How to manage money like an adult and save up to 40% of your salary (in a big city!)

Dearest Reader,

I am what is called a Millennial, or formerly known as Gen Y. When I browse around the web, I can see that my generation is most known for lavish, for spending, for ordering fancy things like avocado on toast which prevents us from buying houses, and for being glued to our phones which we use to order avocado on toast.

I live in Sydney, Australia and have previously lived in London, so I know a thing or two about living in a big city where you seemingly have to spend – but over the years I’ve learned that with a few adjustments, I’ve actually been very anti-millennial and pro-saving. In fact, I have finally hit the sweet spot in which I can save up to 40% of my monthly income!

1. Be a smart renter

Sydney is one of the most expensive cities on this earth, and anyone who’s lived in similar cities knows that “only spending 20% of your income on rent” is impossible. If you are like me, on a very post-study average income, you’ll be paying more like 30-40%.

A total downer indeed, but this is the price we pay to live where it’s all happening, and you have to be smart about your rent. Consider these questions:

  • Can you share your place with a friend? Or even a sexy stranger?
  • Would it be cheaper to live a little further away from the city centre?
  • Would it be cheaper to live closer and pay less on transport? (welcome to Sydney!)
  • Could you make a sacrifice, like not having a tub/balcony/washing machine?
  • Can you find some place where bills/internet are included?
  • Can you downsize?
  • Can you settle for a less scenic view from your kitchen window?

All these things affect your rent, so make a list of deal breakers and be open to everything else!

2. Bring your own avocado and toast

Guys, let’s face it – in the city, coffee is at least $3, lunch is at least $10, multiply by 5 and you’re looking at over $60 for coffee and lunch per week. Doesn’t seem like much, until you realise that’s over $200 per month, and $3000 per year. How much do you earn that you can spend that much on lunch, dude?

You know this. You have heard this before. But you keep doing it.

I want you to go to the store now, buy the cutest portable cup you can find, get yourself a nice coffee machine and make your coffee at home. And for God’s sake, get your avocado and toast from the grocery store and bring it to work. It will save you thousands.

3. Catching up with friends doesn’t equal restaurants

A very simple night out in Sydney – a meal, a drink, a dessert to share, tip, uber home – can easily add up to $70 – $100. Add more drinks, and you’re easily up to $150. Do this three times, and you’ll realise where all your fucking money went.

But city life works like that – you catch up after work and that’s just going to have to be at a bar, and obviously you have to spend and if you don’t do it, you won’t have any friends, right?


There are 100 other things you can do together that don’t require money.

  • Sit in the park with a hipster coffee and judge people
  • Work out together (or plan to, and then end up sitting down and judging people)
  • Invite your friends over instead – cook, make cocktails, popcorn and a movie etc.
  • If you’re artsy or culturally inclined, there must be free exhibitions and events everywhere
  • Take a day trip to nature
  • Catch up during work lunch ($10 instead of $100!)

If you can replace some of the nights out with other activities, you’ll find that you can save a ton of money and still socialise. In fact you might become the one friend that’s a little more exciting to hang out with.

4. Finally, learn the difference between wanting something and needing something

You worked hard for your money, and you have every right to spend it on whatever you like. But you know you’ve been spending it on shit you don’t need, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t like.

You don’t need more clothes. You don’t need more make-up, skincare products, decoration for your house or any more stationary. Use up what you have first, and you’ll automatically go on a spending freeze. This spending freeze can save you hundreds of dollars a month, which you can save up for greater goals – a trip? a house? Wouldn’t you rather have a coffee in Paris than buying yet another bag?

I hope this was helpful – if you have any more advice, leave it in the comments! 🙂

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