How to save money
People will tell you to save on the Starbucks, not to buy that double cheeseburger, because if you never buy a cheeseburger again you’ll save thousands over your lifetime.
I don’t know about you, but I read these comments. Think “Oh I won’t be buying that cheeseburger” and the next day I’m in McDonald’s eating that cheeseburger.
We all know it’s not helping our saving goals but it’s just one of those little things that gets us through the day. It may be not be essential to someone else, but for you that cheeseburger is joy. It’s important. You love it.
Fair enough. I don’t think you should be restricted.
So you think I’ll have my cheeseburger- but I’ll budget. Because that’s what every good young adult says they do – but who can actually stick to a budget?
My super organised friend Emma is a machine. She wakes up early, goes to all her lectures, eats meals at set times, has timetables and schedules everything. I’m almost certain she was sent back in time to kill Sarah Conor.
We got talking about budgeting and she told me how stressed out she felt, and how much pressure she was under from always having to live by the budget. If she can’t handle it, I have no faith in the rest of us.
We all waste money. You waste money. I waste money. Compare it to your grandparents. Do you think they were spending hundreds just to upgrade their phone? We’re all materialistic whores. You feel guilty about doing it? Yes. Do you do it anyway? Of course. Our generation is pretty fucked up that way. I hate to think about the amount of times I have looked at my bank balance and thought: “Holy shit, what have I done?!” as I lie emotionally destroyed, teary eyed staring at my bank balance.
For many young adults who don’t have a lot of income, this can lead to big problems.
Luckily I’ll reveal how you can do and buy the things you love- while still building up your saving. You’ll be able to eat that cheeseburger.
No one likes budgeting.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT BUDGETING.
I’m not going to tell you to track every penny- as you’ll probably kill yourself in about two days.
So let’s forget budgeting.
Instead let’s get a plan in place that will allow us to have the things we love.
The first problem we face is the dreaded “plan”.
I know many people will now leave the page as it involves doing something you don’t like. What did you expect?
Your plan will take an hour or two, but my god will it let you do so much fun shit that you love.
You will not be adopting a cheap skate attitude towards money. You will be having the things you truly love.
But you will need to cut out items that you simply buy for the sake of buying.
I love food but I’m not the biggest fan of drinking.
Although my Facebook constantly reminds me of 2012 where every photo is of me drinking.
So when I’m out for food I’ll happily buy it. But if everyone else orders a beer with their meal, I’ll just get a water – because I know drinking isn’t something I really enjoy.
You’ll need to master the art of being frugal for your plan to succeed.
Not buying the vodka and coke doesn’t make you cheap. If you’re going to spend the money on going to see the movie you want instead then it makes you FRUGAL. Frugal is the name of the game.
It’s been generations since the art of being frugal existed. Which is our main problem.
On Instagram, people everywhere are flashing their drinks, meals, clothes and just about anything else that was probably an unneeded purchase.
So maybe you’re friends, family and idols are spending money on useless things that don’t really bring much joy long-term. That doesn’t mean you have to. There are so many more things you could be doing with that money.
It not only applies to drinks- it applies to everything.
Think about that phone you seen advertised today. Looks good doesn’t it? More megapixels and a bigger screen. Very Fancy. Suddenly your phone is starting to look a bit shit.
Then your mate Jen gets that new phone, and now your phone looks about as appealing as milk that’s been left in the fridge for months. So you pay a few hundred and upgrade. Don’t you feel good?
No you don’t. There is basically no difference from your last phone, and now you have to live the rest of the month close to your overdraft. You’ve fallen prey to the marketing geniuses of the world yet again.
You may think you have to keep up with your friends, buying this and that. But would you rather be the person travelling Vietnam with a Nokia 6320 or the person stuck at home with an iPhone 6+?
So don’t be cheap but do be frugal.
You won’t be making people uncomfortable because the steak you ordered turns out to be expensive – that’s cheap.
Not chipping in to pay for the group taxi is cheap, not frugal.
You won’t be the cheap person, you will be the frugal person that can afford shit they love.
To do this though you will have to cut your bullshit spending and get real harsh with yourself in regards to what matters.
Rich people stay rich by living like they’re poor. Poor people stay poor by living like they’re rich.Unknown
For your plan you will need to decide what is important that you want to spend your money on.
Is it travel? A morning coffee? Or a new car? Once you’ve decided what is important it’s time to eliminate the bullshit spending. Be ruthless young one.
I need you to do this.
We can’t have you emotionally ruined by your bank balance anymore.
It may seem difficult, but suddenly that guilt you used to feel when buying is gone because you know you’re only buying stuff that you love.
You may be a student with a part time job, jobless, or working full time for mediocre pay. Either way the same principles apply.
Decide what is truly important. Write that shit down in a list. You need your list to be as small as possible. If you’re sitting with a blank list or a list of 50 things you love, its not going to work.
Get your list as small as possible.
Don’t be a little bitch- be decisive.
If you want to visit Thailand this summer (WHICH YOU HAVE TO DO IT’S AMAZING) write it down. If you need donuts to function every morning- that’s right- write it down. But choose carefully. Get real with yourself and be ruthless.
Be an exception of our generation. Don’t get caught up in doing what everyone else is doing. Because everyone else is looking at their balance thinking: “What the fuck am I doing, I could have spent that money so much better!”
Don’t be that person anymore.
Write the things you love down.
