Author Topic: Teenage Mustachian Advice  (Read 5117 times)

TheRealm

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Teenage Mustachian Advice
« on: June 09, 2014, 08:46:11 PM »
Hey fellow Mustachians. I'm currently 17 and working part-time at my local McD's. I've only spent ~$50 of the money made. The rest has either been put into a savings or a checking. I only make around $300-$500 a month, but it does add up quickly!

This coming fall I will be going to a community college full time through a program at my high school where they pay my tuition(but not books). I'm pursuing a Bachelors in Electrical Engineer Technology. Through various Dual Credit courses I've been able to rack up 12 credit hours for $50!

Right now, I'm currently not sure what to do with my money. I know for sure I need some of it for books for schools. Beyond that, I really want a car, but don't want to put my mother under financial burden of car insurance(which is insanely high for teens).

I need advice on a couple of things: Should I quit my job during college? My schedule is very hectic with classes on Monday-Thursday. One of my biggest passions is powerlifting, and work would definitely effect that and homework time. Also, what are some things you would tell your 17 year old self(besides the fact the Jane Doe really wasn't your soulmate)?

marty998

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 04:05:48 AM »
Things I would tell my 17 year old self.

1. Should have asked out L----, or M-------, or T---. Hmm, I liked a lot of girls I didn't have the nerve to talk to haha. They are all married now, which is a shame....

2. Don't ever quit a job without having something else locked in. Chances are it will always take you longer to find a job than you think, and its so much easier to not have to explain gaps in CVs.

3. Don't leverage with a margin loan until you have experience in the markets and are capable of handling losses emotionally. You are too young, dumb and stupid to know what you are doing, probably at least until you are 25.

Things you should think about:

Save for textbooks, course fees and yes, a car (shock horror). Sooner you start saving for a cheap used car and the killer insurance (as you seem to know) the better.

Look to trade up from Maccas to perhaps a classy coffee shop. If you are over retail, think about high school tutoring. (Assuming you could do Maths, Physics and Chemistry based on your Bachelors study)

warfreak2

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2014, 04:11:46 AM »
Welcome!

I really want a car
But whyyyyy?

Emg03063

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 07:01:52 AM »
Don't buy a car unless you need one.  It's the easiest way to kill your budding 'stache by far.  Hold on to the job, even if it's only for a couple of hours a week.  That way you can always ask your manager to schedule you for more or less hours as your workload permits.

teen persuasion

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2014, 07:21:14 AM »
Things that took me a few years to figure out:

Find a job on campus, there are tons once you find your first in - I did math tutoring, freshman orientation testing, published a newsletter for a writer's group, sat the desk in the dorms, software for a department on campus... I never had Work Study, I just found departments willing to pay me from their budget lines.  Working on campus is flexible - you can work an hour here and there between classes - and you don't need a car.

A car is more hassle than it's worth on campus.  I gave mine back to my dad after a year.  The worst part was parking.  I had a weekly lab that straddled the time for shifting your car to the other side of the street, and got tickets often.  Didn't matter whether I moved it just before lab or just after, Public Safety was ready and waiting to get me.  Most colleges have shuttles to get you to shopping on the weekends, now.

I found that sharing an apartment with roommates and cooking our own food was much less expensive than R&B thru the college, but it differs by college I have found.  I have one recently graduated and two more kids still in college now, and the R&B situation is different for each, some more rigid (one price for all), and some more flexible.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2014, 07:52:28 AM »
How cool that you are such a productive young person. 

I admire that you are a powerlifter (I have lifted for many years, though not a power lifter) and work while in school.

No, I would keep your job and adjust your work schedule as needed with school being the priority.  You'll be surprised at how much you can accomplish running things concurrently as you learn time management skills.  I would keep your eye out for a job upgrade and maybe something relevant to your studies/career plans (but don't quit Mcd's first...).   I worked while in college, did a fair amount of socializing and it was never a problem.  I also earned a master's degree working full time and attending school at night with a 50% load and I'm about average intelligence.

Do not buy a car unless you need one.  You can always "outsource" your transportation needs using transit, cabs, car rentals, car sharing.  Good luck, I am sure you will do well!

mld

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2014, 08:05:19 AM »
My advice for you (some of it for my 17 year old self)

