Author Topic: Next steps  (Read 4903 times)

josephpg

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Next steps
« on: December 28, 2012, 10:56:25 AM »
My life has improved a good bit since my last post. I now have a job paying 1500 a month with assurances of a raise developing software (i  have no college degrees or certifications yet).

I am trying to plan out how to live on 500$ a month when i move out of my parents house.
I am 20 years old and trying to figure out where to go next. My two big goals are to develop games and be self employed, however i cannot do that if i continue this fulltime job and go back to college at the same time.
I have been struggling with motivating myself so I'm wondering if my best bet if to take the college route and continue from there.

Also, current expenses are
400 rent, includes food, 40$ for internet that I pay for, and a 10$ phone plan.
If i move out I want to feed myself on 100$ a month, does anyone know if this is practical?

TomTX

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 11:31:17 AM »
Yes, you can live on $3/day for food in most areas of the USA - but you're going to have to eat a lot of rice, beans, potatoes, cabbage and vegetable oil. A few other cheap vegetables and fruits when they are under $1/lb. Cheap meat when it is under $1/lb. Some salt and pepper. Find a friend who grows herbs, or wildcraft/scavenge your own. Become the master of "loss leaders" for the grocery store. Consider dumpster-diving.

...and I don't mean pre-prepared potatoes. I mean, buy the cheapest-per-lb-sack-of-potatoes. When it goes on sale.

josephpg

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 11:43:22 AM »
Thanks TomTx, That sounds like it might work. I have a lot of friends who grow their own food and prepare it, and dive as well. They lent me the science of Dumpster diving.

ketchup

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 12:30:38 PM »
$100 a month on food for one person is very doable.  Just learn to love the cheap stuff.  A big $8 (something like that, been a while since I've had to buy one) box of oatmeal can net me about 100 (yes, really) breakfasts.  Eggs are also cheap (usually around $1.60/dozen for me I believe) and yummy (also nutritious).  And as TomTX said, the obligatory rice, pasta, beans, potatoes, etc.  Find a grocery store nearby that likes to have super markdowns occasionally on things that expire that day or the day after.  Of course, only buy things this way that you will eat right away, or are good after their "sell by" date (like eggs), or that you can freeze.

A note though: Eat cheap and well, not just cheap. Your health is worth something.  If your simple and cheap diet isn't the most vitamin-filled, consider spending a little on supplements.  And please, don't buy margarine instead of butter.

Your ability to live on $500 a month is more a function of your area.  I am close to your age and have a similar income to yours (21 and ~$1600 a month).  My current total expenses are about $650/month.  Learn to love roommates. Don't drive if you don't have to.  If you do, buy a cheapo reliable car and learn how to fix and maintain it.  Don't eat out.  Thrift stores are your friend.  I'm sure you can make this work.

josephpg

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 12:39:16 PM »
Thank you for the encouragement, i currently bike to and from work, i would be biking to and from college as well if needed. As for roomates, I'm all for them, I don't need much space at all to live in, and the only furniture i need lately is a bed. I have a small portable laptop and a phone so moving wont be difficult. Neither are worth much if i try to sell them, but they are very functional and can potentially earn me a lot of money (mobile app development).

I hope to rent for about 300- 350$, i have seen a lot of criegslist ads to that affect under rooms shared, with utilities included.

gdborton

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 12:55:09 PM »
Is it possible? Sure, but I think you need to be realistic. Some things to consider...


Roommates will likely be your only option for finding rent at around $300, and likely will want different things than you - faster internet/cable come to mind as extra expenses you'd be expected to help pay for.

How are you paying for college, is that factored into your plans?  Besides tuition there is often book costs (tons of ways to lessen this- rent/buy international version/ buy previous edition), technology fees, locker fees if you need to use the gym, misc class purchases (will vary based on major).

How do you plan to deal with unexpected/nonrecurring expenses?  New bike tires/tubes, security deposit, utility deposits, renter's insurance, household items (toiletries, cleaning supplies), parties, nights out?

Most of this can be done frugally or avoided totally, but there is a line for everyone on what they are willing to go through or forgo just to be frugal.

Blackbomber

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 01:03:11 PM »
How do you plan to deal with unexpected/nonrecurring expenses?  New bike tires/tubes, security deposit, utility deposits, renter's insurance, household items (toiletries, cleaning supplies), parties, nights out?
Save for the deposits, steal and mooch the rest.

