This is the story of life's financial struggles & victories through the eyes of a young woman up to her eyes in debt. Enjoy :)

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I was Featured on Business Insider!

The interview I had with Business Insider ended up being a story that was posted in three separate articles on three different days as opposed to what I thought would have just been one. The reporter, Libby Kane, was awesome to work with, and I loved her tone of writing.
My parents, family, friends, and co-workers have expressed how proud they are about all of this, and that means the world to me; their opinions matter most.
What I didn't see coming were the mean comments on the article as well as on all of the social media sites (other than my own, of course.) It was truly entertaining for a minute, then I quit reading them. People were some kind of tore up over my budget. They had an opinion on just about every category, and didn't hold back in the slightest on expressing said opinions. I never responded to a single person on any of the articles or on the social media posts because you simply can't argue with someone on a faceless platform; it is a true waste of time and energy.

What I would ask that you keep in mind is this - the budget you see in these articles is just one month out of my year. My budget changes a little from month to month; not only in expenses, but in income, too. I am a sales rep as well as a server so the money coming in is different every single month due to fluctuating commissions and tips. As far as expenses go, there are indeed times when I will budget to go see a big ticket act in concert, and there are times where I will budget for an item I've had my eye on at a store. Not every category will stay the same month to month. To quote some Dave Ramsey here:
"A good money plan is dynamic and changes as your life does. Do a review of your budget each month and make adjustments."

My intention for this post is not to spotlight the negativity, but I do want to address some topics that were in question for those who really are trying to build a budget and get their finances in order. That being said, this blog is my house where I say what I want; allow me to sit atop my roof for a moment and clear some things up:
Wow. People really lost their cool over this one; there had to have been a couple hundred comments on this topic alone. I have 2 roommates. I live approximately 10-15 minutes from downtown Nashville. I live in a condo owned by one of my roommates. She has owned it for almost 1 year. It is not, and I quote, "a cardboard box," "a storage unit," "a closet," "a dog house" or "a shed." And we do not "live like hermits." The townhouse was built a mere 5 years ago so it's modern, and we have more than enough space. Other cities I cannot speak to, but rent like mine is indeed attainable in Nashville. We lived in Brentwood (known for being an expensive part of town) for the last 5 years before moving to this condo, and we were paying just about the same then as we are now. I lucked out 6 years ago by finding a roommate I enjoy living with; she has great taste, is a built in friend, and is trustworthy. 
My advise? Find one (preferably two) like-minded people to live with and then search for a house/townhouse/condo in the outskirts - try to stay away from living inside of the downtown areas, and avoid apartments as well as high-rise condos.  
Best stranger danger comment goes to: 
"$450 rent? Is she camping?" (I actually did hit the like button on that one)
I have heath insurance. It comes out of my check and is not factored into my budget. The $100 in medical is there for instances like physical therapy and co-pays.
Best stranger danger comment goes to:
"$0 spent on medical. She is supposed to buy Obamacare. We have ourselves a liar and another phony story"
$150 is doable. It helps that I am a pretty basic, kindergarten eater; however, you can very much so purchase vegetables and healthy food on this budget. I buy store brand a lot of times. I purchase things on sale. I am by no means an extreme couponer, but I do indeed use them if I have one for an item I purchase on the regular. I also work part time at a, wait for it, RESTAURANT! I get a free meal with every shift.
My advise? Get out of the expensive grocery stores. Places like Publix and Whole Foods provide a great experience and all, but there is nothing wrong with a good Kroger or Trader Joe's.
Best stranger danger comment goes to:
"For $150/month, I assume she eats paper?"
Not contributing up to the 6% match right now was hard for a lot of people to agree with; and I absolutely understand their reasoning. Rest assured, this will go up to 6% in order to get my current match percentage, but not until November when I am debt free. I already have an IRA from my previous company's 401k match that I rolled over. I was not following the Dave Ramsey theory for some of my 4 year employment there so I contributed a lot to that account. I also still have stocks from that same company which I have not touched.
Retirement contributions when in debt is a topic where Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman have a big difference of opinion. Although I took advise to from both as it stated in the article, in regards to this particular area, I chose Dave Ramsey's approach. 
Best stranger danger comment goes to:
"If she actually paid attention to Suze Orman she'd know this. That's like her #1 tip to everybody."
Here is a spot on, positive reply to all of the above...
"She's probably more focused on the Dave Ramsey plan, which has you stop 401k contributions temporarily until you pay off all debt and save up 6 months of emergency fund. It can make sense that you focus on one thing before going to the next. That way she frees up all that debt money, when that's all freed up he urges to put 15% of your money (not including matches) into retirement each month. Yeah she is missing out on some company match right now, but she'll be putting 15% (if following his plan) away each month, which is MORE than most Americans stash away."
Overall winner of the stranger danger comments (It's a tie):
"Alcohol for home: $10 budgeted $21.93 spent. Priorities (3 of the crying laughing emojis)"
Agreed, and cheers to you, sir!
"Holy cow...we found a responsible millennial. Clone her quick before she gets a tattoo and starts taking pictures of her food."
I read the book Start by Jon Acuff earlier this year, and I wrote down this one quote in my notes even though it didn't pertain to me at the time. I thought that some of my friends might need to hear this one day as there have been times when someone will say a hateful thing about his or her's music when uploaded online for the masses. It helped me before it ever got a chance to help them:
"When someone leaves a hateful comment on your blog or tweets about you, that is the equivalent of someone driving by your house and yelling, “I hate your yard! Your heart must be horrible too!” You’d never listen to that person in real life. Don’t listen online."
For every negative comment (I spared you all of the vulgar ones), there was a positive one right behind it, so believe me, those are the ones I will take to heart. Bottom line, what I am doing is working; that is what matters. Thanks to everyone for all of the kind words and for reaching out with your own stories. I wish you all the best of luck in your personal finance journeys!


