Money well spent

Let’s talk about saving habits

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Hello everyone. Today I’d like to share my experience of how I track expenses and my saving habit. In this post, I’ll talk about what’s driving me and how I manage my spending. In spite of the fact that I’m nowhere close to being a successful person, it sounds like I ever want to be one, but it’s a way of gaining some control over my destined fate. This is a grassroot strategy of getting myself prepared for the worst.

Please be aware.

Here’s my humble way of how a lowly peasant fights his own battle. Laugh all you want. You’ve my permission to do that.

First things first, I can tell you that saving is always a good habit to have. No matter your level of income, it’s something that you should consider doing as soon as you get yourself a job. I probably started doing that way before getting a full-time job. In my experience, this is the most useful and valuable investment in myself. Because it’s not only about money, it’s about developing self-discipline. In a way, you’ve a small but helpful control over your finances and your job.

Unlike people in the West, we Asians tend to accumulate quite a lot of our income into savings. We don’t live paycheck to paycheck, instead, most of the people here work their whole lives to save up money for retirement, and their families. I cannot speak for anyone, but generally, it’s kind of the culture here.

I have never applied for any credit cards in my entire life. The bank issued it to me automatically even without me asking. I rarely use it, only use it to pay for some online shopping when necessary. I prefer to pay in cash when possible. This way, I will never go in debt.

As you can tell, I’m literally broke as compared to most people out there. But I managed to have a certain amount of savings in my bank account. Although it’s a small sum of money, but please allow me to call that an achievement. I’ll keep it going for as long as I can. As a rule of thumb: depending on my salary, I will make sure half of that monthly income goes into savings at a bare minimum. I checked my expense app, and I believe I averaged more than 60%. I have been doing this since I got my first job in 2008.

Are you curious to know why? I’m glad you asked. Because I always ask myself the same question: “For how long can I survive if I’m unemployed and without an income?” There are people out there who have worked in the same job for 20 years. There are some who change their jobs often or even switch to an entirely different industry to work in. I’m no fortune teller, I cannot predict the future. It seems to me I have very little control over my fate and if I do not practice a saving habit, the “room of freedom” will become even smaller. This is the very reason that drives me to establish such a “rule” for myself.

Sometimes, shit happens. There’s no guarantee of pretty much everything you think it’s yours. If you find yourselves in such a situation, you’re prepared. You’ve a little emergency fund to save yourselves. You don’t want to feel helpless or miserable, but instead, you can take some time to catch your breath. Try taking a break to rest, to recharge, and to think. And when you’re ready, it’s time to strike back. That’s what I believe in.

To me, the future is always uncertain. So, I track every single expense using expense tracking apps. Back in the day, I recorded my expenses using a Excel spreadsheet. I did that for a few months and stopped updating it. You might have guessed it, jotting down every single item of my spending on a spreadsheet was a chore. But still, this is a habit that is useful and practical for managing your money. You will be surprised by how much money you can save in a month by eliminating expenses that were unnecessary. Numbers don’t lie. How to make use of it is for you to decide. You can then invest that part of the money into other things that are more valuable to you. My belief is that tracking your expenses can help you spend your hard-earned money wisely. Also, it’s a bit satisfying to see the “trend” of your spending after a certain period, like a year later.

Speaking of expense tracking. I’m now using Spendee. To be fair, it’s a useful app. It is popular for a reason; it has all the features that you might need. But I don’t like the tracking they did on the iPhone and they’re into NFTs. I’m in search of an expense app and I’d welcome for suggestions.

So, that’s it. This is one of the principles I used to live by. It might not make you successful in any way, but it does help me. To anyone who’s reading, I hope you are well. If you’re out there struggling, don’t be sad. Start with some good habits and I’m certain it will get better. We keep on fighting.

This is #Day64 of #100DaysToOffload.