Author Topic: I Would Like A Mustache...  (Read 8124 times)

BlueHeelerMommy

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I Would Like A Mustache...
« on: March 24, 2016, 08:58:24 AM »
But I wasn't brought up with the knowledge of how to grow one.

Hello!  My name is Lisa, I live in good ol' Arkansas, and I have a dilemma.  I want to become a Mustachian, and I have the natural tendency to be frugal, but I am financially dependent on my mother, and she is financially dependent on me.  It's like one of those king rat horror stories.  Basically, all of my savings (a whopping $4000) is the family emergency fund.  Don't feel too bad for me though, because I know for a fact that I'm not innocent of the spending lifestyle. Before I was put on the AmeriCorps enforced poverty stipend, I was getting paid to go to school and I had two jobs, and I was still pretty broke (I blame coffee and eating out all the time. I no longer go out for coffee).  But, since I have been forced to live on $409 biweekly, I've trimmed a lot of fat... And I've found that I really like it.  So, I was wondering if you all had any tips for people just starting out?  I have a personal finance textbook from college (and it's very useful!), but that only goes so far.  I have a few courses in accounting/financial records under my belt, so you don't need to dumb it down too much for me.

Please keep in mind that I'm a beginner.  Please don't laugh too hard?

EDITED TO INCLUDE MY CASE STUDY:
Topic Title: Reader Case Study - your question here

Life Situation: 23 years old, trying to save money to move out after service year ends (mid-August) with a decent start to an emergency fund and some sort of plan to start investing.  Mother uses my savings as an emergency fund, where emergency is loosely defined.  She does this with my younger brother and sister as well.  I use my position as an AmeriCorps VISTA to take free courses in Volunteer Management and Grants/Fundraising.  I have a degree in Human Environmental Science (Home Ec) - my major was Food, Human Nutrition, and Hospitality Innovations; concentration in Hospitality (i.e. Marketing, Financial Analysis, etc.).  I plan on getting a masters in Public Policy/Administration - Will be paid for by fund left by my grandmother.

Gross Salary/Wages:  $447.86 biweekly, $895.72/month

Pre-tax deductions: 401k, HSA, FSA, IRA, insurance, etc. - whatever you have

Other Ordinary Income: I babysit on occasion for $10/hour and find other "gigs" such as conference receptionist for special events.  Neither of these incomes are on a regular basis, though.  This seemed like the only category where this would fit, sorry!

Adjusted Gross Income: 819.12 biweekly
Taxes:

Current expenses:

I haven't been documenting my spending lately, so I can only provide general details.  I pay $170 each month for cable (basically my rent so I can continue living with my mother), $25 for a gym membership (signed up for a year before my AmeriCorps service year started.  I didn't realize how frivolous of an expense it was) , an average of $200 for my credit card (I was successful two months ago to getting this down to an $11 bill, but I ended up having more expenses this month.  I'll be decreasing my credit card use back to that level in the next two months.), and most of my leftover money goes towards eating out because my mother insists on it.  I'm trying to convince her that we should eat at home but she doesn't listen.  I wouldn't mind living a spartan lifestyle after I got out of the house.  I for one, hate cable TV and would be fine living on rice and beans and listening to the free Stuff You Should Know podcast for entertainment.  The problem is getting enough capital to get out of that house.  I can usually come into the next month with around $20.

Assets: I have $4,691 in my savings at .05% interest and $319 in checking - Total of $5,010

Liabilities: Credit Card: $191 (190 and some odd cents) - I pay the balance on my card each month, but it's still technically a liability.

Specific Question(s): Typing all of this information makes me realize how totally and completely screwed I am.  I know y'all can't help instill a health respect for frugal living in a fifty year old woman, but is there anything I could do to save up money on the side without her knowing?  It's like living with a leech.  The only thing she doesn't attach herself to is my change jar.

Sorry if this was too much/not enough/irrelevant information!  I don't know exactly what y'all need in order to figure my stuff out.  And, like I said, I haven't been logging my purchases lately.  I'm going to start doing that today!
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 09:59:16 AM by BlueHeelerMommy »

Gerard

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016, 09:25:01 AM »
Hey, welcome, BHM! I would have a look at the "how to write a case study" post, so that you can tell us way too much about yourself, and we can try to offer personalized advice.

