$50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Posted by Madison on May 9, 2008
Sorry, this giveaway is over. However, if you want to buy gift cards for a fraction of their value, check out Plastic Jungle! You can even sell or swap your existing gift cards, too.

To celebrate My Dollar Plan’s six month anniversary, it’s time for a giveaway! Since it is Free Money Friday, I thought it would be fun for me to chip in with some free money for you! I’m giving away an Amazon.com $50 gift card!

For more giveaways and contests, check out our Simply Contests site.

Fun Ways to Shop Amazon

Amazon.com is one of my favorite online retailers. When I don’t know what I’m looking for, a couple of my favorite ways to shop Amazon are:

  • Movers & Shakers Items that move up the most in the last 24 hours. This is often a great way to find popular items recently placed on sale. You can narrow it by category to find exactly what you are looking for.
  • Bestsellers This list is updated hourly to show the most popular items. It’s a great place to start when you want to buy a gift for someone.

Advice for New Graduates

It’s that time of year when new graduates will be heading out on their own. Do you have some tips you wish you would have learned earlier in life?

The Giveaway

I like easy giveaways, so to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment and answer the following:

What financial tip would you share with new graduates?

In addition, for an extra entry, if you have your own site link back to this article. Shoot me an email to make sure I see it.

The giveaway will end May 22 at midnight central time. The winner will be announced on Friday May 23, just before we head out for my cousin’s graduation party.

Leave your financial tip for new graduates below!

Update: The contest has ended. Check out the Winner of $50 Amazon Gift Card.

You can get my latest articles full of valuable tips and other information delivered directly to your email for free simply by entering your email address below. Your address will never be sold or used for spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.


Comments to $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

  1. My tip for new graduates would be this: Start saving for your future now! The earlier you start saving the more the wonders of compounding interest will work in your favor!

    Pete @ biblemoneymatters

  2. My advice to new college grads:

    If you have some money to pay down extra on your student loans, you’re actually probably better off investing that money in an index fund. If you can invest money that earns a higher interest rate than what you’re paying on your loans then you are better off doing that vs. paying your student loans down faster.


  3. I like Pete’s advice, so my next tip would be to use a credit card (that has rewards) as though it were a debit card, pay it off in full every month, and never have a larger balance on the card than you have in your bank account.

    It’ll help build a solid credit history over not having a credit card, you get a tiny benefit by using a card with rewards (I recommend cash rewards) and you set in place a good habit of not spending more money than you have available.

    Note that this comes after you’ve put aside some money for savings.

    Blaine Moore

  4. My tip? Get a part-time job that gives you a regular check, even if you don’t “need” the money and you just do a quick 5 hour a week shift. The years that I had this I was much less likely to blow my money than when I had saved up over the summer/taken out extra on my loans and was using that for spending money. It reminds you just how long you have to work to afford (insert useless college purchase here) so it makes it harder emotionally to blow the money. And if this mind trick doesn’t work, at least then your cover charge for the bar or your cup charge at that keg party will be paid for.


  5. Let’s see in no particular order…

    -Start an emergency fund
    -Pay off credit card debt if you have it
    -Start a Roth IRA if eligible
    -Start a 401K and contribute up to the percentage your employer matches
    -Resist the urge to buy a new car if the one you have works

    That’s all off the top of my head.

    Thrifty Femme

  6. I’d say my best advice would be:

    1. Go to College away from your hometown.
    2. Live on Campus for a while.
    3. Get involved.
    4. Take your time and enjoy it.
    5. Make a ton of friends.
    6. Pick a major with instant earning potential.
    7. Try your best not to play with credit cards.
    8. Take your time.


  7. Cut the the credit card if you have one, and start learning how to budget. You can introduce a rewards card back into the mix once you have changed you behavior to live on a lot less than you make.

    The Happy Rock

  8. Bottom line: spend less than you earn, and keep living like a college student for as long as possible. Pay off any debt that you accrued during college.

    No Debt Plan

  9. Continue living like a student for a while after you get a job. This means that you should not go out and buy the first expensive car you see just because you have a steady paycheck.

    Live frugally, only buy things that you need for at least six months and save all you can.


