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A depressing realization.

February 8th, 2013 at 07:34 am

Today, I turned 25. I also realized today that I only earned $25,000 last year. (Actually, I realized this on February 2nd, when we filed our returns.) That means that I only earned $1,000 annually for each annum I have been alive.

Then, however, I realized some other things...
- I only worked 11 months of the year.
- The year before, we only made $11,000 total between the both of us.
- We went from over $12,000 in debt to less than $4,200 in less than a year. This will go down to $1,900 after paying off our auto loan this month when we receive our tax returns.
- My credit score has gone up 104 points in a year!

My coworkers are in-awe of our living situation and our finances. They don't understand how I can make so little, support a wife and child, and have money to save. Not only that, but we can afford little amenities here and there. If you looked around at our house, or even how we dress and hold ourselves, you probably would not guess that we "make so little money." Maybe this is because we never pay full price for things, or just because we save money. Or, even, because we don't make large purchases often (only large ones have all been paid with parts of tax returns). Maybe because we don't complain or say, "Oh, sorry, we can't. We don't have money." Rather, when asked, we talk about how happy we are, what we enjoy, and not complaining all the time about weather or politics or why we deserve this or don't deserve that. When asked to go out to a movie or something that we have not budgeted for, we simply reply, "No, sorry, maybe next time? Just give me more of a heads-up first."

At the same time, people also seem to think we put up some sort of facade. As if we make more than we do. For the same exact reasons that others are in-awe. "Look at your clothes!" or "Look at your computer!" or "Didn't you just get a new coffee maker? So what's a $12 movie?!" It does sometimes get annoying, but we just have to smile and understand that they operate on a different spectrum than we do.

We are definitely looking forward to the rest of this year! Things are looking great! The future is bright! We have lots of plans. Smile Can't wait to share them, as I am sure there will be plenty of questions to go along with them.

12 Responses to “A depressing realization.”

  1. mjrube94 Says:

    Sounds like you have a great perspective. Keep up the good work!

  2. NJDebbie Says:

    You are doing a great job. I still remember your earlier posts and I'm so happy that you have persevered.

  3. ThriftoRama Says:

    I don't think $25,000 a year at 25 is bad! Most job coaches will say you should strive to earn about or more than 1,000 for each year of age, so you're right on track. Just think of how you can earn 1000 more next year and so on!

  4. PNW Mom Says:

    Happy belated Birthday....mine was yesterday too! Hang in there...sounds like you are on the right path!

  5. Frgal Says:

    @ThriftoRama - Already covered. I got a raise this month. Albeit, not a super great one. But 3% is better than 0%. Wink Also, if someone on our team leaves/gets promoted out, I am in line for promotion. Some of you may remember my posts about possibly being promoted. Well, that is still valid. It's just a matter of the position coming open. We have an awesome team, so no one is getting fired any time soon. Smile

  6. MonkeyMama Says:

    Agreed with Thriftorama. & it seems you have been able to do a lot with that money!! (We didn't make much more than $25k with college degrees at that age). I was not raising kids at age 25, and understand that must be rough. BUT, definitely not a bad wage for your age. & I believe you have made changes to increase your income, etc.? It's all going in the right direction.

    Congrats on all the debt payoff.

    As to the comments - it is annoying - you will eventually find people you click with more. So often in our 20s I felt perceived, "You are doing so well and your spouse can stay home, so you must be rich." You just want to bang your head sometimes! The truth is, "I have to be frugal to survive on a very basic level - so stop calling me cheap because I don't throw my money away in all the ways that you do." It seems so basic a concept - I have less income, obviously, so I have to watch my spending more. It's a hard concept for most in our culture to grasp. Frankly, most my friends are 45+ these days. I think they are starting to worry about retirement more, so I jive with this group much more than my own peer group. I don't need friends who pick at me every time I make a financial decision in my own best interest.

  7. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Well, I applaud you. It sounds like you applied around 1/3 of your income to debt. At an income of $25K I think that is tremendous. Keep it up!

  8. creditcardfree Says:

    Wow! You did really well this year. Keep up the great work...and post here more often. I think you have some insights that would help others in a similar situation. Smile

  9. Ima saver Says:

    You are doing a great job with what you make! The most I ever made in a year in my entire life was $8200 and I do pretty well!

  10. Frgal Says:

    That much between the two of you?

  11. Jerry Says:

    You are stretching that money, and that should lead to some pride in that realization! The whole time I was in school we stretched our money, too, and nobody would have thought that we were scraping by, either. In fact, some people thought that we had wealthy parents (NOPE!) Wink . If you look at the growth in your income over the past few years, and project that out a bit, you have some insurance of bright financial days ahead! The trick is to maintain frugality even when you are making more money. Good luck!
    Jerry

  12. Frgal Says:

    Yes, it will be a challenge, won't it Jerry? However, I have already laid-out our plans for when I receive promotions. Since I know how much more each position makes, it's not so hard doing so. Smile

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