Tighten the Budget or Rely on the Generosity of Others?

27015971_sIt’s a common problem among twenty-somethings and even those in their thirties.  The job you get fresh out of college, while perfect for building experience and growing your career, does not pay well.

You may be paying down student loan and credit card bills from college while also trying to find money to move out on your own and get your first real place.  What do you do when you’re income isn’t enough?

Buckle Down and Make it Through

One simple solution is to cut your expenses. Another is to getting another part-time job and work 45 to even 70 hours a week to try to make it through this difficult financial period.

A year after I graduated from grad school, I landed my first full-time teaching job earning $32,000 per year.  I had $20,000 in student loan debt. I also had $10,000 in credit card debt, thanks to a year of working part-time while searching for a full-time job.

Frugal doesn’t even begin to describe my lifestyle during that time.  I cut every where I could. When I thought I couldn’t cut anymore, I found even more ways to cut.  I took on any extra assignments I could at work.  I taught extra classes, worked every summer, chaired whatever groups I could that offered an extra pay stipend.  In short, I was very busy and broke.  But I made it through after a couple of tough years.

Rely on the Generosity of Others

I thought my route was the way most people got through the tight financial path after college.  Turns out, I was wrong.

We have a babysitter who comes to our house a few times a week.  She is a recent college grad who landed her first full-time gig.  Of course, the pay is lousy, and she has $30,000 in student loan debt.

However, she doesn’t appear to be struggling.  She rents out a two bedroom apartment in one of the nicer suburbs of Chicago.  No roommate for her.  She lives alone and enjoys the space.

She has an iPhone and nice, designer clothes.

She does complain that she has to live frugally.  I’m not sure what that means, though.  She often goes out on Friday and Saturday nights with her friends to go to the bar or out to eat.  She has more disposable income than my husband and I.

One day she mentioned that, because her money is so tight, her parents help her out. They are giving her money for her groceries, entertainment, car insurance, and gas.

While she does babysit sometimes for extra money, she’s not particularly motivated to find a better paying job or scale down her expenses.  She’s used to a certain standard of living, and she intends to keep it.

When You Struggle Financially, Which Scenario Do You Pick?

The obvious differences in our lives right out of college made me think.

Do people prefer to get through a rough patch on their own, without help from anyone even though they can afford very few creature comforts and working two jobs can be exhausting?

Or, do people prefer to swallow their pride and let someone else help them with their bills so they can live the lifestyle they are accustomed to?

What’s your take?

Posted in: Minimalism and Frugality

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