Quest for Epicness

Ilhan's journey to do truly epic things

The Epic Saving Spreadsheet

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To get the Epic Saving Spreadsheet, sign up for The Epic Times!

The Epic Saving Spreadsheet

In a previous post we have talked about how to save money via automation. Now that this is understood, we could move on and do everything by hand. But staying true to our Automation and “Get yourself out of the loop” philosophy, I’d like to introduce you to the Epic Saving Spreadsheet (which you can get easily by signing up for The Epic Times…don’t worry, it is a 100% free 😉 ).

The Epic Saving Spreadsheet is a nice little goody that helps you calculate how much you can actually save, how much you need to save and how much “unattended” money you’ll have left after saving.

Wanna know how it works? Keep on reading!

Expenses

We have 3 categories of expenses: daily, monthly and yearly expenses. Just plug in the numbers in your favorite currency, no currency sign needed. For daily expenses I assumed a 30 days month, so the calculations might be a little off, but the error should average out to zero.

Down below, right under the daily expenses column, is a field for the monthly income. Go ahead and write your monthly income into the field (c28 to be exact).

Savings

What do you want to save for? How much does it cost? How much do you need to save each month? That’s what the savings column is for. Go ahead and write down the total price of each item under amount. Then move over to timeframe and write down in how many months from now you want to have that money saved up. The spreadsheet will calculate how much you need to save each month and write it down under monthly saving.

Don’t forget to fill out the description field for each entry, so you will still now what is what.

End result

After filling out those fields, the spreadsheet will make some calculations (don’t worry, you don’t need to fill out all the cells…c’mon nobody wants you to to make up expenses or savings man).

Under “Saving Potential” you will see how much money you have that is unused each month. Under “Total to Save” you can see how much you have to save each month. “After Saving” shows you how much (unused) money is left after you have already saved, each month.

Go nuts!

How this can help you

“Alright Ilhan bro, but how is this stuff gonna help me, man?” you might think to yourself. Afterall, it seems like a fancy toy.

Lo and behold, it is not! Remember, in order to do some effective money saving you need to have a gameplan! This little spreadsheet is an important aspect of your gameplan. It shows you how much exactly you need to save, and if you are on track or not.

By filling out the expenses part you are also forced to think hard about what you spend your money for and it gives you a simple, clear overview of where your money goes. That way you can also go ahead and start optimizing your finances step by step.

Leave a comment on how you like the spreadsheet and what you like to see improved!

To get the Epic Saving Spreadsheet and more cool stuff sign up for The Epic Times!

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How to save money via automation

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Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The hard truth

Money is key. For doing most epic things you need at least a little bit of money. Money matters. Sad, but true. Everybody, no matter what the income, can do epic things if they manage to save the money. But looking for money saving tips, all we find is the same old crap. “Don’t spend so much” they tell us, or “If you stop drinking your morning coffee you will save 1.50 bucks a day”…are you serious? I know I don’t have to spend too much in order to save money. And saving 1.50/day is not even worth the hustle of being grumpy and sleepy all day long. What we need are some good, real world-saving tips!

Bring your gameplan

They key to success here is a plan. You need to know what you want to do in order to make it work, because trying to save without a real plan will get you nowhere. The question here is: What do you want to do and when (well, that are actually two questions, but never mind)? Be specific, this is very important! Don’t just say “I want to visit South America next summer sometime”, but go into the details, like “I want to visit Brazil and Argentine next August to September”. This is a real plan! Once you know when and what, do some research about the cost, go into the details to get a feel for how much it will cost. Research people who have done it before and see if you can find out how much they have spend. This shouldn’t take longer than a day.

I will visit Brazil and Argentine in August-September 2013, and I will start my saving plan in August this year. From my recent travel travel experience I think I will need something around 2400€ (flight + accomodation + meals + play + security). This is not too high, as I plan to travel very cheaply.I have roughly one year to save that rmoney, so this equals to about 200€ per month.

So now I know how much I need, I have a gameplan. I am ready to find out how I can save some money.

Step-by-step optimization

Saving money  for something important is not as hard as it seems. But everybody makes it harder than it should be. C’mon man, you don’t have fight a war on several frontiers, focus on one thing and pull it through. You don’t have to forget about your morning coffee-to-go, your newspaper other daily “low-impact” savings. We want the big stuff, and we want it good!

Go through your finances. Go through your house. Your hardware, your memberships, anything. Try to get an overview of how much you spend and for what. Once you know where your money is going, focus on one area and only one area! Do you think you have too much stuff that you buy but never use? Great, make it a rule not to do impulsive shopping, but rather waiting a week before buying something. Find and categorize the stuff you don’t use, and sell it on ebay. Have too many unused memberships? Make a truthful assestment and cancel the ones you just don’t use.

The message you should get here is: focus on one thing at a time, and one thing only! This is very important. Heck, it is your key to success. Trying to save in several different areas will just lead to bigtime failure (except if you are a multi-taskable saving machine, of course). Once that one area is cleaned up, you can turn your attention to another area.

