Get my 5-day email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch

Want an email sales funnel that's already proven to work? Get the entire word-for-word email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch and apply it to your own business.

Yes! Send me the funnel now
Start Here: “The Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance”

The Money Diaries: The spoiled 20-something used to living beyond his means

71 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

0

Here’s another post in the Money Diaries series, which is based off New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries. We’ve collected stories from real people about their spending habits over seven days, anonymized them, and posted them here.

credit-cards.jpg

 

* * *

Note from the author: I graduated from college about a year ago and was lucky enough to land the job of my dreams. I moved into my parent’s house so I could get out of credit card debt and start saving for a house of my own.

I have a penchant for the good life, but after a year of living it up, I found myself with $12,000 in credit card debt! In addition to that, I just got myself into some legal trouble and need to come up with about $6,000 for my lawyer.

I make $1200 every two weeks after taxes and 401(k) contributions. The only real bills I have are my phone and student loan payments ($150) and paying down debt ($600), after which I end up with about $450 per paycheck.

For the past year, I’ve been going out about 5 nights a week , and I don’t know if I’ve ever not gone over that $450 per paycheck. I realize I need a serious lifestyle change. I may die of boredom, but at least I’ll be closer to getting out of debt. Let’s see if I can do it.

DAY 1:
2:20pm: I heard that I’d be featured in The Money Diaries while at work. I’m excited but nervous because it’s Friday night. I start brainstorming drastic ways to pay off my debt and actually considered cashing out my 401(k). I started it 10 months ago and have about $7,000 already in it. I know cashing out is probably the stupidest thing I could ever do. I need to suck it up and change how I spend my money.
6:30pm: I’m excited to get off of work and meet a group of friends at one of my favorite restaurants downtown. After all, it is Friday and I worked a hellish week.
7:14pm: Fuck. I can’t afford that restaurant. I shouldn’t eat out at all. I have an obscene amount of food at home. I call my friends and tell them to go without me. That may be dick (to arrange it and then ditch), but I know from experience that they’ll have fun anyway and it’s not like they are going to pay my bills for me! I call other friends and decide to meet up at their house. I’ll bring some leftover Belvedere from last weekend so I don’t have to buy tonight!

DAY 2:
1:00pm: I’m hung over and hungry. My friends and I decide to go somewhere to eat. I insist on cheap. This brings us to Taco Bell. I spend $3.50 and don’t even eat everything I order. I love this place!
2:00pm: I forgot to mention- I smoke. I spend $7 on a pack of cigarettes and lottery tickets. Both are my guilty pleasure.
8:00pm: I’m invited to go out to eat but I decline and decide to try to choke down some of my step dad’s cooking… If I die, at least I’ll know it was in effort to make a good financial decision.
9:00pm: I decide to hang out at a friend’s house instead of going to the bar with other friends. This whole financial responsibility thing is getting old… But at least I’m sticking to it. On my way, I see some really cheap gas and decide to fill up even though I don’t need it, $16.

DAY 3:
3:00pm: It’s Sunday = football. Instead of going to the bars with friends, I decide to go to work and get some stuff done. I stop at Starbucks- $3.50. I’m getting antsy – I need to go out sometime soon! At least tomorrow starts off a busy workweek.

DAY 4:
8:30am: I need cigarettes. I’m too late to work to care about the fact I’m spending money. Without these, my day would not be too great. I spend $4.

DAY 5:
12:30pm: I need cigarettes again. This time, the gas station has one of those buy 2, get 1 free offers. Even though I still pay sin tax for the 3rd pack, it’s still cheaper than buying 3 individual packs. I also throw in a Powerball and state lotto ticket. I spend $13. I probably won’t need to buy cigarettes for another 4 days, thank God. Even though I’m doing surprising well at not spending money, I was reminded today that I have a trip to Chicago this weekend and a family wedding in LA to attend the weekend after. How can I stick to a minimal budget when I’m jet setting across the country every weekend?
2:35pm: I figured it out! Since my whole family is going to the wedding, I’m going to save myself $50 by not buying a present in my name and piggybacking on my mom’s gift. I don’t know how I feel about this because now that I have a “big kid job,” I feel responsible for my own gift. I’ll think about it for a minute.
7:50pm: $13 on gas. I’m not normally a serial tank filler but gas has been at it’s cheapest, and from what I’ve read, prices are supposed to drastically rise. I thought I’d take advantage one last time.

