Money & how to make it last

SOPA/Brave New World miuenski miuenski via Compfight

In this blog post, I will describe how I manage to stay alive, and kicking on a meager salary of 1044.36 US Dollars(7000 NOK) a month.

All the while keeping in mind that 447.60 US Dollars (3000 NOK) goes to rent (Internet, TV, and a 74.60 USD prepayment on power costs included).

There are three big things I practice with regards to money.

Segregation

The very first thing I do when I get money is to split it up. My accounts with the bank is rather “advanced”, but the gist of it is this: New accounts are free, so I make one per permanent outgoing cost.

So, I currently have an account for:
Rent
Phone
Server costs (I pay for the server where I host this blog)
PO. Box (I was without a home for a while, so this made the most sense)

Those are the expense-accounts, the other accounts are:

A shared account with my
Mom
Brother
Sister
(same bank, which allows instantaneous transfer of funds to accounts we dispose)

Main  (card account, the general rule here is to keep it as low as possible, only transferring money when you plan to go out and buy something specific)
Liquid (this is where I store the money when I am not going to buy something)
Savings (It has been used, I promise.)

Micromanagement

The best way I found to make money stretch, is to not have money in the relevant card-account.

In other words, you have a holdings account where you store the money (liquid in my case). That extra step of having to log in to your bank through the internet, makes you think a little bit more if you actually need that second soda for the day.

Whenever I am going out to buy something I transfer with ridiculous precision the amount of money I will need. You would think I don’t have fun? Sure, I can have fun it just takes some prediction skills, which I found came with time.

Another great thing about this micromanagement is that it triggers two SMS-es(texts) from my bank, the:
“You have more than 74.60 USD(500 NOK) on your account”-message,
and the:
“Someone tried to drain your account of X” where X is above the current holdings of your account.

These are great, because they tell me what’s happening to my account without me having to go out of my way. (After adapting to this micromanagement, it gives me a pretty good picture of what’s going on)

Saving

I may not be the best example, I don’t have much money to save from, however there was a time when I would end up with 298.45 USD(2000 NOK) at the end of the month which I didn’t have a place for… Some hobbies I acquired has started to dip into what I had before (Magic The Gathering, and travel costs to a LARP event every other Sunday)

This is a lot on such a tight budget. Now a days, I find that I’m ending up with a fourth of that, or half on good months (not many extra expenses)

Whenever I do find myself at such situations, I’ve found that a little saving goes a long way. It needn’t be much, but make sure you’re saving something. If you save 10 USD in a month it’ll become 120 in a year, it may not seem much, but as you grow accustomed to life without those 10 USD, you can increase it without much discomfort.

PS

Okay, I couldn’t help myself. Let me give you a tip that I felt sort of was implied with the segregation step.

In Segregation, you split your income into the different accounts, however a thing that you need to watch for are those “bloodsuckers” the recurring payments.

Sure 5 USD isn’t a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but if you aren’t in control of it… Four subscriptions of 5 USD a month quickly turns into a bunch of money that could be better spent.