  • Don't by a car. I didn't have one all through college and I am so happy I didn't waste money on that during those years. A car is never an investment, just a whole lot of expenses. I agree with the posters above that there is always an easy way to get around campus (public transport / bike / walk / carpooling - there is a great service here that you can find a ride pretty much between all big cities around here for less than half of what a greyhound bus ticket would cost-)
  • Keep your job while you try and find something that allows you to work and do your homework at the same time. I had an awesome receptionist job during college where my bosses let me do homework as long as I was answering the phones and taking messages.
  • Buy your textbooks used! Took me a couple of semesters of paying full priced books before I realized people were doing this. Look on craigslist/ebay/billboards at school. You can get them at a third of the price and then sell them back the next semester to recuperate the cost.
  • Have a budget. I had a long term budget that could predict how I would come out of college years and I would update it on a monthly basis. I highly regret not tracking my expenses more closely (using mint or something automated would be the way to go IMO)
  • Finally, don't be afraid to experience the things you love like powerlifting for example. Just be creative with how you do it. You could combine work and what you love, say work at a gym to get a free membership. I loved traveling and the ways I found to get to do that was to do a semester abroad. I went to a country where the cost of living was a lot less than in Canada so it wasn't such a big expense to get to do it and have awesome life experiences that I probably could not do now.

boarder42

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2014, 09:26:49 AM »
definitely buy used.  I actually made money on my text books in school buying off ebay/amazon and reselling to the school at the end of the semester.

TheRealm

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2014, 10:19:24 AM »
Welcome!

I really want a car
But whyyyyy?

I haven't done a lot of looking into other transportation methods. As far as I know, the town I live in has no public transit. We do have several taxi services. I'll definitely do more research, as a car and insurance are money wastes that I do not want. However, I do need a reliable transportation to and from the community college. No rush though!

TheRealm

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2014, 10:32:20 AM »
Don't buy a car unless you need one.  It's the easiest way to kill your budding 'stache by far.  Hold on to the job, even if it's only for a couple of hours a week.  That way you can always ask your manager to schedule you for more or less hours as your workload permits.

Thanks Emg! McDonald's is very flexible with scheduling and I never really thought to just ask for less hours. My co-workers appreciate the hours anyways!

ketchup

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2014, 10:34:35 AM »
Don't get a car unless you unequivocally have to.  Walk, run, bike, skateboard, cross-county skii your way around unless you don't have a choice.

If you do get a car, take it as an opportunity to learn how a car works.   Buy a car for under a grand that drives and isn't quite falling apart yet.  Learn how to change the oil.  Learn all the routine maintenance.  Do all the routine maintenance.  Learn how to fix it when it breaks.  If you have a "car guy" friend, they can help you with all this (unless all they do is talk about how you "need" high performance pistons).  It'll be cheaper than a "real car" (insurance too), you'll learn valuable skills, and you'll still be able to get around.  Don't be that guy spending 70% of his income on car expenses.  It happens.  Especially in college.

Buy textbooks used, buy international editions when you can.  This can cut costs by 50-75% easily.  Even better, talk to the professors before the class starts, and figure out if you even need the current edition of the textbook at all.  Plenty of older editions can be found on Amazon for a few bucks.

Even part-time work keeps the money stacking up.  Keep that in some capacity if you can.

I would tell my 17 year old self that being frugal doesn't really get you as far at the end of the day if you spend it all on Blu-ray movies and computer parts.  I didn't have a car until I was 21, I got my cell phone right after high school, and it was a $15 phone on a $10/mo plan, I never "went shopping" or bought clothes or fancy stupid crap.  But most of my money disappeared into the Šther of video games, computer hardware, and other silliness (Star Wars on Laserdisc!).  I didn't live paycheck-to-paycheck, but I lived summer-to-summer, and it was dumb.  Save it, and then don't spend it.

BuzzardsBay

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2014, 10:39:41 AM »
I just have to say I think you're amazing to be looking at this blog and paying attention to your finances like that.

I wish this blog was around when I was your age.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2014, 11:05:21 AM »
If you really need textbooks, sell them as soon as you're done. If you really need a book try to get an older edition.  A $10 6th edition will usually be the same as the $200 7th edition, except they change the questions at the end of a chapter.  Scan, photocopy or take pictures with your phone of the text that's in the library (I vote pics, downloaded to a laptop as the easiest). New books for first year engineering are up to $1500, at my university.  A lot of used books are almost new, lots of kids don't study. My school typically failed 30% in 1st year on purpose, those kids had great textbooks.

University is a job.  When you finish you're planning on working, probably 40 hours/week or more.  You should get use to it now and start spending 40 hours/week or more on your schoolwork.  Do not use the excuse I'll catch up next week. The people getting the scholarships and high paying jobs typically work hard, you may not see the payoffs immediately but your future self will. 

Remember you can do this, don't worry if you fail a class, a test or a homework assignment. Everyone else is also nervous and no one actually knows what to expect. Reach out and make a study group, those people will also help you get through. My groups also ended up being great friends, some I still talk to 10 years later.

curlycue

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2014, 11:06:29 AM »
I, too, wish that I had this blog at a younger age, but if I can help anyone else out I'd love to.

