23 y/o looking to set myself up for success

Ok, so an emergency fund is generally thought of as "if I lose my job tomorrow, I want 3-6 months of income." With that said, right now, I doubt your food expenses are $0. Do you work 7 days a week and eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner there? If not, then it's not $0.

Here's your monthly budget: Car: $325 Rent: $550 Bills: $165 Gas: $100 Car insurance: ??? - assuming $100 for now Health insurance: ??? - assuming you don't have it for now Food (if you lost your job): $300 Minimum payment on CC: $60 Total: $1600

This means for a bare minimum emergency fund, you need $4800 (3 months of expenses). This is goal #1.

As an income estimate, I'm getting $2565 per month after taxes for you. Your current expenses (assuming $100/month for food and $100/month for car insurance) are $1400. This leaves you $1165 to save per month. Since you already have $3000 in you emergency fund, you only need to make the minimum payment on your CC for a month and a half to save to the full $4800 for emergency fund.

Goal #2 is knock out that debt. Currently at $1500, you just need 5 weeks after your emergency fund to knock out that debt. This means you put the full $1165 you have extra each month at that CC.

Goal #3(a) is build a savings. I saw you said your employer does not offer a 401K. This means you fund an IRA. Currently the limits are $5500/year. Since you save $1165 per month you should have this fully funded within 5 months. After that, you move on to an individual brokerage account where you can save money, but that doesn't give you any special tax breaks. I use Scottrade personally and like them, but you should look into your own. I also recommend using the 3 fund portfolio (http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Three-fund_portfolio) for your investing. They should also be able to set you up the IRA.

Goal #3(b) is an alternative to Goal #3(a). This is you going back to college. I saw in your other comment you went for 3 years for Biology then stopped b/c you ran out of money. You should definitely consider going back. The advantage to going through life with a college degree is so massive that you would be an idiot not to if you had the opportunity. How many credits short of your degree are you and what is the cost of a year? I would almost recommend you take out any loans necessary to complete your degree.

P.S. Also, never buy a car that expensive again. It doesn't do anything. If you make over $100K a year, sure buy something nice. But until then, remember all a car needs to do is get you safely from point A to B. Think $5000 car instead, the next time you need a car.

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