I’m Chanpory, and this is my site on how to live and work better as a designer.

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Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot AffordSome people get money and know how to keep it. I’m not one of them. After four years of design school and three years of working since graduation, I’ve racked up a debt of over $33,000. This has gone out of control, and it’s clear I need other guidance for managing my money than the “track everything, make a budget, and stick to it” plan (it never worked for me). The two most useful things I’ve found so far includes “The 60% Solution” and a video called “Don’t buy stuff you cannot afford:”

1. The 60% Solution

Richard Jenkins of MSN MoneyCentral suggests dividing your income like this:

60% (Committed Expenses: food, clothes, ALL bills and taxes) 10% (Retirement savings: IRA, 401k) 10% (Long-term savings: stocks, mutual funds) 10% (Stort-term savings: general savings account) 10% (Fun money: movies, books, Star Trek memorabilia, etc.)
With this simple framework, you don’t have to track every single type of expense. Just keep your committed expenses to 60%, or you’ll be screwed later on. Richard explains:
It rarely matters what you’re overspending on — dining out, entertainment, clothes. Who cares? It’s still debt, right?… it wasn’t the little luxuries here and there that got me in trouble. It was the large, irregular expenses, like vacations, major repairs and the holidays that did all the damage. To avoid overspending, I had to do a better job of planning for those.

Read more about the 60% solution on MSN Money.

2. Don’t buy stuff you cannot afford

SNL hasn’t been very funny lately. But last month, they aired a brilliant fake TV commercial for a debt management book called, Dont Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford. A simple rule, but difficult for the easily tempted like me. For example, I’d hide credit cards, and swear to use them only in emergencies. It worked until I made excuses for turning non-emergencies into “emergencies.” So as a first step, I’ve take the big plunge and literally cut up ALL my credit cards. It’s now virtually impossible for me to spend money I don’t have.

Check out the transcript of the SNL sketch here and the video clip here.

It’s a long road ahead, but these two pieces have given me motivation and actually make the process seem less daunting. I promise a progress report in a month or so. Wish me luck!

how to earn money fast

6 Comments

  • Madelyn

    gravatarJul 7, 2006
    7:56 am

    I like the concept of this whole site and appreciate all the parts about typography, but this segment intrigued me and amused me as I read on. Good show!

  • Chanpory

    gravatarJul 7, 2006
    4:47 pm

    Thank you so much for visiting the site, I think the video is one of the funniest things I’ve seen on TV.

  • A Friend

    gravatarJul 13, 2006
    8:56 am

    The SNL track is funny, and the article is good, but not great. If you really want to get motivated, check out Dave Ramsey (http://www.daveramsey.com). This guy is great, and he gives you a simple process for getting out of debt quickly.

    The one thing that’s lacking in the 60% solution is GIVING. I guess that could fall under the 10% fun stuff, but there truly is something rewarding in giving your money to other people to help them. Our budget is the 10% solution: We give 10% of our income to our church, as a way of saying “Thank you” to God. It isn’t easy, but after a while you come to realize that you really can get by on less.

    BTW, nice site, keep up the good work!

  • Chanpory

    gravatarJul 13, 2006
    7:48 pm

    Friend,

    You make a good point, charity and giving should be considered as part of a budget. Whether it is tithing, donations to Red Cross, or another charity, giving makes one even more aware of the money we spend and the objects we consume. It’s amazing how much we feel we “need” to have when others have none.

  • Andrew

    gravatarJul 24, 2006
    7:17 am

    Nice article. I’m in the same boat as you… Design school graduate with a few years of professional experience under my belt and an ever deepening debt upwards of 30k. I’m always on the look for ways to get myself motivated and save a few bills. One book I came across that’s given me some really great tips and insights is Suze Orman’s “Young, Fabulous and Broke.” This book is broken down into bite-sized nuggets of chewable info. Based around the lives of young, actitive people and how to spend and save without sacrifice. I’ll admit, I’m still in debt, but before I was just created more, now I’m in control of it. With a plan to reduce it significantly. I also have a retirement saving plan set up with a Roth IRA and steady investments for my future. The book talks about saving for big purchases, creating credit and building an “emergency savings plan,” along with tips on buying a house/car and investing as well.

    It’s an easy read and I definitely recommend it.

    Amazon.com : Suze Orman’s Young, Fabulous and Broke

  • mia

    gravatarJun 12, 2008
    1:56 pm

    Using your credit card for emergencies is essentially creating an emergency with interest. Just don’t.