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Old 09-08-2009, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
9,316 posts, read 17,956,414 times
Reputation: 7980

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If you have a direct deposit paycheck, have it go to savings first with a portion put over into checking. That way the savings account will grow all by itself and it will take an action from you to deplete it instead of an action by you to make it grow. That made a huge difference for us.

Make a money diary and see where everything goes. For a month, carry around a small book and write down all the things you spend money on. At the end of the month that little book will be extremely enlightening. This also works on losing weight although then you write down everything you eat instead of everything you spend.

The other thing is a different attitude towards money. Piling it up into a savings account or an IRA (get the Roth kind) is a rewarding thing. When you are at a store looking at something to buy, consider increasing your savings account as another "buying option". Kinda like, "Hmm, those are cute shoes but I'll only wear them for three months and nobody looks at my feet anyway. If I put the money into my savings, I'll get two numbers in front of the comma." For my personal savings goal, I generally try to keep two numbers in front of the comma. The bigger the numbers the better. Two commas in my account would be stellar, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Look at money as a resource, check to see if you get interest on your accounts, see if there are ways to invest to get it to increase. Some folks have jobs of doing nothing but fussing about with money. Call it "finance" and it sounds more important, too.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:31 PM
 
13,710 posts, read 22,832,449 times
Reputation: 18521
Quote:
Originally Posted by molliesue View Post
How can I have nothing in my savings, invested, 401k etc. I've never bought a home. I've always rented. I own a 2008 Versa - very humble car IMO.

I get that I've obviously had bills .. but to have nothing to show for that? It makes me very sad. And I've been irresponsible with my money & I would like to change that.

I make 48k a year gross, which doesn't include another $800-$2500 gross in commission monthly.

My bills:

Rent $1175.
Car $330
Insurance $100 a month.
Phone $60
Netflix $10
Carwash membership $40

That's only $1715 in monthly bills (very little in non essentials)

Methinks that you are spending at least $1000 more per month. I see NOTHING for food, services, medical, etc.

The critical thing is to write down EVERY experience for the next few YEARS. We wrote down everything for years until we had a really good idea of where every dollar went.

Once you have sone it for a few months, then YOU must decide what is more important - your retirement or a cup of coffee.
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:17 PM
 
635 posts, read 660,460 times
Reputation: 813
Check out these books: Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Notice I said check out, ie, library and not purchase. You need to save as much as you can at this time.
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:37 PM
 
7,099 posts, read 23,892,964 times
Reputation: 7248
Forget about GROSS amount and think about what your NET income is. Make your budget around that.

Instead of spending that amount for coffee at meals. Drink Water. You can do it for a while and when you get caught up a little, treat yourself to a nice cuppa. But until you can live on what you make, skip the goodies.

And yeah, drop Netflix and the car wash membership. Do you need that car to get to work, or could you take a bus for a while? Your phone bill seems like a lot too. See if you can trim a little there. Saving 50-60 a month doesn't seem like much. But each time it's saved, the next month is easier.
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Prescott Valley,az summer/east valley Az winter
2,034 posts, read 3,530,393 times
Reputation: 7855
Quote:
Originally Posted by molliesue View Post
Thank you all!

My rent is actually cheat for where I live & it includes utilites, cable, water/gabage etc.

I actually owned a 2004 Toyota Corolla OUTRIGHT up until a year ago. I sold it with the theory of using the 10k to pay off all CC debt & then having a small car payment.

And you're right - I need to find out where my money is going. I don't cook so I'm sure plenty of it is spent eating out etc. I know I spend probably $20 a day at the cafe at work.

All I know is that in January I had 7k saved & was doing great and I've been on a downhill spiral since that I can't seem to gain control over. I think starting an IRA is a GREAT idea & I will talk to my HR rep today.

It's sad when I get a check for $1600 - I buy $5 shampoo instead of the $50 bottle. I do my own haircuts & pedicures so I am getting better .. but not there yet.
Small car payment is under $150~ figure I can eat out all meals a day for wife and myself for under $20. I've never paid $5 for shampoo~ $1 a bottle works great! You should be able to eat good at work for week on a loaf of bread~peanut butter and jelly~ cost about $4. Bring a bottle of tap water from home so you have something to drink. When you get that cheap car paid for keep it~ save your payments till you have enough for your next car before even thinking of another. our income in retirement is only $1700/month~ both wife and I think we are living quite well!
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:17 PM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,809,237 times
Reputation: 5865
You have 30K in student loan debt, 10K (and growing) on credit cards, plus a car payment...That's a lot of debt on 48K a year.

You're smart to get a handle on this now. I would suggest getting some roomies (start sharing your current place or move into a group house). Or if possible, move back in with Mom and Dad for a year or two. Then start paying that student loan and other debt off as fast as you can.

