My name is Chelsea Freeburn. I'm 27 years old. I'm a client manager at DX Marketing, and I make $45,000 a year. Like many people after college, I moved in with my parents and I lived with them for not quite three years after college. And at that time, aside from my student loan payment and a few other small bills here and there, all of my money was disposable. So I have a shopping habit. Not afraid to admit it. I like to buy clothes that are nice and look good. But saying no now that I have far more financial responsibility than I did previously is hard and it's a learned skill that I sometimes still struggle with. What I wish I knew about money when I was younger is how hard budgeting is. It's not something that's taught in school. They don't teach you how to manage things. They don't teach you the cost of, you know, living in different cities or moving out of your parents' house or everything that's involved with being financially independent and being on your own. When I first moved to Savannah I did not consider the cost of moving. So, you know, you can afford the apartment, but can you afford to furnish the apartment was something I didn't take into consideration. And, you know, socializing and meeting new people, that costs money. It's a nice to-do, and I've learned that it's not always a can-do. So I racked up some credit card debt when I first moved to Savannah. So what I did was get a lower interest loan to help me pay that debt off at a faster pace and a lower rate. I also have, unfortunately, a sizeable medical bill. Something a lot of people don't consider is that you can have health issues that you didn't expect even at a young age. I was 24 and in the hospital for two weeks. And without health insurance it would have cost me well over $100,000 just to get the care that I needed. I had my own health insurance, fortunately, through the company I worked for at the time. So I did not owe $100,000. It was more around $7,000, but I pay pretty close to $200 a month. Budgeting is probably the most difficult part of adulthood for me. As much as I love data, I don't like to talk about money. So when I, you know, I don't want to look at my own data, basically. I've come up with budget spreadsheets multiple times in the past, and I do try to stick to them as much as I can. But I more just keep a mental tally of where I'm at. I have all of my bills on auto-deduct, so I know exactly the amount of money that's coming into and going out of my account every month. It's more the food and entertainment money that I have to keep better tabs on. So that's more self-discipline, which is a hard skill to acquire when you're, you know, in your 20s and you want to go have fun and hang out with your friends and things like that. My monthly income pre-tax is about 3,750, and my taxes, benefits, and payroll deductions account for about $1,253. So my take-home income every month is 2,497. My taxes and payroll deductions do not include a 401(k), but they do include my health benefits. And I know that eventually I would like to begin reinvesting into my 401(k), which is something I had through my previous company. My rent right now is $1,375, which is incredibly high compared to my take-home income. But when I first moved here I was making a sizable amount more. But now that I know the city better and I have a better familiarity with the neighborhoods and where I can live, I am looking to move to somewhere more affordable that's still walkable to all of the places that I love and go to frequently. My gas and electric bill is about $50 every month. It varies from season to season. But my place is pretty small, so fortunately it's not very expensive to keep illuminated or to heat and cool. My internet is as cheap as I could possibly get it at $60 a month. For my phone, I pay about $50 a month. I don't have a car. I walk everywhere. That's one of the great things about Savannah, that I just go everywhere on foot or I do have a bike as well. I am blessed in that I do not have any student loans as I was able to pay those off within a year of graduating from college. I tend to like to budget about $100 for groceries every month. I don't go grocery shopping every week, but I do, fortunately, have a good taste in vegetables. So I eat a lot of those. A lot of frozen vegetables are super cheap, so I'm able to budget my groceries pretty well during the month. Other expenses are pretty high at about $580 a month. I have a hospital bill of $187 every month, and I have a low interest credit card loan at about $378 every month. I have a small water bill that I pay bimonthly at $30, so it's $15 a month. And I usually like to budget myself some fun money, about $50 a month for entertainment and such. Leftover income is, therefore, about $232. And whatever I don't spend on maybe a splurge for a new shirt or something like that, I like to put into my savings account. So it's just whatever I have available. My financial goals are 100% to start saving more. That is my first and foremost priority, and I am making strides toward that now. And I love to travel. I love Europe and it is incredibly expensive to fly to Europe. So I have rewards credit cards that give me miles to cover the flights, but once you're there it's quite expensive. So my goal is to add more to that savings account so I can do more of the things that I love to do.
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