Author Topic: New to MMM, any Advice?  (Read 4684 times)

cassandrak

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New to MMM, any Advice?
« on: June 04, 2013, 03:37:32 PM »
So I have just begun reading MMM and I have questions about my own lifestyle. Here are my finances.

My husband and I bring home about $3,400 per month from our day jobs. We live in Portland, OR. I am currently working 32 hours a week in architecture and attending school for massage therapy (this should last 1 year). My schedule is crazy right now; work 8:30-5:30 and school 6:30-9:30, I donít work Fridays but am in school 3-9:30. My husband started a pottery business 2 years ago and brings in about $95 per month on etsy and once a year a big chunk form a pottery sale $800-$1200. He would like to do more but doesnít feel like he has time after his day job. (He only spends the money on materials; it is kept separate from any of our normal living expenses. He does plan to use it to pay off his student loans as soon as he has enough, hopefully in a couple months). We have one car, carpool in the winter and I bike in the summer, he drives.
We both have good credit and NO credit card debt. We have about $5,000 in savings but it is slowly being depleted. I am beginning to freak out because we are only one small disaster away from being totally broke. Iím also concerned that my job is not safe; our company may be doing layoffs next month. I have been thinking we should rent out our spare room but my husband is resistant because the house is very small, the bedrooms are right next to each other and we only have 1 tiny bathroom.  If I get laid off we will obviously get a roommate. Oh yeah, we are in our early 30ís.

I have been putting 1% of my income into the company 401k for 1 year. There is about $2,000 in it now.
I have a Roth IRA set up with my old credit union but have not contributed for a long time. Last I looked it had about $3,000. My husband has no retirement savings set up.
Monthly Income: $3,400

Monthly Expenses:
Mortgage $1350 (includes taxes and insurance)
Phone $130 (still on contract with T-Mobile)
Electric/Heat $80(summer)-$200(winter)
Internet $50
Water $65
Garbage $25
Student loans $320(hers) $120(his) (her loans are on hold this year due to being in school but interest is accruing)
Tuition $325(hers)
School Books/Supplies $150 (this should go down, I started school just recently)
Car Insurance $85
Food (groceries and restaurants) $500

Total Debt:
$188,000 mortgage
$60,000 Student Loans

We need to become more stable and find ways to save for retirement. Any advice would be appreciated.

mpbaker22

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 04:49:12 PM »
Oh Portland - such an expensive place to live ... any chance you can lower your housing costs?  You'd get a heck of a lot in St. Louis for that cost.

Use less electric if possible?  What do you heat to in the winter?  You can handle 60F easily if you have wool socks and long underwear.

How long is the contract for T-Mobile?  Sometimes it's worth it to take the early termination costs if you can make it up quickly.

What kind of car do you have?  my insurance is $67 and I have a few notes on my record.  It'll be dropping to ~$42 when those go away.  Do you carry, and if so do you need, comprehensive?

You should be able to cut food, but I actually come in over your cost per person when divided by two, so I can't call you out too much there.

naners

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 05:35:05 PM »
I hate to say it, but I'm not sure you can afford that house without a roommate. But, I don't know Portland. Can you rent somewhere less expensive? The utilities alone will save you the better part of $200 per month, and even one or two hundred dollars a month difference in rent adds up fast. We're talking several thousand dollars a year difference. Plus, there will eventually be maintenance costs for the house that you don't have money for. It also sounds like you're not using that second bedroom.

Good luck! 

kh

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 05:52:05 PM »
For school books, you might check your university library - I virtually never bought textbooks, because I could usually find a copy at a library.  Big universities often have textbooks on hold, so you just work at the library - smaller ones might let you check them out for the semester, which is great.  Might help get that school cost down.

Aussie

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 07:17:02 PM »
In regards to T-Mobile, sounds like the Republic Wireless MMM recommends might be a better deal for you if you can give up your nice smartphones (You can probably sell them for several hundred dollars anyway).  I know T-Mobile has really crappy reception in a lot of places.  Any chance you can call and try to end your contract early if you have had issues with the service? 

As for textbooks, they can be a bit of a scam.  Every couple of years, they change a few page numbers and call it a new edition.  You can't buy the old versions at the bookstore anymore, but they are often floating around Amazon/ebay for < $10. 

FlorenceMcGillicutty

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 07:37:39 PM »
First of all, congrats for working your ass off. I've had schedules like that before and I know how hard it is. Just keep your eye on the prize and power through. You'll get there soon.

You said you have $5k in savings, but its being depleted. Adding up all your expenses, I calculate that you still have roughly $500 left. What gives?

If you're living as you say you are, you have almost 2 months of savings in cash, not counting side income. If you open up a HELOC, you would have enough for an emergency, assuming you have some equity. I'm sure others will comment more on your living expenses. I think you're splitting a quarter three ways, but I'm no MMM expert--I spend way too much.

You sound stressed about your money. I think y'all are doing well considering your income and expenses. What I don't understand is why you both have high student loans and you're in school again. Does that make sense for you? Do you have the education you need for a job that makes as much money as a masseuse?
 

madage

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 06:39:29 AM »
In regards to T-Mobile, sounds like the Republic Wireless MMM recommends might be a better deal for you if you can give up your nice smartphones (You can probably sell them for several hundred dollars anyway).  I know T-Mobile has really crappy reception in a lot of places.  Any chance you can call and try to end your contract early if you have had issues with the service? 


Definitely check out the Superguide before attempting to tackle your telecommunication bills. There's a ton of great information in there, including quite a bit on what you get (and don't get) with Republic.

cassandrak

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 12:31:34 PM »
So...I obviously forgot some information on where our money is going. We signed up for Mint a few months ago. I'll need to look closer to find where that extra $500 is going every month. I have a feeling it is beer for him and "wellness" care for her.

The student loans are mostly mine, graduate school is expensive. He only has about $3,000 left.

I did forget a big one though. I've had a chronic issue since I was a child and have been getting regular massage for just over a year and it is the first thing to actually help. Massage is expensive! So, massage school will end up paying for itself eventually because I will get to trade instead of pay for them, it is my back up skill where I can be my own boss (architects seem to get laid off often) and I plan to use it for other trades as well.

Monthly massage bill:
$60

Also, thanks for the comments. We are going to be renting out that spare room which will be a huge help.

MgoSam

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 01:08:55 PM »
One thing I can think of when you say that you are getting a monthly massage. Since you are regularly getting a massage, would it be cheaper to have a membership? I know there is a chain where I live called Massage Envy, where you can get a membership at a monthly rate, through it you get a massage a month and then discounts on any additional massage or service? Would that be cheaper? I don't know their rates or much about massages.

Aussie

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 06:02:47 PM »
If you are renting out a room and don't have a tenant yet, you can try airbnb.  If you are in somewhat of a trendy area, you can rent out to visitors on a temporary basis.  It might be a little scary having a new stranger all the time, but you can approve tenants individually and the site provides a bunch of insurance for the property.  You can also pick and choose when you want tenants.

lizzigee

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Re: New to MMM, any Advice?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2013, 02:01:59 AM »
$500 a month on beer and wellness care is quite a bit! (My husband would disagree but I'm not a beer drinker.)

Even if you allow $60 for your monthly massage and $60 for his beer you've got almost $400 left. If you put $300 a month of this toward his student loan it would be gone completely in well under a year, then you could chuck the payment toward your student loan if it has a high interest rate.