  1. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work

  2. I'm not doubting your savings accomplishment, but here's what I've figured out after doing the numbers. Based on your budget that I've seen, your take home is around 5400 monthly. So your annual take home would be 65k. That's pretty incredible, so with taxes your gross should be at least 90k. Your rent is 8% of your take home. Of course you're going to save a shit ton like that.

    "Find people like that and then go find a house in the outskirts"

    Nahh, doesn't work like that. I live in the outskirts of LA, and with my girl and I's income combined, our rent is 29% of our total GROSS. Not net. My commute is an hour and a half each day. It makes me wonder why I even get out of bed.

    Not everyone is lucky enough to be so well employed in such a cheap place to live.

    "now my roommate owns our current house" That's a HUGE factor. She gets to control the rent. Idk why you haven't bought a home yet. The average home price there in Nashville is 217k. The mortgage for that would be less than almost any rent here. The average home price here in LA is 610k. In my neighborhood, which isn't fancy AT ALL, it's 663. So owning a home here is not an option, much less having a friend who is able to pay for that mortgage and charge so little for rent.

    I'm referencing this article: http://www.businessinsider.com/budget-after-paying-over-100000-student-loans-2017-1

    1. Hi there, Papa G. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog. With a gross income of $90k, you are correct, in essence, I would be ballin’! However, my gross income (working both jobs combined) has never surpassed $60k.

      Nashville is indeed a cheaper place to live than LA; many people from California have mentioned their mortgage/rent amount and there is absolutely no apples to apples comparison there.

      As for my roommate owning the house, you are also correct, those who own it control what the tenants pay. I have a few friends that live with a homeowner and pay him/her an amount in the same ballpark. We share a house as roommates and are not seen as income generating assets. I do get the ‘why haven’t you bought a home’ question quite often as my rent money is going towards paying someone else’s mortgage, but right now, financially a house isn’t the right move for me. Thanks to Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, I tend to look at home ownership more as a liability than an asset.

      Thanks again for the comment!

    2. Sorry, I kept miscalculating your budget. So I estimate it's around 3652 monthly, 43k net annually. So with taxes yeah that could come around 55k gross. Still, your rent to net income is an insane 12%.

  3. Papa G, thanks for drawing my attention to this too--I was calculating Jessica's net monthly also. This is just another reminder that taxes up in NY are disgustin...2,128 every 2 weeks after health and 401k taken out...I only take home 1500

  4. Congrats! How much were you paying on the student loans per month and for how many months? I skimmed the article quickly and couldn't figure it out. I have a mountain of student loan debt.

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