This will be my first entry of the diary-style variety, and it is for a good reason. As a 21-year-old with no degree, a full time-job, and all of his very own bills, I think it is important to shine a light on one thing: I’m doing okay! As much as the media wants to tell you that young people are dying without free college or major social safety nets, it just isn’t true. You don’t have to game the system, milk any welfare, or strike it big to live happily in the US as a 20-something. With that said, there are some efforts I am making to ensure that I stay comfortable without finding a whole new job, or adding a side hustle to my already busy schedule. So this is about the two main ways I am growing my income in ways that any of you can replicate today!

I’m Selling My Car

I know, a scary first step. No, I’m not saying you all need to go carless to save money. In fact, that isn’t even what I’m doing. When I was 18, I had focused hard on working instead of going to school, and I had a full-time $13/hr job while still living with my parents. Up to this point, my family could never afford to get me a car– I didn’t even have my license. So once I could do it myself I got a used BMW 3 series for $10k that stuck me with a $190 car payment. This isn’t too bad a payment, but the insurance for someone my age makes my current car expenses ring in at around $380. So, to increase my usable income, I’m selling the car and buying a $2000 1990 Lincoln Town Car. No payment, and $70 liability insurance gives me around $310 more to play with each month.

Better Grocery Shopping

Today I had a little bit of time at the end of my work day, and I used it to check out my bank account. Specifically, I was looking at every time I bought food outside of my grocery shopping. Between a night out with my friend, a date with my girlfriend, the vending machine at work, and some “forgot my lunch at home” days at fast food spots, I managed to rack up about $300 in extra food expense. Noticing that the most common and preventable scenario was forgetting my lunch, my next grocery trip will be focused on good sandwich makings, meat, rice, and other packables that I can bring to work without much extra effort. Date night is important, and so is blowing off some steam with friends, but there is room to cut down. My goal for next month is to cut it down to $150, giving me the same amount in extra income to save or invest.

I hope you enjoyed this inside look into how I am bettering my situation. To all the young folks out there like me: You don’t need to have a degree or a high paying job to make it. I live in southern California, splitting rent with my girlfriend in a beautiful beach city I grew up in. No degree, no six-figure income (not even close), and no crazy internet fame. Just a reliable job and some good habits! As long as you stay smart, you can improve your situation and grow your income today!