Author Topic: living simply, still broke!  (Read 17552 times)

MsSindy

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2017, 01:43:06 PM »
Are there expenses missing?  For example I don't see anything for car maint, gasoline, or car insur.  Are your utilities also included in your package?  If these expenses are accurate on a month-to-month basis, then you do have some money to work with - and I would pay off PayPal immediately, then work on the ACCC (assuming no penalties for early payoff).

On the income side, you'll need to decide if you're going to either
A) continue what you're doing and commit to a side hustle
B) change careers

Once you make a decision, we can help you brainstorm ideas.

No offense, but I wouldn't spend much time on a business plan until you can prove that you can manage money - you'd be hard pressed to find someone to take a risk on you given the state you're in.... no matter how awesome your business plan is.

monstermonster

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #51 on: March 02, 2017, 02:22:21 PM »
So, this is great because you're taking the first step towards understanding what your debt looks like. It appears you have more than you initially said- you said you had $5,000 CC debt in the first post, but in reality you have $16,900 in credit card debt when you add it all together. Those interests rates, however, are low for a CC - when do those 3% and 5% interest rates run out?

I would agree around the business plan. Business plans are for folks that are finance-able. You are not right now. My employers have a $250,000 annual gross revenue company that's been around for 5 years, and we're still not eligible for financing because of $20,000 of student loan debt from one of the owners. A business plan can be a good tool for wrapping your head around what your plan is, but it's mainly for getting financing. Don't get too caught up in the planning stage when you need to be in the DEBT ATTACK stage.

mporter012

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #52 on: March 02, 2017, 02:23:14 PM »
Are there expenses missing?  For example I don't see anything for car maint, gasoline, or car insur.  Are your utilities also included in your package?  If these expenses are accurate on a month-to-month basis, then you do have some money to work with - and I would pay off PayPal immediately, then work on the ACCC (assuming no penalties for early payoff).

On the income side, you'll need to decide if you're going to either
A) continue what you're doing and commit to a side hustle
B) change careers

Once you make a decision, we can help you brainstorm ideas.

No offense, but I wouldn't spend much time on a business plan until you can prove that you can manage money - you'd be hard pressed to find someone to take a risk on you given the state you're in.... no matter how awesome your business plan is.

I added $50/month for gas. I'm on an insurance plan with some family members, and they just cover the cost, which is helpful. I also put $25 in savings a month. Is that pretty much useless at this point?

mporter012

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #53 on: March 02, 2017, 02:30:22 PM »
So, this is great because you're taking the first step towards understanding what your debt looks like. It appears you have more than you initially said- you said you had $5,000 CC debt in the first post, but in reality you have $16,900 in credit card debt when you add it all together. Those interests rates, however, are low for a CC - when do those 3% and 5% interest rates run out?

I would agree around the business plan. Business plans are for folks that are finance-able. You are not right now. My employers have a $250,000 annual gross revenue company that's been around for 5 years, and we're still not eligible for financing because of $20,000 of student loan debt from one of the owners. A business plan can be a good tool for wrapping your head around what your plan is, but it's mainly for getting financing. Don't get too caught up in the planning stage when you need to be in the DEBT ATTACK stage.

Yea, honestly I haven't looked at it in some time. Most everything is on auto-pay, but I'd forgotten the the Bank of America card still had as much as it does. The paypal is $394, so the total is at $8841.92 - I know this is nuts, but it was double this. I've paid off quite a bit the last 4 years. It's still ruining me though. The Bank of America card was from when I was in college, and back then, for whatever reason, they gave 19 years cards with low interest.

monstermonster

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #54 on: March 02, 2017, 02:31:26 PM »
I added $50/month for gas. I'm on an insurance plan with some family members, and they just cover the cost, which is helpful. I also put $25 in savings a month. Is that pretty much useless at this point?
I'd recommend a small emergency fund of one-month's expenses (which looks to be about $1K). Everything above that should go to attacking your debt. You are in debt emergency mode, with 90% of your earnings going to repaying debt.

historienne

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #55 on: March 02, 2017, 03:22:22 PM »
Just want to reiterate that if you are *actually* interested in a Ph.D. in Botany, and have the qualifications to get into a good program, you should expect that 1)tuition would be free, and 2) you would get a stipend.  Stipends vary wildly, but at my school (a private research institution), it would be about equivalent to your current salary+benefits (ie, salary plus the value of your free rent).

I'm not a scientist, and I do not know what the job prospects are for people with Ph.D.s in Botany.  Getting the degree would be a big commitment of time and energy, which might be better spent elsewhere from a purely financial perspective.  I mostly wanted to emphasize that under no circumstances should you pay money for a Ph.D. program in the sciences.

pbkmaine

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #56 on: March 02, 2017, 03:25:25 PM »
There's also the Frugalwoods way of paying for grad school:
http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/08/26/that-time-i-went-to-grad-school-for-free/

mporter012

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #57 on: March 02, 2017, 06:05:09 PM »
Just want to reiterate that if you are *actually* interested in a Ph.D. in Botany, and have the qualifications to get into a good program, you should expect that 1)tuition would be free, and 2) you would get a stipend.  Stipends vary wildly, but at my school (a private research institution), it would be about equivalent to your current salary+benefits (ie, salary plus the value of your free rent).

