My name is Sienna. I am the Outreach and Admissions Coordinator for the Colorado Outward Bound School, and I make $42,000 a year. My relationship to money started when I was a very young girl. My mother is really proud of being financially independent. And she really wanted to instill those values in my sister and I. So, when we first started raising rabbits, and sheep, and goats, and all of these animals on the farm, she worked with us on budgeting. As I got older, I had more and more responsibility with the managing of the money that we would put into these 4H and FFA projects. And by the end, I was solely doing it through my own savings and checking accounts. I was actually able to pay for college, without taking out any loans. My sheep and rabbit business paid for my college, two years of college, coupled with scholarships that I was eligible for. I paid for the second two years because I worked. I was a resident advisor in the dorms, which, through my university, was a great decision. I got a thousand dollar tuition stipend, per semester, free room and board, and was paid for the hours that I was required to work at the front desk of the dorms. There were weird hours, like 3 a.m. to 8 a.m., but I was able to do my homework during those hours, to keep myself awake. So, that was one of the smartest decisions that I think I made throughout college. So, my pre-taxed income monthly, is $3,500. The government takes out about $400 of that, and of course, that fluctuates a little bit, month to month. So, the take home income comes to about $3,100 per month. My mortgage payment is $1,400. It's a really big chunk, but actually fairly comparable to rent in a lot of places in Denver, especially if you want to live alone, you're gonna be paying about that in rent. So, it feels nice to essentially be paying it back to myself as a mortgage. I'm very stingy with my gas and electric. I'm constantly unplugging things when I'm not using them, and don't run the heat if I'm not at home, or if I'm asleep, so my gas and electric bills are pretty low. I average about $30 to $40 a month. I don't have TV, just the internet, and I pay $30 a month for that. My phone bill is about $50 a month on my family plan. I do pay a hundred a month in gas. And a lot of that is because I'm always going up to the mountains to explore these great activities that Denver has. I don't have a student loan, and I don't have a car payment. I pay about $200 a month in food, and again, that fluctuates. It's gonna be more in December, because I have holiday meals to procure. And then, of course, that can get a little bit higher if for some reason, I'm too lazy to cook, and I go out to eat a lot that month. I pay about 150 a month on my credit card. That's whether or not I'm paying down a balance. I try to always pay at least 150. And I try not to have a balance carry over every month. I do set aside about 150 for entertainment. That's beers with friend, that's concerts. Maybe going into a state park that I don't have a pass for already. So I'm left with about $990, and I try to put about $300 of that directly into my savings account. That gives me $690 to have towards an emergency fund, or to make improvements around the house, or I gotta buy kibble for the dog too, and that comes out of that $690. The only loan that I currently have is my mortgage. It is large, because it's brand new (laughs), so I haven't gotten to pay much off of it yet. And that's my only loan right now. I was pretty blessed because of my savings outlook, to not have car payments. I also just didn't necessarily see the value of taking out a giant loan to pay for something that depreciates every time I use it, like a car. So, I saved a good portion of what I think a lot of people would normally spend on a car or on rent in a fancy apartment, lived with roommates, and was able to use the difference towards becoming a homeowner. And while the mortgage was incredibly terrifying to sign because I've never seen numbers that large, associated with my name before, it was incredibly empowering.
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