We have all seen the ad of the polar bear stranded on the floating island of ice that is would otherwise be attached to a solid piece of land if it weren't for global warming. As teenagers we really don't put alot of thought into how we are contributing to making this world and environment a better or safer place. At that point we are usually just trying to get thru high-school or figure out life. As our youngest son told us when we advise him to practice having a budget, he answered "Why? I don't have any bills?"
Part of moving out on your own is realizing the tremendous amount that "things" cost, and, that your parents paid for most of it while you just thought your budget consisted of going to movies, buying video-games and grabbing some food with your friends. In many cases, you may have simply taken it all for granted, ie toilet paper, water and electric bills, gasoline, insurance, air-conditioning, laundry soap, wi-fi, cable or your cell-phone.
Unfortunately, those things, if important to you, become 'fixed expenses' as you begin life on your own, meaning, you have to pay for them every single month if you want to take a shower, wash your clothes, watch TV or have email--just to name a few. Over and over, month after month, again and again, Right?
But there are two important reasons and questions to ask yourself as you approach to this 'recurrent' problem that eats away at your hard earn cash or high-interest school loan:
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1. How do you use energy?
2. What is it costing me and the environment, ie others around me?
How you approach these two issues will directly impact your budget and cash flow as well as the greater good of sharing this planet with others. Whether you are in college, grad school, or just graduated, 'fixed expenses' become a necessary evil, but you can decide how much of them you need and is your money worth it.
Take a look at a great blog offering great advice in multiple venues regarding living responsibly, but which is also geared for 20-something independent-living young adults wanting to maximize cash flow and minimize bills.
These are just a few articles to look at, but if you have time, look at this bloggers entire library of 60 posts on Summer of Savings. He is practical and useful.