I'm not a scientist, and I do not know what the job prospects are for people with Ph.D.s in Botany.  Getting the degree would be a big commitment of time and energy, which might be better spent elsewhere from a purely financial perspective.  I mostly wanted to emphasize that under no circumstances should you pay money for a Ph.D. program in the sciences.

Got it.

mporter012

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #58 on: March 02, 2017, 06:16:34 PM »
Side note. Despite the mistakes I've made, I still contend that the snowball effect really started and was basically out of control long before I added to it. Understand that a good portion of the money I owe my parents was related to university expenses. And then, I had so much debt when I got out of school, with an idiotic, useless degree, that I somehow thought, "what's another couple thousand in credit cards...I'll get a great job soon!" Never happened. Graduated in 2008, the economy crashed in early 2009, and it's been pretty much shitty since then. Trust me, I've spent thousands of hours looking for work, updating my resume, networking, etc. The economy has gotten tougher all around. I have lots of friends in the same boat - some worse. Jesus, my friends who went the grad school route may never pay off their debt!

I just find it a bit irritating and smug for MMM to make statements like, "Making money is easy." Even if you have a wave of responsibility and minimalism that sweeps through the country, (here comes some sociology...!) technology is basically replacing the middle class. See Jaron Lanier and others on this. I basically believe we are headed for some apocalyptic scenario with work in the next 10-20 years. Sam Harris and others are contending we need a universal income VERY soon, it's getting so bad. Maybe they are wrong, but I think they likely aren't.

This is not an excuse for my debt/situation. It's more a rebuttal to the idea that, "making money is easy."

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #59 on: March 02, 2017, 07:34:52 PM »
But you are making fine money for a single person with no housing expenses. Making money is going fine for you - you're even in your chosen field! You just have built up a lot of debt.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #60 on: March 02, 2017, 07:51:44 PM »
But you are making fine money for a single person with no housing expenses. Making money is going fine for you - you're even in your chosen field! You just have built up a lot of debt.

+1. This is looking less like an earnings issue (no housing! *swoon*) and more like a situation of paying down past 'missteps'- which takes time! The thing is, your earnings aren't funding your now and your future, they are funding your past (and the compound interest fallout from that past!). Luckily, your rates all seem pretty reasonable, and you should be able to SLAY that debt in no time.

So what's your debt repayment plan? =) Much more important right now than a business plan I think!

Villanelle

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #61 on: March 02, 2017, 10:04:07 PM »
If you are counting your debt repayment in your expenses, when you are done with that, your overall needs will be much lower.  So overall, the long term prospects are less dire than you seem to think.  You are just wading through the really tough part now, but once that is done, assuming you don't inflate your lifestyle, all that debt money can go to savings.

You don't list the interest on those debts, but you might look in to Lending Tree or other sources of loans, and if you can get a lower rate, use that to consolidate.  Keep payment amounts the same, but be rid of them faster.  Similarly, if you can get a 0% balance transfer credit card, that might help, though of course you need to make sure you comply with the terms and get it paid off before rates go up (unless they are still lower than some of your debts). 

You jokingly mention "organs" as an asset, but you can sell blood (Plasma) to make some extra money.  Why not do it, assuming you qualify?  Likewise, your hands are an asset.  Can you offer to tend gardens or mow lawns?  Clean pools (not sure what kind of neighborhood you live in?  Babysit?  Tutor?  (And tutor.com is often hiring, so you wouldn't even have to hustle up your own business.) Write that e-book.  Create a walking food tour in your area (especially if you have a tourist economy), focused on farm-to-table and organic places that are off the beaten path for tourists.  Fresh oysters from X little market, a pass through a local farmer's market for a few snack samples, then on to an appetizer at hole in the while, a local specialty at another place, an entree at a great local restaurant, and wine and dessert at a final stop, pointing out historical points of interest as you walk from place to place, and discuss the local sustainable agriculture movement. .  Work out deals with each place, and then add 25% to the cost of the food.  Then go to Trip Advisor and see if anything even kind of similar exists and compare prices to make sure you are semi-competitive.  Give the tour for free to friends (minus the cost of food) in exchange for reviews on Trip Advisor.    Maybe you only get 2 people a month, and you only make $50.  That's $50 you didn't have before, and the bonus is that you get to share your passion (just don't go too over the top or it might be off putting).


"Technology is replacing the middle class" sounds pretty complainy-pants to me. Yes, it's a generalization, and it's likely intentionally provocative, as MMM tends to be.  I think it's all a matter of scale.  I but just about nay of us could brin gin an extra $20 a month or even $200.  An extra $2000?  More difficult.  Making some money is easy; making lots is more difficult.  But that doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it.  Did you read the two MMM blog posts liked about, which will give you 100 jobs that make solid money without college degrees?  They are there, but you have to look for them, and you have to be willing to do a job that is outside your hobby/passion/bliss wheelhouse.  Your financial needs are relatively low, so yes, making some extra money should be fairly easy.  I know it sucks to hear that because it means you actually have to go out and do it, rather than just dismissing it is nearly impossible.  Maybe the robot overlords are coming for our jobs, but they haven't taken all or even most of them yet.  Isn't that all the more reason to hustle now, while you are young and healthy and there are still opportunities?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 10:53:06 PM by Villanelle »

monstermonster

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #62 on: March 02, 2017, 10:45:04 PM »
I also find it smug when MMM makes statements like "making money is easy", so I'm with you there. But I don't think it's as dire as you're making it out to be, especially for a college educated person in this country with no dependents.

