Stephan and his girlfriend split meals to save money
“I have the cheapest health plan,” says Stephan, who pays $215 a month and doesn’t have vision or dental insurance. He pays $125 a month for car insurance.
“My gym membership is absolutely, ridiculously way too expensive,” says Stephan, who pays $220 a month to work out at Equinox. But it’s convenient, he adds: “It’s right down the street from my office at The Oppenheim Group.”
Credit card annual fees: $129
Stephan has 12 credit cards: nine for personal use and three for business. Four of them are rewards cards that come with annual fees. He pays a total of $1,545 in fees per year, or about $129 a month.
“I definitely get value from them because of the signup bonus that I get, the points I get back and the perks with the cards,” he says.
Everything else: $551
Utilities and Wi-Fi: $200
Cell phone plan: $85
Miscellaneous: $266 (Amazon Prime, entertainment budget, hair cuts and pet care)
What he saves
“I end up saving about 99% of my income, just because my income is so high and I keep my expenses so low,” says Stephan, adding: “I’m probably extreme in terms of saving and frugality, and I think a lot of people probably find it pretty intense. But I love it. I love the challenge of saving and trying to handle my money well and grow it.”
He keeps between $20,000 and $30,000 in his checking account at all times. Besides that, the rest of his money is automatically sent to various high-yield savings accounts: “Pretty much all of them earn over 2%, so at least I’m getting something on my money, and it’s not just sitting there.”
He’s not saving for anything specific, but plans to eventually buy another property when he finds the right one.
“I end up saving about 99% of my income, just because my income is so high and I keep my expenses so low.”
When it comes to investing, “my focus has always been real estate and trying to generate more rental income,” he says. He does have some money invested in a Roth IRA and a SEP plan, which are both retirement-specific accounts, but he doesn’t contribute to them on a monthly basis.
He also has about $26,000 in outside investments through stock trading apps, though, “I don’t contribute anything to these at all,” he says. “It’s just something that’s sitting on the sidelines.”
Scaling his income on YouTube
Stephan didn’t monetize his YouTube channel overnight. “It took me a few months to actually see any money whatsoever,” he says. When he first started earning money, it was less than a dollar a day.
After a few months of posting videos, “I started making a few cents a day,” he recalls. “Then it grew to a dollar a day, and I remember thinking at that point, OK, if I go an entire month, that means I can eat an all-you-can-eat sushi dinner entirely for free just with YouTube.”
After a full year of making videos, he earned $26,000. It exploded from there.