Which expenses are incurred?
Visiting pubs, going to the cinema, vacationing, the huge increase in travel costs due to the gasoline prices - the monthly budget has already been exceeded. The monthly “leisure budget” is quickly overdrawn. And that can lead to loneliness.
Unfortunately, I only got to know this situation too often in my early days as a self-employed person, in which my monthly income was not yet so regular. Then I had to see where I could save: After all, spending on work, cars, groceries, pharmaceuticals or insurance was compulsory. I was only able to save on expenses that are not absolutely necessary, the cost of free time.
Restrict quality of life?
But that means limiting the quality of life - right? No! Because saving can even make you happy: in fact, there are numerous ways to save money without sacrificing quality of life.
Admittedly, when I tried the method that I would like to introduce to you, I was a little skeptical at the beginning: Saving - without giving up? And I found it very hard to get used to calculating my monthly income and expenses with an Excel spreadsheet. But my success proved me right.
And more than that, to systematically look at my monthly spend and to creatively search for alternative recreational opportunities has helped me to re-think existing habits, and in the end I even enjoy it. Saving does not necessarily mean giving up - but it means change.
The systematic approach requires a degree of self-initiative. The techniques I have applied are self-management techniques from the professional field, transferred to private life. What many people in the job successfully apply can also help to improve the leisure time.
Step by step to the personal savings plan
Step by step, I created my own personal savings plan using these techniques. And since it worked so well for me, I would like to show you in the following sections how I did it.
Maybe you will find some suggestions for an alternative leisure time. That's why I wrote this little series for my readers. Because: leisure does not have to be expensive!
Getting started to save monthly
The first step to more economical use of money is to think about where the money goes every month - in writing.
At the top of the sheet I have entered my monthly net income to have a calculation base, including my monthly fixed costs.
Fixed costs are the costs that are necessary and indispensable for me and in which I absolutely can not save. These include for me z. For example, all the costs of my apartment, the insurance and the basic cost of the car. These are just examples, of course. For you, the list may look very different - just delete my examples from the list or add more fields. But the less fixed costs you set, the more options you have to save afterwards.
For example, you may be surprised that I have not entered any fuel costs here. In fact, I believe that you can still save here: For example, with the right driving style. The site neuer-fahren.de offers some information about a price-conscious driving style as well as courses. Or by taking riders along for longer distances and sharing the gasoline price. Mitfahrzentrale.de you can find riders. Gasoline is one of the most flexible costs for me.
In the end, the Excel sheet shows me how much of my monthly income is still available for spending in my free time.
Then I realized what else I spent my money on last month. In addition, I wrote everything in the brainstorming process, which occurred to me. And first of all completely unsorted - I have not yet written down how much I have spent and no rating made, whether the issue was useful or not. At first, this is simply about collecting the various items from the past month.
For me, this list looks like this:
- Pub every other day
- Amusement park with the family
- been in the restaurant three times
- two new books purchased
Only now did I calculate how much money I spent on each item, again with the Excel spreadsheet. For this I have entered all my expenses in column A under Flexible costs and then in column B the costs.
How to save ideal?
The more precisely you break down your expenses, the easier it is to grasp the savings potential afterwards.
It is Z. For example, it makes sense to list pubs and restaurant visits in separate posts - usually you go to the pub more often and then spend smaller amounts, while you go to the restaurant less often, but then spend more per visit. Later, the Excel spreadsheet shows us exactly how much money you need to save on each item to reach the set savings target.
Speaking of restaurant ...
- As an alternative to restaurants I have discovered a small but well-maintained snack: The food is good - and the biggest benefit: The small restaurant is a real communicative meeting place.
- On the other hand, I like happy-hour-hopping in the pubs: I read the Happy-Hours of different places on the Internet site of my city magazine, or write down directly when Happy-Hour is at bars I like. And after that, I set myself up when I want to save money, but still want to leave.
- Or I organize a fun picnic in the summer with friends instead of a beer garden. Everyone brings something to drink and nibble with. For many, this is a bit of getting used to, but: It always depends on how such ideas are sold.
- On the other hand, in many cases, it is equally useful to group certain items, such as those for telecommunications. Nowadays a considerable savings potential can be achieved by flatrates.
How to evaluate the table
In the end, the Excel table counts automatically how much I spent, and calculates how much I have to save on a monthly basis so as not to exceed the amount that is available to me monthly. So I can determine my Sparziel exactly and knows how much I have to save on a monthly basis.
For example, I have already entered some items in the template, such as the gasoline costs, the gym or excursions. Of course you can change the individual items at any time, expand the table with new fields or rename existing fields and adapt the table to your needs. In addition, I have left room for my own position in the Additional costs fields. To help you understand what you should type in the fields, each item has been supplemented with explanations that you can retrieve by clicking the small square in the box. If you need more fields, you can also copy the existing fields - but remember to copy the formula as well! For me, clothes and shoes are also part of the flexible costs. These are basic needs, on the other hand, clothes are not just clothes, and you can save on those as well.
Speaking of: bonus programs and loyalty cards
Especially shoe and clothing stores are now advertising with bonus programs and loyalty cards. That sounds cheap, but often caution is advised: Participation is usually only worthwhile, if you really often shop there. On closer inspection, another store is often even cheaper than the promised discount. In addition, such loyalty cards collect and disclose personal information - be sure to specify what information is required. And check the terms and conditions: What happens if the card is lost? What happens if you use the card as a form of payment but are in arrears?
Incidentally, such an overview of the private costs can also be created for the whole year, for which you simply have to copy the monthly sheet several times. This makes sense, because it makes the overview more objective. Larger but rare expenses, such as holidays, should be divided by the number of months. Then keep a better overall picture.
... Speaking of vacation
- For example, I make a kind of wellness and recreation holiday, which is partly accepted by the fund, once a year through my health insurance.
- And after getting upset that there are no low-cost airlines in some European countries, I sometimes travel by bus: Company how Eurolines serve all of Europe.
- Another tip: If you do not want to travel alone for cost reasons, you should enter the term “travel partner” on Google - here you will find a wide, constantly changing range of options, including passengers and passengers.
- A cheap flight and also a free travel guide for download offers German Wings.
- If you want to determine, not just for your leisure time behavior, but in general, what you are spending all your money on, where your money is, you can use one of the many household books, a household calendar or "budget planner". Authorities, ministries and credit institutions offer models for this.
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