DAY 6:
12:00pm: Ok, I broke down today. I couldn’t resist going to lunch with coworkers. Pizza buffet costs $9. I don’t feel so horrible because I consider this my first poor financial decision of the week.

DAY 7:
8:00pm: Haven’t spent any money… Yet. But I did cancel my Chicago trip so I could save money. It doesn’t seem like the end of the world, either. I get paid tomorrow and I know I would have spent at least $300 over the weekend.
8:30pm: I’m still at work and need to eat. I won’t feel so guilty buying dinner considering I just canceled my trip.
1:00am: I’m stupid. I decided to go out to eat and drink with buddies. I spent $40. I’m shocked at how one bad financial decision can ruin a week of serious efforts. I regret this because I realize that it is moments like this that get me in financial trouble.

In sum:
I only spent $114 this week! That’s amazing. I’m also kicking myself… Almost HALF of the money I spent this week could have been saved! Still, thanks to this, I have an extra $200 that I can throw at my debt. It feels great. Just seeing my frustrations written out has helped me realize how debt is affecting my life. I look forward to continuing this on my own. Let’s hope I can keep it up!

* * *

To be featured anonymously in a future Money Diary, click here. To see other Money Diaries, click here.

0

Related Articles

standard post picture

How to not hate live events

I recently spoke at a conference in the Bay Area where the speaker introduced me as saying, “AND WE GOT ...

Read More
untitled-design-9

The diffusion of responsibility: Why you need to stop CC’ing people

I receive 1,000+ emails every day. And while I read every one of them, most emails get ignored. That’...

Read More

71 Comments

0
 

Leave a Reply

71 Comments on "The Money Diaries: The spoiled 20-something used to living beyond his means"

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Smart Guy
Smart Guy
7 years 10 months ago

You are an idiot.

Erica
7 years 10 months ago
You know, that sucks, that this dude is going to see his post up here and the very first comment is going to be the completely unhelpful “You are an idiot.” It’s not true. This is a guy who has made some bad decisions, sure – but I don’t see idiocy here. I see a concerted effort to move in the right direction. That’s smart. He’s also starting out – a lot of what he wrote has the tone of experimentation to it. That’s great – you can see him get excited about his triumphs and disappointed about his setbacks.… Read more »
Sean O
7 years 10 months ago

This is the first time I have seen these diaries. Good notion. I think i may try this.

Mike S
Mike S
7 years 10 months ago

Great idea but in reality it sounds like he’s trying to go “cold turkey” which is unsustainable. He’ll be back at his old ways in a few weeks…trust me.

Kacie
7 years 10 months ago

I think it’s great that you recognize the need for a drastic lifestyle change.

With your income and your low financial obligations, you can seriously get rid of that debt in no time.

You were able to put an extra $200 toward debt, which is awesome. Keep trying to increase that, but be careful that you don’t feel too deprived, otherwise you could rebel and go further into debt.

It won’t be an overnight change, but if you stay focused on getting out of debt and changing your spending habits, you will be able to do it.

Catherine
Catherine
7 years 10 months ago

I hope he can keep up the motivation until he gets his cards are paid off. $200 more a pay period would make a serious dent in that debt.

My word of advice- quit smoking! Almost a pack a day? Seriously, you are going to get lung cancer. You would save almost $1,000/year to put towards your debt. Buy some quit assist product and every time you get a craving- check your credit card balance for inspiration to stay off the cancer sticks.

CPJC
CPJC
7 years 10 months ago
Do not cash out your 401K. If you have the discipline to not spend it, then maybe stop your contributions for 6-months and use it to get yourself out of debt (accumulating interest). Unless you have an employer match. Then at least contribute enough to get the match. I think you would benefit from an automated savings plan, too. $100 per paycheck into a savings account that isn’t linked to your debit account. Also, from your writing you seem a bit…manic. Right now you are digging deep to pay off everything that you can. That’s fine at a practical level… Read more »
fax
fax
7 years 10 months ago

While this guy may have made some choices that he’s not so proud of, it’s good that he’s trying to make steps to fixing up his finances! I’ve found that writing down my own goals and posting them up somewhere, then crossing them off the list once I reach them, has helped quite a bit. That way, the goals become more measurable and achievable. (He can start with “getting out of $12k of debt”, or something like that.)

