Author Topic: Mustache for a low income noob?  (Read 6743 times)

Tenormadness

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Mustache for a low income noob?
« on: March 28, 2015, 02:48:51 PM »
Hey, I'm new here. I've noticed that most of the articles are aimed at upper middle class, dual income families. 50k gross income per person, etc. I need to start putting some of these mustachian principles to work, but am in a very different place.

I'm not ready to do a full blown case study (mostly because I'm unsure of some of the required info) but here are the basics.

26, single, around 23k gross income, living with roommates. My net worth is negative at the moment, due to credit card and student loan debt. I'm working a job I don't quite love because of the insurance and benefits, and have a degree I almost regret getting.

Basically I'm wondering if anyone in a similar situation has any advice, and how I can apply the MMM badassity to my life. Thanks!

thedayisbrave

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2015, 02:52:18 PM »
You need to post a case study.  We don't have enough information to be able to help you.  In the end, the more detail you give, the better.

Here is the template: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/

swick

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2015, 03:02:28 PM »
Welcome to the forums :)

Please don't be intimidated by the case study outline. There is probably information on there that doesn't apply to you or you don't know yet. That is OK. It allows you to fill in what you do know, and maybe highlight some areas where you can start looking at to collect more info. You DO NOT have to have all the lines filled out or all the answers right away, just do what you can, with the details you do have :)

There are lots of single income and low income folks on the boards it is more about optimizing your situation then offering a lot of cookie cutter advice. Sure it is easier if you already have a large income to work with, but it doesn't mean you cant pull a pull life 180 if you want to!

marty998

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2015, 03:12:55 PM »
Well as a start you gotta pay off that credit card...

MDM

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2015, 03:36:51 PM »
Well as a start you gotta pay off that credit card...
...and if you are unsure of some info for a case study because you don't know where the money goes, another thing to do is start keeping track: Quicken, Mint, YNAB, spreadsheet, ...whatever works for you.

Tenormadness

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2015, 04:35:58 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. I'll start a case study tonight when I get home.

I began seriously tracking my spending and trying to make a budget this year. Prior to that I'd only been coasting by. I use mint to keep up with my finances.

Write Thyme

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2015, 05:16:48 PM »
My husband and I are low income. The first step is just getting started. Once you get your budget figured out you can start paving your way to freedom.

Catastrophysicist

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2015, 05:42:51 PM »
I was in a similar situation to your own at 26-- Single, 30,000 in SL debt, and 4,000 in various other debts. College didn't really pan out for me for a number of reasons, but I was making OK money still for a single person with no real liabilities outside of the debt. Similar to your income. Similar living situation, too. Now I'm 34, married, and have 2 kids. My wife and I have a combined income of 60,000. Not very high by the standards of many of the Case Study's you'll see on here. Still, since I started following MMM and have gotten serious about tackling our debt my wife and I have knocked out more principle debt in the past 5 months than we did in the past 5 years. We just decided that it was time to take this seriously, and we have been. We are hoping to reach Zero Debt in approximately 2 years. I could have killed my debt in 2 years or less at your age, and possibly even have hundreds of thousands saved and invested by now if I would have done so then. Instead, I am doing what you are thinking about doing underneath a mortgage and 2 extra mouths to feed. You have all the advantage in the world if you decide to face it head on with seriousness and determination.

Cressida

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2015, 07:49:45 PM »
I have a degree I shouldn't have got. It does make things difficult. My sympathies.

A case study is always useful, although given the information you did provide, I think the universal advice around here is going to boil down to "cut spending as much as possible and pay off your credit card debt." Still, the case study can help identify which spending should be targeted first.

Finally: I'm curious - what's the origin of your user name?

swick

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2015, 07:54:03 PM »
Finally: I'm curious - what's the origin of your user name?

I was thinking it might be a music degree :) The other side of the coin that people are going to suggest is to boost your income. The more you share on what your skills/interests/experiences are, the more ideas ans suggestions people will have for you :) This is an AWESOME community for brainstorming with.

Tenormadness

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2015, 08:59:35 PM »
swick hit the nail on the head, I studied music. The user name is the title of one of my favorite Sonny Rollins albums, Tenor Madness. It sounds cool, so I went with it.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2015, 10:36:07 PM »
You may be low income but you have a big asset on your side which is time. Getting your stuff together now will put you in a good place for when you get older. Take advantage of this and buckle down and it won't matter that your income isn't that high. Most people don't have a high income at you age.

Cressida

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2015, 10:50:37 PM »
Finally: I'm curious - what's the origin of your user name?

I was thinking it might be a music degree :)

Ha! So you were right, and that is coincidentally exactly my useless (to me) degree.

The other side of the coin that people are going to suggest is to boost your income. The more you share on what your skills/interests/experiences are, the more ideas ans suggestions people will have for you :) This is an AWESOME community for brainstorming with.

Of course, that's very true and I overlooked it. (I think when I was 26 I was still hiding from the fact that I, personally, needed to bite the bullet and start the process of getting into a second career. OP's solution might be different though.)

Best of luck to OP.

APowers

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2015, 10:25:11 AM »
I know what it can be like to feel stuck working a low-income job for the insurance/benefits. But you've got some things on your side-- you're single and renting, so it shouldn't be a huge ordeal to move somewhere in order to find a better job; also, your income is very likely low enough to qualify you for medicaid-type health insurance, which I would take advantage of in order to get into a better job situation.

