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How to take control of your money?

By Shineson

Deputy Manager, SBI How to take control of your money?

(This essay is only for people who live on salary income. Also, if you could save over 25% of your monthly income, then you are better off not reading this article)

July 2020 is a month of transition and transformation for me, both on personal and professional levels. I had cut down my emotional dependence and so far I have been faring well. I had an unexpected role change. I had intensified reading again. I had jotted notes that could become stories, novels, etc.

But the most important thing that I had done is I just found out where my money is going month after month. I had been in this job for nearly five years. However, my net worth is negative, with liabilities overtaking the assets. I am single, with no family commitments. Some of my colleagues have already saved a few lakhs. Here I am, nearing my thirties, with no considerable savings to speak of.

So, I did some detective work, to find out where all the money is going. There are some apps available for tracking expenses, which I had used before, but they couldn’t distinguish expenditure in a nuanced, customised way.

Further, there were multiple channels of spending for me. Also, I am using Amazon Pay, Paytm, Ola Money, Ola Money Postpaid, Simpl, Lazy Pay, Two credit cards and a debit card, which makes app tracking more difficult.

I started using the humble spreadsheet to track my expenses. Sometimes I recorded the expenses by the end of the day and sometimes once in three, four days. It worked. By the end of the month, I had a comprehensive picture of my spends.

To my shock and dismay, I had realised that the interest I pay on my credit cards is Rs.7500/- pm, which is a considerable amount compared to my monthly salary. It shouldn’t really be a surprise to me if I had been prudent as I have utilized both my credit cards to the brim. After all spends, less than 10% of my salary was with me, which I had to use to pay for credit card, if I had any hope of reducing the interest outgo.

The first step in identifying the flow of money is over and now I know where my ship is leaking. Without this simple technique, I might not have been aware of the flow of money from my wallet and would have drowned myself in considerable unsustainable debt.

In the forthcoming series, we may dwell upon how to take control of various heads of expenses.



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