CmFtns

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 09:49:00 AM »
Here you go:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/

My simple advice would be to do this:

-Stay on your current $409 bi-weekly budget which is already very frugal
-Trim extra fat if there is any other silly spending worked into that small budget
-Get a job making way more than $409 per paycheck
-Save the difference

BlueHeelerMommy

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2016, 11:20:20 AM »
Here you go:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/

My simple advice would be to do this:

-Stay on your current $409 bi-weekly budget which is already very frugal
-Trim extra fat if there is any other silly spending worked into that small budget
-Get a job making way more than $409 per paycheck
-Save the difference

Thank you for the suggestions!  I will check out the "how to" post so I can offer more information.  I'm also looking into getting a job during my year of service, but they have really strict requirements, so I'm trying to plug through all the paperwork I have to get signed by my VISTA supervisor.  I don't regret my service year, but I don't think I'm going to recommend it to anyone. National service isn't for the weak of heart, let me tell you! :/

CmFtns

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2016, 04:06:32 PM »
Here you go:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/

My simple advice would be to do this:

-Stay on your current $409 bi-weekly budget which is already very frugal
-Trim extra fat if there is any other silly spending worked into that small budget
-Get a job making way more than $409 per paycheck
-Save the difference

Thank you for the suggestions!  I will check out the "how to" post so I can offer more information.  I'm also looking into getting a job during my year of service, but they have really strict requirements, so I'm trying to plug through all the paperwork I have to get signed by my VISTA supervisor.  I don't regret my service year, but I don't think I'm going to recommend it to anyone. National service isn't for the weak of heart, let me tell you! :/

I wasn't exactly sure what americorps was till you said you had to finish your year of service... Now that I read about it I think this puts you in a really good position to save money because it seems americorps has forced you to gain some perspective on what one really needs in life and if you can keep that standard of living while also joining the workforce at non-poverty level wages then you will end up very well off... I promise you that. You should finish up your year and then get a job afterward if you think it will affect your work with them

I look forward to your case study...
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 04:09:41 PM by comfyfutons »

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2016, 10:31:59 AM »
When you say that your mom insists on eating out, want do you mean? Do you pay for both of you? I would just buy groceries and say no, already spent all my budget on food.

Frugalwoods.com there is a post on how she did her year with americorp.

What is rent like in your area? You are planning on a roommate, right? How about moving your savings to a higher interest account? 0.05% is tiny! Granted it won't be much interest even at .9%online, but better than nothing.

BlueHeelerMommy

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016, 10:56:31 AM »
I trade off with her on who pays.  She works in the clinic of the nonprofit I work for, so we always go to lunch together.  I've thought about telling her that I'm doing a webinar over lunch a few times, but I always feel guilty making her eat alone.  We also eat out for dinner often with the whole family, because that's the only way she gets to see my brother and sister who are in their first year of college.
Rent in my area is fairly cheap (I think?).  A studio apartment is around $350, and a two bedroom is around $550, if I want to stay on the good side of town/close to my workplace. I want a roommate, but the person I want to room with isn't in the position to leave her mother yet either.  I have a dog that has to come with me, so this limits my ability to find a place slightly, but I'm lucky because Fayetteville is a very dog-friendly place and most apartments allow dogs.  I would like to move my savings, but I don't know much about shopping around for a new bank.  I thought about setting up a second savings account online with smartpiggy, but I'm very risk adverse so I'm going to sift through reviews before I make a move.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 12:06:47 PM by BlueHeelerMommy »

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2016, 06:59:59 PM »
Gross Salary/Wages:  $447.86 biweekly, $895.72/month

Pre-tax deductions: 401k, HSA, FSA, IRA, insurance, etc. - whatever you have

Other Ordinary Income: I babysit on occasion for $10/hour and find other "gigs" such as conference receptionist for special events.  Neither of these incomes are on a regular basis, though.  This seemed like the only category where this would fit, sorry!

