So I thought it’d be an idea to make a money plan. Since I’ve started budgetting, I’ve become more aware of where my money goes to and what I should do with my money before I’m paid again. The goal is to accumulate money in order to buy a life that I want. This might seem materialistic, but money can buy freedom in terms of time bought back and re-investing in education.
In order to make a plan, you have to analyze the current situation, even if it’s painful. This is my YNAB report on how much and on what I’ve spent money on:
As you can see, an extraordinary part has been spent on going out. Smoking, mostly. I’ve bought a vaporizer and discarded it the day afterwards, which was not a good move. It was an impulse buy, thinking I could buy liquids with less and less nicotine. It’s better to just quit cold turkey. So far I’m not doing so well, but the struggle goes on and I intend to quit. I don’t even go out that much, I went dancing last friday and it was a lot of fun – the next party’s scheduled for the end of February, but since I don’t drink alcohol anymore, that should be cheap.
Much less has been spent on groceries. I like to eat meat, because it makes you strong. Meat is packed with protein and I like to have it everyday, disregarding basically everybody’s advice. However, because I am lazy, I didn’t get my daily amount of meat this month. I also needed to get my iPhone repaired, that’s what the miscallaneous category is for.
Now that we have analyzed my spending in January up until now, it’s time to look at the money that I’m assigning jobs to:
Insurance I need around 100EU for insurance. I only have my liability insurance and health insurance to pay, and I’m still on government support for my health insurance, so actually I’ll get around 1900 euros this month. I haven’t calculated that in yet. I will as soon as I get the money.
Rent Since I’m still living at my mother’s house, I thought it’d be nice to help her out with the mortgage, or with her planned trip to America. It’s nice to live here free of charge but if I do, I’ll get the feeling that I’m leeching on her, which is not a great feeling. I’ll be happy to pay 200EU for the small room that I’m in in order to get rid of the guilt.
Groceries A pack of meat costs around 2,50EU, so a daily dose of meat will be 75EU a month. I also like to buy grapefruit juice, so I’ve budgeted a little more. My mother mostly does groceries for dinner, so I don’t have to worry about that.
Books Since I’m starting new courses at the University (Milton to the Milennial and Foundations of English Linguistics) I’ll need new books. Those are pricey, but when my student organization makes them available, I can get them at a discount.
Universiteit Utrecht 500EU should cover my tuition for the next three months. I think it’s a bit less than 500EU, but then I’ll have some money left over that I can assign other jobs to. Tuition’s deducted from my bank account every three months. Next year I’m going to pay the whole amount in one time, that saves me some hassle and stress. I’ll have to start saving up for that, since I turned off my goverment student loans per February.
Coffee I like to get coffee at the University, which costs 1EU a cup. 25EU budgeted should last me the entire month. I should stop getting coffee at cafetarias, those are way pricier. It’s even better to make coffee at home (my brother gave me a thermos for Christmas) but I’ll have to create time for that.
Parties I really only have one party planned, and it’s a birthday party for a friend of mine whom I’ve met in highschool. I already have a gift for him which I’ll need to wrap. I party way less than I used to, and since I don’t drink alcohol those parties are way cheaper.
Smoking This is a pain-point. I’m quitting smoking, but in January I’ve spent a lot of money on this unneccesary bad habit. I’m quitting cold turkey so I don’t have any money budgeted for this category. The negative value you can see in the ‘Available’ column is the amount I’ve already spent on smoking.
Eating Out Up until now, I’ve spent around 32EU on eating out, which means getting expensive food on the go. I used to spend way more in this category due to takeaway orders (sushi is still the best) but since it’s so pricey and I get way better bang for my buck by sticking with meat, I’m slowly cutting this category off. It’s all a matter of habitual change.
iPhone My SIM-only phone plan costs 14EU a month. It covers me for the whole month, since I don’t really watch videos on the go. I rarely listen to music on 3G. I find that my headphones take up too much space in my bag, which is often filled to the brink with books.
Security Buffer I aim for a 1000EU security buffer in case of emergencies. Dave Ramsey has advised to get a security buffer first, and then pay off your debt, after which you can strive to increase your net worth by investing. I already have an investing account and have learned some things about what to invest in, but that knowledge will be used when I have paid off my student debts. 18k to go seems like a long way, but I think I can be debt-free by the end of my studies.
Holidays I’ve recently went to Germany with my homeboys, for which I still have to pay. I’m also saving up for a trip to England to see my father again, because I haven’t seen him in almost 2 years – but that’s not a big priority and shouldn’t cost so much.
markdumanon.com I intend to switch to the Business Plan on WordPress, the platform on which I’m hosting my site. Business Plan lets you install plug-ins and those are needed to sell products online. I am currently writing an e-book called ‘Lessons Learned at University’ which will sell for 5EU.
Student Loan Payments I haven’t budgeted any money in this category yet because I want to accumulate a 1000EU security buffer first. As soon as I have, I will slowly but surely start paying off my debt, using the money I’ve earned at my job at the petrol station.
Making a money plan is not that hard with YNAB. It’s not hard to estimate where your money should go to and to adjust your decision-making based on what you think your life should be like. I can highly recommend making a budget! It saves you a lot of stress and gives you control over an important aspect of your life.