Keep it up!

Neil
Neil
7 years 10 months ago

Is there a penalty for cashing out of the 401k? If not, then wouldn’t it a good idea to do that to pay off at least $7000 of the credit card debt? I would assume that the interest rate for the credit card is much higher than the interest he is accumulating on the 401k, so isn’t the debt rising faster than the growth of his 401k? I admit that I know very little about 401k’s so let me know if I’m way off.

Studenomist
7 years 10 months ago
All I can is that you are just like most of my friends I grew up with. In fact that is why I started my own pf blog because I always find myself trying to help my friends out with their finances. My best piece of advice may not be accepted by some of you but it is what one of my friends did. Work all the time, simple. My friend was completely out of control with his partying and bad habbits, so one day his parents forced him to get a job and then another job, and then finally… Read more »
Charlie
7 years 10 months ago

@Money Diary writer – awesome post. I hope you can pay off your debt asap.

@Smart Guy – you are a douche.

mike
mike
7 years 10 months ago
Money Diary Dude, your habits sound like those typical of a young to mid-twenty something in his first career job. My advise: 1. Seriously consider quitting smoking… or at least limiting it to times when you’re combining it with social drinking. You’ll save countless bucks and you’ll be healthier too. 2. May be difficult since you live with your folks, but consider limiting yourself to 1-2 nights out per week. If you need to socialize more, invite people over to your digs (or set it up with some buddies at their house) to have a potluck style get-together. My wife… Read more »
Liz L.
Liz L.
7 years 10 months ago

I’m 19, in college, and I can totally relatedto this guy. I (thank God) do not have as much debt as him, but I have a enough, and it’s harder without even a job at the moment. I was wondering if, with these money diaries, there are going to be any future follow-ups? I’m trying to do the same thing as him, with cutting back on going out to eat and lowering my spending and costs. I would like to know how well he does – and if there’s hope for the rest of us! Thank you for your post.

Lynette
Lynette
7 years 10 months ago
I think the first thing you NEED to do is stop smoking. You roughly spent around $24 this week on Cigarettes alone. Not only is it bad for your health, but you are wasting over $1000 a year on death sticks alone. Also, cut out the lottery tickets. The amount of money you would save not buying them would probably amount or be more than the prize money you would ever win from them (if you even win at all). Next, you are spending most of your money on socializing with friends and work colleagues. Try organizing more get togethers… Read more »
Dillon
Dillon
7 years 10 months ago
I would try to avoid cashing out the 401(k) if possible. Over the last 10 months, the value of the 401(k) has probably dropped significantly. Cashing it out is going to incur tax penalties. You’d have to run the numbers to be sure, but you may find that cashing out that 401(k) puts less in your pocket than you put in. That would truly suck. Consider also what that $7k will be worth once the market recovers. When I first started working in 2000/2001 I missed out on opportunities to buy into a cheap market. You should take advantage of… Read more »
Starcher
Starcher
7 years 10 months ago
“I need cigarettes” says it all. Nobody needs them, they want them, badly. An alternative I see, and it’s not very stylish, is to hand roll cigarettes to save a few pennies until the habit is put to rest. The convenience food adds up too, especially coffee. Why do people think that eating cheap and greasy fast foods is helping them save money when the result of that grease is gym memberships and heart transplants in a few decades? A secret I found was that grocery stores have fresh sandwiches and salad bars for lunching. I made the same mistakes… Read more »
Valeria | TimelessLessons
7 years 10 months ago

Been there, done it… It won’t be an overnight change, but if you stay focused on getting out of debt and changing your spending habits, you will be able to do it.

bizimunda
7 years 10 months ago

God bless him, but he is doing a nice job.
http://www.bizimunda.net

F
F
7 years 10 months ago
@Author, I think you made a great start, but realize that your method works against you: it currently depends entirely on your willpower, which is very hard on yourself and therefore a recipe for failure or at least mediocre results as you already experienced. My suggested alternative is a plan that decides where your money goes (in advance, saving you from painful improvizing). My guidelines coincide with Mike’s: – Grant yourself a generous amount of fun money (if you’re really going to pay down your debt, you deserve it) …but stick to it. – keep spending money on fun with… Read more »
Gregg
7 years 10 months ago

The only overwelming thing I noticed was the smoking…its so easy to actually tell someone to quit smoking, but very difficult to quit. That would most def help either put a dent in the debt OR use that as another form of “fun money”.

