meat-eaters. I am not a vegetarian, but I mostly eat vegetarian for lunch, so I joined that club, and I was very lucky in the excellence of the cooking of the other members. It's a great way to save a little money and get to know your coworkers, and if I ever have another full-time non-remote job, I will try to re-institute Lunch Club there.
I came into $25K unexpectedly a couple of years ago, and it went: $10K towards kitchen/bath renovation fund (still not renovated); $10K into retirement savings; $5K towards a week at a LUXURY SPA, which was awesome and in all honesty a great experience. Highly recommended. Now, I think it would be $10K towards college for my sister's kids, and $10K towards the mortgage. But that might be because I already took a vacation this year.
When stores ask me for my ZIP code, I usually say, "No, thank you," which disconcerts them, but they move on.
I also have a tech-type job, and get approached a LOT, usually for jobs too junior for me, or jobs that the recruiter doesn't realize I'm a bad fit for because they don't understand the industry enough.
@keynesiancutie Yes! She could also use a middle name if that's more mainstream (or change her middle name, if that would upset her folks less) and be L. Marie Smith. I have several male coworkers past and present who go by their middle names.
I pay about 50% post-tax for my mortgage/maintenance, but that's after socking away 10% pre-tax for my retirement fund. When I finally deal with the refinancing, that number will drop. I honestly don't mind paying that much, because I don't live at all extravagantly and I work in a moderately well-paid field, so the 50% that's left is plenty to live on even with a rainy-day fund. It bothered me more when I wasn't getting at least some of that "back" as equity, though.
I worked at a startup that had killer healthcare benefits, because one of the cofounders was the parent of a preemie and understood viscerally how important good benefits are. Led to better retention rates in the staff too.
I have worked two very informal jobs that had staff-led "Fancy Fridays."
I worried too much about this in the past, and ended up missing out on opportunities I regret. In my current job, I have to jump through some paperwork hoops to do outside work, but I am really glad to have both the outlet and the extra cash.
@It's too early Depending on where you are and what you do, that non-compete may not be a big issue. I worried about a really stringent one at my last job, to the point where I spoke to an employment attorney before I signed the thing, and he told me that unless I got a job doing exactly what I had been doing for a competitor, I was fine. (And, PS, someone at my company did do just that, and we didn't sue, because it was a hassle that would have created bad blood in a small industry.)