Author Topic: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.  (Read 3725 times)

Mr. Moneymustcash

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Greetings to the '$tache community!

I am relatively new to this financial independence thing. I hope to explain my situation to all of you and maybe someone will have some insights on how I can further optimize my life.

>Housing< ($500)
Currently, I live in a duplex with 2 other roomates. My rent and utilities combined is roughly $500 per month.

>Food< ($200)
I eat $10 of salad per week, grow my own veggies in my backyard, and I am starting my own tilapia pond for more protein and fish waste nutrient(for plants)
I like to buy in bulk and try my best to keep monthly grocery expenses below $200 per month.

>Transportation< ($40)
I own a Ford Ranger pickup that I use for Craigslist moving jobs in my area and for hauling things for various projects I am working on, or travel to see family in another town. I have a Trek bicycle that I use for errands and workout. Everything I need is within 10 miles round trip. At most I spend $40 per month in gasoline.

I work from home with an annual salary of $34k

>Entertainment< ($8)
My roomates refuse to get rid of cable TV, but that is ok, because my portion of the expense is covered by my job @ $50 per month for internet, phone line. Our bundle price is $150 total. I spend only the $50 that the job pays.
We share a netflix account that costs $8 per month. Other than this, I get my entertainment from gardening outside or riding my bike or long distance running.

>Student Loans< ($100)
Currently, I owe $10k in student loans with an average interest rate of 6% combined subsidized and unsubsidized. Currently, I have been putting aside $100 per month on these loans.

>Other< ($137)
I have a $70 phone bill after my work's 20% discount
Recently auto insurance become less expensive. I pay $60 per month (I'm 25). I own my truck and opted for the state(TX) minimum coverage. I pay $7 per month in health insurance (Health Savings Account). I have pets and a waste fund, where if emergencies arise, or I need to buy something, I'll have a nest egg for that(savings cap $1000)

>401k< (7%)
My company matches 50% of my contributions up to 6%, stopping contributions at $6k per year.

>Credit Cards and other Loans<

>Credit Score<
Terrible <600 (I was an idiot with plastic) But everything is paid off, except student loans

I have only had this new lifestyle for a few months. I got a lot of ideas from this blog, but I am still a young guy, single, with no social life. It sucks. All my friends buy alcohol, go out to eat, go to the clubs, concerts, movies, etc. I am left at home, because they think I prefer to be at home. Nobody ever wants to do free things with me, so I get bummed out sometimes.

"Live today like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else." Someone Famous and Wise

The problem I run into is that I have take this to the extreme and I don't have any alternative to it because I attack myself anytime I let loose a little. So my ultimate concern is mostly my social well-being, as well as my financial well-being.

-- OK

So my question to you all.

What have you done to tackle the issues I am facing, AND are there any other tips or modifications you can think of, to get me to financial freedom as quickly as possible? I have done my best to provide all the numbers to you.

Thank you


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Re: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 02:19:07 PM »
I would look at your phone bill and see if you really need everything that you are paying for.

Is that really the lowest auto can go?  I'm a bit younger (but female) with at least triple the minimum for my state and I pay the same as you.


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Re: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2012, 06:08:41 PM »
I just moved to Texas, the state minimums are quite a bit higher than the last state I lived in.


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Re: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2012, 06:22:44 PM »
I don't think you can really cut anymore besides paying down your only loan... How about working on your credit score? Do you have a credit card that you can use and pay off weekly? Use it just like you would use a debit card, and pay it off every friday. That should begin to help your credit score.

Mr. Moneymustcash

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Re: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2012, 08:34:44 PM »
I have been monitoring my score on (I do recommend checking this site out btw) The only offers I seem to qualify for have annual fees, high interest rates, or require a deposit.

Additionally, I have read on credit forums that starting a credit card account and ending it soon after (example, when my score is 'better') actually looks worse on a report than keeping an account for a very long time. I don't know where the thresholds are for either case, but I am at a point where my loans are the last thing I have to pay down. I have only recently gotten to this point.

My cell phone is still under contract, and I enjoy many of the features of the android and unlimited data/texting that this plan has. I am eager to end the account, but the cost of termination just to buy another new phone that has SIM, with a different provider is a little daunting. Does anyone know of a provider that rewards you for switching and still allows you to keep the same number?

My car insurance is high but is MUCH lower than what it has been in the past. I will begin shopping around more to see if I can get this reduced as I do feel as though I am paying WAY too much for insurance given a clean driving record and state min coverage.

meadow lark

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Re: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2012, 11:07:46 PM »
   It sounds like you are doing really well on the finances - it's the social that needs some tending to.  Since you are a gardener/fish farmer have you checked out any local permaculture groups?  (Depending where you live, of course.) Or create a meet-up.   Even in Texas :-) there should be some cool people into what you are into.  Actively look for places to meet people - obviously you need some new friends who are interested in similar things.  Religious?  Try a new church.  Take courses at a community college and try to meet new people.  Any addictions?  You'll make the best friends of your life at a 12 step program (and maybe save your life if it needs saving.) 
   Make your new project to make some new friends - ones that have things in common with you.


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Re: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2012, 11:33:08 PM »
How about a part-time job to earn a bit of extra money, and hopefully give you a physical workplace you can go to in order to socialize with other people?  Since you work from home for your full-time job (do you find that isolating?)

Since you might make new friends/meet someone who isn't Mustachian right away, how about giving yourself a small entertainment budget ($30/month?) towards that?  The point of Mustachianism is to make your life better, not miserable. You may need to work your friends up to the point of doing free activities; it would be reasonable to compromise and do some non-crazy expensive activities with them occasionally. If you budget it you can spend it without worry that you're getting out of control, since it was planned.

Offering to cook dinner at your place could be a frugal entertainment.  Often guests bring wine, so you even save on the expense of that. And dates involving your existing interests (pets, biking, gardening) are another idea.

Your own tilapia pond = very neat!


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Re: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2012, 01:42:17 PM »
I'm totally gonna second putting an entertainment category into your budget.  I have also used Meet-up with good success in finding likeminded people.  If you are into sports this is also a great way to meet people.  I joined a local roller derby team a few years back (no previous experience either) and it changed my life.  Sounds like you like cycling.  Just type in search engine or fb "name of city you live in" cycle clubs and something should pop up near you.  Is also good to hang out at places where other frugal people like to hang out.  Like the library, public parks, ANY free events, thrift shops, groupon promos, free wine/liquor tastings at the liquor store.  One of the best ways I have found to meet likeminded people is VOLUNTEERING.  I volunteer to do taxes for the poor through a local ministry.  The people I work with there have a likeminded interested (income taxes, helping others, learning the tax code to maximize our own Fed/state returns, etc.) plus is new skill that I could potentially use in the future to make money at.  I also love Poodles (don't laugh) so I do some work with a local poodle rescue and can geek out with them about how cute and wonderful the creatures are.  All free except getting to/from the places which I write off part as a tax deduction for miles driven for charity work ;-)


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Re: New to the Forum, looking for some help from your seasoned 'staches.
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2012, 09:44:27 AM »
I'd love to hear more details on your fish farm, maybe in a separate "share your badassity" thread?