Saving 65% of My Income Without a Six-Figure Salary: My Personal Strategy Revealed

This is a modest brag post. Let’s just call it what it is: a humble brag post.

It is not my intention to appear smug or conceited. I don’t want anyone to think that I am better than them. I’m not. Even though I have learned so much about finances, I still make mistakes.

My grandiose wish is that, regardless of your circumstances, you will be able to see what’s possible. It was a combination of some great advantages and hard work that got me to where I am today.

You can still get out of a financial rut. It might be more difficult for you or easier for me. You can achieve some incredible results if you put in the effort.

Let’s move on. Here’s what I did to save 65% of my income, as well as my next steps and my goal to reach in the near future.

This post is basically a continuation of my story on how I saved and invested $100k. It is inevitable that there will be some overlap.

Table of Contents
No Six-Figure Salary
Save 65% of my income
Save up to 100%
No Six-Figure Salary
This is the reason why I chose to put it in the title. Many articles on high savings rates are written by people who have a six-figure income rage.

You can find articles about people earning six figures and still barely saving due to lifestyle creep, as well as those who don’t. The majority of articles I read in major publications are about people with high salaries.

Look, earning more money and getting a better salary can be a huge help. A higher income means more savings potential. I also found that generating more income was helpful to me, and we’ll discuss this in detail below.

My salary ranges from the time I began my first full-time job after college until now. To maintain some privacy, I will not give the exact figures. I could have a salary that is on the lower end, middle end or higher end during these time frames.

2010 – 2014 ($30,000 – $36,000 Pre-tax)
2014 – 2017 ($36,000 – $46,000 Pre-tax)
2017 – Present (Pre-tax: $46,000 to $85,000)
It wasn’t until the late summer and fall of 2014 that I began to seriously consider my personal finances and started working on increasing my income and saving rate.

It’s been a great help to have a salary that has increased from 2017 until now, especially after I established financial discipline. By increasing my salary, I was able to reach the 60% mark. Even before I received this raise, my savings rate was already in the 40+% range.

Save 65% of my income
It takes a lot of work and dedication to reach a high savings rate. This percentage took me about five years, but I think the effort was worth it.

Here’s how I got to a 65% saving rate. Hopefully these tips will help you improve yours. There are no secrets here!

Write down the basics.
Take note of all your financial numbers.

You can use your bi-weekly or weekly paychecks to calculate expenses, such as bills and other payments. I had a rough idea of the numbers, but that’s not enough.

I entered everything in a spreadsheet, and then added it all up. Now I could visually see where my money was going, how much is left etc.

It also helped me to see where I should start making changes or what I can do to put more money in my pocket.

Make some cuts in your expenses
It made me realize that I was overspending and wasting money on items that were not important to my life.

I noticed that I was spending too much money on food and socializing. It’s fine, but you should do it in moderation.

I also canceled monthly memberships I didn’t use much.

These small things won’t make rich people, but they will allow you to save more. I was glad to get $50-$100 a month back to put into savings.

I also made an effort to reduce my living costs. For example, moving from a one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom with a friend in order to split the costs.

Repay a debt
Saving money can be difficult when you have debt. I had a student loan, a car payment, and some credit card debt.

It was foolish of me to buy a new car when I was on my own and had a low salary.

The car loan, however, had the highest rate of interest at over $320 per month. This would add up to a nice increase in savings each month.

In early 2017, I paid the entire balance off in one go. My savings took a hit at first but I quickly recovered and now get to keep the additional $300+.

You don’t want debt to last forever. Some people would have preferred to pay down their debts than save, but I chose both. You can read more about it here.

Side hustles
I know that not everyone is interested in side hustles. However, I have found them to be extremely helpful to my financial journey.

First, I could use the extra money to pay for expenses or put it towards savings. Second, they helped me boost my professional skills. By starting blogs, consulting and freelancing whenever I could, I learned a great deal about marketing and websites.

This was the value I could add my resume in order to attract higher-paying jobs and show my worth to employers. Check out this list of side hustles that can earn you a lot of money.

Career worth increases
It is clear that my saving rate has increased since I have been earning more.

Nevertheless, earning more money does not mean you will save better. To avoid lifestyle creep, you need to set up a solid financial foundation.

When I used my saving rate strategy, I reached a plateau unless I made more money.

When I had no more room to save, I reached a savings rate of around 40% (unless my student loans magically disappeared). Even though cutting expenses was helpful, I only had so much money to save. Making money has no limits.

In addition to side hustles, I also worked on improving my marketing career. In 2017, I was offered a remote job with a higher wage, which allowed me to increase my savings rate by 25%.

Keep the consumer mentality under control
It’s good to treat yourself occasionally. Allowing it to get out of hand can hurt your savings rate and put you in debt.

There are no secrets to this, other than self-control and focusing on your financial goals. Once I broke this habit, I have never looked back.

You can help yourself by removing your credit card from the one-click payment option on shopping sites and waiting 24 to 48 hours before you make a purchase.

After asking myself whether it was worth it and sleeping it over, I found that 9/10 times I didn’t really need it.

Make good financial habits the norm
After I had my consumer mentality under control, I developed good financial habits. Earning more, spending less and paying yourself first are all good financial habits.

It’s not easy to change your old habits. As you begin and focus on your goals, you will find it easier to develop good habits. You will eventually stop thinking about it and just do it.

My savings rate progressed quickly and I became addicted. It made me want continue doing what I was. This became a part of my daily life and the norm at some point.

Savings Rate

Save up to 100%
I want to reach a savings rate of 70-75% and eventually 100%.

It is difficult for me to reach my next goal of 70-75% because I enjoy food and travel. Paying off my student debt, increasing my salary, and earning money from Invested Wallet can help me get there.

I am not extremely frugal and probably will never be. If I put more effort into it, I’m certain I could increase the percentage. The effect on my quality of life doesn’t make it worth it.

It’s okay to spend money and enjoy yourself! ?

My daily spending habits are under control and I’ve shed my consumer mentality. This makes it easier to save money. At my current income, I’m not sure I can save more than 70%.

What is my goal for the next few…

I want to build my side hustles, investments and savings to cover all of my monthly costs so that I can then save and invest my entire income.

Although it won’t be simple, I am confident that I will succeed.