1. Was get a no fee bank account - Don't spend money you don't need to
2. Was get the best rewards credit card you can - Get as much money back as you can
Now tonight is about saving, where to save and how much?
3. Set up automatic payments to a low cost index based fund
If you are just starting out I'd say it's more important to get started than to wait until you figure out the perfect investment stratagy. First off no one knows the perfect strategy and secondly it's helpful to be in something to get a sense of how things work.
The general consensus from the best investors to late night talk show hosts is to invest in a low cost index fund. This is investing in the stock market, you're buying shares in the biggest companies in the world through an investment company. When you pick an index fund that means the fund managers aren't picking the stocks to buy they are just trying to keep your investment growth on track with the stock market as a whole. When fund managers try to beat the market rather than track the market they usually do worse so that's why index funds are recommended.
Again Tangerine has some great products. You can get a mutual fund with a 1.07% fee.
Check out Candaian Couch Potato Model Portfolio's site. They seem on track with everything I've read in a number of personal finance books.
When I look at the 20 year history on that site I think the balenced portfolio looks the most appealing.
Now to figure out how much to save.
This is tricky because everyone is in a different situation. In general you want to get thinking of saving. Step 1) make sure you're spending less than your making so that you can save. Step 2) use those savings to pay down debts, the highest interest ones first (try to consolidate debts, that can really speed things up too) Step 3) Even if paying off your debts would save you more money than investing will make you I'd say invest at least $5 a month into an account like a Tangerine.ca mutual fund. It will help you learn about investing and get a feel for it so once you have paid off your debts and have money to invest you will have had some practice. Some people focus paying off their mortgage and then have an extra $1000 or more a month to spend/save and they don't know what to do with it, they don't have any practice and then they might just spend it rather than save it because of this.
Next we'll get into the most important aspect of success... Why?
Saving for the future is usuallly thought of as an obvious thing we know we should do, so we often overlook the specific reasons for it.
While you're waiting for that post sign up for an investment account!
Oh, and here is John Oliver reiterating what I said ...
(you can skip to 17:45 for the summary)