Learning how to budget... how'd you do?

  1. Hi ladies,

    When you guys first moved out on your own (finished college, got a job, etc) and stopped accepting support from your parents, was it tough to figure out how to budget?

    To be perfectly frank (and tacky), at this point I haven't had to budget... I eat what I want, I generally buy what I want, and I have a jolly good time. However, this is gonna be a DIFFERENT STORY in about 5 months! Car insurance, cell phone bills, everything's gonna be handed over to me and it's a little daunting.

    Any budgeting tips for a soon to be independent 20-something?

    Also, another question. The apartment building I'd like to move into in Chicago is about $900 a month... is that rent too much for a single working girl? I have no clue about these things and my parents a little flakey about advice... thanks so much for your help. :love:
  2. Well, I'm still going to school but I don't get money from my parents.. so I've had to budget ! Lots.

    I figure out how much I've got after rent, bills and food, and that can either be put towards entertainment or savings. It was a rough go.

    I would recommend aways overestimating your consumption in terms of bills and food, so at least there's some wiggle room. Plus that money can go into a savings account after that !
  3. There are several excellent budgeting books on Amazon, my favorite is by Bonnie Runyan McCullough. Her budget book was extremely helpful to me. There are also several websites that will help you create a budget, just do a Google search. Personally, I find it is best to write down everything I spend so that I can keep track. Writing things down often helps me not to overspend.

    Regarding your rent, it all depends on your salary. The rule of thumb is that your rent should be no more that 25% of your income, however, this is unrealistic for people living in major metropolitan cities. Try not to spend much more than 35% of your income on rent or you will really start to feel a pinch.
  4. That's super useful information, thanks so much dianagrace.
  5. what I have done for me is first, to develop a ledger of all my expenses (utilities, cell phone/home phone, credit cards, car payments, apartment, car insurance, medical insurance).. things that I had to pay for regularly, itemize them as much as possible and obviously, depending on how much u pay for rent, u want to have at least a good amount of money sent aside for ur home food, work food, and for ur extra-curricular activities/purchases, and try to save some for emergencies.. I think Chicago is a pricey area as well for apts.. and if u can find a place thats around 25% of ur salary, I guess u can be okay?
  6. I never had to budget anything when I lived on my own. But my friend who just graduated from UCSD lives in L.A now is totally living on a budget. Luckily she's not into purses.. :lol: She pretty much buys all her clothes from forever 21 and lives on Ramen and spam. Maybe thats why she's so skinny.lol. She divides her paycheck into rent, gas and food and eating out on the weekends and clubbing. But it seems she is always broke. So certain things that you could cut back on like cooking your own food, buying groceries with coupons, ummm wholesale at costco saves a ton of money ifyou have roommates. etc.. could save you more money for other things.
  7. I only budget when I'm saving up for a new bag!

    Although when I was working part-time and going to school I always had to have money for going out, clothes, tuition and car insurance.

    Maybe find a roomie to help offset the costs?
  8. Oh my gosh, girls, I just did what dianagrace said and calculated how mcuh 35% of my (anticipated) monthly paycheck would be... Umm, I CANNOT AFFORD to find ANY place to live for that amount. I'm thinking I'll have to spend about 40-50% of my salary on rent... Is it that bad?
  9. Ack that is VERY bad. Cuz along with rent, you have phone bills, gas, groceries, food, utilities, etc. I live in Los Angeles and am still in school. The rent for my two bedroom apartment shared among three college students is at $2000. Living in the city takes a toll because the cost of living is that much higher.

    To budget, which I started doing and then failed miserably once my financial aid gave me money to SPEND (I know bad bad), I created my own electronic ledger on Excel that broke down my monthly income and every single expenditure. I plan for the month ahead, and then I confirm it at the end of that month to see if I went over or under. Any left over I put into a shopping account, so once I have enough, I treat myself!

    Again, as I said, some financial aid did kick in, so I bought two Balenciagas LOLOL. AAAAck!

    Good luck!
  10. I have always had to budget, I've been on my own since I was 14.
    I have friends who were supported completely by their parents, and then once they were done with school, it was 'Buh-bye! You're a grownup now', but they had never taught their kids how to manage money.

    The biggest advice I would give to you is DON'T EAT OUT. This is the #1 way that people blow money. Grocery shop sensibly, bring lunch to work. Save eating out for special occasions, or decide one day a week that you will treat yourself.

    Really think about how much you NEED an item; once you get into a place where you are mindful about spending money, you will become much more disciplined. Good luck! The very fact that you are asking this question means that you are ahead of the game.
  11. I know this is a pain to do but actually listing all your expenses really helps a lot. It's different when you get a visual on your actual spending and helps in cutting back on all the unecessaries. Wow, this must be an exciting time for you! I went through a time when I didn't know the meaning of the word budget and that was fun but messy. You're on the right track for at least planning for it. Good luck!
  12. Wow... that's pretty shameless. I know a lot of kids who didn't get financial aid but should have, and would've appreciated that money to put towards an education rather than luxury items (two Balanciagas nonetheless)... not to mention you're using somebody's tax money like my parents', since they're residents of California.

    But hey, maybe you can parlay a welfare check into a BMW someday? That'd be pretty nifty.
  13. Kylie I loooove Spam too :sick: :shame:
  14. Hahaha nooo way jose :biggrin: I guess the better way to put it is that I worked 20 hours a week, and all the money I had earned had to be put into my tuition while my fin aid situation had to clear up (internal problems with the fin aid office). But once my fin aid came in (about three months late) to pay my actual tuition, my work money was mine again! I'm no government robber, I promise! :lol: I make roughly $1000- $1200 a month on my own.. and I hope I didn't deepy upset anyone. :worried:

  15. Ah okay. That is a better way to put it!

    Sorry, May, didn't know you worked. Glad you got financial aid if you needed it. My freshman year roommate worked her butt off because she didn't get aid... I was thinking that if she didn't qualify, who the hell did?!

    No hard feelings. :shame: