This is part 2 of 3 of obtaining financial independence.
Spending less than you earn, sounds easy – but is it? The basic principle is if you earn $100 then you need to spend less than $100. That’s the general rule. But there are times in our lives that this isn’t possible. When you are just out of school and your rent, utilities and student loans are almost your whole paycheck, you may experience times when you are not working – in between jobs, can’t work for medical issues etc., these make spending less than you earn a challenge.
If you have been reading this newsletter, you know that my husband had been home from work after shoulder surgery and is not getting paid while he is recovering. So what is our household supposed to do to spend less than we earn? The answer for us is to reduce our expenses and to fund the shortfall with our savings. Luckily this was a planned surgery, so we had time to plan ahead to save. But this may not be possible for everyone. First, you have to have a savings to fall back on to get through whatever life throws at you.
Spending less than you earn is critical to financial independence, as you have to save on a regular basis, putting a regular amount from each and every paycheck into savings first – pay yourself first.
Here’s how to start:
- Take a calendar out and mark your paydays.
- Determine the amount that you want to save. It’s okay to start small ($10 a week) and then increase often.
- Set up automatic system. There are two ways to do this – with direct deposit have your paycheck split by your employers so that the amount you want to save is directly taken from paycheck and deposited to your saving.The other way is to set it up with online banking and have a transfer from your checking to your savings.
There are some suggestions to making this work. Make sure not to link your savings account to your ATM card. You may want to have this savings account in another bank or credit union – not where your checking is located. You want to have access if you need the money but not have easy access to use if when you just want something. It’s too easy to transfer money without thinking.
So for that $100 you earn, you will want to save money first – pay yourself first, then live off the rest. The rest is what you pay your bills with, shop for your necessities and the money to have fun with. Yes, that’s a lot, but I know you can make it work. You want to be conscious of what and where you spend your money, so that you can make choices. Do you want to purchase that now or have that money saved for later? The choice is yours.