Have you ever envied a friend that tells you he has S$300,000 spare cash in the bank?
Do you ever feel hapless when you realize how far you are from the next paycheck?
This was me when I first started working.
I look to my friend, an investment banker at a bulge bracket bank and ask him, “What should I do to be able to have more in my bank?”
He replied with a simple word, “Save!”.
He went on to share this mindset and a nifty trick to enforce this mindset. So….
What if I tell you that all you need to save 40% of your salary is to use this “Pen & Paper” trick?
Here, I will share with you a method to save 40% of your salary.
It worked flawlessly for me.
In fact, it even exceeded my target by allowing me to save up to 70% of my take home pay every month!
I am NOT someone making 1 million per annum. I am just your average Joe, a working rat in the rat race, working a 9-5 office desk job.
As promised, I shall share with you 2 things – 1) Conditioning your mind and 2) Pen & Paper trick that will allow you to constantly make the right decision when it comes to spending.
Being Accountable – Conditioning The Mind
Face the mirror and shout this word – ACCOUNTABILITY – out at the absolute top of your voice. You have to embrace this idea. You got to take control of your mental state. No more excuses for your actions.
Every dollar that flows out of your pocket has to be accounted for.
This is not to say you have to record every single dollar you stand. We are talking about accountability here not accounting journal entries!
But what does this word mean when it comes to spending?
First, you have to be able to look back into your spending history and be able to say you are proud to have made the decision to spend that amount on that specific thing you buy.
Second, you have to enforce the think-first-spend-later mentality! The pen and paper trick will make this clearer.
Last, you need to know what is truly valuable to you! E.g. you eat a $50 steak vs eating a $100 steak. Are you able to tell the difference? Is it really worth $50 more? If it is not, then I am sad to say, you have just wasted some money.
The Pen & Paper Trick
How do I enforce accountability on myself?
I am a 30-year old guy working 80 hours per week – where do I find time to update accounting journals on my own spending?
All it takes: take out a red pen and blank paper.
Here is my 3-step method:
- Set some golden rules – rules that you cannot breach at all costs. For example:
i. Nothing more than $30 (per pax) for that 1 good meal per week
ii. Nothing more than $6 per meal otherwise
- Write your wish list – 1 luxury purchase every 3 months
i. Anything caught your fancy costing $100 or more… Do not buy it immediately!
ii. Write it down on this wish list.
iii. Only buy 1 thing from this list every quarter
iv. This must be less than a quarter of your salaryThere are 20 working days each month, you wouldn’t want to be having to work more than 5 full workings days for any of this purchase! Right?
- Lastly, set a max expenditure for the weekends!
Spending patterns studies show that individuals easily spend 3-5 times more over the weekends, as compared to the entire weekdays.
This is where consumers are at the weakest and most vulnerable.
So let’s all write this down, “I will below $200 from Friday morning to Sunday night”.
There you go, this trick would put you in good stead to start accumulating your savings!
To share timely reminder from Warren Buffet: “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left AFTER saving”.