Depending on the state you live in sometimes they offer free tools to help you quit smoking (NYS has this NYS Quits hotline that gives you free gum). Thats an idea if its something you would want to do, as it could help you out healthwise and debt/”fun money” wise.

Mike
7 years 10 months ago
Spoiled, it’s good that you feel guilty about wasting money. Even your “guilty pleasures” make you feel guilty. Hopefully they’ll make you feel more guilty than pleasured. 🙂 You saved $200 this week. Can you arrange to have money from your paycheck go directly into savings or somewhere that you can’t touch it? You make $1200 every two weeks, what if you were only “making” $800 every two weeks? If you only had that available, could you get by? That is, still have a good time on $400/week? (man I know I could) When I see someone drop $40 on… Read more »
Turtle Head
Turtle Head
7 years 10 months ago

dude needs to move out of his parents house, maybe then he’d learn how to budget instead of pissing it away going out 5 times a week. grow up.

April
April
7 years 10 months ago
I agree with some of the others. You need a predetermined amount of “fun money.” Decide on how much you want to spend for the month, take that amount and put in in an envelope. When it’s gone, it’s gone. That way you don’t have to feel guilty if you’re sticking to your plan. I’d also draw up a rough budget. You don’t have a lot of expenses, so it shouldn’t be hard. Decide how much money you want to spend toward your debt…set goals for yourself. I’m with the others. Quit smoking. I know you probably won’t listen because… Read more »
Ray Merkler
7 years 10 months ago

Well done! I partially agree with some of the other commenters who think you should move out of your parents’ place, but if they’re willing to take you and your dignity won’t suffer for it, then by all means, stay there until you’re in better shape. I certainly won’t fault you. You’re taking good positive steps, after all.

Caleb
7 years 10 months ago

We all have to start some where bro. You’re not the only one in that boat. Just remember that, in order to climb a mountain you have to start with the first step. How many people look at the mountain and just lay down and give up. I’m sure that we’ll see you at the mountain top one day.

Caleb
http://www.mefinanciallyfree.blogspot.com

Michael
Michael
7 years 10 months ago

You say “I forgot to mention- I smoke. I spend $7 on a pack of cigarettes and lottery tickets. Both are my guilty pleasure.”

It seems as though your whole lifestyle is a guilty pleasure. While I can see that like to talk about a new approach to what you should do with your money, you seem to have a very difficult time putting it into action.

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I enjoyed reading your post.

