Since leaving grad school in 2005, I’ve kept track of my finances. One of the stats I look at is the amount of money I pull in after taxes vs. the amount of money I spend on a monthly basis. This is an excellent indicator of how much I’m saving and the trend over the year. Before I bought my apartment, on average for every two dollars I made, one dollar was saved and went into a bank account. The ratio was slightly less favourable at the beginning of my career since I made less but it’s a good ballpark figure.
At the end of August, I looked at my numbers in my virtual ledger and realized it was not a good summer for saving money. For the months of June, July, and August, I actually spent more money than I made. This likely meant my net worth actually decreased over the summer which sucks. There were some special circumstances to those months though. I spent more than usual in June because I went to a wedding in Winnipeg, which included airfare and hotels. June was also my sister’s wedding and I’m not ashamed to admit I gave my sister and my brother-in-law a generous gift. I’m an awesome brother, it’s what I do. I almost broke even in July though I was still in the red slightly. August was another expensive month since I paid for my father’s car insurance as his birthday gift.
I saw September as a chance to get back into savings mode, so I challenged myself to save one dollar for every two dollars I brought in. I didn’t have any strict rules for the month, I just was aware that I wanted to save more. I definitely went out less during September. It didn’t mean I stayed at home every single night but it did mean I might have made dinner at home on a night I could have went to a restaurant. I also did not buy any clothes during the month of September. This was mostly because I just didn’t see anything at Banana Republic that I liked more than anything but it stills counts! I also made some effort to eat lunch at the studio more often. Since food is provided at work, this probably saved me at least $10 a day in lunch money. Since the game I’m working on is in full swing, we get OT dinners. That meant if I worked late, I got free dinner. I admit, there were a few nights where I traded my effort in fixing bugs for some din-din.
Somehow, at the end of the month, I was able to reach my goal of saving one dollar for every two dollars I made. I actually didn’t even use a single coupon during the month. Let’s see how much I can save in October!