But I think you need to understand you have a debt problem far more than you have an impossible-earnings problem. And there's solutions to that.

baw88

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #63 on: March 03, 2017, 06:06:30 AM »
Here's the info. Fire away.
A couple questions for clarity. First, where is the remaining $785 a month going? You list $1,215 in expenses per month and have $2,000 in earnings. Is it going toward debt pay off or are you only paying the minimums at this time? Second, what is the interest rate of your federal loan and when does your deferment period end? Specifics are important in coming up with a pay off plan. It shouldn't take too long to look this up online at your loan service's website.

alewpanda

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #64 on: March 03, 2017, 08:23:17 AM »
Side note. Despite the mistakes I've made, I still contend that the snowball effect really started and was basically out of control long before I added to it. Understand that a good portion of the money I owe my parents was related to university expenses. And then, I had so much debt when I got out of school, with an idiotic, useless degree, that I somehow thought, "what's another couple thousand in credit cards...I'll get a great job soon!" Never happened. Graduated in 2008, the economy crashed in early 2009, and it's been pretty much shitty since then. Trust me, I've spent thousands of hours looking for work, updating my resume, networking, etc. The economy has gotten tougher all around. I have lots of friends in the same boat - some worse. Jesus, my friends who went the grad school route may never pay off their debt!

I just find it a bit irritating and smug for MMM to make statements like, "Making money is easy." Even if you have a wave of responsibility and minimalism that sweeps through the country, (here comes some sociology...!) technology is basically replacing the middle class. See Jaron Lanier and others on this. I basically believe we are headed for some apocalyptic scenario with work in the next 10-20 years. Sam Harris and others are contending we need a universal income VERY soon, it's getting so bad. Maybe they are wrong, but I think they likely aren't.

This is not an excuse for my debt/situation. It's more a rebuttal to the idea that, "making money is easy."


Even in spendy pants mode, if my husband and I didn't pay housing costs, the TWO of us could live a spendy life on your income.....

You do make money, doing relatively easy and enjoyable work, without even using a degree....its just that over half of it has someone else's name on it (cc companies, federal loans, parent loans)

And I know what its like to not have taxes taken out...at your income level, you don't pay beans in taxes comparatively.  Your complaints are because you are forced to pay for the past...and that will take time.  You have no reason to complain about "not easy to make money".  You are making easy money RIGHT NOW!


SKL-HOU

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #65 on: March 03, 2017, 10:53:26 AM »
....
I just find it a bit irritating and smug for MMM to make statements like, "Making money is easy." Even if you have a wave of responsibility and minimalism that sweeps through the country, (here comes some sociology...!) technology is basically replacing the middle class. See Jaron Lanier and others on this. I basically believe we are headed for some apocalyptic scenario with work in the next 10-20 years. Sam Harris and others are contending we need a universal income VERY soon, it's getting so bad. Maybe they are wrong, but I think they likely aren't.

This is not an excuse for my debt/situation. It's more a rebuttal to the idea that, "making money is easy."

You find it irritating but I don't see how you have been actually trying to make money... you don't want responsibility, you don't want a boring job... you want a fun job and the fun you like doesn't come with enough money.

prognastat

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #66 on: March 03, 2017, 10:56:11 AM »
....
I just find it a bit irritating and smug for MMM to make statements like, "Making money is easy." Even if you have a wave of responsibility and minimalism that sweeps through the country, (here comes some sociology...!) technology is basically replacing the middle class. See Jaron Lanier and others on this. I basically believe we are headed for some apocalyptic scenario with work in the next 10-20 years. Sam Harris and others are contending we need a universal income VERY soon, it's getting so bad. Maybe they are wrong, but I think they likely aren't.

This is not an excuse for my debt/situation. It's more a rebuttal to the idea that, "making money is easy."

You find it irritating but I don't see how you have been actually trying to make money... you don't want responsibility, you don't want a boring job... you want a fun job and the fun you like doesn't come with enough money.

Agreed, making money is easy. In most cases it just isn't fun, low stress or enjoyable.

I'm a red panda

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #67 on: March 03, 2017, 12:39:30 PM »
There's also the Frugalwoods way of paying for grad school:
http://www.frugalwoods.com/2015/08/26/that-time-i-went-to-grad-school-for-free/

A lot of universities require an employment period of 1 year to 5 years to be eligible for this.  Though, since OP needs a job that pays more, getting one would be a good step. When I worked at a university (though I didn't meet the 5 year wait) I was baffled when a coworker quit to do her PhD, in the department I worked for.  She was making $85k and moved to a $20k stipend instead. Her logic was she'd be done quicker, but it would likely only take her 2 extra years while also working.

cl_noll

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #68 on: March 03, 2017, 01:19:20 PM »

.............the best I could hope for would be to get a job that pays $40,000 in these fields, unless I'd go back and get a PhD in Botany, and teach, then I'd be looking at more debt, and still, the money isn't great.

