I never met the landlord at my first rental.
My first week in the U.S. was spent in the fog of jet lag, hormones, and tears that came with moving halfway around the world only to find that you kind of forgot to find somewhere to live. I spent a week going from one house to another with growing desperation, trying to choose between the woman who wanted me to sleep in her living room and the landlord who promised he'd finish the kitchen "soon" and forbade overnight guests. I found a good house, took the room, and came back to sign the lease the next day only to find that the toilet had been removed. Everything was awful, until Chris showed up, quietly carried all my bags up the stairs, built my bookcase, and put me with a minimum of fuss into a house of messy, friendly stoners.
I knew from the beginning that I wasn’t in love with the apartment. The living room space was nice in theory, but difficult to appreciate under its permanent cover of the other girls’ stuff and clutter. My bedroom was at the end of a long, narrow hallway, with one high, small north-facing window that provided dingy light in the mornings, and none at all by noon. There was no built-in storage, and the ancient stove ran cold, with one reliable burner and two that never worked at all. The backyard, which had seemed charmingly ramshackle when I first saw it on a nighttime tour, turned out to be brown and barren, and the front porch was filthy with years’ worth of dust and dog hair.
After a summer of sharing our “the year we saved $10K” stories, we are reaching the end. Here are two more stories to share: one from Emma, who has a finance blog of her own called Let’s Talk About Money, and one from Irene, who saved money by fighting fires.
Emma: I save $12,000 every year, and have since I got my first job out of college. I do this by:
- living with roommates in a not-so-great neighborhood - rarely eating out or buying new clothes - rarely traveling (I go on yearly vacations but never anything over $1000 for two people) - driving a used car that I paid cash for
Right now, in my current job, after I put my $1000 into savings, that leaves me $800 to pay rent, food, bills, insurance, etc. I have a liberal arts degree and work in marketing/content creation.