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July 16, 2006

Living on a Budget- Saving Money

Hello Readers!

Are you bad with finances? Do you live from pay check to pay check? Would you like to figure out how to save a little money from time to time? For many ESL teachers who are fresh out of university, saving cash has never been an option. But it's not that hard to learn to save. I've found that while spending money is obviously extremely easy, saving money is...

...not that much harder to do.

Here are a few tips.

1. Give yourself a budget for each week and stick to it. If you get to the end of the week with nothing left, take a bus instead of a cab, make your own dinner instead of eating out, invite your friends over for a BYOB (bring your own beer) party instead of going to a bar, and pass on the frivolous shopping spree until you have more money. If you have money left over at the end of the week, put it in the bank or buy yourself a treat for doing so well with your budget.

I, for example, put 1,000 rmb in my purse every Sunday and try my best not to take out any more money until the following Sunday. Usually it works. When I've accumulated enough, I try to wire it back home to my bank account so that I can't touch it unless of emergency.

2. Only use credit cards for emergencies. I've always felt that spending more than you have is ridiculous. I know that once you start charging things, it's easy to forget exactly how much you've spent. And then it's even easier to get stuck in the credit card trap- only paying minimum payments, forking over 17% interest, and using one credit card to pay for another. In my opinion, credit cards are there for emergencies and for convenience. It's easier to pay for a plane ticket with a credit card rather than cash- but make sure that you have the money in your bank account first.

3. When signing contracts, don't forget about benefits. Many ESL schools provide teachers with health insurance, round trip airfares, and paid vacation. Sometimes it's worth it to work for a little less money per hour to get these kinds of benefits than to make a little bit more without benefits.

4. If you are in the position to save money easily while teaching ESL, then pay off any debts you have now instead of allowing the interest to build. Living without debt obviously makes you a lot freer to travel from one country to another. By sticking to my budget, I was able to pay off my school loans in two years in Beijing. After graduation, I didn't think I'd be able to pay them off for a decade or more.

The most important thing to do when trying to save money is to make a plan. Set yourself some goals and figure out how you can accomplish them. You don't have to live without any indulgences in order to save money. In fact, in China, it's quite easy to live like royalty while putting plenty of your salary in the bank.

Good luck!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

Looking for MORE articles about living on a budget as an ESL teacher? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, has lived and worked in China since 1998. During that time, she has worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She’s worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she’s also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing as well as working as an ESL instructor for the Australian International School of Beijing. Carol is also enrolled in Oxford Brookes' MA TESL program in Oxford, England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at July 16, 2006 03:01 AM

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