Job: Legislative assistant, Minnesota House of Representatives

Annual earnings: $28,600

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from the University of St. Thomas

Last major purchase: New tires ($400) for her GMC Jimmy

Next major purchase: Saving for a trip to Lebanon to visit her boyfriend, who's studying there. It will cost about $2,000, and she expects to have the money saved by midsummer.

Smart money: To keep her living expenses low, she shares an apartment with two other women; her share of the monthly rent is about $375.

Miller also has made a monthly budget for the first time. "Finally!" she laughed. "Now I know how much I have to put away each month for my trip and to pay off my credit cards."

Stupid money: "I buy clothes and I go out to eat, and I go out on weekends to have a drink with my friends," Miller said. "I definitely spend way too much money on that."

John Reinan