Author Topic: My first paycheck as a teen.  (Read 8409 times)

Thoreau2016

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My first paycheck as a teen.
« on: September 07, 2013, 10:34:46 PM »
Hi! I'm not really sure how to do this, but I think this is the right forum, so I'll try my best.

I just got my first job at my state's big fair a few weeks ago. It was only for two weeks, so now I don't have any other employment. Actually, that's technically not true. When I'm feeling lucky, I'll go out busking with my guitar and harmonica. I almost never make more than a few dollars an hour, so that's close to negligible. It will be a few months at least until I can find another, longer-lasting, job.

Anyways, I got my first paycheck in the mail a few days ago. 630 dollars! I put it into my bank account immediately, but took out 60 dollars (after having none at all for so long, I like to just keep some around). The first thing I used any of it for was to loan some to my little brother. He needed 30 dollars for paintball or something along those lines. I trust my brother, and I know I'll be paid back (I would never charge interest for family). But he's a few years younger than me, so it may be a long time until he gets a job himself. So that's 30 dollars out of the picture.

Now, I have 600 dollars, and everything in the world to spend it on. I know I should invest it, but I don't like the prospect of how little 600 dollars invested would earn me. The value of having it to spend right away feels larger than the value of it plus 7*% interest in 5 years. My family has been in really hard times for the past 6-7 years, but I remember the time in my childhood when we weren't so poor. I've basically gotten used to the feeling of not getting the things I want. But now that I have purchasing power at my fingertips, I can hardly resist blowing it in a week.

 So, I need help from you all. If I don't get this squared away soon, I'll drop it all on a new guitar and before I know it I'll be SOL. How can I invest this money while not feeling like I'm depriving myself?

Hopefully that was all coherent and not stupid-sounding.

EDIT: It might help to mention that my long-term goals are to work furiously until I have enough money invested to live a life as a sort of wandering folk minstrel. Sort of like Into The Wild but with less dying in Alaska, and more bluegrass and folk music. Sort of like Bob Dylan, but with less selling out, and more dedication to the causes of workers rights and peace. It's a long shot, sure, but it's my dream. And it would cost a whole lot less than living in a house, paying rent/mortgage, driving a car to work every day to sit down at a desk and dying slowly. Call it youthful passion, but this is the life I want to achieve. It's just the short term is so hard to ignore.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 10:45:14 PM by Thoreau2016 »

gooki

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 01:16:28 AM »
At 7% return, that's $850 after 5 years, or $1,655 after 15 years.

Your $400 short of being able to open a Vanguard account. But hey that's a good motivator to drum up the extra $.

If you do spend it, at least learn how to stretch your dollars. A well chosen second hand guitar will provide better value for money.

PS good luck living your dream.

EK

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 06:08:59 AM »
Could you earn more money with the nicer guitar or not?  If you could, then you could consider it an investment in your music business!  At the very least wait for a really great second hand guitar at a great price.

Can you leverage your work experience at the fair into a steadier employment gig so you can save up more money to start a vanguard account?

DocCyane

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 06:46:52 AM »
Don't buy a nicer guitar. People who will give you coins or a couple dollars to play in the street won't notice a high quality Martin from a Yamaha.

Second, if you're going to hustle in your life, go hustle. Get a bucket, a sponge and some soap and go wash cars, knocking door to door. Everyone needs a car wash and they're dirty a week later. Keep the price cheap enough where people want your service often.

Don't piss away your money. The early days of anyone's stash seem small so it hardly feels worth it. But then, when you leave it alone, it suddenly gets bigger. Then you own stock. Then you are flying.

You can have your dream, but you must focus and not get distracted. Good luck.

Cecil

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2013, 08:58:15 AM »
As you are now, so once was I.

The value in saving $600 lies not in the interest you'll get, but in the learning of how to not spend your money. I once had only $600 to my name, but when I got another job, suddenly I had $1000. Why? Because I didn't spend the first $600.

Then I had $2000, then $4000, then $6000, all from not spending it.

If your dream is to work furiously to save a massive amount of money, you need to get very used to the feeling of depriving yourself of things you want even when you have the money to buy them. In fact, that's pretty much the central tenet of Mustachianism. We do it so well that we actually enjoy doing without a new guitar and banking the cash.

2527

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 04:56:31 PM »
Start investing.  When I was a teenager, I opened a money market account when interest rates were high and I got excited about making $10 in interest.  Then I started mutual funds (my first investment was $250) and I was excited to make $50.  Now, when I think about investments, I think in increments of $100,000.  Plant a lot of trees and you'll harvest a lot of fruit.

mowgil

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 10:49:35 PM »
Invest it! I sure wish i had when i was a teen. I have held various jobs since i was 15 but pissed all that money away on silly things. I have only recently pulled back and started saving more aggressively. If you take a long term view you will quickly see that it is worth it to pare down frivolous spending and focus on the things that provide real value to you.

