We agreed that we were going to use January’s salary as a trial salary to assess how things are going to be this year. There are 52 weeks in a year and we are about to complete a full 8 weeks cycle. That is sufficient to give us enough time to recover from Januworry and get back into reality.
The main key takeaway from that article was to track your expenses for the month of February so that you can see where all the money is going. This is important as you know how much you expect your March expenses to be based on actual numbers and not estimates. You can use different ways to track your expenses including a note book, using your bank statement, using an excel spreadsheet or through an app. Have you done that yet? You must understand that the only way to benefit from this is if you take action.
In addition, I want to remind you of the jar system. Ideally, you need to have expenses in the followings catergories:
- The living expenses jar. This is the money you are budgeting for your day to day expenses. Keep this as low as possible.
- Freedom Jar-In here you want to save money so that you can retire early or go pursue your side hustle full time.
- Savings jar- your emergency savings and short term goals money.
- Education jar- to invest in your intellectual capacity.
- Play jar- to enjoy yourself for the hard work you are doing.
- Donations jar- to spread love amongst humanity.
Here is a chart of how I spent my salary this month. Knowing this definitely helps in deciding what it is that I need to improve in my next month cycle:
- My biggest expense for the month is my home loan savings. This should not be a surprise seeing that I have an aggressive approach towards paying off my loan.
- 58% of my salary went to my investments. I am hoping just to up that to 60%.
- 7% went to food. This is mainly because I am living in a hotel and I have to buy meals daily.
- I gave away atleast 13% to others. This include unplanned black tax.
- The remainder is made up of other categories.
What to do next:
- If you had a once off expenses that you had to pay in February such as upfront school costs, why don’t you save an equivalent amount in your savings this month and try to live off the salary less that amount?
- If you have non-recurring expenses that you expect at the end of the month, remember to adjust your budget.
- Can you priorities paying off your debt because the interest you are earning on the savings is probably lower than the interest you will be paying on the loan?
We can do this, one step a time.