Automation, Automation, Automation

Let’s be serious here. We humans are creatures of habit. Our inertia (resistance to change of state of motion) is very high. We are the weak link in the savings loop. It’s alright, a fault confessed is half redressed. What we have to do now is get ourselves out of the loop. Things have to happen without us making decision, without us even being able to mess things up.

That’s where automation comes into play. We just have to automate our savings, it’s easy as that. It isn’t as hard as it sounds. All we have to do is setup a special sub-account for our project (the thing we want to save the  money for), and have money transferred automatically from our checkings account to our sub-account at the beginning of each month. Again, very important that this happens at the beginning of each month, and not some other time! Because that way we don’t even see the money and have to plan our “monthly survival” without it. Win win.

It is as easy as that! Now go have some fun.

Did you like this article? Would you like to know more about saving money, automation, and cool projects to save money for? Do you want the super special Epic Automation Spreadsheet? Sign up for The Epic Times and go epic.

The Epic Mission Statement

A little background

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One day I had an epiphany. I wanted to do great things. I wanted to travel the world, learn all kinds of languages and meet different cultures. I wanted to sit on the beach on a tropical island, drink a cocktail from a glass with a straw that looked like an umbrella, not worrying about anything. I wanted to surf the great breaks. I wanted to visit a monastery, experience a madrasa. There were so many things I wanted to do!  This was in stark contrast to my current life. See, I am an aerospace engineering major in Germany. And that is something special, because college in Germany is nothing like college in the States. Many professors (not all of them, fortunately) are extremely arrogant, they don’t care if you pass an exam or not, they are not here to help you (or so they think). You have almost no freedom of choosing your classes, most are mandatory, so you sit there learning silly things that won’t help your advancement whatsoever.

How are these engineers-to-be supposed to learn social skills and teamwork, if they don’t even have time to socialize? We are not supposed to create socially awkward experts, but managers of people and technology. This is very ironic. Students here slave away day after day, no time for play, no time for partying, heck, there ain’t no time for plain old socializing outside of the engineering community!

Imagine a 22-year old slaving away in his office while outside the birds sing, the sun is shining and everybody is having a great time. Am I waisting my youth, I wondered?

The inspiration

Then came along my heroes to save the day. I met them all by chance, but boy am I lucky to have met them!

There was this dude named Steve, who combined nerdiness with strength training and fitness, over at Nerd Fitness. His no-bullshit approach just convinced me. His fitness and nutrition tips were spot on. And he reminded me of the kid I used to be. The teenage boy who loved P&P-RPGs, played Zelda on the SNES and N64, who watched Star Wars over and over again. His tales of awesomeness and his own quest for epicness directly influenced the creation of this blog. Thanks a lot, Steve!

Than there was this Indian-American, Maneesh, over at Hack the System. He was on his own journey for epicness, and boy was he doing great progress. He shows people how you can live off of your backpack, travel the world, have an awesome time and still help people. Way to go, Maneesh!

Last, but not least, there was Matt from Nomadic Matt. Matt has been traveling the world for several years now, and he has great tips for travelling and travel hacking (i.e. how to get cheap tickets). His vivid description of countries and cultures and his great photographs make everyone who reads his blog want to grap the backpack and hit the road.

The Mission

So you might be wondering…

What the heck is this Quest for Epicness? What is this dude talking about?   …bare with me!

It is hard to define, but it is about leveling up my life, and in the process help you level up yours. How does that exactly work? It is a concept based on World or Warcraft (or for that matter, any other role-playing game on the computer). In WoW one’s alter ego roams the wild, killing monsters and going on quests in order to level up, become more powerful, get better equipment and and just freakin feel good about himself.

My leveling-up concep is pretty simple. I want to travel the world and have a great time. Starting October I will be in Ankara, Turkey, for an internship, and I want to make the best out of it, get to know the Anatolian landscape, get a close up look at my culture and show the city how to party.  Next summer (2013) a friend and I are planing a trip to Brasil and Argentine. We will take our backpacks and hike through beautiful the Rainforest, relax on white-sanded beaches and party in cities pulsating with energy.

There’s gonna be great beaches, great weather, and great waves. So this means: surfing! I always wanted to surf, but living in Germany (pretty landlocked) never had the opportunity. I read so many books and watched so many videos, it isn’t even funny. I even bought a surfboard and took it to Turkey! But the few days I was on the beach the weather didn’t really play along, so no surfing for me. I want to change that. I want to learn how to surf, and bring my “Plan of Surfing Greatness” to life (more on that later), surfing the coolest breaks in the world.

And what else do you do if you visit foreign countries? Of course, you learn the language! Language learning, if done right, is a lot of fun and one of the most enriching things to do. I learned English and French in school, but not really, since all I know I have taught myself. I have also studied Spanish in my free time and reached a pretty decent level. Now I want to takle Portuguese with a totally new approach, Khatzumotos Immersion Method (more about that later, but you can read about it at All Japanese All The Time ). But that’s not it, there is much more to come! Bosnian, Arabic, Mandarin, Norwegian and Japanese are also on the list.

There is also the “Getting fit for summer” period until this summer (2012) and the “Getting awesome for next summer” program for Brasil and Argentine. How am I going to do that? Well, first with the help of Steve.

What is your epic mission? What would you love to do but never dared to try? Leave a comment and let me know!

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