  10. Coming from a 2006 grad: Live as cheaply as possible and save, save, save. If you can live at home with parents to avoid paying rent do it.


  11. Remember, jobs are never stable.
    Make as much as you can.
    Save/invest more than you think you should.
    Live and Love without the uneeded glitz and glam until you can really afford it.


  12. Don’t buy a new car!! I made that mistake and “owned” a 35k car making only 45k a year. What a mess that was.


  13. I would recommend two things:

    1. Become an entreprenuer rather then work for “the man”.

    2. Start investing in stocks right now. Even if it’s only $10 per month and continue doing it until the day you retire.


  14. Advice for grads:
    1. Start a retirement plan (the earlier the better)
    2. Have some fun! You’re young and have fewer commitments and obligations than you’ll have as you get older. Enjoy this time.


  15. I have mixed feelings when I look back 20 years ago. First off, I think it would have been exciting to do something like join the Peace Corps. On the other hand, I was too shy to try something like that all those years ago. Also, I took college courses as a 30-something mother of two so if you’re going to go to college, it may be best to do it while you’re still only have yourself to look after.

    Mrs. Accountability

  16. Going along with what Pete said…
    Don’t just start saving for your future now, spend one or two hours looking at what 5 years difference can make on compound interest.

    Seeing the difference convinced me to start saving wherever i could for the future.


  17. My top two tips for new graduates are

    1) Start saving for retirement NOW, even if it’s a small amount.

    2) Just because you have a new job doesn’t mean you need to start spending more. Try to live a few years as if you were still a student.

    Quick Lunar Cop

  18. Stay away from debt, of course.

    But mostly, never buy a big-ticket item new! Buy a used car, refurbished computer, etc.. They’re as good as new, a lot still have most or all of the warranty, and the price difference is amazing!

    Pam Davis

  19. I’m not a college graduate yet, but one piece of advice I’m glad I was given as a high school graduate is to always have an emergency fund. I’ve seen several of my college classmates struggling when something unexpected happens, even if it’s a relatively small thing.


  20. Everyone has pretty much said it all.

    I would suggest a new grad to continue living the same struggling student lifestyle and invest as much as possible to a RothIRA and 401k plan in that order since these might be the lowest wage years in their entire work life and they may not be married yet (which gives tax advantages) and buy minimum car


  21. Don’t throw money out the window on rent! Save up a down payment for something small (for example, a one bedroom condo) and gradually upgrade every few years as your earnings and your equity increase.

    Frugal Parent

  22. I would recommend starting first with a financial plan that has prioritized goals, projected amount needed, and required savings needed. For example, if you think you’d like to retire at age 45, begin costing how much you think you would need and what you would need to save/invest do to achieve this. The next step would be to determine how to do this (starting with basics such as taking advantage of matching employer contributions, IRAs, etc. to get started and forego “analysis paralysis”) Defining priorities will help as it will be difficult for most people to pay down debt, meet retirement goals, save for a home, etc. at the same time.

    Naturally, goals change over time as you graduate from college but it is so much easier to refine a plan than act blindly.


  23. If you don’t pay attention, the outlay for pleasures such as a night out can run up much faster than you realize.

    Not to mention the cost of a DUI ticket.


  24. Don’t be conservative with your investments. Time is the great equalizer when it comes to the market.. and you have the time to be aggressive.


  25. Don’t get a credit card right away-wait until you are actually earning money and understand the logistics of a card!! Can you tell I’ve had experience with this 🙂


  26. My advice would be: Don’t rush… take your time to live your life a little before you really settle and work: travel, know people, learn about other cultures, broaden your minds, because life experiences are the only thing that are going to keep with us, no matter how old you get 😛


  27. As boring as it is, my one piece of advice would be to live below your means. Whether you make $20,000 or $100,000 per year, you’ll never get ahead financially if you spend all of it.

    Chief Family Officer

  28. There is still a lot to learn out there. Graduation is not the end of learning but just the beginning. Learn to handle finances is one example. Just continue learning and apply what you learn to live a happy life.


  29. My advice would be to come up with a budget right away. Then track your spending for three months or so to get a feel for what you really spend.
    At this point look at how you are spending your money, does it fit with your financial plans? Adjust accordingly, look for ways to save money by being clear about the difference between a want and a need.
    At this point redo your budget making sure that you are investing in your future and saving for emergencies.


