Monday, April 07, 2008

New York Stories #16: Mets F-F-Fan

No, I haven't suddenly developed a stutter! Here's a New York Story about a Mets Fan who really has Frugality and the Future on her mind! Even though I am a Yankees fan myself, this is another inspiring story about a young woman who is really no-nonsense when it comes to building her net worth!

I am currently 24 years old, about to hit the quarter-of-a-century mark. I was born and raised in Queens, NY (definitely a Mets fan), and graduated from a private college outside of Philadelphia, which I attended simply because they offered me the most financial aid. Unlike many of my fellow fresh-out-of-college coworkers, I chose to live at home with my parents, which allowed me to save a ton on rent. I will be forever grateful for the past two years when my parents helped me keep afloat. They understood the value of compounded interest and reinvestment. The deal was that they would allow me to live at home rent-free, as long as my salary went towards retirement savings. I am proud to say that I upheld my end of the bargain, socking away 80% of my salary until I reached the maximum yearly contributions for both my 401(k) and my Roth IRA. I have also opened a New York 529 account and a UPromise account, which I plan to use towards either my future kids' college educations, or else towards my own future grad school education. As a paralegal, I worked as much overtime as possible, to the point where I was earning an average of $65,000 a year. Everything was pre-tax: my Metrocard, my gym membership, and my retirement contributions. I only wish I had been aware of the flex-spending option earlier.

In order to save money, I always bring my own breakfast and lunch to work, even buying the extra-large tubs of yogurt which were cheaper than buying the smaller individual yogurt containers (more environmentally friendly, too!). Most of the clothes I own are from Ebay. I love it how some of my friends exclaim with horror at the idea of buying clothes from Ebay, yet those purchases are the ones that I receive the most compliments on. I also try to wait until February or July before I buy anything, when all of the stores have their clearance sales. I budget myself $50 a week in cash, enough for one dinner out with friends on Friday nights, and a maximum limit of $300 per month to charge to my credit card (my downfall is traveling, though. I have to admit that I don't have a budget when it comes to planning a vacation). I never carry a credit card balance in order to avoid paying interest. I always sign up for samples, so I can get free deodorant and toothpaste. I also use Craig's List to get free haircuts at pretty upscale salons in midtown. I can't remember the last time I paid for a haircut. I usually buy movie tickets through my firm for half-price; the certificates only stipulate that they can't be used for the first 10 days after a new film has been released. I even manage to have free facials and other spa treatments, through various company promotions.

The list goes on and on and on, but the point of it is that even though New York can be very expensive, it can also be very cheap. You can only get as much out of something as you put into it. Some people make fun of how I try to save, because I can never bring myself to pay $5 for a Starbucks coffee run or a professional manicure, but I can at least say that my net worth is around $80,000 (it was $102,000 at the highest point, before I started to travel around Europe and the whole Bear Stearns fiasco). I am now living in Germany for a year as part of a government-sponsored exchange program, meaning all of my expenses are paid for, including rent and airfare. That's the best way to travel!

Glad our Mets F-F-Fan is becoming at Mets F-F-F-Fan, by spending some money on Fun! She deserves it. Thanks for submitting your story!

You too can submit a New York Story for this site: just email me!

Don't miss these other posts in the series:
New York Stories #1: Bronx Chica
New York Stories #2: Orange
New York Stories #3: Bama Babe
New York Stories #4: K
New York Stories #5: Frugal Female
New York Stories #6: SandyVoice
New York Stories #7: Escape Brooklyn
New York Stories #8: Comfortable Couple
New York Stories #9: Upper West Sider
New York Stories #10: Debt-Free in Harlem
New York Stories #11: Little Miss Moneybags
New York Stories #12: Starving Artist
New York Stories #13: Cheap Healthy Good
New York Stories #14: The Lonely Lawyer Who Left
New York Stories #15: MFA or Bust


Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know what to say, she is young, money smart, have a great net worth. I wish I was that smart about money when I was 24 :)


Anonymous said...

Great story & very motivating:)

Anonymous said...

wow, i'm jealous. i'm 24 and not making 65k a year but i live at home & thought i was doing a good job of saving money & being frugal but you proved me wrong! haha. great story though. seems like you're really motivated & on the right track to be financially independent.