My advice would be: Go get the job that either is or leads to the (well-paying) job you really would like, and you'll likely be better off in the long run.

rubybeth

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2015, 10:35:02 AM »
Well, I can tell you that, while my income is pretty good now, for most of my 20s, it was around what you're making, or less. My BA being in English, I didn't have a lot of high paying options. I decided to apply for grad school at age 24, started at age 25, and worked part-time while getting my degree. My income basically doubled after I graduated in 2009 and got a big promotion the same year. When my income increased, my lifestyle did not, so was able to pay off my student loans in pretty short order. I also got married in that time period, and my husband's income was also low, but now he's in grad school, as well, and with his degree, will have the potential to out-earn me.

I think the key for you will be figuring out a job or series of jobs that will make you a higher income, and just continue to live frugally, which you have a lot of experience with right now, and save all that money you don't need to live a happy life. :)

Tenormadness

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2015, 12:00:24 PM »
Well, I can tell you that, while my income is pretty good now, for most of my 20s, it was around what you're making, or less. My BA being in English, I didn't have a lot of high paying options. I decided to apply for grad school at age 24, started at age 25, and worked part-time while getting my degree. My income basically doubled after I graduated in 2009 and got a big promotion the same year. When my income increased, my lifestyle did not, so was able to pay off my student loans in pretty short order. I also got married in that time period, and my husband's income was also low, but now he's in grad school, as well, and with his degree, will have the potential to out-earn me.

I think the key for you will be figuring out a job or series of jobs that will make you a higher income, and just continue to live frugally, which you have a lot of experience with right now, and save all that money you don't need to live a happy life. :)

May I ask what you got your master's in?

The job thing is a big mystery for me. My degree doesn't really prepare me for anything traditional, and self employment is terrifying. I'm really unsure what to do.

The case study is done. Here is the link. http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/case-study-low-income-noob-needs-direction/

rubybeth

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2015, 04:05:34 PM »
I had a lot of job experience in libraries, so I got my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). My DH is getting an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy because his most recent work experience is related. Does your former school offer career counseling?

rmendpara

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2015, 04:27:22 PM »
Good tips above on where to cut expenses, so I won't repeat much there.

On the income side, stsrt hustling! Your music degree got you nowhere and you spent a lot of money and time on it. The next time around, consider something you need and not just something you think you like. That is, unless, you start working in a field (like beer brewing) and find you are good at it and want to make a career out of it and then just need to invest the time and money to become a professional.

Once you work down the stupid debt, then you can really start to move forward. Don't be afraid to take a chance on something new. The worst thing you can do is nothing.

Tenormadness

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2015, 11:04:57 PM »
I had a lot of job experience in libraries, so I got my Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). My DH is getting an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy because his most recent work experience is related. Does your former school offer career counseling?

Yeah my school does that. I'm not sure if any of it is distance based though. Might have to drive back to campus lol.

rubybeth

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2015, 06:59:03 AM »
Does your former school offer career counseling?

Yeah my school does that. I'm not sure if any of it is distance based though. Might have to drive back to campus lol.

I'd call them up and ask. I'd also suggest reading the MMM articles on jobs earning $50k/year without a degree, perhaps one of those would appeal to you and not require too much more education/certification:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/

Other thoughts: can you teach private music lessons? I took voice lessons for a few years from a private teacher, and she charged $25/lesson. I went weekly for many years. Even a couple students weekly would increase your cash flow. Can you book weddings/funerals/other events? I know a few musicians who do this, and it's good money for not a huge time commitment. Also, are your weekends free so you could be a church musician? Not all of these positions are paid, but some of them are, or lead to other paying opportunities like those weddings/funerals I mentioned above. Also, music competitions: are there any in your area? I did a couple of these back when I took lessons, and even if I didn't win, it was something that could go on a resume.

Tenormadness

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Re: Mustache for a low income noob?
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2015, 10:44:30 PM »
Does your former school offer career counseling?

Yeah my school does that. I'm not sure if any of it is distance based though. Might have to drive back to campus lol.

I'd call them up and ask. I'd also suggest reading the MMM articles on jobs earning $50k/year without a degree, perhaps one of those would appeal to you and not require too much more education/certification:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/07/25/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-1/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/05/50-jobs-over-50000-without-a-degree-part-2/

Other thoughts: can you teach private music lessons? I took voice lessons for a few years from a private teacher, and she charged $25/lesson. I went weekly for many years. Even a couple students weekly would increase your cash flow. Can you book weddings/funerals/other events? I know a few musicians who do this, and it's good money for not a huge time commitment. Also, are your weekends free so you could be a church musician? Not all of these positions are paid, but some of them are, or lead to other paying opportunities like those weddings/funerals I mentioned above. Also, music competitions: are there any in your area? I did a couple of these back when I took lessons, and even if I didn't win, it was something that could go on a resume.

Thanks for the ideas! I actually have read those posts and am considering making the jump to one of those professions. It's just such a huge change though, and it worries me.

As for music, I've never tried giving lessons. Nor have I played in churches before. But Sunday is my one guaranteed day off each week. It's definitely worth a shot. Seems like the fastest way to more income would be through my music, how ironic!