How I Save and Invest Money

Continuing Happy Hour Finance Fridays! This week is focused on saving and investing your money.

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On a scale of 1-10, how important are the # of followers to your business?

In 2020 I think the amount of followers is about 6/10 importance. The number of followers does directly affect your base rate. I think the influencer industry standard has been around $100 per 10K followers. Other important factors are the industry, the content, and the networks. I started off only working with fashion brands but since then have expanded my portfolio to work with industries in travel, beauty (fragrance, skincare), automobiles, finance, and more. Because of this diversification, I can work with multiple brands across different industries at the same time. I don’t just pigeonhole myself in only one category and therefore can increase my income. Since I started Levitate Style in 2014, it’s important to figure out your niche and how you stand out from other influencers. 

What’s unique about you vs working with another influencer? 

For me at the base level, I am an Asian male and immigrant in fashion and travel. So if you are a brand or agency who is striving to be better, to be more diverse, and want to reach new audience, I would make a great fit.

How do you and Alicia save you guys’ money?

Work Hard Play Hard. Over the years, we’ve always tried to save money in every way we can. We cook most of our meals at home. We just did the math recently and it comes to about $10 per person a day. We don’t really spend money going to bars or on entertainment. The most we would do normally was going to see a movie every 2 weeks. I think that’s the area we have really excelled in and have really saved a lot of money this way. When I shop for clothes and shoes I always try to find the best deals and I see the clothing as investment into my business. Alicia, on the other hand, is a very frugal person. She feels guilty spending money and rarely makes purchases. She loves books and and usually only buys used books that are $1. We go for coffees at a cafe once a week and that already feels like a splurge.

Another huge factor is TIME! Decide what you would pay extra for vs time in return. One of the splurges we had was dropping off laundry. Doing laundry in NYC is easily 2-3 hours of your time and you have to either stay at the laundromat or keep coming back every 40 minutes. We realized that it was taking up too much of our precious weekend free time that we could use otherwise to have quality down time or work on side hustle. For the extra $20-$30 for 4 hours saved it was well worth it for us.

Another example: gyms. We don’t have $200 Equinox memberships because our old local gym was $40/month. Now we live in a luxury apartment building that has a gym. We save money where we can and spend it for what we want.

Even when we travel we try to book a good value hotel or Airbnb. When we travel we are more than happy to spend our hard earned and saved money. Now, that doesn’t mean we go all out and spend it extravagantly but we will have the best time doing everything that makes sense for the time and value. Also we usually can earn travel points from credit cards to have 2 vacations to Europe covered per year especially when you travel off-season.

Figure out what you really enjoy and value in life and spend money on that. Save everywhere else you can and have a good balance. Ensure you and your partner have the same goals.

Best way to get started in investing money?

Start with a budget. Really see where and what you are spending your money on. Make the sacrifice and automatically send money to a separate account or set up something that’ll deduct a small amount each week. I recently started using ACORNS and Robinhood App (see links above). Both are great to invest your money in. Like everything in life, start small and you’ll notice the small efforts that make a huge difference in the long run. You can start with $5 every week or once a month. You can start with $25 per paycheck. Put these numbers into real perspective - $5 is a coffee, $25 is a dinner at a restaurant. You can easily spend it or save it. Develop this routine and habit and it’ll go a long way. And if you don’t have the extra income or find room to save you can always find side hustles like working on FIVER or sell random stuff you have around the house. $1 is better than nothing!


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