StarryC

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 01:35:08 PM »
Investing it is what we all think we would do and wish we would have done.  Spending it on snacks and cds and movie tickets isn't a good plan.

I would have saved myself a lot of stress, credit card interest, and overdraft fees if I had always had a $500 "emergency fund" in college.  That will replace 2 tires on your car, or pay a month of rent when your roommate moves out without notice, or pay for a plane ticket home when someone gets sick, buy a computer the week before finals when yours busts, etc.  I'd say put at least $500 in a money market account at 1% and forget about it.  Thank yourself at 20 when you don't put $500 on a credit card, and tank yourself again at 23 when you aren't paying interest.  If you do end up as a wandering minstrel, you might be super glad to have $50 for a motel room and a shower now and then!

I'd blow the other $100.  Dates? Guitar strings and pics?  Music downloads?  Whatever kids these days do!

Lans Holman

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2013, 01:43:17 PM »
You should read the book "Are You Famous?" by Ken Waldman.  He basically talks all about how he acheived something along the lines of what you are shooting for, making some kind of living as a travelling musician/poet/author.  Short version: lots of hustle, lots of diverse offerings.  He will roll into a new town and teach writing workshops for elementary teachers, do a poetry reading at a book store, play fiddle on the street, whatever.  Handing out business cards all the while so the next time he comes to that town he's got the connections.  It's a fun read.

And yeah, you should save that money.  If that kind of life is really your goal, having some money set aside may one day be the difference between your car breaks down and you are homeless vs. your car breaks down and you can afford to get it repaired so you can make it to the next gig. 

frugaldrummer

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2013, 03:51:20 PM »
Yes, I vote for saving it.

If you feel you NEED the "reward" of spending some of it, set aside a specific amount (50 or 100 max) to spend, but put the rest away somewhere safe.

You can think of your busking as practice for your future career.  Do more of it. Pay attention to what the audience responds to.

Put videos of you performing on youtube.  Set up one of those accounts where, if your video goes viral, you'll actually get a little ad money for it.

Think if there are any other internet businesses or hustles that could earn you some extra change. Preferably something you could also do in the future as a traveling musician.

WageSlave

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2013, 04:09:03 PM »
The desired life you describe sounds a lot like a "starving artist".  There's some truth to that term.  If you can't stop yourself from spending $600, how will you stop yourself from spending money when you have $500,000 or whatever your target is?

I say, start simple: make a list of things you might like to buy with that money.  Wait at least 30 days before buying anything.  After 30 days, review the list.  Do you still want all that stuff?  Or did you kind of forget about it?   Or did you start liking the feeling of having money in the bank better than the idea of spending said money?

The XX-day waiting list for spending money is a simple but powerful tool.  At least it was for me.  So many things I put on my list... then forgot about.  Next time I'd go to add something, I'd see a bunch of stuff I added 30+ days ago, and literally stopped thinking about.  So I just removed those items from my list---but without actually buying them!  After doing that for six months or so, I just stopped adding to the list.  It changed my attitude from "new shiny toy I must have" to "new shiny toy that was fun to read about, but not worth buying".  And then eventually, "there's better stuff to read about than new shiny toys."

And if you don't have the will-power, there's always classic hacks like deliberately putting the money in a non-local bank, and not getting an ATM card.  Then you have the laziness factor standing in the way of getting to your money.

By the way, was the fair you were talking about the Minnesota State Fair?  We live in Illinois, but have friends in Minneapolis, and go visit them once a year, deliberately during the time of the Fair.  We missed it this year due to having a newborn, but man it's a blast!  (Yes, the epitome of over-consumption and non-Mustachianism, but boy do we love our food-on-a-stick.)


Lans Holman

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2013, 04:27:52 PM »
Upon rereading your original post, one other thought.  You mention that your family has been through some hard times.  Is there anything you could be doing to help your parents?  Even if it's just filling up the gas tank or something?  Obviously we don't know anything about the situation but if they've been making sacrifices for the last 6-7 years just to keep food on the table for you it's only fair to make sure that now that you have a little cash in your pocket that you are contributing to the family.

galliver

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Re: My first paycheck as a teen.
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2013, 04:42:37 PM »
If you're good enough to consider a career (of sorts) in music, have you considered teaching in the time being? Not at an elite level, obviously, but maybe fun introductory classes for young kids or something. Kind of like the music equivalent of tutoring? And once you're over 18, I would look into summer camps for the summer. From what I've seen: good money, room & board provided, and guitar players are valued even at non-music-centered camps. :)