Author Topic: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?  (Read 5064 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« on: April 30, 2013, 11:12:24 PM »
Hello All,

So, I'm 27 single with no kids and I've been out of college for 4 years now, but I haven't really been able to find a job that pays what I envisioned while in college (fairly common problem for people my age from what I've been told). Basically, I'd like to know where to start on becoming one of the Mustachians. I know that I need to cut down some expenses, like my cell phone and bar tabs. However, I have a good chunk of student loan debt that I've only started chipping away at. Here's the breakdown of the situation:

Monthly Pay after taxes- $1500 ($33K gross in 2012)

Monthly Expenses
Rent- $635(includes cable and all utilities)
Groceries- $180
Cell Phone- $85
Netflix- $8
Spotify- $10
Student Loans- $255 (Most of the loans are at 2.4%, I have two at 6.8% and the largest at 4.75%). Total student loan debt $20K
Credit Card- $75-100 (Current Balance $275/$300)

Although, on paper, it seems I should have money left over, I usually go paycheck to paycheck and don't get much money to roll over month to month.

Cash- $325
Checking- $747
Savings- $1050 ($100 per paycheck) CapitalOne360 @ .75%
Fidelity 401K- $2780

According to, my net worth is at -$15K. After I trim the fat off going out and cut my cell phone expense, what should be my next step? Any advice is greatly appreciated.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2013, 03:17:08 AM »
I feel like you're missing a few categories.. Do you have social money for going out or for incidentals? What about clothes? Doctor? Sport? Transport?

These are just some of the categories that I've got in my budget, which all together account for quite a bit. You use, so maybe you don't have these categories, and are just a better Mustachian than I am :P


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2013, 04:07:12 AM »
Consider having a separate account for "fun" money.  I do this with my wife, we each have a fun account of money to spend how ever we want.  Anything not in the budget comes out of that.  Makes you think twice before spending money on lunch instead of brown bagging it.  This has really helped us get a handle on where the money is all going.

Then I would pay off the low balance credit card (why are you giving them interest if you can pay it off) and then start in on the highest rate student loan.  Your goal should be to pay those off and put that monthly payment toward a down payment on a house or other investing goals.


  • Bristles
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 09:47:16 AM »
You've got to identify the fat first. Go through Mint, line by line, and correctly categorize every single expense in there for at least the past 2-3 months. Then compare it the monthly expenses you've laid out. Most likely, you'll find a bunch of spending that's slipped off your radar, but which recurs often enough to keep you living paycheck-to-paycheck.

If you don't find a gap, then there's a hole somewhere in your cash spending. Either commit tracking every penny that leaves your wallet, or to not spending cash and tracking everything in Mint.


  • Bristles
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2013, 10:08:22 AM »
Pay off your credit cards asap. No reason to pay interest on that stuff. And such low balances you should be able to clear that in no time. Then never carry a balance.

I am not sure what you get for paying for spotify but consider dumping that all together. You can get free streaming from a lot of places. I stream from using my web browser. No commercials and no limit other than the occasional "are you still there" pop up.

Those are the only big things I can see. Cell phone should be easy to get down using the Cell etc. Superguide thread. Your numbers say you should have $227 left each month. If you are doing $100 a paycheck to savings that leaves you $27 a month. So these few things should feel huge.

That will get you some breathing room. After that looking for more income is the next big thing.


  • Guest
Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2013, 10:14:34 AM »
Worry about the top-line first IMO, how do you get a higher paying job or one in your field of study? Do you need to intern somewhere? Perhaps a fortune-100? Worrying about expenses sounds like missing the forest for the trees. You have an employment problem. If your expenses stop you from solving that problem, sure, cut back.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2013, 12:28:57 PM »
I agree with Joet. $33k is not a lot of money. You can cut fat from your budget, but at this point in your life you probably need to focus on making income. Maybe you need a bit more schooling or special training, or maybe you need to move. What's your profession?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2013, 02:53:09 PM »
Unfortunately you don't have a lot to work with if you don't raise your income.

However, what city are you in?  My rent was $640+utilities but I've cut it to ~$320+.5*utilities.
My cell phone is $37 and I don't think even that is great, but it's unlimited internet and texts ...

Otherwise, like others have said, you have pretty lean expenses, and probably need to look at raising that income a bit.  And actually your monthly after tax pay seems possibly a little low for 33K.  But I guess if you just save the return, adding withholding allowances and what not don't really change the net pay.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2013, 11:29:18 AM »
Thanks to all for the great advice.
@Joet and all concerned with my income: I work an admin position for a law firm which is not exactly what my field of study was (Political Science) and I know I need to either supplement that income or find something that pays better, but to be honest I feel like my options are limited since I don't own a car and I live in Richmond, VA where jobs can be spread out. But, fortunately I can walk/ bike to my current job in 5-10 min. Currently, I've been trying to learn how to code on to try and expand my marketable skills, but any suggestions on how to supplement my income or what to consider when looking for a new job/career would be appreciated. For those asking why I majored in Political Science; I wanted to go to law school. After graduating I considered the downturn in that the legal field took and the amount of debt I would need to pile on in order to finish, and decided it would probably not be for me (in addition to my lackluster GPA).  Basically, I have no real profession to speak of, but I do have tons of work experience (worked steadily since I graduated high school).


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2013, 01:57:12 PM »
Richmond is very much who you know.  Use your admin position to make contacts and see what else is out there or if you can negotiate for higher pay. Or take it more low key and just see what kinds of jobs are out there.  From the rent it seems like you share with roommates somewhere in the Fan or museum district (or if you live alone please tell me where! That's good solo rent+) so you don't need a car.  Personally I like that part of town so I say congrats on the rent and enjoy :-)  If you are okay with moving there are cheaper rents to be had on the outer ring of the city that are still within biking distance.

If you are into biking there is a lot to be done prior to the World Championships in 2015 - if you have the spare time try and volunteer.  That could turn into a lobbying position or something closer to your major, or at least get you in contact with people who would know how. 

There are a lot of places for spare income: bartender, referee, tutor, cutting grass, etc. 

"Admin" position is pretty vague, but if you like the law you can get more than 33k as a paralegal. 

Personally I'm a fan of YNAB for tracking expenses and mid-term expenditures (putting aside each month for car insurance, etc.) - it can help you get off the paycheck to paycheck wagon.  Mint left too many holes for me, but YMMV.

You can cut the cell phone bill for major immediate savings ($10 or $12/mo with Airvoice or PagePlus depending on current carrier), but everything else looks pretty trim already. 


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2013, 03:23:05 PM »
Wait, I'm confused.  If your monthly pay is $1500, your annual isn't 33k.  What am I missing?

I'm also with smalllife on becoming a paralegal.  Poly Sci degree and experience in a law firm sounds like a good setup for that.

You might also consider moving somewhere else.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Looking to grow my mustache! Where do I start?
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2013, 04:26:25 PM »
Can you help us understand how $33k a year gets to a take-home of $1500 a month?  Perhaps there is something you can change there?  Without any pre-tax deductions (medical) that should yield ~$2100 a month.  If there are pre-tax deductions, it would take ~$10k of pre-tax deductions to get a $33k gross down to $1500 a month.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!