Want to get more out of your paycheck? Stop paying for stuff.Let's be clear here. I'm not advocating Wynona Ryder's strategy for wealth preservation (shoplifting). I'm not telling you to spend less money, or to stop buying the things that make you happy, either. Rather, I'm being 100% literal: Stop paying for stuff. In the last year, unless you're incredibly frugal, you've paid good money for something you could've gotten for free dozens of times. And some of these things are big-ticket items. College students, you're doing it too -- freshmen especially. Generally speaking, you won't have to pay full price for a lot of what you want as long as you're willing to accept a little wear and tear and buy from a regular person, not a retailer. My friend Peter, the only person I know who really fits the "college student ruined by predatory credit card companies" profile, would spend thousands of dollars he didn't have on clothes and electronics, and it never occurred to him that he could find these items outside of a mall. When you want something, you go to a store and buy it. That's automatic for most people, it's reflex and intuition all rolled into one. It's also why so many of my friends are broke or owe more money to their credit card issuers than they'll be able to pay back anytime soon. They didn't realize they could get many of the things they wanted without paying for them, or without paying anything like the list price for a brand new piece of merchandise.