Seriously, though. I envy the OP's position. If I could start over with what I know now..... Anyway, sound's like you have an awesome road ahead. Definitely follow through with the degree, even if you intend to be self employed. I have a great, stable job with good pay. But without a degree, I'm kind of stuck. At the very least, my options are limited. I'm working on it, but it's harder (though not impossible) the older you get.

ketchup

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 01:23:40 PM »
Thank you for the encouragement, i currently bike to and from work, i would be biking to and from college as well if needed. As for roomates, I'm all for them, I don't need much space at all to live in, and the only furniture i need lately is a bed. I have a small portable laptop and a phone so moving wont be difficult. Neither are worth much if i try to sell them, but they are very functional and can potentially earn me a lot of money (mobile app development).

I hope to rent for about 300- 350$, i have seen a lot of criegslist ads to that affect under rooms shared, with utilities included.
You seem to be a perfect candidate for moving into someone's extra room.  I'm paying about $185/month for my small house plus utilities.  Bought the house just under a year ago on a five year loan with 20% down.  Live with my girlfriend, and two other roommates.  Your situation doesn't really match buying a house, but my point is that renting isn't always cheaper.  Think outside of the box. Before we found this house and did some math, buying a house hadn't even entered our minds.

Beyond all this, you seem to be living a very efficient life (in terms of "stuff" and no car). Good for you. Keep that up, and it'll be very difficult for any "phantom" expenses to pile up.

josephpg

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 01:34:08 PM »
Thank you for your replies.

For the unexpected expenses, i have a local bike volunteer repair place that i go to now and then, i always have just enough hours to earn the free parts i need, tubes and break pads are free, and i tru my wheels often to keep them in shape.
As for deposits, i have 1000$ in savings from my last internship and about a grand already from this new job, I will have enough for that. Tolietries, im not sure. Mooch i suppose if possible, do side work if impossible (200$ in potential money a month in yard work for a friend of mine).

As for parties and nights out, my friends throw them and foot the bill, i turn up when i feel like it. Otherwise the internet keeps me happy.

As for college, that's a bit harder. If i can live on 500$ a month and bike there, i can afford to pay out of pocket for a local community college associate degree then transfer after that. I would prefer not to, because that leaves me with 0$ in savings. So I'm going to go after financial aid as much as possible. It will still be expensive the last 2 years, but about 50k less expensive which is something.

Also, Blackbomber, are you saying there no chance of another job without a degree even with your experience?

ketchup, i appreciate the advice, but at the moment I'm really looking towards staying mobile. If  had experience renting out to people i might consider it but at the moment that seems to be to much at once for the present. I will encourage my parents to let us rent one of our rooms and perhaps gain experience that way.

It would be nice to move into an extra room, I have a family in mind actually, but they live a bit far away from my work, and when you bike and work full time and might go to school full time, minutes count.

Blackbomber

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2012, 01:54:22 PM »
josephpg - you caught me making an excuse! While not having a degree does severely impact my prospects (from talking with people, and reading job listings), I can't say it has me pigeonholed until I get out there and start looking for another job, which I have not done. Putting things in perspective, I think it would take less time for me to find a suitable replacement for my current job, than it would to get the 60 or so credit hours I need to finish my degree. If I was motivated to do either. Right now, my only qualm with my job is the commute. This indirectly led me to the MMM blog (looking for ways to lower transportation costs online). But with renovating a newly purchased house, fixing up my old one to rent out, and a new baby on the way, it's easy to stay where I am, and put up with it. Perhaps not best, but easy to go with the flow.

ketchup

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2012, 02:13:52 PM »
ketchup, i appreciate the advice, but at the moment I'm really looking towards staying mobile. If  had experience renting out to people i might consider it but at the moment that seems to be to much at once for the present. I will encourage my parents to let us rent one of our rooms and perhaps gain experience that way.
No, for you "staying mobile" as you put it does make perfect sense to me.  I meant that more as an example of "thinking outside the box" for things like this.

Jaherman99

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2012, 04:39:32 PM »
1500 a month developing software is terribly low.  You are underselling yourself by a huge margin, that's not even 10 bucks an hour.  My advice is to triple your income withi. Two years by believing in your value, and searching for a new job, as soon as you have enough experience to do a good interview.

josephpg

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Re: Next steps
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 05:01:16 PM »
hi jaherman, 1500 is after taxes and heath care deduction. I live in MA, im told taxes are higher here. I do agree that i need to ask for more money though, and i will defiantly get a raise.

Would you suggest perusing a BA?