How I Save 50% of My Income

Today’s guest post is from Polina.  She is a member of one of the awesome Facebook groups I am in, Blog + Biz Bff’s.  Check out her bio at the end of the post.

 

I recently left my 9-5 job to pursue a career in freelancing and online business.  Although I wanted to leave my full-time job for a while, it took a year of preparation. The most important part of the preparation was saving money.  I wanted to have a financial cushion while I focused on building up my business full-time.

My goal was to save enough money to live for a year as soon as possible.   Although the task seemed extremely difficult, I put a plan into action to save 50% of my income each month.

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To be completely transparent, let’s dive into the numbers. When I originally decided I was going to save 50% of my income, I was making about €1200 per month.  For my American friends, that’s about $1320.  Although it may not seem like much, my salary was average for my city (Barcelona, Spain).  In addition, I was accustomed to living below my means.  As a student, I lived with €500 or less per month (about $575).

How did it go? Pretty good! The quality of my life didn’t change – I just had to make a few adjustments and plan ahead of time. I was still able to eat out, buy new stuff, and travel occasionally.  Here are the 9 steps I took:

 

Living Expenses

In order to lower my rent, I got renters.  Previously I rented out a room in a shared flat and paid about €300 ($330) monthly.  To reduce that expense, I rented an entire flat and put renters in the free rooms.  There was an upfront cost in deposits for the larger space; however, once the additional rooms were rented the renters ended up covering a majority of the costs including my portion!

Food

I decided to cook and plan all of my meals in advance.  First of all, I would make a list of what I needed at the grocery store to minimize wasted food.  After I purchased the groceries, I would “meal prep” or cook for the entire week at one time.  Then I limited myself to eating out once per week for a max of €15 (about $17). I repeated that system every week for a year!  Not only did it help me save money but it also helped me eat healthier food!  🙂

Related: 10 Items you Should Slash from your Budget

Clothes

Similarly to planning my food in advance I also planned my wardrobe.  I noticed that I spent a lot of money on clothes and accessories that I hardly wore.  Instead of impulse shopping, I started planning my outfits before buying them.  That habit limited my impulse shopping because I only bought clothes when I really needed them.

Phone

I don’t have a cell phone.  Yes, you read that right.  I don’t have a phone.  This may seem a bit weird or radical but I haven’t had a phone in years!  I will admit that I do have an iPad which I use on the go.  Messenger, Whatsapp, and Skype all are great phone substitutes and they are free as long as wifi is available.  Luckily, there are plenty of free wifi spots in Barcelona where I live.

Related: 6 Bills you Need to Negotiate

Transportation

I don’t have a car and I don’t use public transportation.  I actually ride my bicycle everywhere!  I am a cycling addict.  On top of saving money, I get regular exercise and it’s good for the environment.  Plus, since I love to cycle, I look forward to my morning commute.

I do realize this money saving tactic may not be feasible for everyone.  However, if you have the possibility, you should try it! 

Credit Cards

I don’t have a credit card.  Personally, I am not planning on buying a house anytime soon or making a large purchase in general.  Not having a credit card helps me to stay within the limits of the money that I have and not tie me down with debts that could slow me down in the future.

I realize this is another one that may not be for everyone; however, if you have balances on your credit cards work on paying them down.  The interest associated with most credit cards is outrageous! 

Related: How this Teacher Paid off $39,000 in 21 months

Travel

Even though I was focused on saving 50% of my income, I didn’t let that stop me from traveling.  I love traveling new places and figured out how to travel on a budget.  For example, I traveled around Europe for two months on $1000.  It all starts with finding the lowest flight available.  Personally, I browse Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight possible.  Once I find an inexpensive flight, I get creative when it comes to lodging.  I have stayed in hostels, dorms and even tried couch surfing (or staying on couches of people I have never met).  Even while traveling, I only allow myself to eat out once a week.

Related: 6 Cheap Hotel Alternatives (that aren’t Airbnb)

Entertainment

Despite living on a low budget, I still manage to have fun!  I go to events like open air movie projections, museums, yoga classes, and concerts … all for free!  I have been able to find plenty of free events in Barcelona.  I am sure with some research you can find free or inexpensive events in your city too!

Related: 10 Awesome Date Ideas for Under $20

Extra Income

Besides lowering my expenses as much as possible, I also started making income outside of my 9-5.  I ended up working as a web designer on the side for extra money.  You would be surprised at what skills you can provide to someone to earn extra income!

Related: 10 Unique Ways to Make $250 This Month

Saving 50% of your income isn't easy. Guest poster Polina gives us tips on how she saves 50% of her income!

Takeaways

If you want to save 50% of your income follow these 3 steps:

        Keep Track of All your Expenses

        Increase your Income

        Before spending money, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Is it something that you need?
  • Can you do it yourself?
  • Can you make it cheaper?

