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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Do You Save?

I mean, really, how do you save? I have serious problem with the whole concept of saving. Let me explain.

I earn fairly well, so despite Japan being a country with a huge ass cost of living I'm supposed to save a reasonable amount each month. But alas, I fail at it miserably, even more than Mervin Silva would struggle at his ordinary level Math class. But wait, don't think I'm like one of those chicks who shop just for the sake of it. No I don't go ga-ga when I see a shopping mall. In fact, I hate shopping pretty much. That is why I never went on a shopping spree with my ex after the very first time or two. I usually get tired after an hour of browsing through the shops, two max, but she used to want to have even two day shopping sprees. You, the poor guys out there, should know how I must have felt. But I digress. The point is, I'm not a crazy shopaholic, but I don't seem to be able to save a penny these days. OK, not just these days, ever since I can remember.

The funny thing is, even I can't figure out where all the money went. For starters, I don't know how much I spend each month because I never keep accounts. Once I tried writing down all the expenses for a month, and the whole exercise lasted all but one day. I have a sneaky feeling though that it could be the 'this won't make a difference' attitude. Imagine those two red devil and the white saint guys who appear on each of your shoulders and whisper to you. Whenever I'm going to buy something those two guys appear and the saint dude is all
"Sach, don't! You're supposed to save, my son. This is not a necessity right? You can do without it. Don't be so careless with your money blah blah blah..... OK?"
And then the evil fella laughs his evil laugh, which is pretty awesome by the way, and goes like
"Dude, who gives a fuck! Enjoy the day! Who knows what'll happen tomorrow. For all we know an asteroid might hit the earth tomorrow and you'll be study material for scientists in another 65 million years. Plus it's pretty awesome right? Go ahead sucker, buy it!"
So, after carefully considering all the pros and cons I usually end up listening to the evil fella. Damn it's about time I listened to the boring yet wise old nice guy. He sure knows what he's doing, or rather what he's saying as that's all he ever does. Anyway, yeah, I must try save some money I guess.

By the way, there's this point and shoot camera I saw the other day which is pretty awesome.


  1. Point and Shoot FTW!! Buy it today!!!!

  2. Maybe you should try saving the old fashioned way: Put a small amount of money in a till everyday. :D

    But that p&s sounds tempting! ;)

  3. Even though I'm not 'earning', my parents send me a fixed amount every month and I manage all my expenses and savings with that (unless I need money to travel to see them). Here's what I do:

    Savings - I have a Direct Debit (or Standing Order, or whatever it is you guys call it over there) that transfers a set amount of money from my current account to my savings account every month. I can change the amount if/when I want, but the money gets transferred without me having to think about it.

    Budgeting - Since I know how much money comes into my account every month, I can plan how much I should realistically spend on essentials. Rent and bills are fixed (obviously) and it's easy for me to estimate food costs because my eating habits are pretty routine. I set aside money for gifts, travel, socialising...and shopping. The shopping budget has a floating cap, so how much 'spending money' I get depends on how much I've spent on other things. So for example, if I go to London for a weekend, I won't buy any CDs that month. Or if I want to buy, say, a dress, I won't go shopping until I've saved up for that. And obviously I make a note of what I spend.

    It's easy when you make it a habit. All you need is a bit of discipline.

  4. I didn't do this before either, but totally recommend the direct debit.

    I get paid every two weeks so I've arranged with my bank to transfer a set amount every two weeks from my checking account to savings account. I don't see it and I don't have to worry about it.

    I also buy everything on c.c. so I see at the end of the month what i've spent more/less on, and pay the c.c. every month completely.

    Sometimes I transfer a whole chunk of money from my checking accnt to the savings accnt so I don't use it or at least it's accumulating some interest.

    I don't know what kind of investments you have in Japan, sit with your banker they'll give you tons of ideas. =)

    p.s. I do have bad shopping habits sometimes :(

  5. @Nee
    One evil dude alone is causing enough damage, I don't need another.

    Actually I do that for 500 Yen coins, but that's not big savings really.

    This Direct Debit thing seems a good idea.

    On spending, it's kinda complicated with me. For instance, what I do specially during my weekends is hardly routine. And everything, I mean everything here is damn expensive, so obviously whatever I do it costs money. I go to a movie, that usually cost about 3000-3500 Yen (around US$ 35-40). I go to play Pool or something, that 1000 Yen. Add a meal it becomes 1000 more. Going to play a game of cricket ends up with me spending 3000 - 5000. Of course I won't die without any of these, but you see the point? My eating habits are very random too. I'm usually good at cooking but I'm also lazy to do that. So whenever I eat out it costs 600-1000 Yen. And I'm very bad at keeping notes.

    I agree you need a little discipline, but damn this evil dude. LOL.

    @Crystal Flam
    Credit Card is the single worst thing since WWII. You have no idea what you spend.

  6. Nee is no evil.... Neither am I...
    We are the saints...per se...

    "Buy it....Sucker"

  7. sach: I totally agree with you, and dreaded the thought of having one. but as funny as it may sound, it helps me more than having cash on me. it so does. :/
    and a movie is $35-40?!? o_O that's bizarre.

  8. Hi Sach, I don't yet have the luxury of working and I still siphon off my parents :). I do these odd jobs here and there with startups and such. The money from those, I make goals like a good camera, car, a trip to somewhere, like Sri Lanka! Then you can save somewhat. You will not believe how much you can save.recently I contributed to a joint family investment. Even my parents were surprised at the amount and demanded I return the money they are spending on my education :)
    So set up a goal and limit your expenses accordingly. Goals like the cameras, cars pass up very well because by the time you have saved enough, a better more expensive model has come by! At that time drop the money on a CD or some stocks, it that is your forte and start collecting again. Either way save, you will be proud of yourself.

  9. @Danushka
    Now I have to deal with three. Fuck.

    @Crystal Flame
    It hasn't helped me so far, that much is true.
    The movies costs about $25, but add a meal and travelling, it'll be around 35-40.

    I guess I should. Let's see.

  10. Don't call us evil... Dude, buy a camera & keep on giving us more & more eye-candy...

  11. Hehe thanks man. I dunno, let me see, I might buy it.

  12. Hi Sach,
    I think not working in a city environment has helped me to curb my expenses a great deal, so end up saving a lot now compared to my desk job days about six years ago.

    I loved this article in New York Times:


  13. Yeah I agree with Dan... why call us evil? Now you've got 3 saints and a one evil dude... Be happy...

    sooooo, have you bought the p&s yet?

  14. Oh yeah, if saint's are this, I'd hate even to imagine how evil dudes will be.

    And yeah, I did buy it. Fuck.

  15. The money you earned all these years? They went to money-heaven.

    At least, that’s where mine went. LOL.

  16. Hehe tell me about it machan! I really do struggle when it comes to save, but at least we live well eh?