Author Topic: One Hair's Case Study  (Read 4057 times)


  • Bristles
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One Hair's Case Study
« on: June 22, 2015, 02:35:35 PM »
One Hair Case Study

Life Situation:  IRS Married Filing Separately no dependents

Gross Salary $42872

Pre Tax Deductions: $225.79 Health Insurance $125 monthly Metro allowance

Other ordinary income- $135 from Amazon HITs, $20 monthly from Mintvine $652 child support monthly but this will run out this year or next more than likely, $5.00 Smart App

Qualified Dividends  $27 year to date from Sharebuilder

Rental Income-0

Adjusted Gross Income $41199

Taxes $4738 for 2014 $1528.65 for 2015 so far Federal
$3162 Maryland 2014 $1330 so far for 2015

Current Expenses

$90 Transit
$45 Chiropractor
$255 Cable
$62 Electric
$54 Gas
$320 Food
$80 Gas for sharing a car for shopping
$37 Cellphone bill

$4043 Sharebuilder stocks
$14980 TSP Federal
$2699 IRA
$28.98 Acorns


TSP Loan $3832
Tax Bill $1231
Credit Union Loans $1059 total

My question is where do I add to increase my income to a respectable Mustachian level?  I am watching my brother do well and even though I have no wish to join his MLM I would like to do it with what I have now.  I also am a member of several survey sites for points and I am a member of the NCP who has sent me a cool scanner to use and various nice free samples.  So when I shop I use the scanner to record my purchases.  I do not drive.
This is what I came up with after some digging.  Sorry for the gaps I haven't put my info down in a long time.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 03:42:19 PM by onehair »


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 194
  • Location: Central Florida
Re: One Hair's Case Study
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2015, 02:57:52 PM »
Is the question how to make more money? Get a second job, work more hours at work, and/or cut spending/expenses.  How much time are you spending on Amazon HITs to make $135, would you make more per hour with a minimum wage job?

But honestly, the picture you gave us isn't that complete - no rent, no cell phone, getting child support but not dependents.... I'm sure people would be happy to help, but there just isn't a clear question or picture to help with.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: One Hair's Case Study
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2015, 03:09:53 PM »
Do you really pay $255 a month for cable?  That is over 3000 a year.


  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 406
Re: One Hair's Case Study
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2015, 03:34:51 PM »
My SO pays the rent that is $1171 per month.  Part of our original agreement was for him to pay the rent and his credit cards while I handled the food, utilities and cable plus health insurance.  If I had to pay the rent I'd have $12 a month left.

The child support is from my son's father being in arrears.  The state considers that a debt and it isn't always reliable.  I have used it to keep him in medicines which used to be  $320 a month plus his transportation back and forth to doctors' offices.


  • Handlebar Stache
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  • Posts: 1390
  • Location: Midwest
Re: One Hair's Case Study
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2015, 02:19:04 PM »
It seems that you and your SO (is this your spouse? or are you married filing separately with someone you are not yet divorced from?) keep your finances separate. In some ways, this gives you more control over "your" money vs. "his" money (sorry if you are the "he" or both "he" in the relationship, for simplicity I'll assume you are female and SO is male), but in other ways, this makes planning for FIRE much more difficult because you are only able to plan for part of the equation. For example, what if you get close to FIRE and SO decides to no longer pay for rent? Then you can't quit working, or need to save a lot more to cover that cost. Are you planning that you would both FIRE simultaneously, or just you (and is SO supportive of this plan)?

Why aren't you taking your child as a dependent? Is this something to do with only one parent being able to count the child as a dependent? I think if you are providing most of the support, even if you are getting back child support payments, you should be getting the child tax credit. I'm not a CPA or attorney or tax preparer, but I think this is odd.

Is the $255 for cable including internet and television? I'd drop the television coverage, if so, and go to something like Netflix or Hulu. You may be able to find cheaper internet access, as well. For an example, I pay about $75/mo for internet and phone.

I'd also drop while you get out of debt, at the very least. Use a site like that's free. See if your local public library offers Ancestry for Libraries if this is a big hobby (Heritage Quest may also be an option via public library or local history center/historical society). See what your local or state history center has to offer for genealogy research, as well--many of these are for free. And if you are of a particular heritage, see if there's a local or state chapter for that (for example, Minnesota has a Swedish Genealogical Society).

You don't list interest rates for the debt, so I'm just going to assume it's pretty high. Pay it all off, as quickly as you can. Cut out everything you possibly can--no meals out, very limited entertainment (use your public library for books, DVDs, etc.), and pay this all off. Then once it's paid, use that money for savings. If you have a 401k/403b/457b at work, use those to lower your taxable income.

One other thing: is your health plan a HDHP (high deductible health plan)? If so, an HSA may make a lot of sense for those high medical costs.

As a busy parent, it may not be possible to increase your income without changing jobs or careers, or doing something from home. Can you ask for a raise at work? Can you look for higher paying jobs? Is there any skill that you have (or could develop) that you could do from home for extra funds?


  • Bristles
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Re: One Hair's Case Study
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 12:14:31 PM »
My son is 21 and files his own taxes.  I did claim him as a dependent in earlier years but cannot now.  As for extra income I am a survey taker for several websites, installed apps such as Slidejoy and Smart App on my phone which pay me, and also claim rebates via Ibotta , Checkout 51 and Walmart Savings Catcher.  I take pictures of my receipts with Receipt Hog and also use Shopkick.  And I am a power user on Amazon HITS which I visit 3-5 days per week for small tasks.  i joined Acorn and Digit to siphon additional savings as well.

I do use as well.  I rarely eat out only if being offered a rebate by Ibotta for the most part.