TRANSPARENT MILLENNIAL LIFESTYLE FEATURING THE FRUGAL FELLOW

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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.

Today’s interview is with my millennial blogger friend Bob from www.thefrugalfellow.com

What year were you born?

I was born in 1988 – definitely a millennial!

Do you eat avocado toast?

Haha, nope. I do like avocados, though. Sometimes I slice them up and just eat them whole with a fried egg in the morning. And I’m trying to get better at making guacamole, which is always good.

What do you do for a living?

I work in health care IT as an application analyst. It’s really more like a business systems analyst because I don’t do any coding. I help troubleshoot issues with the clinicians. Sometimes we can fix things right away; sometimes we have to do some configuration. Other times, we have to ask the vendor to do some development (i.e. coding) to meet our users’ needs.

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

I majored in IT, so yes, I am. I started out in English freshman year, but I somewhat quickly realized that wouldn’t work for me, career-wise.

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

I’ve been in IT in some form or another since I graduated. I started out in more general IT, but that was very short-lived – only lasting about five months. After that, I moved into health care IT, where I’ve been since 2011.

I currently make about $70,000.

Do you save for retirement and how?

Yes, in fact I am saving as much as I can. 6% of my pay is deducted from every check, and my employer matches it 1:1. This is automatic; I can’t stop it or change it.

In addition though, I opened a 457(b) account several months back. At the moment I am putting $500 into every check, but that isn’t enough to max it out. The 2019 limit is $19,000, which when being paid bi-weekly works out to about $730/check. I hope to meet that amount in 2019, but I’m not sure if it will happen yet.

Do you have debt? What kind of debt? What are your goals to pay off this debt?

I’m debt-free! I mention that in my About page on my blog. Other than the money I tend to float on my credit cards for the sake of rewards, I don’t have any debt at all. That is usually $1,000 or less at a time.

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

I have internet because I’m an internet nerd and can’t live without it. That may sound like a joke, but it’s totally true. Haha.

I used to have cable TV, but for me, it’s not worth it. I don’t watch that much TV. I do watch The Good Place, but I can get that over the air. I have a Mohu Leaf 50 (HD antenna) for that.

Oh, and of course, Netflix. But I may or may not be sharing my mom’s account…

What percentage of your monthly income do you save?

About 30% currently, but I want to increase that number next year!

What monthly subscriptions/memberships do use if any and why? Such as a gym membership, Blue apron, Graze, Amazon prime, Dollar shave club, etc?

The only thing I’m currently paying for monthly, other than utilities would be YouTube Premium. I’m always watching videos or listening to music. And paying monthly allows you to not only avoid ads, but also gives you background playback, meaning you can have other apps up while still listening. There is yet another nice feature, which is downloading songs so I don’t have to use data while listening to music in the car.

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

Food is an area where I could do better, though as a single person with no kids (SINK), it’s not that bad. I also don’t track it in a spreadsheet, so I can only estimate. That said, it’s probably $200 or so.

I also eat out pretty often, though not every single day. Probably 4-5 days a week.

Do you have any passive income sources?

I wouldn’t say that I do, unless you count my investments.

Do you own or lease a vehicle?

I lease, although I owned the one I had before. I had my reasons for leasing, and it’s not just that I wanted a newer car.

The car I have now is a 2018 Chevy Volt, and I drive it on electricity nearly all the time, meaning I don’t use gas. I leased because the electric still options aren’t that great, especially for used cars. I just really wanted to move to electric in order to eliminate emissions coming from my vehicle.

I hope to buy a used EV in the future, and I thought three years would allow the market to mature more.

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

I rent a one-bedroom apartment. Rent is cheap in my area – I pay about $1000/month and this is a brand-new apartment. However, I would still like to cut that expense down further to increase my savings rate more. I don’t know if I will end up getting a roommate or what, but that’s a work in progress.

About the author

Bob Haegele is an IT professional who blogs at thefrugalfellow.com. His blog primarily covers topics around personal finance such as student loans and credit card rewards, but he also branches out to other topics, such as mental health and the environment. Having moved to various parts of the US, he is a bit of a nomad. He’s working toward financial independence while working, blogging, and travelling.