Budgeting on His Own

Austin is 20 years old and making $13.50 an hour. He lives with his dad and wants to move out on his own. How can Austin afford to move out on his own and cover his expenses each month?

QUESTION: Austin in Birmingham is 20 years old and making $13.50 an hour. He lives with his dad and wants to move out on his own. He’s trying to pick up a second job to supplement this goal, but apartments are going to be $600 a month or more. How can Austin afford to move out on his own and cover his expenses each month?

ANSWER: Selling your truck will give you a little bit of a nest egg, a little bit of an emergency fund, so to speak, when you move out. It’ll help you get your deposits and that kind of thing. And of course the other possibility is a roommate. Sometimes that’ll help you cut your expenses down when you live out.

What you’ve got to do is just lay out a budget, and all a budget is is a plan. If you stop and think about it, common sense will tell you what to put on there. You’ve got to buy food. You’ve got to buy lights and water. You’ve got to buy car gasoline. You’ve got to buy insurance. You have to pay your rent. You begin just going down that step by step by step, laying out a written game plan of what we’re going to do with money and how we’re going to make $1,600 work for us and/or what we’ve got to work as a second job in order to make this being on our own thing possible. That’s the big thing you’ve got to do there.

I’ll send you a copy of our book The Total Money Makeover. It’s got the budgeting forms in the back, and it’ll show you how to lay all of that out and how to think through it, but if you’ll just pause a minute, I think common sense will kind of lead you to it.

Then, of course, the other part of this—there are two parts to this equation, the income side and the outgo side—and the budget is kind of your outgo side and says, “Here’s my income and here’s how I’m going to spend it.” The income side, of course, is your career choices and your job and what you’re going to do with your life, and you’re not doing badly at all for 20 years old, but the question is what are you doing that’s going to make you make three times this when you’re 25?

As long as you’ve got a track you’re running on, then that’s fine. That’s exactly the way I’d be thinking about it is what have I got to do to move up, through, and on to where I can make more and take on more responsibility? By the way, everything they give you to do, do it times two. Go crazy, man. Be smiling. Be on time. Be pleasant. Be getting things done. Come early, leave late. Be the man that they go to. That’ll move you up faster.

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