1 Million Dollars

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Food plans are bad plans

Last year a lab mate of mine ate out for lunch every day, but would talk about not having any money.  Finally someone said, well then don't eat out!  But, he already bought $500 per semester of meals which equaled to one meal a day during the week.  Our semesters were 16 weeks long so that equaled $6.25/meal.  There were nights that he did not eat because they had no food in the house, because they could not afford to buy any.  How does that make sense?

We had access to a fridge and microwave at school and he had access to a fridge, stove and microwave at home so why spend $6.25/meal to eat out when that meant no dinner?  It really seemed like it was just another bad habit from undergrad.  You hear of the freshman 15 because freshman are eating out and can't cook in dorms.  Why are we setting these kids up to fail?  We set them up to overeat and overspend.  Neither of these are good and this is how we start our adult lives.  So what is a better idea?

First, cut the meal plan out if your university allows, if not call and see if they will waive the requirement and let you rent an apartment on campus.  Most colleges only allow that for upper-division students but sometimes, if a parent pushes prior to acceptance, they fold for the younger students.  As much as I believe in doing things for yourself, in this instance a parent has a lot more clout even if you have gotten a full scholarship or you are taking loans and working and therefore your parents are not paying.  If you do have to take a meal plan, take the smallest plan you can so you do not spend too much money.

If you are in a small dorm room, get a mini-fridge and microwave and use that for breakfast and weekend lunches.  You may even be allowed to have a crockpot which can make some wonderful dinners, all ready when you come home from classes or your part-time job.  Speaking of part-time jobs, restaurant jobs are wonderful for college students.  I paid my way through university on a server salary though I did a year of hosting to get enough experience to move up. 

Does anyone have a positive experience with food plans that I am missing?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Updated Millionaire Plan April 2014

We are doing steadily well, we added $625 this month but our account is now worth $18,532, a $698 increase.  We plan to keep depositing $625 per month for the foreseeable future which means as long as we don't lose money we will make our first mini-goal of $21,000 (6 months expenses including COBRA) in about four months and our second mini-goal of $25,000 (my entire annual income) in about 10-11 months.  Obviously the market can either help us and we may get our goals sooner or it may hurt us and it may take much longer than four or  eleven months to beat these mini-goals.  But I am optimistic that we will make it to $25,000 within the 2014 tax year!

We have considered trying to increase our deposit amount but have decided that paying off our student loans, saving a emergency fund and moving fund at a higher priority right now.  As young people we have a lot of expenses vying for our money and very little money to spend so choices have to be made.  I am doing the bare minimum right now and hope to increase my savings over time as my income increases.

I am also looking at seeing if there is anything more I can cut without hurting my lifestyle too much.  I do want to have fun, and have some spending money but as I continue in my frugal life new ideas pop up.  Never stop looking and you will find ideas where you least expect them.    

How are your investments going?