  30. As soon as you get a job, open a savings account and ROTH IRA account.


  31. My advice to new graduates: Buy and read The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. It changed my life.

    MITBeta @ Don’t Feed The Alligators

  32. Contribute 10% or more to your 401k the first day on the job. You’ve just come from living based on just scraping by. So you should be able to find a happy medium between “poor college student” and “I’ve got a job and I’m going to live like a king”. Then save half of all raises, bonuses and financial windfalls until you can max out your company 401k and contribute the max to an IRA.


  33. Cool, I love shopping at Amazon.com! 🙂

    My tip – As soon as you get your first job, establish the habit of saving 10% and giving away 10% before you do anything else with your money.


  34. fresh graduates advice:


    start blogging now and start making 6- figures income.

    this is not quick-rich scheme.. you need at least 2years of blogging to build up your reputation with blog world.

    then, start earn residual income with only using blog.

    p/s: i’m fresh graduate too. today, i’m received THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK; AUTHOR BY Timothy Ferriss.

    i need these $50 because im looking to get free PROBLOGGER BOOK. 😉 and because i love contest and free give…


  35. My advice to new graduates: Choose the job that offers the most professional opportunity, not the job offer with the highest paycheck. The money will follow.


  36. Stay away from credit cards! I remember when I got my first credit card bill. I’d charged something like $500.00 on it and the minimum payment was around $15.00.

    I thought, “Wow, I can buy $500 worth of stuff and only pay $15. How great is that?!” WRONG!

    I don’t know how much the bill actually cost me when all was said and done because I’m not done … I’m still paying the stupid thing off. Oh, and the purchase? A briefcase long since unused by someone I don’t even see anymore.

    Make a budget and pay cash … repeat forever.


  37. My advice would be:

    1) set up a budget with savings at the top of the list – you’ll have no idea how much you can really afford to spend on “luxuries” like clothes, going out, eating out, etc. if you don’t list out your monthly expenses (fixed and variable), including savings, first


    2) keep fixed expenses as low as possible (i.e. rent, transportation) – it really does help to live like a student for a while longer

    The Simplest Pleasures

  38. I would tell college grads to go easy with using their credit card because many max out their credit cards by purchasing interview outfits and new furniture for their new places.

    For interviews, they should have a regular priced suit and simple accessories.

    For new apartment dwellers, look to friends/family and craigslist to furnish your apartment cheaply. You can always replace the second hand stuff with Crate and Barrel, West Elm and Pottery Barn items when you earn the money.


  39. Do NOT use student loans for anything other than tuition…work for your food, books and fun (or get your parents to kick in for that). If you have to take out student loans – dont use it for anything other than tuition. Basically take out as little as possible in student loans.


  40. My advice? Don’t get yourself in credit card debt. You’ve lived frugally for years. Now that you are entering the workplace don’t let those new paycheck lull you into thinking you should upgrade your entire lifestyle. What you do now with your finances will affect you for years to come.


  41. My advice for new graduates is to simple take a few days off and think. Decide exactly where you’d like to head now and go for it.


  42. I have just 1 advice. It’s fairly simple, but effective nonetheless: spend less than you earn. 😉


  43. Really, the best tip has been said and said again – but truly – SAVE. Save for retirement. it seems a million years away, but even just saving a LITTLE now makes a huge difference later. My kids are going to start saving in high school lol.


  44. Find the cheapest house you can in the best neighborhood possible. Make sure there are no critical problems (foundation or structural issues, flood possibilities, high crime rate). Then buy it.

    Don’t buy something that you can “just barely” afford, because you’ll be broke and angry for years to come. Trust me. You’re paying rent anyway, you might as well be investing that money at the same time.


  45. Exercise your gut! It is your operational antenna. It will tell you things. But you have to exercise it if you don’t want it to lead you astray. Test it, follow it, see where it leads you, see the consequences, adjust yourself accordingly. By this, you learn where the real limits of every system really are. 90% of the ‘advisers’ you’ll meet are just people who want to separate you from the money you either have earned or will earn. You deal with them by having a good B.S.-detector. And you build a good B.S.-detector, by understanding your gut and respecting it. End transmission.

