MFA IRL: Can Tori Afford $ 753 Rent?

Tori asks:

“Ok, I make $14.25 an hr, get paid every week. Car note is $528 and my insurance is $293 a month, plus phone bill $80 a month, gas to work is $40 a week.  I have a 4 yr old son. Can I afford 753 for rent?”


Like many young adults you did not think long term when you bought that expensive car. As a result, almost half of your estimated take-home income goes towards your car expenses. See below. That is far more than the 15-20% max. of income we’d like to see going towards transportation.

After you pay typical amounts for groceries and food for 2 people, there is not enough left for $753 rent, or any rent for that matter. Perhaps your son’s father pays child support that could change your budget outlook, but based on the numbers you gave, you simply do not have enough income for rent right now.

Is it possible to trade your car down?  You would need to cut car and related expenses to less than half in order to just cover your essential expenses. Even that will not leave room for any discretionary spending or savings. With these numbers your best bet is to stay where you are, work to boost your income and save as much as you can for the day you’ll be moving. Print out this budgeting worksheet and use it to estimate what you need to do in order to be able to move out on your own.

Being a single mom is tough on the budget, but your son will be starting kindergarten in a year or so and that should make things a little easier. Good luck!



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