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Working with the Twins – Young Adult Budgets


The twins and I have met (individually) to discuss their budgets and goals. They are working with quarterly budgets and starting (really just starting) to think long term when it comes to their finances.

I am covering their room and board now, but they are responsible for all their own monthly bills, spending money and school expenses. It has been a learning lesson for us all.

How We Created their Budget

These are the categories we used to plan their money:


Individual subscriptions (Hulu, Xbox, Spotify, etc.) – these vary for each of them
Cell phone
Car Insurance

Car Maintenance – oil change and then a little extra for other regular car care items such windshield wipers, tire rotation, etc.
Special events (varies by season) – this quarter we discussed including extra monies for our Thanksgiving Trip to Texas, Christmas presents and a trip they plan to take over the Christmas holiday back to Virginia

Once we had these numbers, we divided them up into weekly/bi-weekly amounts based on their pay schedules with their jobs.

How the Money Works

Once we knew the number they needed to have available to them for these expenses, we made a plan.

  1. Every time they get paid, they put their monthly and quarterly monies into their personal savings so when those expenses/bills arise, they have easy access to the money.
  2. They also “pay themselves” their weekly money and put it in their personal checking or withdrawal in cash, whichever they prefer.
  3. The remainder of their paycheck gets moved into a shared checking account. (Each twin and I share an account.) This is not to be touched without a discussion with me. We call it their nest egg.

Because Sea Cadet has been working on this for quite a while, he has another account where we put $500 which is for car maintenance. This is for any major repairs, etc. that he might need for his car.

I plan to do the same with History Buff, but he’s just getting on his feet so it will take a little while.

What about an Emergency?

I believe this is a good jumping off point for them. They are responsible for making sure they maintain their personal savings with no oversight from me for the budgeted items and know that if it comes time for any of the pre-planned budgeted expenses, they will not be able to withdrawal any additional monies.

But having their nest egg allows them to have an EF of sorts. Sea Cadet has dipped into his nest egg a few times:

  1. When his hours got cut and he didn’t have enough to cover his budgeted needs. It was a small amount but really nice for him to see that savings at work.
  2. He had to purchase some medical supplies and uniforms for his EMT courses and clinicals. Again, not a significant expense but something unexpected. And it was really nice to be able to buy them without stressing at all.
  3. When his cell phone stopped working, he was able to purchase a new phone on Amazon quickly. (He later found out that his phone issue was a the result of an Apple defect and they fixed it for free and he got this money back.)

Long Term

They really are just starting to think long term and the money required for that. They both dream of better cars. (I just hope their cars make it until they are done with college.)

Sea Cadet has his eye on the prize of graduating with his Advanced EMT diploma next August and plans to move out. He’s really earmarking his “nest egg” for that move and possibility of being independent and  out of a job/income for a while when he moves.

We haven’t talked numbers for these long term plans yet, but they are starting to think about them. And they are definitely enjoying the freedom (from stress and otherwise) that having a nest egg gives them.

I’d love to hear ways you helped your young adults launch into the world post-college specifically when it comes to finances and planning!



  • Reply jp |

    Retirement savings. Have them start putting 10% of every paycheck into an account, and once they have enough saved up, open an IRA for them. My parents made me do this with my very first job (babysitting)…it’s so much easier if it’s a habit from the start. Get that habit formed, and formed early.

    • Reply Andrea |

      Great idea. There are even some options out there that don’t have minimum requirements where they can get started right away. I’d go with a ROTH given their ages/income/tax brackets.

    • Reply Hope |

      I honestly didn’t even think of this, thanks for the pointer! Any recommendations on IRA providers? And minimum to shoot for? I think Sea Cadet could start working toward this while I think History Buff needs to get a buffer for his car and emergencies before we tackle it. But definitely on the to do!

      • Reply Walnut |

        Check with Vangard, Fidelity or TD Ameritrade. All should have some easy, low fee options. Roth IRAs are a good route.

      • Reply debtor |

        id say fidelity or vanguard. both are great and i know one of them took away the account opening minimums.

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    I have 2 young adults living at home. Each payday they are required to place money into their accounts as if they are paying rent ($125 for the kid being paid weekly and $250 for the kid being paid biweekly) this way when the time comes for them to pay rent they will be better prepared while at the same time putting $6000 a year into their accounts for expenses like first car,school or emergency funds for when they first leave home.

  • Reply Shanna |

    All four of my kids were required to put 50% of everything they earned into a savings account they didn’t access until college. It started with their first dog walking jobs at 9 or 10. They did not have to put birthday/Christmas money in there. But half of all babysitting, jobs, etc went in there. They had thousands saved by college to pay for extras like spring break trips, concerts, etc.

  • Reply Andrea |

    One other thought–there’s no reason two healthy young men should need to pay someone to rotate their tires. Everyone should know how to change a tire anyway–and rotating tires is just changing 4 tires. Sure it’s faster and easier to pay someone, but when you’re starting out and trying to save money it’s a relatively easy thing to do yourself.

So, what do you think ?