I'm not necessarily hell bent on retirement, but I can clearly see the path ahead: With $40,000 annual salary jobs, even living like GHANDI, I won't be even remotely close to FIRE until I'm 70. Case in point: If I live off of $20,000 a year. I need $500,000 to get to that 25x annual spending #. That will take me 25 years. That assumes nothing f-ed up happens, like I get sick and have absurd medical bills, have kids, etc.

What am I missing?
20K living expenses for a broke young single guy is pretty high. Aim for 12-15k per yr, tops.
I'm about your age, averaged 31-38K/yr pre tax these last three yrs and still saved 10-12K per year post-tax through frugal choices.

Jon Bon

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #69 on: March 03, 2017, 02:11:27 PM »

.............the best I could hope for would be to get a job that pays $40,000 in these fields, unless I'd go back and get a PhD in Botany, and teach, then I'd be looking at more debt, and still, the money isn't great.

I'm not necessarily hell bent on retirement, but I can clearly see the path ahead: With $40,000 annual salary jobs, even living like GHANDI, I won't be even remotely close to FIRE until I'm 70. Case in point: If I live off of $20,000 a year. I need $500,000 to get to that 25x annual spending #. That will take me 25 years. That assumes nothing f-ed up happens, like I get sick and have absurd medical bills, have kids, etc.

What am I missing?
20K living expenses for a broke young single guy is pretty high. Aim for 12-15k per yr, tops.
I'm about your age, averaged 31-38K/yr pre tax these last three yrs and still saved 10-12K per year post-tax through frugal choices.

Baby steps guys...... Also this is not early retirement extreme. This is MMM, living off 20k a year as a single guy is pretty damn good. Could he do better? Sure, but he is just getting started. I am not picking on you specifically noll, but I feel so often these new guys trying to get their finances together get discouraged by you MMM badasses!

So back to the OP. Cutting expenses is going to be a part of it but I think most of us would agree focusing on leveraging your strengths into a career that pays with benefits like 401k matching, and health insurance is a good start.  Finding a job you love, and pays well is pretty much a unicorn. The best bet as most here will attest to is finding a job you can tolerate and kick its ass for 10 years until FIRE or at least FU money. Often you start off doing something pretty terrible but you realize in said organization you can in fact work your way towards another position that not only pays better, is something you almost enjoy doing. Every job I had I liked much more than the one before!

So porter what are you going to do? What new job are you looking for this week? What side hustle are you researching right now?

*FU money: having enough money to tell your job to fuck off at any point. You have enough money to live for a year or two and it not really be much of an issue financially.

begood

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #70 on: March 03, 2017, 02:17:43 PM »
I'm telling you, apply at Wegmans. Health insurance even for part-time employees and a variety of cooking/produce related career paths.

prognastat

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #71 on: March 03, 2017, 02:17:53 PM »

.............the best I could hope for would be to get a job that pays $40,000 in these fields, unless I'd go back and get a PhD in Botany, and teach, then I'd be looking at more debt, and still, the money isn't great.

I'm not necessarily hell bent on retirement, but I can clearly see the path ahead: With $40,000 annual salary jobs, even living like GHANDI, I won't be even remotely close to FIRE until I'm 70. Case in point: If I live off of $20,000 a year. I need $500,000 to get to that 25x annual spending #. That will take me 25 years. That assumes nothing f-ed up happens, like I get sick and have absurd medical bills, have kids, etc.

What am I missing?
20K living expenses for a broke young single guy is pretty high. Aim for 12-15k per yr, tops.
I'm about your age, averaged 31-38K/yr pre tax these last three yrs and still saved 10-12K per year post-tax through frugal choices.

Baby steps guys...... Also this is not early retirement extreme. This is MMM, living off 20k a year as a single guy is pretty damn good. Could he do better? Sure, but he is just getting started. I am not picking on you specifically noll, but I feel so often these new guys trying to get their finances together get discouraged by you MMM badasses!

So back to the OP. Cutting expenses is going to be a part of it but I think most of us would agree focusing on leveraging your strengths into a career that pays with benefits like 401k matching, and health insurance is a good start.  Finding a job you love, and pays well is pretty much a unicorn. The best bet as most here will attest to is finding a job you can tolerate and kick its ass for 10 years until FIRE or at least FU money. Often you start off doing something pretty terrible but you realize in said organization you can in fact work your way towards another position that not only pays better, is something you almost enjoy doing. Every job I had I liked much more than the one before!

So porter what are you going to do? What new job are you looking for this week? What side hustle are you researching right now?

*FU money: having enough money to tell your job to fuck off at any point. You have enough money to live for a year or two and it not really be much of an issue financially.

If you aren't living in a HCOL area 20k a year for a single is more than enough to live off and not ERE style at all.

Tyson

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #72 on: March 03, 2017, 02:24:19 PM »
The whole idea of 'doing what you love' is pretty misguided, IME.  Do what you can tolerate reasonably well and which brings you the most money. 

