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Grow Your Own Money Tree
Hong Ha Sunwoo  |  smt_sw94@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2014.10.09  19:23:24
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How much did you spend today?  Did you buy a cup of iced Americano coffee, have lunch with friends, spend money on transportation fee?  Maybe you only remember that you spent money today.  Or maybe you are wondering where and why did I spend my money?  In elementary school, you would have been taught to keep a record of income and expenses.  Returning to smart consumption, Sunwoo, a reporter for the Sookmyung Times, recorded her spending habits over a 10-day period.
 

 
   
PHOTOS BY HSW
 
 

Dig and Plant Seedlings

   
PHOTO BY HSW

Looking at your bank account, you might wonder where you spent your money at the end of the month.  You might also wonder where's my money disappeared to or how could I have spent so much?  In elementary school, we are taught to keep a record of our spending.  However, according to survey of 409 college  students, only 6.7% of students follow a budget or keep a record of their spending.1  These days, there are many ways to record one’s spending.  Downloading an application is the easy method for university students as they use their smart phones almost every day.  Also, use only of a debit card to manage your money is another easy method to practice because these days debit cards can be used almost everywhere.  However, before downloading an application, there are some important things to remember.  In addition to recording your spending, you should be determined to cut down on expenses, and after finishing your daily work, you need to take time to reflect on how you used your money.
 

Watering and Nourishing the Young Tree
 

Searching for a household ledger application, I found a good application named Weple Money.  It is well categorized and simple to use so I selected the application. (Unfortunately, the application is only available to iPhone users at the moment, but there are many good applications on Android, too.)  At first, I set myself the goal of a minimum of 50,000 won for my little brother's birthday present.
 

Day 1
 

I received my monthly pocket money (350,000 won) from my parents.  I recorded the amount and categorized it as income. When input in the application as income, the application colors it green while expenses are colored red.  On my way home after classes, I bought a cup of coffee, but at first, I forgot to record the expenditure.  It was hard to remember to record all particulars on the application.  Typically, whenever I met friends at a café, I spent roughly 3,500 won for a cup of coffee. Watching me enter my expenditures on my application, one of my friends became determined to keep track of her finances as well.
 

Interim Check (Day 6)

   
PHOTO BY HSW

I had to do an interim check on the 6th day.  I looked at the graph that showed how I had spent my money.  I had already spent about 50,000 won in just under a week.  If I were to use my money this way continuously, I wouldn’t have enough left over for my brother's present.  The most problematic point was that I spent too much money on food, especially coffee and other snacks, so I decided to spend less on coffee over the next few days.

 

Day 10
 

Decreasing my consumption of coffee, I found I saved a lot. Before using the application, I spent money without concern by using my debit card.  After keeping track of my spending, I saw my income and expenses clearly.  It was easy to find my problem.  Now when I use my money and debit card, I enter the data into the application right away.  Kim Jinhee, who started keeping track of her money with me said, "Before using the application, sometimes I found myself broke though I didn’t know where I had spent my money.  Keeping a record, I can control my money efficiently."
 

Pick Fruit from Your Money Tree

   
PHOTO BY HSW

Carlos Slim who is one of the three richest people in the world has kept an account of his spending and earnings since childhood.  He learned how to care for his finances and that habit was the foundation of his road to riches.  It is hard at first to form a habit of keeping track of your finances.  I recommend setting a goal for saving money and then downloading an application.  It is also fun to compare feedback with your friends and others. Download an application and get started right away!
 

 

1 Son Bongseok, "How Much Pocket Money College Students Use," Kyunghyang News, October 14, 2011
 

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