Straight out of college in 2016, Tori Dunlap (whom you may already follow on TikTok and who is also a spokesperson for Coupons.com) set herself an epic financial goal: To save $100,000 by the time she turned 25 years old. Based in Seattle, she had a few things that gave her an advantage—a job in digital marketing (with a $55,000 salary) and the privilege of graduating from college with zero debt (more on that later). But the rest came down to a commitment to both her goal and her blossoming side hustle—now a full-blown business—called Her First $100K. Here, her strategy from start to finish, plus the savings advice she picked up along the way.
How she targeted $100,000 in the first place. “I actually read an article about a 25-year-old with a net worth of $100,000. I hadn’t really thought about setting a goal like that, so I decided to try it. The joke was that as long as I did it by the day before I turned 26, it still counted. But I was able to achieve it at 25 years and three months.”
Her cost of living wasn’t cheap and she had zero debt. “I live in Seattle, Washington and my rent at 22 was $1,300 a month for a one-bedroom apartment. I get asked all the time: ‘Oh, you were living with your parents.’ Nope. ‘Oh, your parents were paying for something.’ Nope. I was entirely on my own except for the first three months when I commuted in from my parents’ house. As for debt, I did have a car loan, but my interest rate was less than 2 percent. I used credit cards, but always paid them off on time and in full so I got the benefits—cash back, points for travel—instead of the more problematic parts.”
Her side hustle gave her a boost. “I made $55,000 pre-tax at my first job right out of college. The most I made was $77,000 pre-tax. But part of my $100,000 journey was setting up ‘Her First $100K’ where I earned money by training others on how to be better with their cash. That meant that I was not only able to save a percentage of my 9 to 5 income, but anything I made after taxes and expenses from my side hustle went immediately into a savings or investment account. Of course, those side hustle earnings fluctuated. One year, I did really well and then one year I didn’t make any money at all. But I hit $100,000 via assets in my emergency fund, my Roth IRA (which I maxed out the contribution to every year), my SEP IRA (self-employed IRA) and a non-retirement brokerage account.”