“The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain.”
– Colin Wilson
The other day I read an article about how the “average” American lives. While most of it was unsurprising, I was shocked by one statistic. The average American only saves 6.2% of their income.
That means that for every $100 earned, only $6.20 is saved. I don’t even think that’s enough to buy a movie ticket.
For frame of reference, a 6.2% tip at most restaurants would guarantee that you’d be getting some “special sauce” in your next meal.
Even with high costs of living you should be able to save more than 6.2% of your paycheck. If you put a little planning into your budget, you can get a lot more for your money. I juice, take boxing lessons, go out on weekends, and buy more books than I should; yet I still maintain a healthy savings account.
While I’m not rich, I don’t have any debt and have more money saved than most college kids my age. From personal experience, the following three items have all contributed the most to my financial responsibility.
1. Not drinking
Having fun at a bar while sober is actually pretty easy. As long as you’re able to socialize like a normal person, it’s not too hard to enjoy yourself without drinking. On the rare occasions that people ask me why I don’t drink, I like to reply “it messes with my birth control.” Aside from paying cover charges and tipping the staff, my nights out cost me nothing.
2. Having a hobby
Whenever I’m bored I spend money. I’ll make impulse buys on Amazon, go to movies, buy food, go shopping, or drive around looking for something to do. By staying busy I don’t have time to purchase things I don’t need. Having interests like reading or lifting also helps to build willpower, reducing your urges to be frivolous.
3. Starting a side hustle
Everyone should launch their own business. Even if the venture doesn’t make a ton of money, it will still cover some expenses. Spending a few hours of downtime making a website or marketing a product isn’t some massive investment. And, unlike owning a physical business, there’s very little start up cost.
If you’re looking for additional tips on saving money, I recommend checking out Mr. Money Mustache. It’s one of my all-time favorite blogs.