Amy
Amy
7 years 10 months ago
Ah, it’s a rare day I don’t agree with Ramit but this would surely be one of them. I’ll start with the disclaimer that I signed up to do these Money Diaries and then did not follow through. It’s important to come clean on that. I’m sort of glad I didn’t because, Ramit, you’re being unnecessarily harsh on your authors. It’s not that a flattering headline should be expected for such things, but I think to title this author as spoiled is completely not supported by the content I read here. Here is a person spent the time to think… Read more »
MandarinZazz
MandarinZazz
7 years 10 months ago
Hopefully this is more practical advice to start before you take on more serious measures offered by these comments like quitting smoking and drinking. 1. Go to more house parties, and pre-drinking events. You won’t spend as much at bars. Also, if you desperately need to go to bars and desperately want to save money, bring a flask. 2. I recommend buying cigarettes away from where you live or online. Find a indian reservation or something. Do this until you can quit. Not 100% of legality of this. 3. Do not cash out 401k, and cut back to just the… Read more »
HollyS
HollyS
7 years 10 months ago
I’m 20, I make roughly the same as this guy from my day job (but live on my own) and I smoke so I can kind of relate. I agree with giving up the lottery tickets, but giving up cigarettes is a bit extreme and really isn’t sustainable (assuming it’s just for financial reasons) I don’t see why you couldn’t smoke less or roll his own, though. Rolling your own saves a TON of money. It’s like $3 per 30 cigarettes. Also, I mean, I am the same age, I have been smoking regularly since high school and I spend… Read more »
Battra92
7 years 10 months ago
Well, the Protestant Christian in me would say to give up your smoking and drinking. The budgeting adviser in me would say to give up smoking and drinking. Unfortunately the realist in me has to say, try to cut back your smoking and drinking and work towards eliminating both. Honestly, they are both poison and a steady drain on your money and there’s a lot better things to do with $40 than spend it on deteriorating your liver. The lottery tickets should go as well if only for the fact that I don’t quite understand what you’re hoping to gain.… Read more »
RT Wolf
7 years 10 months ago
I’d love to see Ramit do a money diary. It’s instructive to see people who can improve, but I’d like to see what the end goal that we’re shooting for is. Who’s with me? Some great tips here and I’d just like to highlight a few and add my own. Also, great work in becoming conscious about all of this. I applaud your efforts, I’m interested in your getting a bigger bang for less effort, so the key is to make a lot of these decisions before hand. 1. Call your credit card company and ask them to reduce your… Read more »
Ian
7 years 10 months ago
A couple items of note in this diary – lottery and smoking. I quit smoking cold turkey, so I will not say that it is not easy to do, because it is if you really want to do so. But one thing at a time. I think he would do well to put that extra money toward paying down debt and then make other small adjustments one at a time. First cut back the lottery habit to one ticket, once per week. Stop buying one every time you buy cancer sticks. Once the debt is comfortably under control, he may… Read more »
Chris from St. Mary's
Chris from St. Mary's
7 years 10 months ago
Money Diary Author, Yea, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon about the smoking, drinking and lottery tickets, but seriously, it appears you’re not sure where your money is going. I’d recommend doing a spending plan (where you at least track how much you’re spending where). Use software to figure out how much you’re actually spending on the cigs, booze and tickets. It might give you more incentive to cut back, and not just on those things. Perhaps you have a gaming subscription or something that you enjoy. Then you need to decide which is more enjoyable — being out… Read more »
Moneymonk
7 years 10 months ago
Actually I think he’s doing a good job. The problem with personal finance when you change lifestyle you because bored very fast and as a 20something, you have to balance and have fun. He has time on his side, he make up the difference, he is not married with children with a mortgage. Spending a little money will not kill him. Enjoy your 20s…….. I did I am 34 married, child and and a mortgage. I straighten up for as money, saving more, kids’ college, etc. But I do make more, so I was able to pay off my debt… Read more »
RT Wolf
7 years 10 months ago
I must respectfully disagree with MoneyMonk about having lots of fun now and paying off your debts in the 30s. I’m obviously not a typical 21 year old but I believe that an excessive amount of what seems like escape behaviour (booze, lottery tickets, cigges, going out a lot) points to a fundamnetal disconnect between knowing what you REALLY want in life and accepting what others say you should want and should make you happy or fulfill you. I have fun, too, I go out with friends quite a bit, but I try to keep these things in perspective. Your… Read more »
Anya
Anya
7 years 10 months ago
I’m really impressed with this author and his restraint during his diary. I wonder whether he felt suffocated, however. If he does, he’s not going to last very long. One thing I might recommend is choosing one or two changes a week, that way you’re not doing anything “cold turkey” and you’ll have that extra control over said changes, making you feel a little more powerful. I agree that he seems a little manic, and expresses a lot of guilt. That probably means that he’s on the brink of change. I’m not going to tell you to stop smoking because… Read more »
Maureen
Maureen
7 years 10 months ago
Like many of the money diaries before this there is a distinct pattern of not being able to suck it up and say, “I can’t afford to go out today.” I realize how difficult this can be and I know that a lot of what influences us is society. I’m not saying don’t have a social life but perhaps agree to go out for lunch with co-workers perhaps 3 out of 5 work days. That way you will still be able to keep up with your colleagues without breaking the bank. Your post is similar to “Jane’s” a few days… Read more »
Kimber
7 years 10 months ago
I don’t know who started the myth that having fun cost money but I’m pretty sure it was a marketer. It sounds like you have a great group of friends. Have you thought about organizing some sort of sport event (basketball, football game) instead of organizing dinners? Or a wayback movie night (with movies from your high school days, I’m sure someone has a tv and DVD player)? Or borrow guitar hero from someone and battle it out on the guitar? Or organize an Amazing Race within your town (if you have fun at this, it could be a source… Read more »
Glow Monster
Glow Monster
7 years 10 months ago

