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How I Saved £10,000 in One Year on Minimum Wage

The money you make doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with it that counts.

It’s crazy to think that this time last year I had no money in the bank. I’d recently lost my job at the comic book store I was working at following a string of workplace horror stories I’m sure I’ll talk about at a later date.

I was left with very little money having spent most of my wages on comics (product knowledge) and video games (escapism). Emotionally exhausted and feeling especially sorry for myself, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to rebuild the confidence I’d worked so hard to develop during the time I spent as a street performer in my earlier years.

Luckily, it only took me a month or two to pull myself together and get back into the notion of work.

I started applying for jobs again in December and set myself the impossible target of saving £10,000 before the end of 2017. Impossible because months had passed and I was still unemployed.

I’d actually secured a position with the help of one of my friends but the owner of the comic book store, I’d been told, had slammed me when the employer contacted him for a reference. Had I have known his true intentions, I wouldn’t have asked if I could put his name forward on my future applications.  

Finally, on Feb 19th, the day after my birthday, I started my new job at Cex (the only other job I’d applied for). Working at Cex has its perks, for sure, but the pay was just 5p above minimum wage and I desperately needed to gather some savings as I’d moved back in with my parents following a break-up.

It was time to budget.

I decided to start taxing myself after a friend of mine introduced me to Tony Robbins. I basically went on an interview binge and absorbed as much value from them as physically, emotionally and mentally possible. One interview, in particular, stood out to me.

Tony shared the story of Theodore Johnson, a humble UPS driver turned investor who amassed a cool $70 Million by the time of his death in 1993. He did this having invested just 20% of his $14,000 salary every month for over 50 years. This is the wonder of compound interest.

It’s an inspiring story but I knew I’d need to do more if I was going to come anywhere close my target of £10,000 by the end of the year.  

Instead of adhering to the recommended 20% saving budget, I gave myself a spending budget of £100 per month. More often than not I’d spend no more than half of this on the pure essentials like food and toiletries; even then I’d get the cheapest stuff.

Yellow labels were like diamonds to a magpie for me.

I walked the 2 and a half mile journey to work instead of getting the bus.  I stopped drinking at social gatherings, which became a running joke with my workmates, and I made the decision to become an owner instead of a consumer.

Incase you were wondering, I haven’t had a haircut since back in uni 3 years ago. I wanted to grow it long enough to give to the Little Princess Trust, so haircuts weren’t and still aren’t an issue for me.

And with that, my account started to make gains.

I still remember breaking £2,000. It was the most money I’d ever had in my bank at any one time and, using this method, I’d saved it in just 2 months. Admittedly, I was working a lot of hours in order to maximise my earnings but seeing the numbers rise easily made it worthwhile.

I found milestones useful for motivation. Aiming to make £1,000 a month, working toward doubling the most amount of money I’d ever had, then tripling and quadrupling it. And after a career change in October, multiple investments and the development of this blog, I ended the year of 2017, the most lucrative year of my life so far, with £10,400 and an investment portfolio worth £5,170.66. 

This is just the beginning for me. My financial goal for 2018 is to save another £12,500 on an apprenticeship salary of £10,000 per annum. It seems impossible. We’ll see about that.

 

   

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