• Zach

Savings Update: September 2019 - Off to a Banging Start!

So, 51% of my expenses were food related...

I love tracking my spending. It makes me feel in control, and I can answer questions like, "How does my spending this September compare with my spending last September?" ($120 less this year). I'm not sure how much it has contributed to the good money habits and growth of my net worth over the last few years, but I expect it was a considerable amount. It takes all the guesswork out of my finances, or at least the spending and saving parts.

And my savings have continued to increase. Last September I saved a respectable 11,100 AED ($3,024). This September I saved a whopping 16,650 AED ($4,536)! So I spent a bit less and saved WAY more. This is the second most I've ever saved, and the most I've ever saved without a big bonus payment. Last September that represented a very good 67% of my income saved. This year, that jumped to 77%.

77% Savings Rate and $4,500 saved. In one month.

you know this guy had to come back!

I'm trying to think of my savings in terms of years of expenses for living in Thailand. It gives a nice, familiar feel for me, as I've lived there before and wouldn't mind doing it again. I've calculated that each year would reasonably cost me around $9,000. So, this past month, I saved enough to live for 6 MONTHS in Thailand. My next goal is to get to 25x my expenses for Thailand, which is $225,000. I'm currently around $59,000 away, depending on the vicissitudes of the stock market. I saved $43,000 in the last 12 months, and my net worth increased $49,000 in that period. That means I'm about a 13 months away from my first Financial Independence, if nothing goes catastrophically wrong. If I keep up this sort of savings rate, which is possible but difficult, that is very realistic.

I'm also not even including dividend payments last month, which were a not inconsiderable $472. I'm not quite sure why I don't consider those, but they are just automatically reinvested, so I never really "get" them the way I would a paycheck, so they don't seem real in the same way. If I did take them into account, that would mean I saved over $5,000 in one month. That's Bonkersville to me.

So, what are the key takeaways?

1. Side Hustles for the win! I made 5,500 AED ($1,500) from side hustles in September. That was mostly writing, and one paid music gig. Go Get You A Side Hustle!

2. House Hacking helps! That's one of the side hustles. I didn't have that last year, and it's adding 1,300 AED extra per month.

3. No major, unexpected expenses. I did spend a decent amount on food, lots of fruit and veggies, but it's still a bit less than I did last year. To be honest, being a vegan isn't consistently cheaper than eating meat. Sometimes it is much cheaper, sometimes not.

4. I can still go out to eat, hang out with friends, and buy clothes and save money. I did all that this month. Saving is on autopilot at this point. I know how to have cheap days that I enjoy, and I know how to shop without spending stupid amounts of money. I have my income and side hustles to a point where the gap between saving and spending is very big. Not drinking helps.

5. It's easy if you have the right processes and habits in place. Most of our actions are habits, so if you develop the right habits, you're more likely to get the right outcomes.

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