Suggestion #1: Do not try to stop smoking at this time. Fighting both that urge and the urge to forgo spending as usual will prove too much for you and you will fold. My suggestion is to continue implementing these financial cutback steps for a few weeks to get into a groove. After that work on a program to slowly wean yourself off the cigarettes; do no stop cold turkey or you will regress.
Suggestion #2: Read some financial help books to inspire you to continue this behaviour. They are life savers.

AT
AT
7 years 10 months ago
A lot of things in this diary point to the connection between weight loss and financial goals. 1. Obviously quitting smoking would save this gentleman a ton of money, but that’s a very drastic change. Those who do not smoke likely do not understand what it takes to quit. This is like saying “stop eating food” to an overweight individual. Cutting down on cigarettes, like going from a pack a day to a pack every 2-3 days, is likely more sustainable. 2. Feeling guilty about the $40 meal is like feeling guilty about a slip up in your diet. Saving… Read more »
PDXGirl
PDXGirl
7 years 10 months ago
Money Diary Dude sounds a lot like me four or five years ago, although I didn’t smoke quite that much and I don’t usually by lottery tickets 🙂 The first thing I did to get my spending under control was to use the envelope budgeting system. Someone already touched on taking out the cash for going out and when it’s gone it’s gone, do that for all of your discretionary spending and freeze your credit card in a block of ice, literally. for example you might have 5 envelopes listed Lunches: $X Parties: $X Clothing: $X Hobbies: $X Gas: $X… Read more »
Daniel
7 years 10 months ago

I can’t believe this kid will blow $40 on booze and partying, but won’t buy a wedding gift.

Being frugal is one things, being a cheap bastard with no priorities is another.

F
F
7 years 10 months ago

I must admit that I, too, cringed when I read about the wedding gift. You can be frugile on yourself but never on others (especially if they are generous with you). Or you could give a

I like the pre-drink tip. I know ‘experienced drinkers’ who’d spend a multiple of $40 a night on booze, and now start the night with a few rounds in one of the friends’ home.

F
F
7 years 10 months ago

(continuation of the aborted phraze: “or you could give a special home-made gift, which costs effort rather than money”)

Ted
Ted
7 years 10 months ago
Well first off ,the title of the post is “Spoiled 20-something used to living beyond his means”. And that pretty much sums it up. After reading the posts, all I see is someone who refrained from excess under public scrutiny. And I don’t see any moves towards permanent change; no goals set and no plans discussed. All of his decisions around money were impulsive. Without the shame associated with his dirty laundry being aired on the internet, my guess is he would have gone to Chicago. I had a few co-workers exactly like this (right out of school, making good… Read more »
Green Panda
7 years 10 months ago

Money Diaries Author:
My uncle was a smoker so I know quitting is hard, but if you can quit, you’ll put some money in your wallet and build some good health. (plus being a non-smoker lowers insurance rates)

I’d start small and cut down to going out 2 days to eat out and have dinner with friends. Yo’ll still save money compared to eating out 5x/week and it’s more sustainable.

Jaclyn
Jaclyn
7 years 10 months ago

Re: Amy’s comment

I’m pretty sure the title was developed by the author. I did one of these and we were asked to create our own one line description of ourselves and there were a few examples just like that given as guidance…I’m sure Ramit can confirm, but I know I made up one about myself.

Quinn
Quinn
7 years 10 months ago

I’ve gotta say good job to him for curbing his spending for now so I’ve got no qualms about his habits or his attempt at improving because it seems obvious that he is trying.

