In Budgeting, Debt, For Beginners, Money

How I reached my first $100K milestone and how I saved my first $100K by age 25

Someone asked for specific numbers of the time when I was starting out, and to be honest with you, I didn’t track any of the first few years very well because I was just learning. I had no clue what a budget was, expenses, etc.

I also had an issue at one point with hard drive backups, and lost all my previous years’ budgets which made me very VERY sad. I have nothing from that time, everything got corrupted, which is why I am a freak about data backup now and I have two hard drives that back up at the same time.

Ahem. So … let’s see.

So this is what I started out with, before I really took control of my money and started crushing my debt.

Here is the sexy headline:

I reached that $100K milestone when I was 27, but it is worth mentioning I started out at 23 with $60K in debt, and by 25 I had almost an $88K net worth, which means I saved more than $100K by the time I was 25.

If I include my $60K of debt (a big chunk), that means my net worth, had I started at $0 at 23 with no debt, would have been $154K by the time I was 25.

Alas, the recession hit, and I was in debt so ….. here goes!

DISCLAIMER!

I lost all of my info, so this is based off old loan payment papers and trying to remember what I paid for things back then. I remember a few specifics but not everything obviously.

Starting Net Income = $4166/month ($65K gross)

I had an income of $4166 a month when I was in the middle of clearing my debt.

2006 to 2007 first half = Original Budget was $3560.20/month

  • Rent = $2100
  • Groceries = $250
  • Transportation: $71.20
  • Internet = $14
  • Medical = $100
  • Household = $300
  • Eating out = $100
  • Toiletries = $50
  • Office = $50
  • Miscellaneous = $25
  • Shopping = $500
  • Investing = $166.64
  • Minimum Loans = $439.16

Downside: I shopped like crazy…

I didn’t understand how to clear debt. I was still shopping and buying clothes, and things I didn’t really need at that time for work, and just to feel better about my life, to the tune of $500/month.

BUT!… it wasn’t so bad!!

I didn’t have a cellphone or cable TV

I only just got one in 2017. This is how I went 33 years without a cellphone.

I also had no cable TV because I just used the internet to watch videos, etc.

It was a simpler time back then.

I didn’t subscribe to anything or go to the gym

No memberships, no subscriptions to any kind of music or any streaming services, yoga, nothing.

I didn’t take expensive internet plans

I think I was using dial-up. I went as cheap as I could.

I never went on a single vacation

All I did was work. My ‘vacations’ were going to another city to hang out.

My interest rates were 5.5% and 7%

$10K at 5.5%, and $50K at 7% which was $4050 in interest a year give or take.

I started to cut out expenses in 2007

It wasn’t until my apartment was gone, and I started really getting the hang of this budgeting thing, that I went whole hog on the budget.

My medical bills were $100 because I was going for massages, so I cut that all out, and just did basic dentist bills. No more massages for instance.

I got rid of my apartment and started living in hotels

Around June, I got out of my apartment that was crushing $2100 out of my budget each month, sold everything I had, got rid of all of my furniture (what a stupid mistake to buy any in the first place without knowing the plan for the year), and then was left with a suitcase of stuff at the end.

I started to live in hotels where I was working on projects, and didn’t travel back home any more on weekends like the other consultants. It was boring, but it saved me a fkton of money and it was also cheaper for the client versus paying for flight tickets back.

I took a long-term hotel stay (30-days is cheaper than paying by the day), and stayed there full-time without any friends or family.

I cut out all housing and food costs.

Last half of 2007 = My budget now was $200/month

  • Rent = $2100
  • Groceries = $250
  • Transportation: $71.20
  • Internet = $14
  • Medical = $25
  • Household = $300
  • Eating out = $100
  • Toiletries = $50
  • Shopping = $500
  • Office = $50
  • Shopping = $100
  • Miscellaneous = $25
  • Investing = $166.64
  • Other = $1000*
  • Minimum Loans = $439.16
  • Extra Loan Payments = $2310.20

*Extra money spent that I cannot account for.

I was socking 65.9% of my pay towards my debt

You can see that I still had some money for things like medical bills, office expenses, and toiletries. I was no longer shopping or buying anything, and it was pretty miserable.