    Erin Madsen

  46. in your excitement of landing a new job, don’t spend your annual salary on a new car! drive used for a few years.

    Living off dividends & passive income

  47. Resist the urge to get an apartment alone, instead find one or two good roommates. At this stage of your life you’re probably used to living with others, tough it out for your first year or two after graduation and you can save a ton of money in rent and utilities!

    One Frugal Girl

  48. My advice is to start saving right away. It is never too early.

    Sarah Ciras

  49. The most important thing I ever learned when it comes to money: the best rule of thumb when supporting yourself is to EARN WEEKLY WHAT YOU PUT OUT IN RENT MONTHLY. My grandmother taught me this and I will never forget it. Even if you are horrible with money… as long as you follow this guideline it’s nearly impossible for you to get behind! 😀


  50. I agree with almost everyone’s advice so far. You have to start saving early, avoid credit debt, don’t leave your companies matching funds on the table, etc, etc.

    But my number one advice is … Enjoy Life! After the planned savings are in the bank each month, live and enjoy. Don’t wait until you’re old to explore and see the world. Do it young with someone you love. And then do it again with your kids. And then do it again.

    Best Luck Grads!


  51. Realize your expenses and the prioritize them. This way the important things will already be covered. By doing this you also get a more realistic view on the amount of money you have left. Last but not least SAVE!

    Johnia Bibb

  52. Don’t use your credit card unless it’s necessary.

    Theresa N.

  53. My tip to new grads would be: start learning about budgeting and financial responsibility ASAP. Unfortunately they don’t teach those things in most institutions, and you will need those life skills now more than ever – especially since job hunting is so extraordinarily difficult now.


  54. My advice is to travel while you’re still young and adventurous enough to do it cheaply. Work over the summer to save up enough for a plane ticket and see the world with a few friends. Once you start working you will never have a solid block of time to really just explore and rejuvenate yourself from the past several years of school.

    Sallie’s Niece

  55. As a recent graduate myself, here’s the thing I would personally recommend to new grads, and it deals with job search.

    We are in a recession so you need to start looking for jobs ASAP (ie: while you are still in school, preferably at the beginning or middle of your senior year). In searching, online job boards are ok for a few jobs, but many of your friends will get jobs through family/friends/acquaintances. So start your search with networking and then if nothing comes up, hit up the job boards. Network with everyone you know, literally. Use your facebook for some good for once haha.

    One bit of advice for just regular college students: get internships your sophomore or junior year in industries you think you want to work in. Once you graduate, you’ll have a MUCH easier time getting a job than someone who has just a degree and no experience.


  56. Start saving NOW! It makes me sad to think of all the money I blew when I was younger going out to eat most days of the week,going clubbing every weekend,buying new clothes when I already had plenty of clothes and taking lots of trips. I could use that money now!

    Karen G

  57. Sign up for your 401(k) as soon as you get the job — contribute as much as you can. You’ll thank yourself later.

    Elaine L.

  58. My advice to the people who graduate would be a few things actually.

    First, don’t waste time from when you graduate if you have a loan where you don’t make payments for a few months and interest is not being accumulated. Get things consolidated and begin paying those things back.

    Next, the best car on the parking lot may not be the best car for you on the lot. Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our paychecks.

    After that, get involved with raising your debt to credit ratio but don’t get involved in raising your debt. Getting a credit card that pays rewards back for gas or groceries is fine as long as you pay off the amount each month and take advantage of it, but, its not fine when you fail to do so.

    Finally, begin planning for retirement now, learn to save for the short term and invest for the long term. I’m 25, and I wish I could have 3 years back so I could be ahead instead of being behind, but, at the same time, I hope that you listen to everyone here instead of end up with debt and another couple years of fighting it.

    Good luck grads.


  59. Don’t choose your job based only on the paycheck. Being happy every day is worth even a $20,000/yr difference.
    Also, put half your paycheck away for as long as you can stand it. You didn’t have this money last week, you don’t need it yet. I did this for 2 years and had a 20%downpayment on my house at age 25.