However, this blog was incredibly dull. The content. I found myself wanting to rush through and finish it already–it was so boring.

Jordan
7 years 10 months ago
The smartest investment was the fuel. The expenditure that could be done without: smoking and lottery tickets. To survive your 20s you need booze and Taco Bell so I won’t tell you what you already know. Even at my poorest I was still smoking expensive cigarettes. I’d never spend money on cheap smokes I’d just bum off friends. Rolling your own is NASTY. Spoiled 20 year old is s good title for this post. Cheap vodka and cigs…not havin’ it! Just quit if not for your health but so you don’t fund the government with their outrageous mark ups! I… Read more »
kevin
kevin
7 years 10 months ago
This is the STORY OF MY LIFE!! With a few minor exceptions, I can almost relate completely. I like what one commenter said about “manic” behavior … I actually considered selling my car to save the $500/month I’m paying in gas and car insurance even though it’d be totally impractical to go carless in Los Angeles. (My car insurance is your legal trouble.) Many commenters have left some excellent tips already, but since you remind me so much of myself, I’ll add a bit about what I did: • I agree with everyone who said going “cold turkey” will backfire.… Read more »
hungryelmo
hungryelmo
7 years 10 months ago
Wow. The author has no will power. 1 Stop buying lottery tickets. You won’t win and you’re throwing money down the drain. 3 Lottery tickets will get you a drink at Starbucks. 2 Buy cartons of cigarettes from Costco or somewhere cheap. Don’t have membership? I’m sure one of your friend will have one, so tag along next time your friend is making a trip to Costco. If you are currently smoking 20 cigarettes a day (a pack?), try reducing down to 15. 3 Stop making contributions to 401K, but don’t cash out! If your employer matches your contribution, then… Read more »
Turtle Head
Turtle Head
7 years 10 months ago
@Anya: I did in fact read the post. Generally most of the comments prior to mine were congratulatory in cleaning up his irresponsible financial management, fine. The arrogance of the poster cuts right through the text. Nice work you fixed a mess that you shouldn’t be in in the first place? Big difference between a few bad choices and 12k in debt and 6k in legal bills. At the bar, this popped collar ass is easy to point out, though I feel most of those who related to him are of the same ilk, to each his own. As a… Read more »
Sara
Sara
7 years 10 months ago
Don’t try to quit smoking right now. It’s bad for you and expensive, yeah, but it’s too much to try to to do at once. I also commend you on your success this week, but you need a plan if you want to succeed in the long-term because I don’t think your restrictiveness this week is sustainable. First, you can and should stop using your credit cards if you haven’t already. You can still use cash to go out and do whatever, but if you stop using the cards, you won’t build any more debt. That, is really not that… Read more »
TPinIOWA
7 years 10 months ago

This is great. The first step to change is awareness. Keeping a detailed account of your discretionary expenses for one month gives valuable insight into who you are, where your heart is, what is important, what is not important, and what can you do to improve. It is empowering to be honest with yourself. Especially in the arena of personal finance. Most people have no idea where they spend their money. Keep it up. I am working on the same thing.

CJY
CJY
7 years 10 months ago

@Starcher

“Wealth is in restraint, not indulgence…”

I love that…so wise. I’m going to remember that.

From the Author...
From the Author...
7 years 10 months ago
First off, thank you all for for your input- whether it was meant to be constructive or negative. I wrote this about a month ago and have learned a lot since then. All the comments that pointed out my “manic” attempt to save money were actually mildly correct. This was my first real attempt to change the error of my ways and I did it in a very drastic fashion. Sure, I saved a lot of money that one week, but I’ve realized that I need to find a comfortable middle ground while also keeping in mind that one of… Read more »
Ben
Ben
7 years 10 months ago

The lottery is a tax on [statistical] ignorance. Just don’t.