Obviously this isn’t going to be easy to stick to. So let’s see how to organise your money.
Take your income.The more the better, but don’t worry if you’re dealing with little to no income. Your calculations will just be different.
Your going to be splitting your income into three sections : ‘Fixed Costs’, ‘Savings/Investments’ and ‘Your Fun Money’.
Figuring out your fixed costs seems to be easy, but it’s kinda difficult. To get the ball rolling you’re looking for: Phone Bill, Rent, Insurance, Food shopping, Internet etc. This is the stuff you must pay.
To get an estimate of the cost, go to your online banking and check the last month.
Once you think you’ve got your final total, add 20%. Yeah you heard me 20%. You think this isn’t needed but try having your phone break, your car crash or receive an unexpected fine and see how your budget stands.
The longer you assess your monthly spending and work out your costs, the more accurate you will be. For now however, just doing it is a MASSIVE STEP to success.
Subtract your fixed costs from your pay.
Whether your pay is a one-off student loan, a monthly wage from a part-time job or full-time pay. Figure out how much income you have and subtract your fixed costs.
For any loans or grants simply divide the loan by how many months it’s meant to last.
Now go back to your plan. You’ll hopefully have one to three things that you would really love or would love to do.
These are the things you need or want in your life. You have to be willing to give up the rest.
How much do you need to just keep these three things?
Do the math.
If you need your morning coffee everyday, multiply the coffee cost by how may days you drink it. Then multiply it by the weeks in the month.
Minus the coffee cost from your total income.
If you want to visit Thailand- which you really really do- then…
Work out roughly how much your trip will cost. A quick google search can usually give you the answer. Then figure out what month/year you would like to visit Thailand. How many months do you have left to that time? Then divide the cost of the trip by the number of months you have left. This is how much you need to save each month.
Take your monthly Thailand cost away.
You do the math for anything else you need. If you can figure out what is truly important to you this process will be a whole lot easier.
Of the money you have left, 10% should go in something long term. Yes you’re young, but the magic of compound interest means you’re losing thousands from not saving right now.
Any money you have left is your guilt free money. Spend this on anything. But once it’s gone it’s gone.
You won’t need to track pennies or budget. Yes you’ll have to be frugal, but why would you not want to be?
To make this work, make sure your goals are realistic. If you’re a student with no job, and what you really want to do is travel the world in the next month, it’s not gonna happen unless you increase your income.
But until then be optimistic but not insane- unless you plan on making some big changes.
Whatever you do don’t eliminate everything you love. You’ll be highly motivated to live off rice and sleep in a tent to save money- but in four days time, eating your rice in that tent ain’t gonna look so good.
So instead take small actionable steps. Miss that vodka coke. Say no to the night out. But don’t lock yourself in your room out of fear of spending money. Drastic change rarely lasts.
Here’s a great example. Your friend (who is low on money) proudly declares: “I’ll quit drinking for a month”. This is usually after seeing the damage their drinking has done to their bank account. That person knows, you know and everyone else knows that your friend will be drinking in the next few days. Extreme behavior changes never last.
Your plans need to be worthwhile for this to succeed. Make it a goal- a concrete goal that you can imagine. While your body screams ”buy those new clothes!”, you’ll simply picture yourself on that beach.
Some practical tips: open a new bank account for your saving that directly transfers from your main account. I do this online. My bank allows me to set saving goals, and yours probably lets you do the same. This may seem trivial, but seeing your savings slowly build is super motivating.
Don’t forget to enjoy yourself though. If you feel in that moment that you’re going to get more joy out of McDonald’s than if you were closer to your savings goal then eat your McDonald’s. Just cut back elsewhere.
As long as your focus stays there, and you consistently apply it, suddenly your bank account is going be looking a hell of a lot better.
If after this you’re still short, here’s some more things you can do:
-Earn more money
-Progressively cut some expenditures.
Say you’re spending $100 a month on alcohol, in clubs or bars.
The first month you could cut this down to $90.
You’re not going to notice a $10 difference.
The second month you could cut this down to $80
Again it’s just ten dollars difference.
Do this for six months and you’ve still got money to drink, but suddenly you have $50 extra to work with without any withdrawal symptoms or struggle.
This progressive change is a lot more likely to lead to success.
Make small changes, day by day. In business, life and work and it starts to become MASSIVE.
So how do you force yourself to not spend the money?
Contact your bank and tell them to not allow you to go into negative balance: “Don’t let me process it.” Just make sure they don’t charge you for going over if you don’t have the necessary funds.
Pay off your fixed costs as early as possible so you don’t accidentally end up screwed.
Take your money and put it inside three containers, your ‘Fixed Cost’, ‘Savings’ and ‘Fun Stuff’. Either bank accounts or shoe boxes. Put it in each. Once your ‘Fun Stuff’ container is empty no more spending.
A lot of young people have limited income so they believe they can’t get money- but that’s not true. You can easily start earning more to make your goals bigger and your plans easier to manage.
Luckily for you, you’ve already started on your journey to gaining financial freedom.
If you still need more money you can check out my free course that will help you earn more money, give you more freedom and the ability to do work you love.
Click here to get access to the course
This article was inspired by my reading of Ramit Sethis book I will teach you to be rich, I recommend you check it out. If you enjoyed this article you can help support the website, by purchasing Ramit’s book in the link below.
If you have any questions ask them in the comments section below.
Talk soon 🙂