Sunday, May 11, 2014

The habit of saving money

Today i was travelling by bus back to Kalamata from Athens and i was reading my new favorite life-changing book, The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill. I have mentioned it before in my post about the DCA, or Definite Chief Aim, which is the foundation for achieving a goal. The book is pretty massive, on my ipad mini i am on 900/2900 pages and i am reading it really slowly trying to digest each chapter.

Each chapter then covers one of the 15 steps to success. This post may or may not start a mini-series like my previous one, getting ready for the move to Sweden. As i sat here typing my last post i wondered about the direction of this blog and if the topics that i discuss frequently blend harmoniously with the subject it discusses, Right now i don't have the energy to make a separate blog and write quality posts here too.

But then i thought: "Hey, i am writing this 3 months before i move to Sweden, while i will also talk about everyday things that occupy my thoughts and trouble me or other people".

So for now i will keep writing constructive posts along with my target goal, which is providing useful information for people that are thinking or are about to move to Sweden. When i get there and i have more to say, i will consider making a new additional blog, a new blog-within-the-blog or just a poll to see the popular opinion.

"Man is a combination of flesh, bone, blood, hair and brain cells. These are the building materials out of which he shapes, through the Law of Habit, his own personality"

That is deep. But so simple. We could have had a massive fortune if we did things differently here. But we are all victims of overspending, useless spending, moneytization, fear of criticism, fear of social pressure, lack of self-confidence and countless other things. Travelling today i remembered a story from when i was young, like 15 years ago. I wanted the new Nintendo Gameboy Advance. it costed around 150 euros at the time, which was substantial for a little boy like me who had a measly 5 euros for pocket money each week. But without me knowing i laid down the foundations for my future success. I wanted it badly. And i would get it, alone.

I saved every week, every day, every penny or dime i could. I taught myself to live with one less coca cola can, one less hour at the local internet cafe. And it started to pile up. Soon i had enough money to buy it plus a brand new game. I remember it, it was Rayman Advance. Yay!

When once fixed in the mind, a habit becomes second nature, and propels a man into action voluntarily. Think of it as your daily routine route to work, or your return home. You don't think about it, you just proceed to do it. It is implanted into your brain, hardwired. This is how a habit is achieved, be it bad or good, you just do it repeatedly. Through repetition any act indulged in a few times becomes a habit.

So the question is not what is the Habit of Saving. Most people that have no clue how to save money would ask:

"How can i do it? How can i save money?"

This is indeed true and similar to drawing a picuter of a horse and writing under it "This is a horse". It's blatantly obvious, but that is like telling someone to save money and not describing how to do it. That is fundamental to someone's success and quest for financial freedom.

Through the Law of Habit you can keep building blocks for the atainment of your DCA. Keep those two combined and you will destroy any subconconsious poverty thoughts and you will DEMAND prosperity, health, advancement, development, vitality and you will mentally prepare to receive it, while in the process you will increase your earning capacity.

Reverse this powerful Law and you instill in your mind the Fear of Poverty which combined with spending and the bane of humanity, debt, and you will not only reduce your potential income, you will barely scrape out your living costs and will not escape this black hole that sucks any man's soul (Napoleon Hill, The Law of Success cp.4).

"YOU are a human magnet and you are constantly attracting to you people whose characters harmonize with yours", Napoleon Hill.

Hang something like that in your mirror so you can see it every day. Be positive. Start now. It is never too late. Free yourself from the slavery of debt and you will feel like a new man. Debt the most merciless master and the deadly opposite and enemy of the Habit of Saving.

We talked about how poverty can destroy a man's confidence, life, hope, marriage. Add debt to the mix. Reminds me of the card "Cruel Taskmaster" in Hearthstone. You lose life and you are doomed to fail.

So how can you beat the Fear of Poverty, defeat debt and become financially free?

Every day we let dimes, pennies, nickels, euros, dollars to slip between our fingers without even knowing. If saved, they could accumulate into substantial savings that can make or break a situation. Imagine having a brilliant idea that you cannot materialize because you lack the funds for it.

When we receive our paycheck or some unexpected money, our first thought is how we are going to SPEND it. Hell, we have already spent it in our mind, buying that video game, that car, that computer part to satisty our ego. Less than 5% thinks about saving some of it.

The perfect allocation of one's gross income should be along these lines:

  • 50% on essential costs. That includes housing and mandatory costs.
  • 30% on education, clothing, food, recreational activities.
  • 20% in a savings account to accumulate interest. If unavailable, simply put it in a piggy safe.
So let's say someone has a salary of 1000$ after tax. He should use no more than those 500$ for rent and things that need to be paid, including debt (if you have any), no more than 300$ in recreational activities, food, clothing, education (usually split by 2) and the rest 200$ should be saved.

Let's make it more simple to understand how easily money can turn into a decent amount of cash. You get 100$ every week. Take a worst case scenario and you save 5$ per week or 10$ in two plausible cases (you should try to save 15-20$).

4 Weeks/month * 5$ = 20$
12 Months/year * 20$ = 240$ from saving 5$ per week.

  • 10$ saved equals to 480$ per year.
  • 15$ saved equals to 720$ per year.
  • 20$ saved equals to 960$ per year.
Check your weekly expenditures. You buy so much stuff that is useless and you can live without it. And those money can be preserved in the long run to yield a substantial amount of money simply from saving. People live one whole year with less than 4000$ in Greece. Buy one less cigarette pack, one less soda, one less alcoholic beverage in the local bar, use a bike.

I am glad that i was born poor/with a modest living and that i did not come in this world burdened by the whims of super-wealthy parents and a bag of gold around my neck, because i would most likely fail.

Enough for tonight as this was a long post already. But i think it is extremely useful. Please leave me feedback if you want. I will close this with a picture and one last phrase from the same book.

"I am thankful for the adversities which have crossed my pathway, for the have taught me tolerance, sympathy, self-control, perseverance and some other virtues i might never have known."

Free yourselves from the chains of debt and poverty.

Break them and fly free.

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