This is a continuation of our guest blog series from Biz Kid$ host Amanda.
After a few days back in the states, I applied for three restaurant jobs. Each restaurant offered me a job due to my five years of waitressing experience (when I was not a Biz Kid, I was working in a restaurant through college). I used a checklist to choose which job would fit me the best:
- Driving distance
- Hours of work a week
- Rating of business
Once I chose, I began to work and save all the money I was receiving. I used some of my tips for extra spending, but saved most of it. I saved all of my paychecks. I was saving money by living with my parents and not paying for any rent, utilities, or food. I am 25 years old and not embarrassed at all to be living with my parents again. If you have the opportunity to save money at a young age this way, it is not a step back but a smart choice. Rent is a very costly expense, alongside a list of bills. As a thank you to my parents, I help with chores, grocery shopping, pet care, and anything else they may need.
In two months, I was able to pay my mom back for $2,000 of debt she covered for me while I was abroad. She said to me, “you do not need to pay me back all at once.” I thought it was easier to get this “debt” off my back right away instead of dragging it out. After my debt was paid off, I received a 2nd job working at a daycare a few hours a week! A friend of my mom’s recommended me for the position. Through the daycare job, I was offered a 3rd job as a nanny!
Now, I was working three jobs and able to save triple the amount of money as before. I decided that it was a good time in my life to look into buying a car of my own. I was sharing a car with my dad, which was beginning to be a bit difficult when we were not able to coordinate schedules. My first step was to research cars on Craigslist. I found five cars I liked and asked my dad to give me a second opinion. My dad thought the cars I had chosen had too much millage and other small problems.
At my restaurant job, I mentioned to my co-workers that I was looking into buying a new car. One of my co-workers told me that a good friend of his (who came into the restaurant often) was selling a 2004 Hyundai Elantra. I spoke to her next time she came into the restaurant, and she was selling the car for a very reasonable price with 85,000 miles. The struts needed to be replaced on the car and we figured out that this would cost from $500-$800. My dad confirmed was a great deal! So I asked the seller of the car a LOT of questions because you want to make sure you have all the facts about a car you are buying before you agree. We met with my father a few days later and he and I test drove the car to ensure it was in good condition. After this, she detailed the car on her own time and took it to her mechanic to check that nothing else needed replacing. Lastly, we met and she gave me the “ownership title” and keys to my first vehicle! Then, you have two weeks to buy new license plates and tabs for your vehicle. My dad came with me to do this last step and in fact, put the title in his own name. We chose to do this because I will be saving about a hundred dollars per month on car insurance if the car is under our family insurance plan. In a year, this will save me $1,200!
Saving money isn’t easy, but is very rewarding when you have a goal in mind. Taking the time to carefully choose and look for a purchase deal (or travel deals) can also be well worth it in the long run. Currently, I have enough money to pay for the replacement of the struts on my car and move out of my parent’s house. In January of next month, I will move to Bellingham, Washington into an apartment with four other girls. In Bellingham I will be going to WWU again to attain my WA state K-8 teaching license. It will be wonderful to have a car to drive around when my course work will require me to attend various Elementary Schools! I feel proud of myself for saving money to pay off my debt so quickly and finally buying my own car (her name is Margo!) When I drive her around, it feels fabulous that I worked hard to purchase something useful (and so cool!) for myself and my future.
Looking for more information about making your first big purchase? Check out our entire episode here!