You asked for it and I delivered it 😘
(On Instagram I mean, because I talked about this on my IG story)
Note: Reading this on PC is a lot easier :>
I’m gonna keep this as comprehensible as possible. But let me just begin with: if you’re not good at managing your life, it’s about time you start now. I was a Monash student since their Pre-u programme and oh my god they forced me into planning my life so hard. I was just fresh out of high school and I was literally ‘Really Young, really Dumb and really Broke.’ Time management and financial management was crucial since then until I’m a graduate but life has you difficult when you basically need money for everything, even for clean air and happiness (tell me you won’t be happier if you get to eat your favourite food? At least I do). Also, I get very anxious if I feel like I don’t have enough money in my bank account. Like, I would be stressing every day about money and sound annoying.
So to make sure that life won’t flip me over with negative balances and debts (from my parents), I decided to make things super clear by literally jotting everything down. Okay, not everything because I’m forgetful but I managed to record 90% of my expenses along with my plannings.
First, Google sheet is an amazing tool. Most of the time, I prefer this over Microsoft Excel but I’m not here to explain why. Below is an example of my planning. Numbers are edited for reference only. You can access this GSwitch to Block Editoroogle sheet from the button below.
📍 Notice that October is pretty empty, that’s because I begin planning with this month so I’ll just ignore it and move on with the following month: November. Also, for Insurance, I’m only starting to pay for it from Jan 2019 onward.
📛 Left section: This is for the future spending or debts that I’m required to save or pay. For example, the camera column is for me to pay back my mom for the camera (as shown in Featured Picture above) that I’ve just bought with her money.
I begin the entire planning with my salary first so that I can deduct away the important savings before the monthly usage. Then, I proceeded with important future spending such as for Graduation (for my outfit and bouquet), Birthday (for other people’s gifts), CNY (new clothes during Chinese New Year is basically mandatory, no excuses) and Valentine’s (youuuuu can skip this part if you’re single. Basically saves you hundreds too). Then I have upcoming trips that require funds too, i.e.. Korea Trip and Penang Trip.
The highlights allow me to see which month has specific spending and which spending it is. They also reduce the overall boring-ness. If you think that you might forget where you’re about to spend the money on, leave a note! (See August/September – Birthday).
📞 Bottom of left section: Sum of each type of savings to understand how much I’m spending in total. Formula is =Sum(related cells)
📕 Middle section: The “Remaining before monthly usage” section is just my reference for how much I have left to spend for the month. The formula is literally like this: =C7-D7-E7-F7-G7-H7-I7-J7.
📌 Right section: I jot down all my required spending here on monthly basis. So there’s the driving essentials, T&G (for tolls and parking) and petrol usage, phone bills and insurance fee. The remaining balance after deducting these bills and fees will be my food budget for the month. Formula is =K7-L7-M7-N7-O7
🍖 Grey section: That is for future planning!
Yes, a lot of people will struggle if they only have so little month left to eat. How I dealt with it was simply using math and/or home-cooked food. If you’re still living with your parents and/or grandparents, you can get home-cooked food essentially for free but this is only if you’re not giving them household allowance yet. As for the math part, it’s either I calculate by the average cost of food from the restaurants nearby and/or buy groceries that could last for lunchtime within a week.
I usually buy food from a nearby Chinese food-court and the average price is RM7 per dish. Since I work here 6 days per week and I only need one meal per working day, I basically spend RM168 per month here. The calculation is RM7 x 6(days) x 4(weeks) = RM168. However, if I cook on my own, I can save a bit more. For example, cooking ABC soup (Asian minestrone soup) without meat is only about RM4 per bowl, which is essentially around RM100 per month. (The food-court nearby is selling RM7 per bowl with meat and adding rice is RM1 but it has a lot of MSG so I try to avoid.)
Aside from all these, I don’t really go to clubbing, pubs or perform any not-necessary purchases (shhhh I usually spend extra money between few months instead of every month). I don’t spend on clothes aside from when I really need new clothes like for graduation and Chinese New Year. I have enough accessories and I only buy shoes that I need. My OnePlus 3 still works like a new phone even though the screen could fall off after a few more drops (I’m always careless but if any kind soul wanna sponsor me a Mate 20 Pro, please do 🙈🙆). So, I don’t really have a lot to worry about aside for emergency matters, which I still have some extras left in my bank account and hopefully, that can cover enough…..
Anyway, did you notice a negative balance for November? To solve this, I just need to adjust the overall planning. I can shift RM200 off November and move it towards February. Keep your spending flexible (if you can) so you won’t go through more headaches. Usually, I’d avoid debts that has painfully inflexible due dates, such as credit card debts or other bank loans. I always stick to my debit card even though using credit card help me for my future bank loans applications. I’ll… just put credit card aside until I get a better job.
Another free and amazing financial management tool that you should totally use is called Money Lover. I’ve been using this app since pre-u but I’ve never really have the habit until recently. As cliche as the name sounded, the functions inside are pretty good. For example: Aside from recording basic transactions (purchase and savings), you can record your debts (payable, receivable), set specific budgets for categories, set saving goals, opt for Travel Mode, set bills and recurring transactions. You can also save transactions based on the types of it as well as jotting down where you used it.
The Monthly Transaction view allows you to switch from daily transaction to categories too! You can even add a new category if you can’t find any that better describe your spending, like that Mamak category.
Not only that, I can record future transactions months earlier to block me from spending more. This is how I restrict RM500-RM1000 away from my Salary to make sure that I have this much in my bank account saving up for my Korea Trip, every month.
So that’s basically how I’m managing my finances for now. I will definitely need to adjust more in the future but hey, that is until when I have different obligations and such. Again, I am not a professional at financial managing my own spending! There’s still more to learn but I hope this is helpful enough for you and of course if you’re planning to follow my method, you should definitely plan it your own way, according to your spending trend and style.