AlanStache

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #73 on: March 03, 2017, 03:10:23 PM »
Are you in a position to work off some of the debt to your parents?  Are you close enough where you could clean there home twice a month for 10$/hr credit on your debt?  Probably not the most profitable use of time but if it is using time that otherwise would not have a financial gain and any family benefits it could be worth it. 

SKL-HOU

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #74 on: March 03, 2017, 03:27:33 PM »
I'm telling you, apply at Wegmans. Health insurance even for part-time employees and a variety of cooking/produce related career paths.

It is not exciting enough for him i bet.

MayDay

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #75 on: March 04, 2017, 07:12:32 AM »
You do make a good salary, especially with free housing!

Digging out of debt is just painful.  Hopefully painful enough that you never get into debt again.

I would just say:  if you find it painful enough, you will find ways to either cut expenses, or get a side job to throw more cash at it.  If you like your job, stay there.  If you want to make more, i may entail working a job that is just a job, that brings money but not happiness.  That is ok- but own the trade-off.

MayDay

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #76 on: March 04, 2017, 07:13:04 AM »
My son wants to try out the moving M

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #77 on: March 04, 2017, 07:18:40 AM »
One of the harshest lessons I have learned is that life isn't really about being happy and finding fulfillment. It's about responsibilities and duties and doing what needs to be done to be successful. If you can find a little happiness here and there, that's all well and good -- self-care is important -- but it can't be your ultimate goal, because you will always end up feeling miserable for failing to achieve it.

What is happiness anyway? I think Denis Leary said that it's eating a cookie or having sex. It's a momentary pop of brain chemicals that fades as quickly as it arrives.

While I was growing up, I received some bad advice from teachers and that advice was "Figure out what you enjoy doing and then find a way to do that for a living for the rest of your life." Much better advice is "Figure out what you enjoy doing and then find a way to do that on nights and weekends for the rest of your life while you work a less interesting yet financially advantageous day job."

Cranky

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #78 on: March 04, 2017, 09:48:10 AM »
I am going to come down in favor of doing what you love, with the understanding that you have to live on what you can earn. Some people can be very happy doing that, and some people can't. (And some people are just not very happy, and money won't change that.)

I've got a long history of what we jokingly refer to as "socially responsible minimum wage jobs", which I have loved. We've always been frugal. We've never run up credit card debt. We give generously.

My dh also pursued work that he loved, and so he was in school fulltime until he was 30yo. He didn't get paid very well for most of his career, though he's doing okay at what is really the last few years of it.

But we understood the tradeoff that we were making. We've told our kids - be poets if that's what you love, but be prepared to live on a poet's income. ;-)

Don't borrow money. Use birth control. Don't develop expensive habits. Have an emergency fund. Brush and floss regularly, and get a flu shot.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #79 on: March 04, 2017, 10:00:36 AM »
Don't borrow money. Use birth control. Don't develop expensive habits. Have an emergency fund. Brush and floss regularly, and get a flu shot.

Love this advice. +1. Adding to my signature, haha.

Fire2025

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #80 on: March 04, 2017, 01:55:14 PM »
OP I think you are doing better than you think, you're just in the middle of the tunnel.  You're too old, and have learned to much, to say "oh well, I'm so far in debt what's another $$$"  and that's great!!!!!  But you're also to far from the end of the tunnel, were the debt is paid off, to really see the "light".  But you have enough income, woohoo free housing, to really kill the CC debt and then you can pivot to the next thing.  Saving for FIRE.

And you're young, that's really huge.  You have a lot of time to recover from the past "missteps" and pivot to meet the new you. As many have said, this isn't an income problem, this is a get out of debt situation, and then you'll be ready to really kick ass.

From one lower income, for this site, artist to another, you've got this.

Fire2025

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #81 on: March 04, 2017, 01:57:39 PM »
oops, mporter, I also want to share a podcast I think you will really like.

http://www.madfientist.com/popup-business-school-interview/

This guy is all about making money, doing what you love, WITHOUT going into debt.

PDM

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #82 on: March 04, 2017, 03:46:49 PM »
The whole idea of 'doing what you love' is pretty misguided, IME.  Do what you can tolerate reasonably well and which brings you the most money.

I agree with this sentiment. The OP has pursued his interests (gardening and art) and it hasnt lead to high paying jobs. The idea that my generation has (Gen Y - I was born 1983) had instilled in us from a young age that we can be anything and have pursue our passions and do what you love has caused a lot of unhappiness.

I enjoy growing vegetables (not so much art) but I do it as a hobby. My actual job affords me the money and security to have hobbies and other interests. It pays well. I don't love it but I enjoy the people I work with and it has its interesting aspects. Is it my passion? Nope.

There is a thing I call the Scuba Diving Instructor Effect. I do love scuba diving and have done a fair bit of training but never with the intention of making a living out of it. If someone is willing to do your "job" for free or pay to do it, then the pay you can expect is likely to be very low. I've met plenty of instructors who at the end of a diving season in paradise barely have enough money for a ticket home.

This makes it challenging to FIRE while pursuing a job you love.


