• Zach

$43,800 Saved in ONE YEAR, as a TEACHER


well, not JUST as a teacher, but that's the main thing :)

The results are in, August has ended, and the data have been parsed. Here are the key takeaways from the data.

  1. I earned $72,361 from all sources. This includes teaching (around $54,000), side hustles (around $14,500), and dividends (around $3,700). Not bad for a lowly teacher.

  2. I saved $43,800. This works out to a savings rate of 60% for the year. That's fantastic!

  3. I spent $28,561 for the year. Considering I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, that's pretty good. I also traveled for around 8 weeks during this school year and summer, and that's included in this. I even took a cruise!

  4. My Net Worth increased by $49,000. That means my investments had capital appreciation (not including dividends) of $5,200. Free Money!

  5. I invested everything I saved.

I hope we can agree that teaching overseas is financially awesome! I got to keep my entire paycheck, instead of paying income tax, sales tax, property tax, etc etc etc. When I did the math before, I calculated that my $54,000 in real teaching income here is the equivalent of earning between $175,000 and $333,000 in the United States.


Then, when you tack on lucrative side hustles, that number just balloons nicely! The side bonus of that time spent doing what I love and getting paid for it is also considerable, beyond the financials. My side hustles were 23% of my total income, and the equivalent of getting a 31.4% raise over my normal salary, if I'm doing the math right.


My spending was totally fair. Especially considering I spent around $8700 for my six week summer vacation in the States (including flights which were mostly reimbursed). If I take out the reimbursement for the flight, that number goes down to $7,263 out of pocket. Considering how great the summer was, that's a bargain! While I certainly could have spent less last year, I'm totally fine with this level of spending. Overall, I spent a little more than $2,380 per month on average. For a non-married, childless guy in an expensive country, that seems very reasonable. I don't feel deprived; I went to concerts, I went out to eat, I was social, I travelled to two new countries and a couple ones I'd been to before as well, I took a 2 week long Alaska cruise/adventure.


My goal is to get to $200,000 net worth by the end of this school year. As it stands, that's $37,000 to save between now and then. I have no idea what the stock market will do in the next 12 months, it may make getting to that goal harder or easier. I have no idea what my side hustles will do between now and then either. I gave myself a House Hacking raise this year, so that will make it a bit easier (about $3,500 or so).


What did I learn? What can you apply?


1. Luck helps! I didn't have any major possessions break this past year. My phone, TV, computer, and car have been very well behaved. I didn't have any major illnesses. If you buy, try to buy quality so that you don't have to replace it or repair it very often. Don't get down on yourself if something goes wrong. If you have good processes in place, you're more likely to get the outcome you want, but there's always things that can happen no matter how good your preparation.


2. Find Side Hustles that you love that pay. Monetize your passions. It can take a while so get obsessed and start creating.


3. Find free things to do that you love. For me, learning things on youtube, board games, cooking for others (ok, that's not free, but it's pretty cheap), reading, watching tv, doing yoga from videos, going for walks, going to the beach, hiking are all great ways to spend leisure time.


4. Batch cook! Saves your time, money, and health!


5. Don't be afraid of trying things that seem a bit extreme. For me, that's moving out of the one bedroom apartment I'm used to and moving into a shared villa. What money saving measure seems a little "out there" to you? See how you like it! Humans can get used to almost anything, so you might as well use that flexibility to save some money and meet your financial goals.


In Conclusion


This has been a fantastic year for my financial goals. It's starting to feel automatic in terms of saving money. I hope you also are making progress, but if you're just starting out and I had to give one piece of advice it would be this: TRACK YOUR SPENDING! That sets a lot of other things in a positive direction.


If you liked this post, come join the discussion over at The Happiest Teacher Facebook Group! I would love to have your voice added to the discussion! Also, if you're into that Twitter life, come follow me!

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Currently in Dubai, UAE