I love reading financial blogs. More specifically personal financial blogs.. I couldn’t care less about the economy, the world finances or the dollar exchange. But what I really care about and am passionate about is my own money and making it grow! Whether it’s spending less, saving more, earning more or splashing out I really do like drawing graphs and excel spreadsheets about personal budgets and spending/saving habits.

One particular number I love to keep my eye on is Nett Value. This is the figure you want to have increase every month if you want to retire one day with enough money saved/invested. Basically this is your monthly income minus your monthly expenses calculated every month and compared to the previous month. Is it more or less? Normally if you have investments that increase in value, or payments you make on debt like a house mortgage then your monthly Nett Value should increase. A friend of mine breaks it down in the following 3 categories:

  • Make money
  • Save money
  • Protect money

Financial site 22seven.com gives plenty of these graphs and budget pie charts that I’m simply in love with. This is s snapshot of my Nett Value over the last couple of months…

nett

Here’s a few of my financial goals, from the most basic to the more challenging:

  • Keep living costs the same year-in-year-out: This means staying in the same small yet perfectly fine home. Driving the same car, etc
  • Buy less crap: Living minimalist is helping here. More is less. We don’t need that extra lamp, couch, bed, set of plates, clothes, shoes, clutter.
  • Budget for nice-to-haves: Very difficult one for me and my wife as we love going away. Our travel and holiday costs are very high.
  • Become less dependent on a monthly salary: Big one. the only way this can work is to start generating enough passive income from side-projects and investments
  • Invest money: Whether it is in stocks, life insurance, bonds, property or a savings account. The point it to every day and put something away.

When it comes to saving, personally there are a few things I realized one can easily and almost always save on. Sounds pretty obvious but hey… not everybody realize this. I find it sad when I see colleagues (who are always cash-strapped and never seem to be able to get out of debt) here at work get increases  that helps a lot, but those increases fade away with new cellphone contracts, faster internet lines, new cars, new TV. All bought on credit cards and store accounts which quickly sucks up that entire increase received at work and leaves the person in the same boat financially they were in before the increase.

Here’s a few things we saved on massively over the last few months by simply asking around and getting the best price:

  • Internet costs: Managed to get our costs down by price-comparing and negotiating. Saving R200 p/m
  • Vehicle insurance: By playing competitors off against each other: Saving R350 p/m
  • Gym fees: By joining the medical aid loyalty program and jumping through all their hoops I save R300 pm.
  • Coffee: Cutting down on the coffee I buy every day I am now saving R240 p/m
  • Eating out: when we go out we share meals as opposed to always taking home left overs that are not that much enjoyed anyway. Saving R300 p/m

By doing the above 5 things we are saving R1390 per month! Save that baby!