Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Facts of Life

I'm back from my first business trip and I'm officially a fan of business trips. I'm always down for traveling so to have it paid for by the company is a-ok with me!

Before I left, I worked an awfully slow shift at the restaurant. With all my down time, I was able to rearrange the way I allocate my paychecks. With two paychecks, one being a varying amount each week, I was struggling with figuring out which paycheck should cover which bills. I originally had my restaurant money going to rent but I knew it would never be enough so I would have to take from my other paycheck but it would never be a set amount and it made me nervous. I do well with consistency and having a plan so I knew I needed a new set up.

So I'm going to be really honest, give you some concrete numbers, and probably share more information than people ever really should or do. But really, it's the only way I know how to explain it.

At my full-time job, I make $1500 a month (excluding the months I get 3 paychecks instead of 2).
At the restaurant I currently work two shifts a week and earn tips for coat check. Eventually I will also work as a waitress and likely make more money. Ultimately I need this job to earn $443 a month.

Here's how it will break down:
The $443 will cover my student loans ($220 and $170) and my cell phone bill -- $53.
The $1500 will cover my rent ($1020 for the summer but it will be less come the fall), my credit card payments ($150), setting money aside for savings (a measly $30 but better than nothing), and that leaves me with $300 to feed myself, go out, buy shampoo and whatever else I might need or want. In NYC that is NOT a lot of money. Like for real, not a lot. It will be very very hard and I have absolutely no choice but to get creative and change a few habits in order to get by.

I am not good about not having adequate allowance to have fun or shop. I would buy all of Express every few months if I could even though I absolutely don't need any new clothes. I would buy a new pair of shoes each week if I could even though I probably wouldn't even wear them more than once. That said, I get my real enjoyment out of events. I love to drop money on a fabulous concert (eh hem...Adele is in NYC this Friday and it's killing me that I couldn't find $200 to go!) or on a trip to visit friends or family or to explore new places. I subscribe to multiple discount plane ticket websites and I'm always looking for the opportunity for my next trip. I will have to have a whole new mindset of how to find new enjoyment in life.

However, sometimes I pick up extra shifts or odd jobs or get some extra money from birthdays, holidays, my parents being awesome, etc. I have a plan for that as well. Any extra income will break down as such:
50% will go towards my credit card bills since those are the first forms of debt I want to and can knock out.
25% will go to savings.
25% will go to me.

I have debated changing the ratio to 3:3:3 but I think diminishing debt is more important than me having some extra fun (yup...I really just said that...ugh). But I will get enough so that I have some more fun motivation to pick up those extra shifts or find those extra jobs when I can.

So that's my plan. Fortunately for me, I came up with this plan just in time to get my first paycheck from the restaurant and to get my other payday. We got 3 paychecks last month so I can start fresh with this Friday being the first of two, as usual.

Despite the serious challenge ahead of me, I am excited to have a plan and to put it into action. Wish me some serious luck!


  1. Sounds like a great plan :) Kara XOXO

  2. We're in the same boat as far as how much we're bringing in. But man rent is high in NYC!

  3. Sounds like you need a third job! Is there something you could do like reviewing resume's like you were doing?