  60. My advice to anyone, but especially a new graduate, is to have only ONE CREDIT CARD! And if you are graduating, and you currently have more than one, work as hard as you can to get down to one! You dont need all those cards! Use one, preferably one that gets you ‘something’ like Frequent Flyer miles . . .


  61. New graduates: Take at least 3 months in a new job before signing up for anything that would take monthly payments. This would include going and buying a new car, signing up for a new apartment, or financing a new wardrobe on credit cards. Take a couple months to let your finances stabilize, and when you have a real picture of your income and expenses before loading up on debt. ** Sneaky tip: during that time, get hooked on Dave Ramsey, and don’t sign up for any debt anyway!


  62. My tip:

    Stay out of debt! You really can wait for things! You don’t need it all now!

    I would be much better off if I did that years ago.


  63. My first tip for new graduates – don’t go overboard spending on a graduation party. Lots of fun can be had for less if you spend a little time on creative planning. After that – create a budget as soon as possible, keep track of everything you spend, start a savings account, negotiate benefits and perks with potential employers, get family/friends involved with your money management plans to keep you motivated!


  64. My advice would be what everyone said about credit cards – stay away from debt, pay them off every month, etc.

    Also, I know it is tempting to go out every weekend with your friends now that you have jobs and disposable income and all of that (I did it too, I’m almost 30 now), but don’t underestimate the fun of having your friends over (for game/movie/tequila night) – be creative with your social life – you don’t need to drop however much you usually spend going out 1-2 times a week on a hangover. 🙂


  65. My advice, which will probably anger and enrage new graduates across the country (haha), is to stop acting like you’re entitled; or, if you haven’t started acting like you’re Top of the World, to stay humble. I’ve been so frustrated by each new crop of new hires at my company, the ones who roll their eyes when asked to roll up their sleeves and do some work, the ones who demand and ask for shiny electronics (even if they’re, like, working as a lab tech???), the ones who basically act like they deserve starting salary of close to 6 figures just because they survived 4 (or more) years of undergrad life. New graduates, you have to start somewhere,and more likely than not, you’re going to dig in and learn to be low (wo)man on the totem pole. Be patient, be vigilant, keep your eyes and ears open to learn. Your time at the top will come soon enough. If you take on the entitled act, then you’re going to find yourself jobless and broke and even farther from your lofty wishes/dreams!


  66. My tip for new graduates:
    Ask for a Financial Planning session as a graduation gift. In fact, ask for two.

    Financial planners are not just for those individuals who have money. One or two sessions can help you plan your future dreams, debt consolidation and possible earnings. Of all the graduation gifts you will get, this one will pay off for years to come.


    Karen E.

  67. My biggest tip is to save most of the money you receive when you graduate. It’s courtesy to give money when someone graduates, so why not make it work for you? Put the money in a high interest earing savings account, like -ing, and watch your money grow!


  68. First off: Don’t get yourself in credit card debt.

    Second off: Use as much of your money (the one left after paying all expenses and putting away some 5-10% to your saving accounts) as possible in permanent and continuing education, e.g. self-improvement seminars and further training workshops! At least spend as much on your further training as on your (yearly total) car (expenses)!

    Philipp Grunwald

  69. My advice:
    Pay off your debts as quickly as you can – debt snowball time. And definitely make a budget – see how much is coming in versus going out, really simple and I wish that I had done that sooner!


  70. First, save money! Live on less than you make and put aside money for your future by paying yourself first. If you don’t think you have enough to be able to save, cut back in other areas. Get a roommate, don’t go out to eat, find creative, free entertainment, etc., but pay yourself first.

    Second, learn who Amy Dacyczyn is. I know there were others before, but she really does strike me as the modern-day Mom of the frugal movement. Not every tip is meant for every person, especially if you don’t have children, but read her books to get some inspiration on cutting back and living a rich but frugal lifestyle.


  71. Open a Roth IRA account and throw a couple thousand dollars in there, as much as you can. NEVER TOUCH IT and whenever you can spare it, throw $50, $25, $100—whatever you can spare into inexpensive index funds tracking the S&P, international stocks, and small cap stocks. Rinse, repeat, enjoy!