I was putting large chunks of money into my debt now. I just threw it all in and any extra income I would get, I would put it into my debt immediately.

Unfortunately, I did not do this ‘modern nomad’ thing for a long time

In between contracts, I stayed in a trailer for cheap ($5/day, outhouse bathroom), and then would go back on another project and live in a hotel again.

This lasted for only 7 months but it helped my debt repayment a lot.

I was placed on a ‘local’ project and it all ended

The last project I had as an employee, totally effed up the budget, and I had to start living locally again but this time, without a project paying my way.

I moved back into my parents’ and started paying rent.

I also got rid of the loser dragging me down

This whole time? I was supporting a loser 100% who didn’t bring any money in or pay for anything but sit at home and play video games.

He had it good for 2 years before I came to my senses. I got rid of that deadweight.

I would also like to note that I AM CERTAIN I also spent money that I did not mean to spend because I remember times when he would go on shopping sprees and come home with a whole new set of clothes ($500), and restocked our ‘bar’ with liquor (another $1000), plus aquariums which is a very expensive habit, to the tune of about $2000 – $5000.

I don’t have these expenses listed because .. again, no budget. But I know I spent more money than what seemed to be in debt repayments because of it.

2008 New Net Income = $4294.87/month ($67K Gross)

I also got a $2000 salary increase for the bonus which meant….

2008 = Budget was now $1496.20/month

  • Rent = $1000
  • Groceries = $250
  • Transportation: $171.20
  • Internet = $25
  • Medical = $25
  • Household = $300
  • Eating out = $100
  • Toiletries = $50
  • Shopping = $500
  • Office = $50
  • Miscellaneous = $25
  • Investing = $166.64
  • Minimum Loans = $439.16
  • Extra Loan Payments = $1964

Should have stayed with my parents at the start

I should have done this from the start and not gotten an apartment because it was much cheaper to pay my parents rent for one bedroom in their home, than a full 3-bedroom apartment I didn’t need living with a loser who didn’t pay his half.

Oh well.

I was still putting a lot towards debt

I was still putting a lot of money into my debt, and I would have gotten out of it sooner than I had expected. I was really on a roll. I just wanted that debt GONE.

End of 2008 I rage quit, and quadrupled my income

The last $20K was paid off with one cheque from my contract. I made $90K in 3 months.

I would have cleared it in a year but this was an opportunity that really helped me clear my debt quickly and push my net worth up.

That means from 2006 to 2008, I cleared $40K in student loans, including the extra interest that would get charged.

With that contract, I went to $0 in net worth (MAJOR MILESTONE) and it brought me up to about $88K in net worth (don’t forget, I was also investing during that time as well), and that’s about it.

I got the contract via my network. I had kept a network of colleagues and people over the 2 years I was working, and when they heard I quit, they immediately put me forward to the brokers and contracts they had heard of.

It pays to stay in touch and be nice.

It took me 2 years to find another contract, at the end of 2010, and then I hit $100K shortly after at the age of 27 because my contract was for $115/hour or $230K a year and made $40K which put me over to the $100K milestone.

I ended the year with $177K in my net worth because I got another contract 2 months later and worked until the end of the year.

And that’s how I did it!

Share Tweet Pin It +1

Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

You may also like

I don’t say no to free money

Posted on August 30, 2013

Previous PostSuccess Story: New Freelancer scoring a $24,000 a month contract
Next PostLooking at different levels of FIRE retirement: Lean, Regular, Fat/Luxury and Barista

2 Comments

  1. Sebastien

    Love how aggressive you were with your debt early on, being able to put 60% of your pay towards that debt is incredible. Was staying away from cable and internet etc.. all those small bills that usually add up, was that part of the bigger debt free picture or at that time it was more lack of interest in having those things?

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Oh I DEFINITELY did it in the interest of money at the start. I wanted to funnel as much money as I could towards my debt. From there, it sort of made me realize that I do not watch much TV, at least, not enough to pay $100/month for it or whatever, and I realized I’d rather watch TV online or get DVDs with all of the seasons and binge watch there instead. It then became a lifetime thing, where I just haven’t really been into paying for cable TV (now it’s subscriptions or buying TV shows ad hoc), and my internet usage has gone up to ‘unlimited’.

      Reply

Leave a Reply