Money is important.
Not the most important but important nonetheless.
If you have any doubt about this, just think about whether you’ve ever done something for money that you wouldn’t do for free.
If the answer is yes, money is important. If the answer is no, you probably don’t need to read the rest of this post.
I haven’t talked about money for a while on this blog but that’s definitely not because I’ve lost interest. If anything I’m even more interested than I was before. I’ve been reading a lot of books to start changing the way I actually think about money (btw, none of these books had the word ‘budget’ or ‘spreadsheet’ in them) and I’ve been putting what I’ve been learning into practice.
My new saving plan
And there’s one thing I’ve been doing that I really want to share with you – my new saving plan.
Well, I say ‘my’ new saving plan but it’s really from the book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker (with a little bit of adaptation on my part). And I want to give you a proper overview so this post gets pretty in-depth.
Before you scroll down to see what my new plan involves, a little bit of context is needed.
How it’s come about
The majority of people aren’t good with money, so why do we try to do what the majority are doing?
This is something I’ve been asking myself as I’ve been discovering new ways to think about money.
I’m talking about restrictive budgets (always followed by splurging). Feeling guilty. Holding onto every dollar like it might be the last you’ll ever see.
That’s why I decided to give this new way of doing it a try – if you want something you’ve never had you have to do something you’ve never done.
This saving plan is not intuitive and you will probably read it and feel a little resistant to it at first – it is not the advice that the majority follows.
This saving plan is designed to change the way you think about money, to change your mindset from lack to abundance. To change your mindset you have to get a little uncomfortable. It’s just like working out – if you’re not challenging yourself you’re not changing yourself.
Why I’m so excited about it
I really wanted to share this on the blog as soon as I started doing it – I was SO excited about trying this saving plan out.
But I knew I shouldn’t.
There are plenty of people that give money advice that they don’t actually follow themselves and I’m not particularly interested in adding my name to that long, long list.
So I waited a few months so I could make sure it’s actually good and I’m actually sticking to it before I tell you why you should.
I actually what I describe below and have been doing it for the last 3 or so months (since I read Secrets of the Millionaire Mind). I’ve been iterating and experimenting and, while I’m sure this will keep evolving, I’m really excited to share what I’ve been doing with you.
Why anyone can do it
The beauty of this way of managing money is that anyone can do it. Even if you only have $1 you can (and should) manage that $1.
This isn’t about ‘budgeting’. This isn’t about being strict. This isn’t about denying yourself of your favourite things (the whole point is to create a mindset of abundance).
This is really just about changing the way you think about money. And as a plus, if you follow this plan (or your own version of this) you will also end up in control of your financial situation. And that is so, so powerful.
Money affects our relationships. It affects our stress levels. It affects our opportunities. It affects how much we are able to help others. It affects our behaviour.
Money is important and by getting in control of your situation you can spend your time doing more meaningful things than being stressed about where you’re going to get the money to pay the rent, or what will happen if you lose your job (or can’t find one in the first place).
You will be able to do more meaningful things than work in a job you hate just so you can get a little extra cash to buy the shoes that you don’t even like that much (but can’t resist because you just love a bargain).
Why you should do it
This plan is actually pretty simple to follow.
All you need is a few different accounts so that every dollar has a set purpose (I’ve been managing my money like this for ages and I highly, highly recommend it).
When you read what I’m doing, please keep in mind that this is what works for me but also that just because you’re in a different financial situation doesn’t mean this can’t work for you. Try to notice if you immediately think ‘there’s no way I can do that!’
Think about whether there’s a way you could make it work.
At first it will probably feel like you can’t do this, particularly if you’re already stressed about money and feel like you don’t have enough. But this is exactly why you need to do it. This plan will create a mindset of abundance.
The counter-intuitive saving plan
So now you’ve got the context you’re reading for the plan. Below you will find all of the accounts I have.
I divide the money up into the accounts after I have paid my rent.
1. Expenses – 30% of income
This isn’t really that different to a normal saving plan – I put 30% of my income into an account to cover my expenses. I have been keeping track of what I spend for about a year now and really know how much I need to cover my expenses, including the little things that pop up.
If you don’t think 30% is going to be enough, that’s ok. It’s also ok if you have no idea how much of your income you need to put towards expenses. These things can be worked out. Remember you don’t have to be able to do exactly what I’m doing for it to work – there will be a way for it to work with you.
2. Play – 10% of income
So this is where things start to get a little different.
I put 10% of my income into a ‘play’ account and I have to spend this money by the end of the month, every month. The balance must be $0. I can’t save this money.