So, the first thing I would recommend is that you get a higher paying job. You already havw food service experience, but McDonald's is the bottom of the barrel. It is a great entry level job in the work world, and where I started, but now you have good references and can move up.

State laws vary, but typically you have to be at least 18 to serve alcohol. The progression in food service is usually starting at a non-alcoholic place to get serving experience, this would be like a diner or a Friendly's or someplace like that. Then, when you have the experience and are old enough to serve alcohol, move up to a place that does. This will greatly increase the tabs people have and thus the tips. Once you get familiar with the alcohol, if you are comfortable, ask them to train you in bartending and take on a few of the slower shifts like days or brunches to get experience and move up. Most restaurants are based on relationships and if you get into a good place that trusts you, they will promote you and the hours can be flexible with your school schedule. If you don't, you will have the work experience to just apply at a better place until you find a good one. You can really make bank at those jobs. You will also learn a lot about life and gain valuable skills.

I would say do not give up powerlifting. If you have found a way to workout that you enjoy, keep it up. As you get older with more responsibilities it becomes harder to find time for that stuff, so sticking to a good habit really matters. My recent high school reunion - everyone there had gained a lot of weight. Don't neglect your health.

My best piece of advice I would have given myself: do not, under ANY circumstance, open or use a credit card. It is also the only advice I gave my siblings when they graduated from high school.

Oldguy

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2014, 11:12:48 AM »
You are amazing.
Your job is your education at this point making the best grades you can. You will receive constant evaluations in the form of grade reports. Everything else is secondary to this job.
For the first 5 to 10 years out of college you will compete against others for promotions and jobs. They will consider your GPA. They won't care about side jobs or powerlifting unless you are an Olympic contender, in which case UPS has a spot for you.
Go to a mirror. If you do not see a clown or fool in it, cars are not for you. I recommend a good bicycle.
G I Jane actually is your soul mate. She is hot. She also powerlifts. She is in the military, but not the Seals. She is working on her Master's degree.
They will pay for your college also. They have a job waiting for you when you get out. It will provide you with experience. College grads with no "relevant" experience are a dime per dozen right now. You don't want to go there.
Women, cars, jobs all come and go. The respect you earn stays with you all your life.
If you have the commitment, the intestinal fortitude and positive attitude (I think you do) step up. Don't do it just for the college money.
http://www.afrotc.com/scholarships/
If you want a different challenge:
http://www.nsa.gov/careers/opportunities_4_u/students/stokes.shtml
Go to school all year. Work during the summer.
Hang on to your money - Murphy's Law and corollaries. http://www.murphys-laws.com
I'm not a recruiter, just a dad who's son leaves for college this fall. That's what I told him at 16, that's what I'm telling you now. Yes He's also a smart jock. Rare breed. Good Luck!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 12:01:17 PM by Oldguy »

Cressida

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2014, 11:31:59 AM »
My best piece of advice I would have given myself: do not, under ANY circumstance, open or use a credit card. It is also the only advice I gave my siblings when they graduated from high school.

+1000

I knew more than one person who went to Europe in college and put it on their credit card. Utterly insane.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Teenage Mustachian Advice
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2014, 12:47:39 PM »
There's a lot of great advice here.  I'll add a couple more:

1)  Make it a personal quest to graduate from college with zero debt. 
   a)  First and foremost, that means working your tail off in high school, getting straight A's, and getting good SAT/ACT scores so you can get scholarships. 
   b)  Secondly, if you can, keep working through school, as long as your grades don't suffer.
   c)  Choose a major with actual job prospects.
   d)  Be tight with your money.  Your income will be limited.  The "Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy" is full of stories of students celebrating their latest student loan by blowing it on stupid stuff.  Wait until you actually have a full-time job out of college before you even start thinking about getting an iPhone.
   e)  Save as much money as you can right now.  Assuming you live with your parents currently, your out-of-pocket expenses should be minimal.
   f)  Minimize spending on textbooks.  Buy used, get the previous edition, share with another student, get an international edition (same content, but smaller, black & white, and paperback) whatever.  Behind tuition and housing, books were the next biggest expense for me in college. 
   g)  Choose a school with a reasonable cost.  I have a nephew planning to attend a specialized Engineering school in a couple years, with an annual tuition of $60k.  He's also been accepted to another university with a very well-respected engineering program, with a yearly tuition of about 1/10th that cost.
2)  As soon as you can afford to, start maxing out your tax-advantaged accounts (Roth IRA and traditional IRA).  This may not be possible until you're out of college, but the money you save early in life will be far more valuable than the money you save close to retirement.


WRT credit cards, my wife and I got credit cards while at college, purely for the purpose of building up some sort of credit history so we could qualify for our first mortgage.  We used the credit cards for groceries and only groceries.  If you're disciplined with it, it can be a good tool.