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I believe Vanguards extra fees go away once you exceed $10K. So one way is to go to your local bank and put it in CDs. After 3 years, you probably will have enough to move to Vanguard.

Others have suggested some of the discount brokers as a good place to begin, but I don't remember which ones. At a discount broker it can be cheaper to buy SPY, the S&P 500 tracking stock traded on the AMEX, rather than a mutual fund.
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