Tyson

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #83 on: March 04, 2017, 04:17:32 PM »
I have also found that one good way to ruin an activity that you love is to try to monetize it or make a living at it. 

Better is to maximize the $$ you make at work, and in parallel maximize your enjoyment of your family and your hobbies in non-work hours.

former player

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #84 on: March 05, 2017, 07:50:14 AM »
I've just been reading this thread -
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/what-to-be-when-i-grow-up-sorry-for-the-wall-of-text!-(hope-this-is-ok-here!)/msg1458381/?topicseen#new

and it occurred to me that anyone who knows agriculture would be a shoe-in for BlueHouse's suggestion at reply 11 regarding Project Scheduling -


"Project scheduling is all about figuring out how long a project will take by listing all the tasks that make up the project, estimating the durations (and sometimes resources), sequencing all of the tasks, and coming up with a finish date.   You don't really have to know anything about the subject matter because other people usually tell you the tasks and estimate the durations.  You work a tool (primavera P6, Microsoft Project, etc) and manage the changes as time goes by.  If you do have a basic understanding of the subject matter, then that's even better because you can help troubleshoot problems, but if not, no matter. 
Industries that need schedulers:  Construction, Oil & Gas, Aircraft, spacecraft, vehicles, services, etc. 

How to get there easily:  download a free copy of MS Project and go online and start taking free tutorials.  Join PMI (sorry, there's a plug, but this one's worth it for the training).  There is free online training and free webinars all over the place for MS Project scheduling -- it's everywhere.  Very easy entry to the profession, but not everyone gets good at it.  If you want to get good, you can but you have to work harder than other people.   
Your first job in scheduling can get you 50-75K in Northern VA, Md, or WDC because contracting companies are desperate for billable bodies and they don't care how bad you are at it.  Within a year of working with others and continuing to read other materials outside of work, you can become very good and you can easily get another job for over 100K, but you have to be willing to job-hop after that first job.

There is so much information online about it, if you want it, you can do it with no problem."

Beriberi

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #85 on: March 05, 2017, 08:20:02 AM »
If I needed a side hustle, I would do classes/camps/enrichment for kids.  In my neighborhood, the going rate is $10-20/hr/kid for things like "carpentry camp" or "chess class".  You have to have some ability with kids (and convince the parents that you have that), but it would be a great way to leverage your skills (art, farming) into money.   However, there would be some hustle to getting established, and you have to have a decent site.  But, figure out how to get 8 6-year olds spending 4 hours/day for a week or two in  the summer looking at worms and weeding strawberries, that's $1500/week. Even if it is just "enrichment" on Saturdays, that can be an extra $1k/month.

Also, in my area, there is a well-off homeschool population that is looking for weekday activities for children.

Cranky

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #86 on: March 05, 2017, 11:07:14 AM »
And I'd look around for something at whatever your school system uses as outdoor ed camp. The one we go to is big on local food and has a greenhouse. Similarly, your local park system or nature center might be interested in offering classes.

Asmo

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #87 on: March 05, 2017, 12:06:45 PM »
Move to Mass. Grow newly legal weed > profit!
Get someone from your restaurant connections to help you produce tasty edibles > more profit!
Send me a tray of brownies regularly :)
(Only half way kidding about this)

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #88 on: March 05, 2017, 12:27:49 PM »
Speaking from (very similar) experience, I would take a year off to do extremes to make money. Personally, I would do something like teaching English in a foreign country, or whatever the lucrative equivalent of that today is.

For one year, set passions aside, do something you can at least barely tolerate, stash the cash, reorganize, and return to your passions.

That's what worked for me. Like, most people work at big jobs year after year, and might "take a year off" for passion. I did it the other way around, doing passion passion passion then taking some time off that to get money and financial organization :)

begood

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #89 on: March 05, 2017, 12:52:01 PM »
I looked up a math teacher position in Riyadh: two year contract, $48K/year + bonus, transportation to and from workplace and health insurance.

Do something like that for a couple of years, see a different part of the world, pay off some debts, and see where you are after that.

Josiecat

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #90 on: March 05, 2017, 04:53:49 PM »
Put an ad on Craigslist for helping people establish a garden, or garden maintenance.

nara

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #91 on: March 05, 2017, 05:24:26 PM »
My husband and I taught English in Korea for a year after college. It's one of the best things we ever did. And a common alternative for recent grads who may have graduated with degrees in which they can't find jobs.

Laura33

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #92 on: March 06, 2017, 08:29:09 AM »
....
I just find it a bit irritating and smug for MMM to make statements like, "Making money is easy." Even if you have a wave of responsibility and minimalism that sweeps through the country, (here comes some sociology...!) technology is basically replacing the middle class. See Jaron Lanier and others on this. I basically believe we are headed for some apocalyptic scenario with work in the next 10-20 years. Sam Harris and others are contending we need a universal income VERY soon, it's getting so bad. Maybe they are wrong, but I think they likely aren't.

This is not an excuse for my debt/situation. It's more a rebuttal to the idea that, "making money is easy."

You find it irritating but I don't see how you have been actually trying to make money... you don't want responsibility, you don't want a boring job... you want a fun job and the fun you like doesn't come with enough money.