    Writer’s Coin

  72. Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole is as cheap as ramen and a thousand times better for you!


  73. My advice to college grads would be to stay FAR away from new car dealers. Save CASH for your next car. You’ll be so much happier you did later. Start investing now, at the very minimum meet your company’s 401k match and increase the amount you put in.


  74. My financial advice to a college graduate is to start the habit of saving money for your future NOW so that you don’t miss it if you start later.


  75. My advice would be to start saving for retirement. Even beginning with $25 a month will both get you in the habit and will add up over the years via compound interest.


  76. My advice would be to stay out of credit card debt, start saving for retirement now, and live frugally.


  77. My advice: don’t get a credit card; put 10% of your paycheck into a saving account and another 10% into a retirement fund, don’t try to keep up with the Jones.


  78. If you are a college graduate that has any type of student loan debt, make sure you stay in contact with your lenders. If you ever find yourself unable to pay your student loans due to unemployment, illness, or some other reason they can usually find a deferment or foreberance to suspend your payments temporarily and protect your credit from loan default.

    Also, if you are going to work in a public service field, check out the “Public Service Loan Forgiveness” program that just launched this year!


  79. Track your expenses, create a budget, always live under your means. If you live at home, save what you would have paid towards rent, so forth. Don’t get those cc so quick! Yyou are establishing a credit history with your student loan. Make sure you have a steady income before getting a credit card.


  80. Continue your education by reading blogs and books related to personal finance, things are always changing and the way your parents and grandparents may no longer apply.


  81. My advice: Remember that those classes you will want to skip actually do cost money and they are not cheap. If you skip the classes or end up having to drop a class and re-take it later on you WILL regret it when you are paying off your student loans on down the line.


  82. Do not live your life based on financial advice.


  83. Start investing in companies that offer dividend reinvestment plans. When looking for a company to invest in look at the things you use every day and find out who makes it and how much do they pay per share. I Have stock in Southern Company and they provide my electricity every day. I also have stock in General Mills because I buy allot of the foods that they make.

    Becca Smith

  84. Hmm, tough one. I’m torn between “start saving for retirement right away” and “always spend less than you earn.” I’ll go with “spend less than you earn,” since retirement savings don’t make much sense if you’re going into debt at the same time.

    Cathy @ Chief Family Officer

  85. Don’t let your neighbors/friends affect what you buy with cars, houses, and boats!


  86. My advice to a new graduate would be before you start down the path of life go take a solid course in personal finance. You need to really understand the power money can have and the power it can have over you.

    Bonus tip: Don’t get a credit card if you don’t have a job (my debt battle started there)


  87. My advice: Always question the status quo. It’ll help you figure out where your values really lie.

    frugal zeitgeist

  88. Advice for new college grads:
    * Start contributing to your 401k as soon as possible. You want to contribute enough to get the maximum company match (which is free money!). Work your way up to maxing out your 401k contribution as your salary increases. Once you are maxing out the contribution, you can investigate playing with the percentages you contribute throughout the year. For instance, “front-load” your contributions by contributing a higher percentage earlier in the calendar year. Offset this with a lower percentage in November & December, and you’ve created your own “Christmas Club”


  89. The contest has ended. Thanks everyone!


  90. well the first thing is never spend more than u have. get a savings account and put money in it every pay check. doing this will let u have money for any sudden emergency’s. make sure rele to jus save money dont buy any thing u dont need. a room mate is always fun and so much cheaper.


  91. My biggest tip is that you not be in a rush to move out on your own. It’s perfectly OK to live with family for a while, so you can save your paychecks up and have a bit of money available for when you are ready for your own place. Now, this doesn’t mean mom needs to be doing your laundry. You did it for 4 years on your own, you can still do it now, but it does mean that you contribute to the day to day of your family’s household and at the same time save the huge amount of money rent would cost you. I did that for about 6 mos and had a nice savings ready to move out and into the city and on my own. Good luck, and stay smart! 😉


  92. You don’t have to live like your parents live right now. Remember, if they are well-off now, they probably didn’t live that way right after they graduated. It takes time and baby steps. Start an emergency fund, then pay off the debt. Then begin saving for that first house or that new car. Never buy more than you can afford.


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