TLDR; at bottom

Hello and thank you ahead of time for any response. I'm 18 and trying to figure out where to go next. I already have an emergency fund (of sorts), no debt, and a few different investments. I'll explain what I have below. As for where to go next or what I can do to better my financial situation, I could really use some help. So here it is:

I'm near the end of my first year of college. I'm going to a local college because of the money it saves. After the 2nd year, I'll transfer out to a 4 year college. By going to the community college, I am able to live at home with my parents so I don't have to pay for rent or food. My parents have also paid for my used car and they pay for gas and insurance as well. Luckily, they began to save money for my college education a year after I was born, so college costs are currently nonexistent for me. My parents are also paying for the 4 year university I go to along with costs associated with food and rent at the time. I have a phone that I paid for, but my dad is paying for the bill ($30 a month for mine, part of a family plan of sorts from T-Mobile).

My job currently gives me $8 an hour (which will probably go up to around $9 when summer starts). Last year I only made $7,000 from this job. I would very much like to keep this job because they are extremely lenient when it comes to when I work. I get to take off for school and if something comes up where I have to pick my sister up from school or something, they'll let me do that as well. Or if I left something at home, I can leave and go get it. The only problem here is I'm not able to get much time in. That will change this summer of course, but it's an 8-5 job. Because of school, I'm only able to get in about 12-15 hours in a week. I'd rather not lose this job because of their leniency with my schedule and because I love the job itself and the people I'm around (I work as a computer technician (I can elaborate if you'd like)). Getting a 2nd job would be possible, but I'd rather not because summer is coming up where I can work nearly 40 hours a week with this one and adding a 2nd job to my current schedule will give me little time to do much else.

So that's my current situation-- little in terms of income, but almost nothing in expenses. As for expenses, none of it is really necessary. I'll go out and pay for something to eat when I'm on my lunch break from work (never more than $5) or when I'm with friends. Other than that, I generally save for something that I want (usually electronic/computer stuff).

So here's what I have:

  • Checking: $1,200 Never to go below $1,000 unless for emergencies (so basically the leftover $1,000 is my emergency fund).

  • Savings: $1,200 which I'm looking into transferring to a bank that gives 1% interest per year rather than the current .02% it's making. This is also something that I don't touch. It might as well be considered part of my emergency fund.

  • CD: ~$2,000 It matures in October, not sure where I should move it to get more than the little it makes right now.

  • OptionsHouse: $550 in a certain stock, I expect it to go up. Holding it for a year to avoid capital gains tax.

  • ETrade: hahaha penny stocks... Put in $300, put $200 in one stock, sold it at a loss to regain $60, put the leftover $160 into another and kept putting it back into that one until I am where I am now. I got it back up to $360 and put all that back into it. If I manage to sell at the point where I've been selling it, I'll have $680. Not sure if I should take all of it out at that point or just take about $380 and use the other $300 to see if I can keep it going.

  • Vanguard: $3,000 in a Roth IRA.

  • T Rowe Price: ~$28,000 (my dad started this with $5,000 when I was 1 and put $50 in it every month since then. If I don't touch it, he will continue to put in $50 a month. I'm not touching this.)

I recently acquired a credit card to help build credit and save a little money at the same time. I've paid off the first two months and the 3rd month hasn't finished yet. It's a Discover IT card, so I save 2% on gas and restaurants (and I don't pay for gas) and 1% on everything else. I don't intend on spending more than can be paid back and I won't let the bill for this push my checking account below $1,000.

I started using Mint about a week ago to help keep track of these things. I don't use the budget part because my spending is very weird... Most weeks I only spend about $10-$15, occasionally (but rarely) I spend about the same amount plus, say, $150-$600 for a new part for my computer or for a decent set of headphones to replace the old, broken, crappy ones I had before. (I tend to go for quality so things will last)

With the money I make from work plus any gifts or things sold on eBay, what should I do? In the mess I gave you guys above, is there anything that should be changed or moved around to better my situation? Any advice, any tips, I'll take 'em. And again, thanks ahead of time for anyone willing to answer.

TLDR; I have virtually no expenses (gas, phone bill, college, rent, all paid for). I make about $7,000 a year in my part-time job. I am in college. My cash/investments are listed above under the "So here's what I have" section. Any tips for what I should do next, what I should look out for, how I can improve my interest or investments, or advice on something I'm missing? Any suggestions as far as strategy goes for these next few years?


There's a lot going on here. I'd be making the maximum ($5500 for a single person under 50) contribution to the Roth IRA each year. Not too late to put in for 2014 before Wednesday, 4/15.

Not out of your income, but from the T Rowe Price account. As long as you have earned income, you can make an IRA deposit up to the limit, 5500, or up to that income. The money itself can come from other funds. Just explain to Dad, you're turning the money into a long term retirement account. I doubt that will trouble him.

Aside from that, too much will change when you are out of school. At 18, it's a matter of learning to budget, save what you can, don't get into debt for stupid things. (Stupid, not as I would judge, but as the 25 year old you will judge.)

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.