Agreed, making money is easy. In most cases it just isn't fun, low stress or enjoyable.

This.  Making money is *plenty* easy.  The last decade has been the biggest energy and technology boom in probably the history of this country.  Right now, today, you could move to one of many oil fields and pick up unskilled labor jobs that would make you 2-5x your current salary.  I am not saying that you need to follow this path, btw.  But realize that it is in your power, now, today, to make more money if you choose to do so.  And that if you do not make more money, it is because you found the tradeoffs not to be worth it.

Your disconnect here is that if you want to make money, you have to develop skills that people with money will be willing to pay you for.  You developed skills that you value, and that the people around you value, but not the skills that people who have the money value.  The best way to make money is to figure out how you can help someone who already has a lot of money make more of it than he could without you.  And that usually means business skills of some sort.  Unfortunately, that's not a quick path to riches, either; since you didn't develop those skills in college (classes/internships), you may need to take some low-level business-ey jobs for a few years to develop them now.   

FWIW, I am actually sympathetic here.  I was raised in a very similar value system to yours.  But there is no inalienable right to "do what you love" and get rich at the same time -- for most people, one or the other has to give to some degree. 

And even for those who do manage to do both, it takes a long, long time, and a lot of hard work learning stuff you don't know and that doesn't come intuitively.  One example:  My DH is a total geek (Ph.D in EE).  For the first decade or so, he followed his love of techie geekdom through a series of jobs; all of them were unstable and shut down.  So 12-13 years ago, after yet another layoff, we moved for my job (more stable), which limited his opportunities to MegaCorp X, the big stodgy company he had zero interest in.  But he took one for the team and sent a resume and landed an interview with Potential Boss A, who liked him and offered him a spot in R&D -- ok, cool, not bad.  But then during the interviews, he met Potential Boss B by accident, and B immediately tried to lure him away to the business side selling that advanced tech to get new contracts.  He chose Boss B -- after several years of chasing the dream, the apparent security of "follow the money" sounded safer. 

So this is a recipe for disaster, right?  Ph.D giving up his techie dream to become a sales douche?  Except two years later, he was *running* the R&D fab and was A's boss; today, his income is probably triple what it would have been had he taken that first job.  And the big shocker is that he's happy.  Don't get me wrong, there were times that were very hard, because he had to learn a bunch of new skills ("How to Speak MBA"; "Powerpoint for Sales Douches"; "Life as a TED Talk") and work for people who were way stupider than him ("People Skills 307:  How to Hide Your Antipathy for Pointy-Haired Bosses").  But now he speaks both business and tech.  This makes him very valuable: in short, he can he can keep the techies from blowing smoke to management, and keep management from making dumb-ass decisions because they don't understand their own product; and that visibility into both sides of the equation also helps him spot and pursue good business opportunities.  And he is happier than he has ever been in his career, because that combination of skills means that people actually listen to him (not all the time, but lots more than ever before).

Point is that something like that could be in the cards for you, too.  Maybe over time, with some business experience, you can find a way to bring your interests together -- e.g., everyone needs salesmen, so if you develop your sales skills, maybe you could parlay that into a middleman/broker role between the farms and the restaurants, or find a B2B sales position selling useful things to the sustainable farmers, etc.  But you need to pay your dues learning those other skills first.  Luckily, you still have plenty of time -- FWIW, my DH was 37 when he made that critical choice to even start down the business side.

MommyCake

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #93 on: March 06, 2017, 08:49:16 AM »
Would you be interested in being a produce inspector for the USDA?

There is a hiring freeze, but when it's over there should be ads on usajobs.gov for "agricultural commodity grader" in NJ and PA. 

Samuel

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #94 on: March 06, 2017, 08:57:14 AM »
And then, I had so much debt when I got out of school, with an idiotic, useless degree

Sociology is about studying the behavior of people in groups and quantifying things that are difficult to quantify through statistics. It's also an indicator of a curious mind willing to dig deep to understand the real story behind the data.

I turned my sociology degree into a very comfortable business analyst career. Yes, getting the initial foot in the door wasn't easy but it just takes one break.

Maintaining optimism starts with the language you use. It's not a useless degree.

ElleFiji

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #95 on: March 06, 2017, 06:01:01 PM »
Tricks to spinning fun degrees.

"No, my philosophy degree didn't lead me directly into the career I'm in. But it taught me how to think through problems and ideas from a variety of viewpoints, and means that I am able to be a better, more creative healthcare provider. "

"You know, it's funny you say that about humanities degrees. One of the coolest ways I see some of my former classmates using their degrees is in how they shape their parenting. They are raising very intelligent, well rounded children, with open minds. Other classmates went on to law school, healthcare, union management, sales careers, and of course we managed a few professors in the group"

bugbaby

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #96 on: March 07, 2017, 03:09:52 AM »
I'm gonna jump onto the bandwagon, OP. Unless you're in the top 1-10% best at doing what you love, just go with doing what pays most, at least to start off.

Eventually you either discover a niche you like in your field and move up, branch or switch to a better paying one, or hack it till you retire (hopefully early and enjoyably).

