Clean Personal Finance

The Grades

I’ve stolen this concept from the Clean Code Developer initiative.

The main idea is that you don’t try every financial advice all at once but organize it into different stages from easy to hard.

Grade 0 Black

I’m interested in Clean Personal Finance. I’m unhappy with my current situation. I feel like I’m not reaching my goals.

Grade 1 Red

This grade is for low hanging fruits.

Cut Costs: Stop wasting money on things You don’t need

Stop subscriptions of magazines, gym membership, online services which you rarely or never use.

Earn more: Sell items on eBay

Get rid of stuff you haven’t used for more than a year.

Optimize Spending: Negotiate or switch car insurance

Write a letter to your insurance company and demand a lower insurance fee. Perhaps You’ve driven fewer kilometers this year anyway.
You need to talk to the company!

Rainy Day Funds: Open up a savings account.

Start putting away 2,5% of your net income. If you earn 1500,- you should put aside 38,- a month.

Protect your wealth: Get a liability insurance.

If you accidentally harm others it can get very expensive. You need cover for that.

Grade 2 Orange

Here comes the hard part. Knowing where your money goes.

Cut Costs: Switch checking accounts to a bank with no fees

Believe it or not, there are banks which do not want fees for transaction or withdrawals

Earn more: Negotiate your salary

This is a bit harder. But perhaps you have new responsibilities at work? That’s a start to ask for a raise.

To make it easier start by asking for only 1 or 2%.

Bosses are mainly confronted with wishes like 10-20% 🙂

Optimize Spending: Start tracking expenses

At the end of the month open up an excel sheet (google sheets) and track where your money went. Don’t worry about categories, we can figure them out as we go.

Rainy Day Funds

Start putting away 5% of your net income. If you earn 1500,- you should put aside 75,5

Protect your wealth: Get an accident insurance

Grade 3 Yellow

Earn more: Make a tax declaration

If you have never done a tax declaration seek help from a tax advisor.

If you are single and an employee you pay the highest possible tax and with a declaration there should always a net positive return. (At least in Germany)

Rainy Day Funds

Start putting away 10% of your net income. If you earn 1500,- you should put aside 150,-

Optimize Spending: Start Budgeting

Now that we know where the money went in the past, we need to redirect the streams.
What are your goals in life? Possessions and Events? Allocate money to those categories.

Protect your wealth: Get a home insurance!

If you own expensive things you cannot immediately replace you need insurance for that.

Grade 4 Green

Earn more: Think about a side hustle

Perhaps there are skills which you acquired that you could put to work
Are you good at explaining? Try private tutoring
Are you good at writing as well? try to write an ebook for your profession
Are you a developer? write some apps for Android or iOS

Optimize Spending: Invest in yourself

Read books about your profession, book a seminar for yourself, go to conferences.
The more you learn, the more you earn – Ty Lopez

Start investing

Open up an online brokerage account. Set up a savings plan on a low TER MCSI World ETF

Rainy Day Funds

Start putting away 15% of your net income. If you earn 1500,- you should put aside 225,-

Grade 5 Blue

Earn more: Switch jobs

If you cannot earn more in your current perhaps it’s time to switch your job altogether?

Rainy Day Funds

Start putting away 20% of your net income. If you earn 1500,- you should put aside 300,-

Grade 6 White

Evaluate! Are you happier than before you started your journey?
If yes, start all over with the red grade.