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View Full Version : How comfortably do you live?

04-15-2008, 10:27 PM
I'm sure we all know that airline pay leaves quite a bit to be desired (at least in the initial years of one's career). However, for those of you that are making such salaries (between $15,000 and $35,000) a year, how do you find your living conditions. Are you living in poverty, or are you living comfortably. Do you find yourself having to refrain from activities such as dining out and going to the movies? And most importantly, do you feel that you are living with dignity and respect?

04-15-2008, 10:47 PM
I'm a little beyond the ramen and rice portion of my life, but when I did earn a salary in the $20-25K realm, I was still able to afford my own apartment (1 bedroom in Northern VA/DC area) and survive, despite paying student loans and credit cards and other various payments.

You certainly need to cut back the first year or so of your career, and it certainly helps to have a roommate (or two) that can help defray expenses.

Cut back on "spontaneous purchases" and watch your food/entertainment bill. I never felt like I was living like a pauper, but I also didn't wine and dine every weekend like I tend to do now that I have more discretionary income.

04-15-2008, 10:50 PM
Thanks for the helpful answer; it's good to know that the horror stories of pilots living off of food stamps and sleeping in the cars are not completely true (at least, I hope).

04-15-2008, 11:06 PM
I won't say that it's "easy" living the life of a new hire or CFI, but it's certainly possible if you do some smart shopping, know a bit about finances, and aren't afraid to ask for deals from creditors (such as lower rates on your credit cards and deferments on your student loans.)

Start saving what you can now, and get used to a semi-meager lifestyle. I always found that creating a budget and forcing myself to stick to it worked best. Also not putting myself in situations where I would be tempted to spend unnecessary cash (such as spontaneous trips to the mall/best buy) helped to keep spending down.

04-15-2008, 11:53 PM
Hookers and Beer eat up most of my salary.

Actually, about half my paycheck goes to Rent, and the other half somehow keeps me fed and my car gassed up. I avoid restaurants as much as possible and eat at one about once every 2 weeks. I do always make room for beer, though. I'm finding it very difficult to pay down my credit cards, too.

04-16-2008, 12:15 AM
Yeah, I live in the Northern, VA Fairfax area and can afford to eat at Ruths Chris almost never!!!

04-16-2008, 12:39 AM
Much depends on how you choose to live. If you are fine driving an well maintained older car, not buying a new wardrobe every season, living in a clean but simple apartment, not keeping up with the Jonses, and telling your more well to do friends, "Thanks for the invite, but I can't afford to spend $100 at a nightclub" you will probably do fine.

I live in the same city as my base (saves much money and improves QOL) in a smaller "campus" apartment and put away a couple hundred on first year FO pay. Keep in mind, I have no debt: car and motorcycle paid for and no loans.

Funny thing I have found about telling my friends how little I make: when they invite to an expensive bar, they all buy me a round or two just to get me to go. (And NO, I am not female, but I do have nice man-t!ts) :D

04-16-2008, 10:50 AM
From a flight instructor's prospective, live near where you work. With today's gas prices, you can save a few hundred a month right there. Simple cable (no porn:-). Get rid of a hard line phone (the world is all cell anyway). Two for one coupons. Pack a lunch. I was spending about 60 a week eating out for lunch at work (lose weight that way too.). Change insurance. etc..... There are alot of cost cutting measures you can do and yet still live (but sometimes it is not easy). Just get creative.

Beer should never suffer..... Most times, my old buddies pay for me all the time anyway (they all used to work for me). They keep telling me that when I make the big bucks, I can return the favor..... I figure 2030 should be about right... Of course I will be 69 by then.....

04-16-2008, 11:38 AM
"Beer should never suffer....."

HAHA....I like it.

04-16-2008, 01:37 PM
I am in the 20-25k range for my income, I am renting a 2BR house with my girlfriend and a roomate. I saved up for a down payment and now drive my dream car (a WRX) and will be selling my other car soon to pay for the rest of my private pilot's license.

I am in school, so I pay a good 1,500$ per quarter. I buy parts for my cars, have lots of hobbies, and I go out to movies and to dinner a lot. I have no trouble finding money to do the activities I want to do, and I manage to keep a good savings account in case of emergencies.

It's not that difficult to have a good QOL while making not very much money. Just be smart. It also helps a lot as far as going out, to have a partner who is willing to work and pay for things too.