Sent from my KIW-L24 using Tapatalk


shelivesthedream

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #97 on: March 07, 2017, 08:15:37 AM »
Hey, OP! I'm a chronically underearning artist type, so I feel your pain. But great news! You've come to the right place. MMM preaches financial freedom through badassity, and that's just what you need, but bear in mind that the freedom isn't the freedom to do everything you want - it's the freedom to choose anything you want provided you're willing to make the required sacrifices. But it means you have control over your life. The options aren't infinite, but the choice is yours.

I concur somewhat with what other people have said: making money IS easy...if you're an average or above-average adult who doesn't mind working for The Man. The only alternative is to have a whole lot of hustle and take a whole lot of risks. But MMM shows us you don't need to earn big your whole life to have a good life. The best things in life ARE free, or at least cheap.

Know that you will get facepunches. Know that they are given only because we care. And that you can choose which facepunches to accept and which to ignore.

Now, let's look at some of those options. You can choose any of these. They're all fine. I'm sure there are others. You can also change your mind later. But you have to make peace with whichever option you choose and not complain.

1. Sell your soul and work for The Man to front load your working life, then FIRE.
As others have mentioned, your biggest problem is not your income. It's your debt. Not gonna lie, you're in a pretty big hole. But you can pay it off! The fastest way to this will be to chase the money for a while, pay off your debt, build a stash and then FIRE completely. Go for overtime, chase promotions, be the best little wage slave you can be - but know in your heart that sweet sweet freedom is at the end of it. A less-intensive option is to work full-time for The Man just until you pay off your debt. Should take maybe two years? Then at least that burden is off your shoulders and you can reconsider with a clean slate. Or work to pay off your debt and build a semi-stache so you've got a financial cushion of $100k or so, then let that compound while you work to earn enough for living expenses. That's maybe six years of working for The Man.

2. Part time work and part time hobby.
Do what you love and there's a one in a million chance the money will follow. But there's no reason you can't work for money and for love at the same time. I had a friend who was an artist during the day and a high-end cocktail waiter at night. He regularly got $100 tips. Or you could alternate. I have some fiercely efficient admin skills, so I work as a temp when I feel I need extra cash. Full time with the firehose of cash pouring in until either I feel rich or I get a better offer - then I'm out the door. Gets your debt paid off but you still keep a portion of your soul.

3. Hustle in your chosen field.
You're into art, cooking and sustainable agriculture, right? Here are some ideas:
Children's face painting
Start a (life) drawing class
Private art tuition
Commissions for murals
House painting
Bake custom birthday cakes
Start a micro-restaurant in your home one night a month
Bake cakes or bread for local cafes on a regular schedule
Garden maintenance for old folks
Design and install vegetable gardens for people
Grow heirloom chillies or tomatoes
Make artisan jam
Keep bees and sell the honey
Local food tours

Bear in mind, though, that these are BUSINESS ideas. You HAVE to crunch the numbers honestly and see if they'll make you money. This will be good practice and good evidence for if you do want to start a real farm one day.

4. Change nothing.
This is an option. You don't have to do anything you don't want to. You can totally keep working at small jobs and chipping away at your debt if you want to. I won't judge you - honestly! But if you do this, it needs to be an active CHOICE. You need to embrace it and be happy about it.

Hope this is helpful.

jade

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #98 on: March 07, 2017, 09:34:57 AM »
You do make a good salary, especially with free housing!

Digging out of debt is just painful.  Hopefully painful enough that you never get into debt again.

I would just say:  if you find it painful enough, you will find ways to either cut expenses, or get a side job to throw more cash at it.  If you like your job, stay there.  If you want to make more, i may entail working a job that is just a job, that brings money but not happiness.  That is ok- but own the trade-off.

+1

Two of us now live on 1000 a month and enjoy life and save the rest with approx 40-50% savings rate. I used to earn 18,000 a year when single and living with my folks and spent it all. I think it comes down to mindset, from my experience and also valuing what you earn now. I know it's a bit different when you are single but your income is good now and free housing is even better! ;-)

I think it's all relative... I love coming here to MMM but I also think sometimes reading about some others earning a lot of money and being able to retire in 5 years because they're earning 6 figures, although obviously well deserved can be disheartening if you are pulling in smaller salaries and less earning power. So I know I sometimes have to switch off from comparisons and and recognize the progress I am making where I am at.... I think it might be similar for you? Keep at it! I think once you get your debt sorted, you will get a real buzz and some momentum even without moving jobs but if you decide to, hopefully all the better and there is lots of great advice here about ways to move forward so all the best.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 09:49:31 AM by jade »

Salim

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Re: living simply, still broke!
« Reply #99 on: March 07, 2017, 03:11:44 PM »
Artists and graphic designers can make an excellent living. I am a graphic designer,  illustrator, and fine artist and I do very well. Let me know if you want more information.

If you want to make a good living as a fine artist, check out the Reddot Blog. It's written by a gallery owner who knows what it takes for artists to be able to support themselves. He has written books on it and gives courses, too.

The posters who said you can't make a living at art are incorrect. It does take commitment and hard work, like every other good job. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.