 

Author Bio: Polina is the founder of the Loom Creative.  Based in Barcelona, she spends her time creating beautiful digital things for creatives.  She enjoys blogging, designing, and banana pancakes. She’s also addicted to travel & adventure.  Visit her blog for more info.

 

Editors Note: If you are like me, a lot of the sacrifices Polina made would be nearly impossible.  For example, my job is 15+ miles from my house.  However, I think there are key points to take away from Polina’s example that we can all apply.  Are there certain things you can cut back on?  Are there things that you are wasting money on?  Can you make extra money through a side hustle? Can you rent out a room in your house? 

 

Now it is your turn!  Will you try any of these tips that Polina used to save 50% of her income?  What’s your best strategy to save money?

 

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, A Disease Called Debt and Racing Towards Retirement*

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Can you imagine what you could accomplish if you saving 50% of your income? Let Polina show you how saving 50% of your income is possible with some dedication and hardwork!

34 comments

  1. Nothing comes without sacrifices. It’s great that she is able to save so much. I remember the last year before we left the U.S, we did not have a single meal out, not even fast food..no shopping for clothes either. It was worth it for us as we had an eye on our future..travel..so far so good. You definitely don’t need a car in Barca 🙂

  2. This is very similar to my own lifestyle. What I need to sort out is my travel though. Transportation in London is quite expensive, I should try to ride my bike more. Or just run-commute, I do this sometimes.

  3. I save lots of money doing a lot of things myself. Basically if I can do it, I don’t pay someone to do it for me.

  4. You had it down to a science. While I could never dot his I applaud your work, your dedication and your ability to reach your end goal. I’m so fascinated by all of this. I think I could maybe try some of this out if I didn’t have children.

  5. Ok wait I’m stuck on this couch surfing idea. How does that work?! Haha. I wish I could save half of my money but I definitely live paycheck to paycheck at the moment. I try to save where I can but its hard with a 3 year old and one on the way in October. I definitely want to find ways to save more money though. I pay $100 for my phone bill. Smh. But I really love my iPhone so I just deal with the price lol

  6. These are fantastic tips, especially the renting one! I had never thought about that, but it’s pretty brilliant. Thanks for sharing 😀

  7. Awesome savings ideas and tips. If your current expenses are this reasonable , this plan is perfect. I reduce my own expenses by cutting out frivolous spending like eating out too much at work and reducing my cell phone plan and cable bill.

  8. Excellent article. There are a couple of things I could not do like couch surfing and no cell phone, but all of the rest are doable. Thank you for the great tips.

  9. I don’t know that I am capable of doing this, but I do admire your sacrifice. I will be leaving my job this week. I do know that my lifestyle will change a bit, but I wont be giving up most things on this list altogether. LOL. Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Wow! I applaud this person! Some of the stuff like cell phone and a car I can’t do but some of the stuff on the list I could implement if I put my mind to it!

  11. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing them. I have been working on a cash only basis and not using credit cards at all.

  12. Great tips. Especially when you want to purchase a big ticket item. So much we really don’t need and buy sometimes too.

  13. I now save about 40% of my earnings, and I can’t believe I used to spend so much! Sure, sometimes I need to dip into my savings, but having that little buffer is the best feeling (especially when your car is as…hormonal as mine). I’ve just started a new job that won’t pay as much (better hours so I can blog more) so I’m trying to find ways to lower my expenses. It’ll be quite the challenge, but I’m hoping it’ll work out 😀

  14. Awesome! This is a great summary of the entire personal finance blogosphere 🙂 Very smart decisions that seem to work out great, congrats on that!

  15. I’ve been looking for extra sources of income. I like the idea of getting roommates. I like the idea of meal planning and prepping each week so I’m not tempted to go eat out every night. Great article.

  16. This is a great post on how to plan and save money. It is so thorough! I love the ideas on how to save money on clothing and accessories. We also meal plan! I love the $5 Meal Plan! It saves me a ton of time planning my meals and gives me variety. It sounds like you have a great system and congrats on leaving your 9-5 to pursue your dream!

  17. Oh, gosh, no cell phone! I love how this points out though that the things we think are necessities usually aren’t. It’s cool to keep all the wants you can afford, but when you really want to buckle down, you can strip costs like nobodies business if you start getting rid of creature comforts.

  18. Saving 50% of your income is a great goal to work to and achieve, well done! Increasing your income is definitely a good way to help achieve that. We use my husband’s income for all our bills and try to save all of mine (at the moment for a house deposit), which works out at a 50% saving ratio (on our combined income) most months. I work from home so no commuting costs which helps. It wasn’t always like this! Not so long ago, we were living paycheck to paycheck!

  19. You live in Barcelona, Spain! Sigh… one day… I tithe 10-12% of my income so I’m trying to live on 40% and save/invest the rest so that one day I can live in Barcelona.

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