Author Topic: Case Study for 30-something lady  (Read 20969 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #50 on: July 15, 2014, 03:43:38 AM »
I have a job interview on Friday should pay 15-20% more minimum

Good luck :) Hopefully it's not requiring you to work fifteen hours a day (that's almost two working days in one).

Are you able to refinance the credit cards (eg: balance transfer to those with a cheaper rate)? Obviously with a plan on sticking every spare cent on getting rid of the things.


  • Walrus Stache
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  • Expat Brit living in the New World..:)
Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #51 on: July 15, 2014, 06:02:32 AM »
I was not going to comment here except to say that I do hope you take some of the face punches to heart.

Your spending is out of control and you have monster interest rate debts.

You will never be retired before 65 if you keep going on like this.

I wish you the best but you have to have a complete attitude change about your spending.. I.e it must all but stop unless it is an emergency.. And $75 for "lady maintenance" is not even close... STOP going to weddings, you can't afford it.

If you want to retire early (or become FI) its a major life change you need.. If thats what you want.. Not everybody does of course and thats fine but you can't have your cake and eat it.



  • Stubble
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Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #52 on: July 15, 2014, 08:31:56 AM »
No 401k loan until I get a new job.  Leaving by fall.  Can someone post a better realistic budget for me?

Here's the best answer I can give without having accurate information on your current spending (which I assume we don't, because of the several missing categories and the mismatch between your stated surplus and the existing credit card debt).
(1)  Start by not spending anything that wasn't in your OP budget. ($230 surplus/mo)
(2)  Either cut your own hair or let it grow out for the rest of the year. (+$75)
(3)  Put off new clothes purchases for the rest of the year (+$75)
(4)  Keep the food budget at the low end of your current range (+$75?)
(5)  Stop contributing to your retirement savings until you pay off your CC debt (+$300?)

That would give you a $750 surplus next month, which pays off your smallest CC balance and then some, likely freeing up a ~$50 minimum payment.  The next month (September) you get a ~10% raise (~$300/mo after tax), bringing your surplus to $1100/month.  That's a great place to start.  At that rate, your credit card debt would be gone in about 7 months, freeing up another $200 in monthly minimums, which we can assume you use to resume a higher level of clothing, haircut, and other misc expenses.  This brings you to next spring, by which time you're assuming you get an additional ~25% raise (~$600/mo after tax), bringing your surplus to a whopping $1700/mo.  At that point you could check back in with this forum triumphantly, having conquered your CC debt and built up a ~35% savings rate, and we can all debate whether your student loan debts or 401k max-out should come first.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #53 on: July 15, 2014, 10:21:09 AM »
Can someone post a better realistic budget for me?
Plan the budget around two paychecks ($2870/mo) and use the 'extra' paychecks to go STRAIGHT to you debt ($2870/year).

Your budget is tight because of your debt payments.  I tried to infer your priorities from your comments (personal care and clothing are important) and attack other areas that you didn't seem as attached to (just from comments, so I might be off base).  It's difficult to be a single person in an expensive area.  Please don't take any of my recommendations as judgement.  I understand how easy it is to fall into this cycle, and I admire your desire to get out.  However, it isn't going to be easy or comfortable.

You mentioned that your car saves you $21 when you visit your family.  However, you would need to visit your family 4 times per month to make the car a worthwhile investment.  This is also ignoring any mileage devaluing from the driving (just based on your $75/mo estimate).  I would recommend you sell your car, estimated value $1k, and pay off your cc with the $500 balance and put the other $500 toward your $3k card.  I used to have an older car too, so I understand how a huge repair bill can pop up.  Unfortunately your budget can't sustain even a minor repair.  I also increased your 'other transportation' budget line to reflect a trip to visit your family.

