I start working since mid-2015 and have saved up quite a decent amount of money to spend on some serious thing. I think high income is a huge plus, but knowing how to manage your money and save up are more important. Earning a thousand or a million aren’t different if you just spend all you earned. You won’t be able to have some emergency money. So, I am here to share my current way to manage my money.
Honestly, I never work before I graduate from college. My current job is my first job, and I am pretty lucky to work in a startup and have a nice boss. He raised our salaries several times. I think it is because he earns a lot more XD This really help me to save up faster. It is the main reason of keeping this job even it is not related to my degree. I have been doing the following since I was in college. Financial Aid is my income. I never ask my parent to help me out or get a job when I was in college and living in the apartment. Well, they do bring me food once a while, but overall I can pay everything.
1. List your fixed cost
This should be easy. We have something need to pay every month, such as rent, mortgage, car, phone, the internet, etc. Don’t include food, water, electricity or anything that we can save on. In my case, I have car mortgage, rent, school loan and phone.
2. Over estimate your non-fixed cost.
Take out your water bill, gas bill, electricity bill, and remember how much you spent on food last few months. Calculate the average and list it out. Make sure add a little bit more in case you spend little more. Example: If average cost is $150, make it to $170. In my case, I share my bill with people living next door, and I only need $100 for food every month, so it always below and around $300.
3. Calculate your free money
Subtract 1 and 2 from your income of the month to get the amount you can spend the way you want. For example, I earn $3500/month, fixed cost $1965, non-fixed cost $300, I have $1235/month to spend or save.
4. Limit how much you can spend per month
I limit myself to spend at most $200/month. You can spend $100 for one month and the other spend $300 as long as you set a limit to spend. I know it will be hard for people who eat outside a lot, but saving up is not an easy job anyway. If you cannot cut out some of your spendings, you won’t save up unless you have more than one job and earn double. Keep in mind that the less you spend your free money, the more you save.
5. Never buy something you don’t use
This sounds easy, but I know a lot of people fail it. I have a habit when I go shopping. I always ask myself if I am going to use it. I do this when I go grocery shopping too. Although I buy something fancy to treat myself, I make sure I don’t waste it. I think rice, noodles and frozen veggie are foods we can stock up when they are cheap. They can store and keep fresh very long time, and they can feed us well 😉 Knowing what is necessary and not necessary. If you walk or stand a lot, buy a good pair of shoes is necessary.
6. Try to cook at home
If you don’t cook at home, try to calculate how much you have spent on food last month. I bet that can help you get a new phone. I am a bit crazy on calculating how much I spend on food. As I said above, I just need $100/month for food. This $100 probably can allow you to have 10 meal outside. I don’t know how to cook fancy dishes. I can simply just use frozen veggie and rice to make fried rice and last for a week when I really need to save some more extra month XD
7. Find a way to record your spending
I use my credit card and rarely use cash. I track my monthly spending online. If you use cash often, use an excel or any paper to write down the money you spend. If you are lazy, you can simply put numbers only, but I recommend at least group them. Example: Food $40, clothes $100, beauty $60, etc. This way you can understand what you spend the most and what you can cut off to save up.
Walking instead of taking a bus. Taking a bus instead of driving. Share apartment or room with other people. Using old clothes as a pajama. Air dry your clothes (better to dry them under the sun) instead of putting in drying machine. Charge your phone outside XD There are so many other things can do to help save up few dollars.
These are few things I do to manage my money and save up. Of course, it is great if you earn a lot, but knowing how much you spend and save some portion every month won’t damage your life. We never know when we will need some extra money. If you have money to spend on something you don’t necessarily need and don’t care about emergency need, you can donate or use that money on people who need it.
I hope these tips can help you or inspire you. Do you have any saving tips? Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day!
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