Savings Update: June 2019 - Can I hit $40,000?
June was one of my top three savings months EVER! I saved nearly 16,000 AED, 69% of my income for the month, a fortuitous number if ever there was one. I did this in spite of moving into a new accommodation and needing to get a few things to furnish it. I did this in spite of eating out more often, just because I wanted to! I did this in spite of, well, myself, because I was actually trying to spend more this month because I already sailed past my savings goal for the year and I was trying to "live a little", so I said yes to every opportunity and even had a week of staycation.
How, you ask, did I accomplish such a financial feat? When people all around are struggling to save anything, what makes the process so easy? At this point, there are some structural issues helping me, plus side hustles, plus a lot of mindset things that feel very natural.
First, the structural issues: I don't have children. No school fees, no diapers to buy, no sports teams to register for. I also don't pay taxes due to living in Dubai. I've been lucky with my health and not getting scammed. I'm also house hacking, by living in accommodation that costs less than my housing allowance. My job pays well. It's not earth shattering amounts of money (I am a teacher, after all), but it's plenty for me. The expat life agrees with me, especially financially.
Secondly, side hustles are crushing it. I got a new writing gig! Also, May had 3 articles in the paper due to the arrangement of the month (5 Fridays in the month, the day my articles come out, mean I published 3 instead of the usual 2). I got paid for a music gig I did a few months back. And my first month of house hacking income started, which gave me another 1,300 AED a month. All told, my side hustles brought in over 6,700 AED for the month. For the six months of 2019, my side hustles have brought in over 31,000 AED ($8,500 USD).
Thirdly, mindset is key. I know what my daily spending targets are, and I like it when I am below that number. I understand that happiness doesn't come from just spending money. I try to maximize free and low cost High Quality Leisure activities. I love my yoga videos, learning on youtube, reading books, cooking for friends, going on walks at the beach, playing board games, making music, and writing. Some of those are not only free, but actually make me money! It helps that I enjoy saving money, and get a burst of happy brain chemicals from that, at least as much as I get from spending. You won't get rich by not buying a coffee, but if you are intentional about your purchases, and only spend on things that bring you happiness, that can bring you wealth and joy.
All of these factors make saving a huge chunk of your income a cinch. If anything, I'm under-reporting, because I'm not including reinvested dividends in my monthly savings, and that's like another 1,000 AED at this point.
Because of that, I've now saved over $35,000 for this school year. My original goal was $25,000, so I'm $10,000 over that, with two months to go. It's possible that I'll be able to save another $5,000 this next two months, and hit a nice round $40,000. That would be awesome. It's also a bit of a stretch, as I'm on summer holiday and traveling for the next 6 weeks in the US. If I include my dividends though, I'd only need to save about $2,500 instead, which is much more doable. I like that idea better!
What about you? What makes savings hard or easy for you? Can you apply any of what I've outlined here to make it easier?
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