Adjusted Gross Income: 819.12 biweekly

I'm a bit confused on your monthly income. You list your VISTA stipend as $895.72/month, but later list your AGI as $819.12 biweekly. Either one of these numbers is incorrect or your make quite a bit from babysitting and gigs. (If you're counting tuition value, benefits and whatnot in your AGI, I wouldn't for this purpose, as that's not money you can use in any traditional manner.)

Based on what I understand of your situation, you're pretty much stuck through August. VISTA doesn't really pay enough to live on your own. The only option to move out at this point would be to rent a single room in a house with multiple roommates. Even if that's an option for you, you're likely still better offer paying the $170 cable bill and other associated costs to continue living with your mom. This is good preparation for graduate school because if you get a GA position the stipend will likely only be a little bit more than your current stipend. I got through grad school without taking out loans by renting a room with all utilities included for $365/month for the first year and $300/month for the last semester. This wasn't an ideal living situation, but living alone would have cost me at least $700/month + all utilities.

It appears that you need to have a conversation with your mom about your savings/the emergency fund, and your need to get your own place. Assuming that this is your money, you should be able to use it to move out this fall. Your current savings is more than sufficient to get your own place. The challenge is bringing in enough income to sustain yourself independently which likely isn't possible until your service year ends.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2016, 03:14:51 PM by DebtFreeBy25 »

Kaikou

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2016, 11:33:46 PM »
Hi fellow Americorp person!

Didn't read all yet. But just wanted to say there are scholarships and free tuition offered for americorps alum. Just saw one in the email blast today. I think your study should qualify.

Also use your segal award or edu stipend for school and use your grandma's money for living or new emergency fund/ investment?

Kaikou

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2016, 11:39:33 PM »
I trade off with her on who pays.  She works in the clinic of the nonprofit I work for, so we always go to lunch together.  I've thought about telling her that I'm doing a webinar over lunch a few times, but I always feel guilty making her eat alone.  We also eat out for dinner often with the whole family, because that's the only way she gets to see my brother and sister who are in their first year of college.
Rent in my area is fairly cheap (I think?).  A studio apartment is around $350, and a two bedroom is around $550, if I want to stay on the good side of town/close to my workplace. I want a roommate, but the person I want to room with isn't in the position to leave her mother yet either.  I have a dog that has to come with me, so this limits my ability to find a place slightly, but I'm lucky because Fayetteville is a very dog-friendly place and most apartments allow dogs.  I would like to move my savings, but I don't know much about shopping around for a new bank.  I thought about setting up a second savings account online with smartpiggy, but I'm very risk adverse so I'm going to sift through reviews before I make a move.

At those prices I would just move out. Live alone till that other person is ready or maybe you would like to live alone.  You need to create  boundaries with Mom. Where do you want to start? Money or living?

BlueHeelerMommy

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2016, 07:28:49 AM »
Gross Salary/Wages:  $447.86 biweekly, $895.72/month

Pre-tax deductions: 401k, HSA, FSA, IRA, insurance, etc. - whatever you have

Other Ordinary Income: I babysit on occasion for $10/hour and find other "gigs" such as conference receptionist for special events.  Neither of these incomes are on a regular basis, though.  This seemed like the only category where this would fit, sorry!

Adjusted Gross Income: 819.12 biweekly


I'm a bit confused on your monthly income. You list your VISTA stipend as $895.72/month, but later list your AGI as $819.12 biweekly. Either one of these numbers is incorrect or your make quite a bit from babysitting and gigs. (If you're counting tuition value, benefits and whatnot in your AGI, I wouldn't for this purpose, as that's not money you can use in any traditional manner.)

Based on what I understand of your situation, you're pretty much stuck through August. VISTA doesn't really pay enough to live on your own. The only option to move out at this point would be to rent a single room in a house with multiple roommates. Even if that's an option for you, you're likely still better offer paying the $170 cable bill and other associated costs to continue living with your mom. This is good preparation for graduate school because if you get a GA position the stipend will likely only be a little bit more than your current stipend. I got through grad school without taking out loans by renting a room with all utilities included for $365/month for the first year and $300/month for the last semester. This wasn't an ideal living situation, but living alone would have cost me at least $700/month + all utilities.

