Author Topic: How Did You Survive Your Broke Twenties?  (Read 12992 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: How Did You Survive Your Broke Twenties?
« Reply #50 on: November 19, 2016, 11:01:13 PM »
I started working part time when I was 15 and saved a reasonable amount which helped. I also partnered up young with someone who had common values to me (including financial ones) and that makes a huge difference.

We didn't move out of home until 21 so had some very healthy savings behind us from park time work and my partner has been working full time for almost 12 months without food or housing expenses  expenses. We moved out when I started working after graduation.

I decided to go back and study more and then then GFC hit and my partner lost his job and took it as an opportunity to do further study as well. During that time our income was very limited but we just cut out expenses back to compensate. Even with us both studying full time, living by ourselves and working less than 25 paid hours a week between us, we managed to save money during that period.

Things we did:
Had one car between us but walked or took public transport whenever possible
Gave up meat
Shopped smart - in season and on special only (we found a great deal on an organic CSA box), I also foraged a lot.
Free/cheap entertainment - we'd catch up with friends at home or over coffee only. Lived near great parks and free public art galleries. Though between studying, working a few hours and doing as much ourselves in terms of cooking, maintenance, etc there wasn't much time for entertainment.
I've only ever had one smart phone and I still have it. My partner is only on his second now.

We exited our 20's with 12 years of full time university education between us and $200k in savings and shares. We also managed a bit of travel in there too.

I look back and in hindsight can see a million ways we could have wound up better off (if only we had ditched education completely and just bought a property in inner Sydney in our early 20's we'd be FIRE'ed in Queensland now haha) but I'm pretty impressed with what we have achieved.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: How Did You Survive Your Broke Twenties?
« Reply #51 on: November 20, 2016, 08:09:03 PM »
We kept our expenses as low as possible. We married I was 21 and she was 23 when we both finished univeristy.

We rented the cheapest one bedroom apartment we could find, spent very little and drove a 5 year old car - which was our one big expense. In your 20s your income usually goes up quickly as your career gets underway. As a teacher my wife got (modest) annual pay rises built into her contract and my income went up as a I changes jobs every year or two.

The trick for us was to not let our lifestyle costs grow and invest the surplus. We didn't know it but we had the MMM philosophy in place - our entertainment was based around experiencing nature and we had relatively few wants for material goods (there is only so much stuff you can find into a small living space). We made friends with people who lived and enjoyed similar things (rather than people who liked to spend all of their money in the weekends). As our income grew we started to invest our surplus and since we did this through real estate it acted as a natural constraint on our spending. There was always something to spend the money on (maintenance, paying down loans, insurance, taxes) rather than ourselves.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: How Did You Survive Your Broke Twenties?
« Reply #52 on: November 21, 2016, 08:54:38 AM »
I wasn't really broke due to working 5 jobs (two main part-time jobs and then gigs on top of that) but lived like I was.  I didn't party during college but instead studied and got my ALL my work done for the week Mon-Thurs so that I could go home Fri once class was over at 2pm and then work the closing shift at Chick-fil-A.  Saturdays, I'd put in a 9 or 10 hour shift.  Sundays I would relax and head back to school.

Lived frugally, ate PB&J for lunch instead of a meal plan on campus, chose housing a few miles away (cheaper) and walked/took the bus to class.  Flipped textbooks (would browse lost and found sales and load up on as many textbooks as I could for $1 each then put them on Amazon.. made a few hundos every time).  There were always campus events going on for dinner so would attend and eat free.

I'm 26 now and in a good spot.  Still don't have any spendy hobbies really, I usually just work even in my free time but the schedule is different (late nights, early mornings, some super slow days in between interspersed with a busy busy busy). 

Have lived with roommates and still do.  When I saved up enough for a downpayment on a cheap condo, I bought it and then rented out the other rooms and lived for free.  Sure I could afford to live alone but now I have a townhouse and it's big enough that we don't get up in each other's space that much. 

Rarely drink, and when I do it's usually because I'm on a date where the guy pays.  I stick to a set grocery list.  Don't eat at expensive downtown restaurants. 

Still have side hustles going, like dog sitting and look on Craigslist for easy, odd jobs.  Main job is helping people buy/sell homes-- have been intentional with my branding and marketing strategy so now I am largely sustained off of referral business (after only 1 year in the biz, though really it's been 5 if you count my time as a landlord).

IMO, your 20s are not to be wasted away by partying and drinking and brunching.  My early 20s were spent killing it and now that I'm in my mid-late 20s, I'm still hustling but not as desperately... haven't inflated my expenses much (anything that is inflated, I figure out ways to make other people pay for it i.e. housing) and I've hit a better stride.. it's more of a coast now rather than pedal to the metal (better lifestyle anyway).. but I'm still going pretty fast and not stopping anytime soon :)