Social distance

What do you do with 150 USD a month?

This post supposed to relate to my 2-month trip in Vietnam but I think the topic is much more actual now. The world is overwhelmed by the pandemic and many people are in fear so they buy everything and stay at home. The pandemic has been causing not only fear but it has a negative affect on economy as well. In this post I aim to emphasize on the importance of saving. Before I write about the savings I will show you how significant even a small amount is by showing you how people survive with 150 USD a month.

Families live on 150 USD a month

When I was in Vietnam, I visited small cities and villages. The biggest surprise wasn’t how the living condition was, but the fact that how much people actually earned. Even working more than 8 hours a day, a man earns 150 USD (~45000 HUF) a month. He has a family to feed as well. I wondered how anyone could live with that amount. Because I spend that much money a month on my useless wants.

The household bills might be lower and their needs might not be that high, but with an European mindset it was hard to understand what they can afford with it. Of course it turned out it wasn’t enough for them. People usually have to do two jobs and wife and husband all work. This experience showed me how much money I waste on nothing in my everyday life.

As I regularly write down my earning and expense I can see clearly how much I spend each month. My spending only on eating out is 30.000 Ft (~100 USD). Not homemade food. But sandwiches and restaurant meals. I still live at home, I don’t have to pay for the groceries, but instead of taking time to cook and packing my lunch, I would rather spend a lot of money on eating out. When I realized that other people rely on this amount to live their everyday life for a month, I felt guilty for my waste.

That amount could have gone to my saving funds, which meant this much more a year: 30.000 x 12 months = 360.000 HUF (~ 1.180 USD). In Hungary this is enough for a month of living.

This is true for most of the people. Just think about how much you spend on your wants. Not your needs like bills, groceries, clothes. But the extras over the needs. More gourmet food, newer clothes, prettier nails and hair, trendiest smartphone. Then by the end of the month you wonder where your money has gone. This is the phenomenon of the consumer society. We spend and buy more than we need. We think that living in the moment is everything. But NO.

Save whenever you can!!!

Pandemic of corona virus has proved it. During this time everyone should reduce their movement, most of the people have to turn to home office, which is still a luckier situation. Still some people have to either risk going to work or staying at home without work and monthly payment. Or worse situation when the companies are forced to close down and they can’t even pay their employees. If you end up staying at home without payment or lower than usual then what is going to happen?

  • Can you still afford the lifestyle you had before?
  • Do you have enough to pay for the groceries and household needs?
  • Do you have enough savings that you can use in case the pandemic last for months?

If your answer is yes, you are lucky. But if no or not really, you should consider saving your emergency funds from now on. Because crisis can always happen. Corona virus has proved it. In this situation those, who don’t have savings, are in a worse situation. It’s better to make plan and start to save now. So when the situation cools down and you can go back to work, you just have to keep the habit of saving to fill up your emergency fund.

In case it’s hard to accomplish, you can always learn new skill and do remote work. As now it’s better to stay at home to contain the spread of the virus, most of us are stuck at home. You can either waste your time by scrolling facebook and watch the news, or use your time wisely and learn new skills, like webdesigning, programming, blogging, vlogging etc… more ideas here. You can learn it from youtube videos, blogs, different educational websites like udemy, most of the basic contents can be accessed for free. This might take time but once you succeed it’s sure that you have extra money to save.

Opportunities are given. Time is given. It depends on how you use it. Remember to save your money and fill up your emergency fund!

For the upcoming time I will share how I spend my days usefully while staying at home since universities are all closed down and I mainly work from home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: