@Josh Michtom@facebook A church-run food pantry in my neighborhood is always happy to receive food donations, but they also suggest donations of kitchen equipment or even time to teach people to cook. It's hard to live on rice and beans when you don't have the pan to cook them in!
Nothing terribly exciting this month. Still saving for a down payment on a house: July 2014: $2448 August: $3494
@TheDoctorsCompanion It does depend on what you're comfortable with. When I was paying off my last student loan, I decided to take a huge chunk of my savings and apply it to the loans. I was left with 1K in savings, but I was willing to take the risk of little liquidity because it meant just a couple of months to reach the final payoff for the loans. So for me, the decision rested on how long I was wiling to live with such little savings.
@The Dauphine A consult with an attorney might be helpful to see if there are any options to help your mom qualify. Most legal aid organizations have elder law boards that could also help.
@LFR I'm a big saver, around 30% of my gross income. I've had goals like paying down debt, saving for a car, building an emergency fund, and buying a house (the current goal), and part of my savings has always gone to retirement savings. But even if I didn't have a specific goal, I'd still set aside around 30% because I value the discipline of living on less than I earn. The accumulation of cash is nice and keeps me from being worried about emergencies, but that cushion of lets me know that I could go to a different, lower-paying job, or be out of work for health reasons, or whatever - that's really powerful to me.
@garli Mostly I was worried that I would piss my landlord off (it was definitely a violation of the lease). It was a lot of work to get ready for guests, but I think that a lot of that would have been streamlined through experience. I'm hoping to try it again once I have my own place. @ollyolly I've been on the customer end for Uber, and I loooove it.
@OllyOlly That's a good point. I tried renting out to AirBnB earlier this year and made about $200 before ultimately deciding the gig wasn't for me. But there are lots of good opportunities for people who need more income.
There are lots of side hustles that can supplement income - babysit, house-sit, pet-sit, tutor, market research (a personal favorite!), mystery shopping. There's also the idea of turning a hobby into an income stream - I teach fitness classes a couple days a week and earn about $250 extra each month. A friend who is crafty is selling a few items of Etsy and looking into being a vendor at craft sales. Also, don't forget the power of interest/dividends as income. I know, I know that interest rates aren't high. And yeah, you have to save the money first. But it's income, so it is value added rather than taken away through depreciation.
I hadn't accomplished my goals before I turned 30, but I was really ok with it. Actually, I kind of liked turning 30. I felt confident, for the first time, that I had the tools to handle my life. At first. Then I had a huge existential crisis that is only now being resolved some 2 years later. So, yeah, for me turning thirty wasn't so bad, but being in my thirties has been another thing entirely.
Goal: 20% down payment on a house. June 2014: 1,400-ish July 2014: 2,448 July was an expensive month, but I definitely saw the advantage of savings. I had to put new tires on my car, so I used my short-term cash fund (5% of my gross pay) to pay for the tires. Then I had an unexpected trip, so I tapped my fund from my side gig to pay for that (the side gig pays for splurges - planned trips come from the 5%, but unplanned trips are splurges!). It was nice to be able to handle these unexpected expenses without changing my budget, tapping the emergency fund, or lowering my savings rate for the month - in previous years, I would have done one or all of those things to get through a tight spot. I really don't understand how people ever afford to make a down payment on a house. In fact, I was getting downright discouraged about how much it would take to make a 20% down payment on the houses that I had seen. But a friend told me about a neighborhood that she thought I'd like. I checked the prices, and a down payment there or in nearby neighborhoods would be totally affordable! Phew. I'd keep savings regardless, but now it feels like I'm saving with some real purpose.