It appears that you need to have a conversation with your mom about your savings/the emergency fund, and your need to get your own place. Assuming that this is your money, you should be able to use it to move out this fall. Your current savings is more than sufficient to get your own place. The challenge is bringing in enough income to sustain yourself independently which likely isn't possible until your service year ends.
About AGI - I just used how much I actually get back.  I only get $409/2 weeks, and I only get that much because I don't have state/municipal taxes withheld.  If I did that incorrectly, I'm sorry.
I think you're right about being stuck until August.  I'll just have to tough it out and move out when it's possible.  The good thing about VISTA is the Non Competitive Eligibility that will assist me in getting a government job after I finish my year out, so finding employment should be easier than if I had chosen not to complete the year.

BlueHeelerMommy

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2016, 07:32:53 AM »
Hi fellow Americorp person!

Didn't read all yet. But just wanted to say there are scholarships and free tuition offered for americorps alum. Just saw one in the email blast today. I think your study should qualify.

Also use your segal award or edu stipend for school and use your grandma's money for living or new emergency fund/ investment?
Hey!!!  Nice to see a fellow AmeriCorps member!  We'll have to chat about our service sometime!  Unfortunately, I didn't think I would be going back to school when I started my year, so I don't have the Segal Award.  Also, my grandmother left the fund to be used only for education, so I can't invest it or use it for an emergency fund.  I could probably convince my uncle (the trustee) to all me to use the fund to pay for rent (as long as I was also attending school!), but I'm not quite sure that would fly.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 08:32:06 AM by BlueHeelerMommy »

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2016, 08:05:58 AM »
I was in Americorps 20 years ago. 
When you are ready to start being more independent, and only you know when that is, you need to have a serious conversation with your mom.  And you need to start a bank account that she doesn't have access to.  And you don't have to tell her it exists.

The big issue is not the money, it's your relationship.  Nothing wrong with being this co-dependent with your family, if this is what you want, but I am assuming because you posted here you don't want to keep doing this.   In many cultures it is normal.  It is not normal in the dominant US culture, though, so if you don't like it you might want to consider therapy.

Dee18

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2016, 08:49:22 AM »
To choose a bank you can go to bankrate.com and look at their list of banks with savings and checking accounts.  They have star ratings so you can just pick one of the 5 star rated banks.  It should only take you 15 minutes to sign up for one online.  Or you can choose a local bank, different from the one your mother uses.  Either way, just check to see the bank is FDIC insured.  That means that if the bank did lose your money, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. would pay you back.  This is not something you need to stress over, just go ahead and do it.  Then either have your paycheck deposited to your new account, or withdraw money from the account you share with your mother and deposit it in your new account.  Get a debit card for the new bank so you can easily make deposits and withdrawals.

More importantly, you need to start claiming your right to be independent.  Lunch every day with your mother?  What would you like to do during lunch?  Bring a sandwich?  Eat with someone your age?  Take a walk?  Decide what you want to do and, in a pleasant voice, tell your mother.  She needs her own friends too.  If you want to take sandwiches and eat with your mom, tell her, "I've decided to take my lunch a couple days a week.  Would you like me to pack a sandwich for you too? "

Have you thought of moving to another city? 

jbfishing

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2016, 09:18:47 AM »
Don't forget that you are debt free.  That is a really good place to be, so do whatever it takes to stay debt free and you'll have a huge head start for when you really start making money.  You'll also be way ahead of most people your age and most other americans. 

Sibley

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2016, 11:09:39 AM »
Here's my take:

Step 1: open your own bank account, that only has your name on it. Move your money to the new bank account. Change direct deposit, auto pay, etc to the new account.
Step 2: don't tell anyone you've changed bank accounts
Step 3: Ignore the screaming when she realizes your money isn't available to her anymore.
Step 4: Start taking your lunch to work. When your mom wants to go out, either decline cause you brought your lunch or TAKE your packed lunch to wherever she's eating and eat that. Do not pay for her.
Step 5: Start making dinner periodically at home. Invite your siblings. Don't go out. It's almost impossible to turn down food that is already in the works.
Step 6: Move out and completely separate your finances from your family's. Your mom works, she's an adult, she can pay her own bills.

I recommend reading Captain Awkward's blog. What you're trying to do is set boundaries. She has good advice for how to do that. Growing up isn't easy, so good luck!