Here is my take: 

Rent: $850
Electric/Gas: $35
Subway pass:  $120
Other transportation:  $100 (an extra $20 added to reflect the loss of the car)
Professional fees/exams:  $100
Drinks/dinner:  $50
Coffee:  $20 
Haircuts/lady maintenance:  $50 (Decreased a little bit)
Food: $200  (check out  I'm obsessed with making the black bean quesadillas in bulk)
Clothes:  $50 (Try to avoid shopping totally for a few months.  Remember this isn't forever)
Gifts:  $0 (Explain that you can't afford it right now)
Travel to weddings:  $0  (Not in the cards for the next year)
Car:  $0 (Breathe a sigh of relief b/c you won't have any big unexpected bills)

Before your debt repayments, the budget allows for $1475/mo spending.  This is much lower than the average mustachian, and I understand it will be difficult.  Realize this is temporary.  Get out from under the debt gorilla as fast as possible to minimize the interest paid.  This leaves 1395/month to attack your debts until September when it increases to $1687. 

CC:  $250
SL:  $484

With the sale of your car, you've already wiped out cc3 and part of cc2.  With the remainder of the 1395 (after minimums), you should be able to pay off cc2 in about 3 months.  After that, you'll be able to pay off cc1 in about 4 months.  Then you can attack your student loan debt with the same method.

Good luck!  After you pay down your debts, you're going to be insane in your savings.  Your savings rate will put a lot of mustachians to shame!


  • Bristles
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Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #54 on: July 15, 2014, 08:17:40 PM »
My spending it NOT out of control.  The reason I have debt is because my rent used to be $1450 a month plus more utilities among a few other things.  Show me a realistic budget.  I have not left anything out.  List it out.


  • Bristles
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Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #55 on: July 15, 2014, 08:18:41 PM »
I'm going to 2 weddings (very very close relatives) and am setting aside money each month for the plane ticket and gift.


  • Bristles
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Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #56 on: July 15, 2014, 08:20:07 PM »
I like it JC Fire!  I hope not spending on hair and clothing doesn't make me look too shabsville for the job I want.


  • Bristles
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Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2014, 08:24:03 PM »
Thanks 4alpacas.  It is hard to sell my car because then I sort of rely on other people to pick me up and drop me off but I can see that it may save me money in the long run.  MUST THINK.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Case Study for 30-something lady
« Reply #58 on: July 16, 2014, 02:02:48 PM »
I live in NYC too, with rent of $600 and biweekly take home pay $600 less than yours. I think we're putting a similar amount into our debt every month--you seem to be be dedicating $500? That's what I try to put onto my cc debt every month too. Since you earn more, I'd get the amount up, paying $550 to the cards instead of $250.

I've started drinking the office k cup coffee again and brewing at home on the weekends. It is hard, I just backslid this week on buying a shirt for $30 and going out to dinner for $27 with a visiting friend, so I get the challenge of cutting spending when living here. I have learned to realize in terms of clothes that I really do have 'enough'--'more' is not needed. Sow hen I *want* more, I try and recognize where that want is coming from.

To me the drinks dinner amount is actually pretty reasonable because I struggle in that area. But the personal maintenance is definitely really high--could you sometimes get a cut at aveda? It's about $30 there.

Take a month or two to actually track every dollar spent to figure out where the miscellaneous holes are. Mine were pretty much food and alcohol. I did much much better when I was writing down my spending every day.

Also, with your hours and cooking at home being off the table but can you buy frozen lunches at TJs and store them in the work freezer? I do that when I haven't been cooking and it saves money on work lunches and dinners on weeknights in the office before going to meet friends.

Personally I am trying to accept that paying off my own cc debt of about $6,000 is going to be a slow process of about a year, after which I can start getting an EF and contributing to a Roth IRA account while avoiding the pitfalls that led me to the debt in the first place. If you want to be doing hardcore saving and retiring very early, that approach won't make sense for you, but I find that seeing this as a slow damage control process and course correction helps me keep from feeling defeated. It's a learning experience. That is a bit counter to the 'hair on fire' approach, but it's also more realistic and attainable for me.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!