This money can only be spent on things I want but feel like I ‘can’t afford’ – things that are indulgent or luxurious. For me this means things like going to a really nice restaurant and ordering something without even looking at the price. Getting a massage or my nails done.
Spend this money on whatever it is that you usually feel like you ‘can’t afford’. It is guilt free spending money and spending it will start to change your mindset from lack to abundance.
3. Education – 10% of income
I spend 10% of my income on education and I’m not talking about uni. I’m talking about things like books (a lot of books) and online courses. It can be in any format you want and about anything you want, as long as you are learning something.
I really love having an ‘education’ account because it’s something I would usually feel guilty about spending money on (which doesn’t really make sense but whatever). If you don’t know what to buy, I recommend books (suprise surprise).
4. Give – 10% of income
You probably didn’t think this was going to be in here, especially since most of you are students or grads. When you don’t have a lot of money you feel like you can’t afford to give any of it away but this account is actually one of my favourite things about this saving plan.
This is what will really start to change your mindset – it will get you out of the pattern of thinking that you need to cling onto every single dollar you have.
Although it sounds like you would actually be wiser with money if you treat money like this, it actually does the opposite. When your behaviour is fear-driven you do crazy, crazy things like spending all your money in one hit. It’s not really logical but you know it happens.
So I give 10% of my income to others. Some of it to organised charities (I support breast cancer charities as it is a cause that is close to my heart) and the rest by finding little day-to-day things I can do for others, and using this account if it costs money.
Having this account is SO rewarding because it actually makes me search for ways that I can give money to others. Even if you only give 5% of your income or $5, this account will make all the difference.
5. Investments – 10% of income
If you’re not sure yet what you would even invest your money in yet, don’t worry.
I haven’t exactly figured out what my investment account will be used for yet but I as I am thinking about it I am putting the money aside for it.
This account will help you build a solid financial foundation for your future and is designed to get you out of the mindset that the only way to get money is to spend time. This is a really important part of the plan.
This account is for investments like a house or investments that will earn you passive income (like stocks and many other things I won’t get into here). Investment doesn’t mean a timeless black blazer, at least not in this context.
So as I said, if you don’t have any investment plans yet that’s not a problem. I can guarantee you’ll think of something in the future, and when you do you’ll have the money ready to go (plus earn some interest on it in the meantime).
6. Emergencies – 10% of income
There will always be emergencies and if they’re not accounted for it will blow everything else out. 10% of income into an emergency fund may seem like a lot but it won’t if your car breaks down. Or if you get sick and can’t work. Or if you lose your job.
Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
7. Short-term savings – 10% of income
This one isn’t revolutionary but necessary. 10% of income goes to short-term savings (less than 1 year).
8. Long-term savings – 10% of income
This one is pretty self-explanatory – 10% of income goes into long-term savings. I haven’t exactly defined what ‘long-term’ means for me yet, but it is at the very least 5 years. I know that’s not long-term at all but I’m sure in the next 5 years I’ll figure out exactly how to define this.
You don’t need all the answers when you start implementing this – you can iterate as you go. It’s not set in stone.
How to get started
To get the most from this I really recommend having a separate bank account for each thing.
If you’re a student there’s a really high chance your bank won’t charge you any bank account fees (at least if you’re in Australia, I can’t really speak for anywhere else but would be really interested to know). If you’re not a student you could ask your bank if they offer some kind of alternative (some banks let you set up ‘buckets’ within an account) or you could see if there is a bank that does offer no-fee bank accounts.
I really do recommend having different accounts because it is SO easy to spend money when you just have one big lump sum as it appears like you have way more to spend than you really do.
After you’ve got the accounts set up, all you need to do is divide your money between the bank accounts. As I mentioned earlier, I pay my rent and then divide the remainder of my money according to the plan. It is definitely an option to add rent in your expense account and put a little more of your income towards that account. I’m happy to work it through with you if you have no idea how you should divide it up!
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org – email me if you have any questions or would like any help!
Do what will work for you
Please please please adapt this plan if you need to – do whatever will work for you.
You can pretty much do anything you like, all you need to do is keep in mind that the point is of this system is to change your money mindset. It needs to be a little challenging. You need to feel a little resistant to it at the beginning (if you don’t feel at least a little bit uncomfortable you’re probably not going to change the way you think).
And I also highly recommend reading Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. It’s not possible to read this book and not get excited about getting in control of your money and your mindset.
I listened to the audio version and LOVED it – I’ve listened to it about 3 times now as it’s only about 3 hours long and is really easy, but super informative, listening.
What do you think?
If you’re someone who is trying to get smarter with your money, have you ever thought about a saving plan like this? How could you adapt it so that it works for you? What are your concerns?
Just leave a comment below and let me know, I’d LOVE to know what you think!