Kaikou

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2016, 12:48:08 PM »
Hi fellow Americorp person!

Didn't read all yet. But just wanted to say there are scholarships and free tuition offered for americorps alum. Just saw one in the email blast today. I think your study should qualify.

Also use your segal award or edu stipend for school and use your grandma's money for living or new emergency fund/ investment?
Hey!!!  Nice to see a fellow AmeriCorps member!  We'll have to chat about our service sometime!  Unfortunately, I didn't think I would be going back to school when I started my year, so I don't have the Segal Award.  Also, my grandmother left the fund to be used only for education, so I can't invest it or use it for an emergency fund.  I could probably convince my uncle (the trustee) to all me to use the fund to pay for rent (as long as I was also attending school!), but I'm not quite sure that would fly.

Sign up for the americorps alum listserv they send out info about scholarships free tuition and career webinars. Might be helpful.

I did know about the government competition agreement, can you tell me more about it?

Public universities and government jobs are very Americorps friendly.

BlueHeelerMommy

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2016, 12:54:19 PM »
Hi fellow Americorp person!

Didn't read all yet. But just wanted to say there are scholarships and free tuition offered for americorps alum. Just saw one in the email blast today. I think your study should qualify.

Also use your segal award or edu stipend for school and use your grandma's money for living or new emergency fund/ investment?
Hey!!!  Nice to see a fellow AmeriCorps member!  We'll have to chat about our service sometime!  Unfortunately, I didn't think I would be going back to school when I started my year, so I don't have the Segal Award.  Also, my grandmother left the fund to be used only for education, so I can't invest it or use it for an emergency fund.  I could probably convince my uncle (the trustee) to all me to use the fund to pay for rent (as long as I was also attending school!), but I'm not quite sure that would fly.

Sign up for the americorps alum listserv they send out info about scholarships free tuition and career webinars. Might be helpful.

I did know about the government competition agreement, can you tell me more about it?

Public universities and government jobs are very Americorps friendly.

The NCE is a "letter" you receive through the AmeriCorps portal after you've finished your year of service that allows you to have a leg up on Federal jobs.  It's pretty nifty, and is the reason I chose AC VISTA over AC NCCC. Here's a link that will explain it in further detail -> http://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/ed-award/non-competitive-eligibility

BlueHeelerMommy

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2016, 12:59:07 PM »
I was in Americorps 20 years ago. 
When you are ready to start being more independent, and only you know when that is, you need to have a serious conversation with your mom.  And you need to start a bank account that she doesn't have access to.  And you don't have to tell her it exists.

The big issue is not the money, it's your relationship.  Nothing wrong with being this co-dependent with your family, if this is what you want, but I am assuming because you posted here you don't want to keep doing this.   In many cultures it is normal.  It is not normal in the dominant US culture, though, so if you don't like it you might want to consider therapy.

I'll definitely have to start taking some of these steps.  I love my mom, but I am ready to start going off on my own.  Thank you for the advice! :)

BlueHeelerMommy

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2016, 01:02:13 PM »
Here's my take:

Step 1: open your own bank account, that only has your name on it. Move your money to the new bank account. Change direct deposit, auto pay, etc to the new account.
Step 2: don't tell anyone you've changed bank accounts
Step 3: Ignore the screaming when she realizes your money isn't available to her anymore.
Step 4: Start taking your lunch to work. When your mom wants to go out, either decline cause you brought your lunch or TAKE your packed lunch to wherever she's eating and eat that. Do not pay for her.
Step 5: Start making dinner periodically at home. Invite your siblings. Don't go out. It's almost impossible to turn down food that is already in the works.
Step 6: Move out and completely separate your finances from your family's. Your mom works, she's an adult, she can pay her own bills.

I recommend reading Captain Awkward's blog. What you're trying to do is set boundaries. She has good advice for how to do that. Growing up isn't easy, so good luck!

I wish it were a "she has access to my accounts" kind of thing, but it's more of a guilt trip kind of deal.  I will start squirreling some money away in a different account, though.  That's a smart idea! :)  Step 6 is going to happen soon, I hope!

