I'm ready to move out, and I have a excellent job offer of 32-40 hours a week at $8.40 hourly. I am also looking at moving into a rental closer to this new job, with a roommate; the house is $400 a month, utilities included. I would also have food, gas, and other living expenses which constantly fluctuate. I also want to start a fund to purchase my own vehicle. My income now is down to my last paycheck this Monday. I have to pay off some debts, and should have $20.00 left over.

Unfortunately my parents haven't taught me much about personal finance so I am seeking advice elsewhere. I would like to know where I need to begin the process of stabilizing myself to move out. I want to know how to get my own medicaid, bank account, debit account and be able to spread my money to last decently. I am very bad at spending it while I have it and not having money when I need it. I want to be financially stable when I am living on my own but I like the luxuries of mall clothes, make-up, going out, etc and I want to be able to continue to enjoy these further into my life.

PLEASE, someone take me under your financial wing and guide me to a life without debt or too many financial issues.

  • Hi Patty, welcome to Personal Finance! I've taken a pass at cleaning up your question. Answering a couple more questions would allow us to help you better. What country are you in? Is the house $400 a month or would that be your part of the bill?
    – C. Ross
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 1:10
  • Hello, thank you I was nervous to ask such a personal question. I live in the United States of America, residing in michigan. The house is $400.00 a month. My cost would be $200.00 not incuding what I'd pitch in for food.
    – Patty
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 1:17
  • Hi Patty and welcome. Keep the questions coming! Check out the chat for more ideas. chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/22/show-me-the-money Don't hesitate to ask for help
    – MrChrister
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 4:26
  • Write down all your expenses to the cents and total them at the end of the month. See what non-required expenses can be struck off. Continue this every month without break. Wouldn't make you a millionaire, but helps a lot. And never forget to save.
    – DumbCoder
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


The first thing you need to do is to set yourself a budget. Total all your money coming in (from jobs, allowances, etc.) and all your money going out (including rent, utilities, loan repayments, food, other essential and the luxuries).

If your money coming in is more than your money going out, then you are onto a positive start. If on the other hand your money going out is more than the money coming in, then you are at the beginning of big trouble. You will have to do at least one of 2 things, either increase your income or reduce your expenses or both.

You will have to go through all your expenses (money going out) and cut back on the luxuries, try to get cheaper alternatives for some of your essential, and get a second job or increase your hours at your current job. The aim is to always have more money coming in than the money you spend.

The second thing to do is to pay off any outstanding debts by paying more than the minimum amounts and then have some savings goals. You said you wanted to save for a car - that is one saving goal. Another saving goal could be to set up a 6 month emergency fund (enough money in a separate account to be able to survive at least 6 months in case something happened, such as you lost your job or you suddenly got sick).

Next you could look at getting a higher education so you can go out and get higher paying jobs. When you do get a higher paying job, the secret is not to spend all your extra money coming in on luxuries, you should treat yourself but do not go overboard. Increase the amounts you save and learn how to invest so you can get your savings to work harder for you.

Building a sound financial future for yourself takes a lot of hard work and discipline, but once you do get started and change the way you do things you will find that it doesn't take long for things to start getting easier. The one thing you do have going for you is time; you are starting early and have time on your side.

  • 2
    Another couple of good general tips I've heard: Aim for 20% of your salary to go towards paying down debt/saving towards your goals; Limit yourself to another 20% for "fun money". Take this out in small bills after you get paid. This is for makeup/shoes/drinks/going out, etc. Leave your cards at home and when this money is gone, wait 'till your next payday!
    – John Lyon
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 1:38
  • 3
    Higher education. Absolutely. Minimum wage is $7.25, OP is above this but not by much. Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 2:50
  • 3
    Higher education also has a higher employment rate, which is very helpful to mitigate future economic times.
    – MrChrister
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 4:25

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