Raj
7 years 10 months ago
20-Something: I sympathize with your situation tremendously. It is difficult to live the basic and typical young urban professional lifestyle without spending a ton. Kudos to living at home: that saves a ton of money, provided the parent units are ok with it. I know Ramit does not put much stock in trimming little costs here and there, but I’ve found that ordering an espresso shot instead of a fancier drink from Starbucks can save a ton, especially if you do it every day. After all, it’s the caffeine that we want, right? Also, if you’re overzealous with the bar… Read more »
Bridget
Bridget
7 years 10 months ago

@author

Good start! You might want to consider giving your parents rent money. I think they’d appreciate the gesture and you’d have an even better idea of how you’ll need to budget in the future. Not that your parents might, but my friends saved their son’s rent money unbeknownst to him and then gave him a cool sum of money when he left home.

quinsy
quinsy
7 years 10 months ago
Hi there, I am a physician and I am glad to see you making changes in your life. I am hoping that since you are now getting into the hang of financial change, you might be interested in quitting cigarettes too. It is the best thing you can do for your health. I also worry about the fact that you seemed to treat the cigarettes as a reward for good behavior. My #1 suggestion to you would be to look at the things you enjoy and try to come up with other reward systems for yourself. Many of my patients… Read more »
xmasy
xmasy
7 years 10 months ago

people dont listen to me but i say the hell with 401K. i dont have a dime in a 401K plan but have a lot to show…..trust me…a lot.

xmasy
xmasy
7 years 10 months ago

oh yeah…another thing…drink a lot at home before going out to the bars……

robwiss
robwiss
7 years 10 months ago
Don’t cash out your 401k. The automatic deduction from your paycheck and the obstacle of having to actually cash it out are the only reason you have any money at all right now. The only reason you have that money is because you’ve never thought about it. Stop thinking about it and keep contributing to it. Consider setting up an automatic saver plan with an ING account. It takes 15 minutes to set up an ING account, link it to your bank account, and set it to automatically deduct from your account once a paycheck. You saved around $200 this… Read more »
finance girl
7 years 10 months ago

Well, it sounds like you know you need to change some of your daily habits so you are more financially disciplined, and that’s a great start.

Is there a way you can bring some basic foodstuffs with you to work to keep you from impulsive food purchases?

That way you will eat more healthy food (assuming you are bringing things like fruits, grains, veggies to work) and save money?

Anyway that when you go out, you alternate between alcoholic drink and bottled water? 2 birds with 1 stone in that it’s healthier and cheaper.

Do Not Touch That 401k!!!!!!

Doctor S
7 years 10 months ago
Sometimes when people open themselves up like this, they do it to try and find answers to move forward from the past. He did not do this to get ridiculed, regardless of how bad or good his past decisions were. Congrats to him for wanting to change and opening himself up to the public. I would do it in a second. Whatever you do, dont cash out your 401K, you will thank all of us later! If you have to, pick up an extra part time job if possible, and devote all those earnings to additional payments on credit cards.… Read more »
ArsBars
ArsBars
7 years 8 months ago

As a 20something myself…one spending habit I’ve worked on that makes a big difference is the Starbucks spending! $3.50 on a drink, adds up after a couple fancy coffee drinks in a week. Invest in a mug and bring your own, or I’m sure your office has a coffee maker, start taking advantage of that. Another way to cut back on Starbucks spending is instead of buying the fancy espresso drinks, order straight up coffee instead! Good luck!

trackback

[…] The Money Diaries: The spoiled 20-something used to living beyond his means […]

Baru
Baru
1 year 1 month ago
Interesting and kuddo’s fpr the person who wants to look at their financial habits. The funny part of it is that if you’ve friends that always go out for dinner and for drinks, you let your friends decide about your financial future, abeit no financial future as all will be spent on eating and drinking out. We cook for each other or do potluck. Granted it’s probably a revolutionary concept but cooking at home is so much cheaper, healthier. Why does hanging out with friends and having fun always need to cost more money than you can spend? What are… Read more »
Kimberly
Kimberly
8 months 1 day ago
My advice: 1) Begin investigating less expensive ways to have fun. What you’re doing is great but if you feel deprived, sooner or later it will boomerang. Realize that the ways in which we typically have fun are habits, and not our only options. 2) Living with parents allows for much more disposable income than you would have living entirely on your own dime. Make a spread sheet that includes all the things you’re not currently paying for such as rent/mortgage, home owners/rental insurance, garbage collection, cable, internet, landline, utilities, healthcare, food, savings, etc. Figure out what you would be… Read more »
wpDiscuz