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new apartment survival advice please

Posted by vacuumfreak (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 29, 06 at 23:25

Hell all! I am a 22 year old college student... I work full time (make about 350-450 per week), and go to school part time. I am going to get my own apartment in a few weeks and need some advice for keeping my head above water. My rent will be 410-475 per month. I could really use some advice on making/keeping a budget, paying bills on time, and having something left for savings... or building a good credit history. Additionally, if anyone has any tips on how I can increase my income around my busy schedule... something that I might be able to do on the side that would be great... thanks for all your responses!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: new apartment survival advice please

Oh, there are lots of resources on the Internet if you care to search for them. And what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. That said, however, there are a few rules that seem to work for everyone:

- Pay yourself first. If you want to save money, take it out of your paycheck first. Many financial institutions will transfer funds periodically into a savings account. Do it. It will be a lot harder to spend money you don't have in your savings account. And if you have to budget around that payment first, it will be easier to make it a habit.
- Get into the habit of paying for things as you buy them, not paying for them on credit, even if you know you have the money. Or translate a purchase into work effort: if you're making $10/hr, buying that new CD will cost you about two hours of work effort (actually more than that if you are grossing$10/hr, not netting $10/hr. Is it worth two hours of labor for that CD? You can decide. Knowing the true cost of things is a good way to decide if you want to complicate your life with them.
- Pay your bills on time. If you can take advantage of electronic bill-paying services (without them charging you a bundle), use them. That way you don't have to worry about when to send the payment and if you have stamps, etc. What I do is put all my (non-electronic) bills in one place and go through that pile every Sunday night. I pay the bills that are due in the next 7-10 days and that's how I keep up with them. That can work for you if you get into the habit of checking at a set time every week.
- If money is really tight, think about a roommate (one that doesn't necessarily share your bed). While that person can increase utility costs some, there aren't that many of them in most apartments, and cutting your rent in half has got to be an appealing idea.

Good luck!


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RE: new apartment survival advice please

I'd like to re-iterate what steve-o says about credit cards - use extreme caution if you use them at all. They are especially dangerous for someone with a tight budget such as yourself. I have a couple of them just for the rewards programs, but even then I find myself shocked at how much I've rung up each month. Paying as you go with cash has a definite psycological effect to limit your spending (and improve your financial health).

My personal financial bugaboo: constantly monitor the "nickel and dime" expenditures and their value to you. Everybody tries to sell you stuff based on "pennies a day" or "few dollars a week" as if to make the money seem insignificant. It all adds up and if you don't constantly ask yourself "does this really help me?" or "is there a lower cost way to accomplish what I need?", you won't have the funds available when something of real value DOES comes along.


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RE: new apartment survival advice please

It will be a lot harder to spend money you don't have in your savings account.

I should have said "harder to spend money you don't have in your checking account".

And not to hijack this thread, but one of tryinbrian's comments struck me:

Everybody tries to sell you stuff based on "pennies a day" or "few dollars a week" as if to make the money seem insignificant. It all adds up and if you don't constantly ask yourself "does this really help me?" or "is there a lower cost way to accomplish what I need?", you won't have the funds available when something of real value DOES comes along.

The poobahs in the next county decided to finance a new ballpark for the millionaire team owner and his millionaire employees by subverting the law and levying an additional tax on the residents of that county. The argument used was that the increase of "only 8 cents on a $20 purchase" (or something like that) would fund millions for a ballpark. Where on earth was this logic when it was time to fund after-school programs and more cops on the street and better road maintenance? It's a sad statement about our priorities.


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RE: new apartment survival advice please

Oh, Steve,

Surely you don't have a bias against ball parks???

Only when paid for with municipal funds - when there are higher priority needs for those scarce municiapl dollars elsewhere, possibly??

Enjoy your big day today (July 4) - and maybe give a thought to helping folks in other parts of the world develop the benefits that U.S. people enjoy.

ole joyful


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RE: new apartment survival advice please

Thank you, Joyful.

I think ball parks are great. What I don't like is when businesses decide that investing lots of capital in a ball park (where they conduct business and profit from naming rights, concessions, and ticket prices, etc.) is such bad business that they won't do it with their capital but want someone else to foot the bill. Nice work if you can get it....

Government of the rich and by the rich. I can't wait for Election Day...


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RE: new apartment survival advice please

I'm in/have been for a while in the same place you are. I just finished college a year ago, and have lived off-campus (with roommates) since senior year.

What I found helpful was first to make a list of all my monthly expenses (including what I put in savings and retirement) and my steady income, putting down what it is, how much I owe/get and when each is due.

Second, I made copies and posted them EVERYWHERE. I have a copy of my budget in my purse, in my cubicle, on my home desk, where I stick my mail, and electronically on my work and on my home computers. That way whenever (and wherever) I want to spend money, my obligations and income are right there in black and white. I balance my checking account on the electronic copies, so I have an idea of how much money I actually have.

As far as paying bills on time, I'm not so great at that. I set up automatic payments for everything I possibly could and put reminders up everywhere for what was left. Putting the due dates on my budget list helps, so does writing it on every calendar-type thing I own.

I don't know where you live or what your work/class schedule is like, but babysitting is a good way to pick up some extra cash at odd hours. There are a couple websites where you can sign up and parents in your area contact you (google "babysitters online"). I've found that it doesn't matter when you're free, there's probably a family out there that needs a babysitter at that time. If you have nights/weekends free, there's always waiting tables/bartending/catering. Depends on how much time and energy you want to spend working.

Good luck! I worked full-time all through college (full-time student until senior year), at one point holding down two additional part-time jobs. I feel like I'm on vacation with only one office job now!


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