Good luck.
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Old 09-13-2009, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
746 posts, read 1,902,497 times
Reputation: 431
Even if you don't cook, you can still go grocery shopping and eat at home a LOT cheaper than eating out every day. Even if you just get frozen dinners, you'll still come out ahead. Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice and a few others have actually come out with some pretty good options. Various sandwiches are always a good choice. Do you like philly cheese steaks? Get some sliced roast beef from the deli section of your grocery store and an aus jus mix from the soup section and your other fixings. Saute some peppers and onions, put the sandwich together, wrap it in foil and bake in the oven until it's hot. It's an easy meal for one person. Likewise with homemade french bread pizza. Stores sell pizza sauce in handy squeeze bottles that you can store in your fridge. A toaster oven is a good investment for a single person for things like this. You use a lot less electricity using that than a big oven.
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:00 PM
f_m
 
2,289 posts, read 7,364,557 times
Reputation: 868
Quote:
Originally Posted by molliesue View Post
My bills:

Rent $1175.
Car $330
Insurance $100 a month.
Phone $60
Netflix $10
Carwash membership $40

That's only $1715 in monthly bills (very little in non essentials)

Despite my few bills, I owe $2000 in taxes, and sit here trying to stretch it until payday and am constantly BROKE!
You should keep every receipt and categorize them, then add them up each month to see where you spent the money. Personally I would try to find a lower cost phone plan and do something less on the car wash thing. The major thing is to avoid car payments, because aside from the payments, the insurance and registration cost more on newer cars. For people who want to save money, the general idea is 10+ years per car, and buy used unless a good deal can be had (0% interest, etc...), so I wasn't sure why you got rid of a paid off 2004 car for 2008 car if you owe money. I have a 2003 car, and I'm keeping it for about 10 years even though I could afford a new car in cash.

Are the taxes withheld from your commission? If not then that is likely why they show up.
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Old 09-13-2009, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 17,005,188 times
Reputation: 7193
Quote:
Originally Posted by molliesue View Post
So I received my annual Social Security Statement & I'm appalled that I've made as much money as I have & I have NOTHING to show for it.

Quick background:

28 - turning 29 in two months. I rent. I have ZERO savings. A college degree & 30k in student loans that I've kept in deferment because I can't afford the payments right at this moment, as well as about 10k on my CCs/misc debt.

I have made about 500k in the ten years I've been working.

How can I have nothing in my savings, invested, 401k etc. I've never bought a home. I've always rented. I own a 2008 Versa - very humble car IMO.

I get that I've obviously had bills .. but to have nothing to show for that? It makes me very sad. And I've been irresponsible with my money & I would like to change that.

I make 48k a year gross, which doesn't include another $800-$2500 gross in commission monthly.

My bills:

Rent $1175.
Car $330
Insurance $100 a month.
Phone $60
Netflix $10
Carwash membership $40

That's only $1715 in monthly bills (very little in non essentials)

Despite my few bills, I owe $2000 in taxes, and sit here trying to stretch it until payday and am constantly BROKE!

Please, please give me any advice, tips, suggestions etc. I'm turning 29, thirty is right around the corner & I would really like to take control over my financial future.

Thank you!
IMO 90% of the American public simply doesn't know this one simple statement......Spend less that you earn and invest/save the difference

There is a darn good book that explains what this means in simple laymen's terms and should be required reading for all Americans. It is......The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

This one example of the principals at work will show why that 90% will always be in debt..............

Spend Less Than You Earn
"If you are always spending up to or above what you earn, you will never increase your net worth no matter how much you make. The author discusses being prugal: prudent and frugal."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Millionaire_Next_Door

Get the book .....read the book....learn from the book....live a better life.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:39 AM
 
809 posts, read 3,117,897 times
Reputation: 568
I love the advice to live off your base pay (or less) and put any commission you earn into savings.

Everyone pretty much said this, but it's really important to know where your money is going every month. If you use a credit card, it's easy to look on-line and add up how much you spent on eating out, groceries, entertainment, gas, clothes, misc items. If you pay in cash, SAVE EVERY RECEIPT and log them into Excel or a money tracking software. This is so important because you really need a clear picture of where the money is going so you know where to cut back.

Not eating out as much will certainly be a huge money saver.

Also, you don't mention how much you pay toward your credit card debt and student loan every month. Hopefully you are paying more than the minimum. Is your student loan consolidated with a low interest rate?

Also, forget that you make 48k gross. Look at how much you actually get a check for. The fact that you owe money in taxes makes me wonder if you are having the right about deducted from your paycheck for taxes.

If you updated us with how much money you actually take home (minus commission) and where ALL of your money is going every month, you'll get more helpful suggestions. The expenses you list don't give us much to work with.

I think it is great that you are taking charge of your money!!
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