Also, I am definitely looking into Captain Awkward!  Thank you very much!!

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2016, 09:17:00 PM »
I wish it were a "she has access to my accounts" kind of thing, but it's more of a guilt trip kind of deal.  I will start squirreling some money away in a different account, though.  That's a smart idea! :)  Step 6 is going to happen soon, I hope!

Also, I am definitely looking into Captain Awkward!  Thank you very much!!

My mom is also a guilt-tripping financial mess. (My mom literally asked me to buy her a house. Yes, a real house for humans, not dolls or dogs.) The sooner you begin setting boundaries, the easier life will be in the long run.

Another word of wisdom, don't think you can change her. She's developed these bad habits over the course of decades. The only way to change her spending patterns is through a major force of will on her part. As difficult as this is to watch, you have to accept the things that you can't change and refuse to take responsibility for situations that aren't your fault.

One more tip: Refuse to give her any info on your finances. In your situation, it should be relatively easy to pretend that you're broke. Repeat that you don't have money for _____ until she eventually accepts this answer. (This isn't technically dishonest. You have money. You just don't have money for whatever frivolous expense she wants you to cover.)

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2016, 05:50:35 AM »
Nothing novel to add, lots of great advice already has been given. Just want to wish you the best of luck and encourage you to be strong. Setting new boundaries will take time, but it's great life experience.

NDQ

getupkid

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2016, 01:22:10 PM »
Hi fellow Americorp person!

Didn't read all yet. But just wanted to say there are scholarships and free tuition offered for americorps alum. Just saw one in the email blast today. I think your study should qualify.

Also use your segal award or edu stipend for school and use your grandma's money for living or new emergency fund/ investment?
Hey!!!  Nice to see a fellow AmeriCorps member!  We'll have to chat about our service sometime!  Unfortunately, I didn't think I would be going back to school when I started my year, so I don't have the Segal Award.  Also, my grandmother left the fund to be used only for education, so I can't invest it or use it for an emergency fund.  I could probably convince my uncle (the trustee) to all me to use the fund to pay for rent (as long as I was also attending school!), but I'm not quite sure that would fly.

Sign up for the americorps alum listserv they send out info about scholarships free tuition and career webinars. Might be helpful.

I did know about the government competition agreement, can you tell me more about it?

Public universities and government jobs are very Americorps friendly.

The NCE is a "letter" you receive through the AmeriCorps portal after you've finished your year of service that allows you to have a leg up on Federal jobs.  It's pretty nifty, and is the reason I chose AC VISTA over AC NCCC. Here's a link that will explain it in further detail -> http://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/ed-award/non-competitive-eligibility

I wouldn't rely too heavily on Non Competitive Eligibility. That's just the first step in a multi-step process of applying for a government job.

I'm a former AmeriCorps VISTA - are you currently on food stamps? If no, why not? I used food stamps during my year of service and it helped me save money even though I was only earning $800 a month.

Also, while you're earning such a low income, you should research Individual Development Accounts and see if there are any organizations in your area that offer them.

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: I Would Like A Mustache...
« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2016, 09:15:00 AM »
There's lots of great advice here so I won't repeat it. I especially agree with Meadow Lark. I also think you might want to try shifting your perspective on some of the things that cause you to feel guilty. You don't want to abandon your mom at lunch, but you already spend a ton of time together (you live together, you work together.) But you might be doing her a favor - it would give her a nudge to make friends at work and eat with others. Or maybe she'll start using her lunch breaks to read or exercise.

Similarly, you're not responsible for your mother and your siblings maintaining a relationship with each other. They need to be able to do this themselves if the relationships are going to be strong. If they start spending time without you, it might help them to build stronger relationships! And when you do want to all spend time together, why not have a cozy, private family meal at home?

I think you're on the right path. Financially, you have a lot going for you. Once you get a full-time paycheck you should easily have the money to move out and build your savings.

One thing to consider, though, is that if your mother does not save any money and can not afford her own lifestyle, there is a good chance she will need/expect you and your siblings to support her after she retires. You all need to sit down and discuss the realities of that. You and your siblings need to know what she expects, and she needs to understand the financial and emotional strain this will cause all of you.

Good luck, and please let us know how it goes!