TRANSPARENT MILLENNIAL LIFESTYLE – FEATURING SAVING JOYFULLY

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Millennial… What does this word bring to mind for you? Do you have an image in mind of what the Millennial lifestyle is like? I wanted to create a series of interviews with bloggers sharing their lifestyle choices and financial decisions as Millennials. Just to clear things up before we get started I know there is some debate on what a Millennial is exactly. The age group that is considered a Millennial for this post is represented by anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22 to 37 in the year 2018) this is the group I am considering as Millennials.

My name is Andrea Joy and myself and my husband Jason are both Millennials, according to this definition. We were born in the year 1981, and have both just turned 37. We are at the higher end of the Millennial generation but still considered Millennials. We will start this series off by giving our answers to the questions about our lifestyle and financial choices, to hopefully give you a better idea of what this generation really values. I honestly believe this generation of young men and women, might be a lot more responsible and hardworking than you may have previously thought.

What do you do for a living?

I am an account analyst for a large healthcare corporation. Basically my job is working in medical billing, so I handle claims and collect payments from patients for their bills. Terribly exciting I know however it is important too. Healthcare is a growing industry and is always needed so I feel that overall my profession is pretty stable. My husband Jason works as a warehouse manager/ purchasing agent for a HVAC company. Heating and air conditioning is also a necessary and a growing industry.

Do you have a degree and are you currently using your degree?

I (Andrea) have an associates degree in business management. My current job requires an associates degree, but I am not necessarily utilizing my business management degree. Since I began my website I feel that I am finally beginning to run my own business in a sense, through running my own website. My husband attended a university for 3 semesters before realizing he hates homework more than manual labor.

How long have you worked in your field and what is your current salary range?

For most people working in medical billing, this varies widely based on your years of experience, type of medical billing and the company that you work for. I make between $30k -$35k a year and I am a 15 year employee of the company. I started as a nurses aide 15 years ago and worked my way up in the company while in college. I am 5 years into my career in medical billing and although I like working in medical billing, I still dream of doing more with my life. Jason has worked in the HVAC industry approximately the same amount of time, with additional overtime he makes approximately $50k a year.

Do you save for retirement and how?

I have a 401k through my current company and they currently match up to 3% My current goal is to save more with any raise I get and learn to live on what I currently make. I received a recent raise with a promotion within the company and immediately put an additional 1% into my 401k. The additional increase is mainly going towards decreasing my debt. I also have a pension in which I am fully vested currently. I plan on setting up a Roth IRA in the next year to begin to increase my savings for retirement. Jason has a couple IRAs which he has been contributing to for about 14 years, a bit longer than I have. He has a Roth IRA that he started a few years ago, and a Simple Plan IRA that has been rolled over from job to job. He receives a 3% match on contributions through his current employer. Can you tell which one of us has always been more on top of their finances? I may be the frugal one but he has been planning for his future far longer than me.

Do you have debt? What is your debt? What are your goals to pay off debt?

We have debt which consists of student loans, credit card debt and a vehicle loan. The debt that we have currently is related to my years in college where I made poor financial choices based on inexperience handling money. I’m very grateful for some financial education that has finally put me on the right track to getting out of debt for good. Our current goal is using the debt snowball method by Dave Ramsey and building that into the monthly budget. Some people like this plan and some have different feelings, however for me it is working and I know it has for many others as well. My husband applied for a personal loan (at a bank he trusts) with a smaller interest rate due to his high credit score. He used this to pay off his last two credit cards and set up a plan to be debt free in 5 years or less. Having a plan that fits you and being consistent is important. Check out this success story from my friend Deanna over at Msfiology.com and learn about her success at paying off her debt and her appearance on the Dave Ramsey show.

Do you still have or have you cancelled your home phone/cable/satellite tv?

We do not have a home phone we strictly use our cellular phones which are not even smart phones. My husband and I have owned our same cell phones for about 6 years now and they are still working great. We also do not have cable or satellite, only internet and Amazon Prime which you can stream a lot of things for free, just like Hulu or Netflix.

What percentage of your monthly income do you save?

I try to save at least 5% of my monthly income. Unfortunately when paying down debt this is not always possible for me to do consistently. I use a savings plan each year that helps increase my savings, called the 52 week money challenge. This helps make saving money much more fun and consistent for me. We are currently preparing for a household budget meeting (Jason made me add this) to determine our standing and how much we can actually put away in savings and what we can put towards debt.

What monthly subscriptions/memberships do use if any and why? Such as a gym, Blue Apron, Graze, Amazon Prime, Dollar Shave Club, etc…

We have a gym membership, membership to Amazon Prime which is actually what we use for streaming just like many people use Netflix or Hulu. I also subscribe to Dollar Shave Club based on the price and quality of their razors. These razor blades cost far less than the ones I used to purchase. For the same great quality, they ship straight to me. Score! They are not specific to women but they do a really great job anyways. My husband usually subscribes to PlayStation plus, but he opted to let it expire and is currently saving up money to renew for the year.

How much do spend on groceries monthly? How often do you eat out?

We try to spend no more than $80 a week for the two of us on groceries. Our budget includes all groceries, household items, etc. Eating out we try to limit to once a week. This is a challenge for me because let’s face it I LOVE to eat out. So using coupons, birthday freebies, and earning gift cards helps us stay on track.

Do you have any passive income sources or side businesses?

My blog is a passive income source for me. It is not a very profitable one yet but it is slowly becoming an income source. I used to run an eBay store which brought in some income as well. I would post items for sale in the store and they would remain there until I was able to make a sale. I mostly sold ornaments and collectables and things that I would discover of value at thrift stores. I made pretty good money at it, but it was very time consuming and I burned out in a few years of running it. My husband works around 4-6 hours of overtime a week and occasionally half a Saturday. While not passive income, it is better than working a whole other part time job that requires another commute, inconvenient hours, and more taxes.

Do you own or lease a vehicle?

We own a vehicle which we make payments on monthly. Our most recent purchase was unplanned due to some issues we had with our previous vehicle. My husband and I share a vehicle to save money and be able to pay our debt down faster. A tip from our recent experience purchasing this car would be to ask about biweekly instead of monthly loan payments if you cannot purchase the vehicle out right. Let’s face it many of us have to finance a vehicle, when we do not have the money to purchase it outright which would definitely be ideal. When this is the case the interest rates are incredibly important and another money saving aspect is asking about making biweekly payments which can be cheaper.

Do you rent or own your own home/condo/apartment?

We rent the duplex we currently live in and pay $525 a month. We have not bought a home in the area because we hope to move near the ocean someday, and renting is by far cheaper than owning in the long run once you factor in upkeep and taxes. If you don’t enjoy the city you live in or the type of home you can afford, maybe renting until you are ready is better than going into debt for something you don’t love. Our dream is to save up for a smaller one story home 20min from the coast and travel.

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