My Monthly Expenses | Harvard, MIT, Investments, Internships, ...
I personally own 36 credit cards Yes, these are actual real physical credit cards and I have around 5 virtual cards, leading to a total of over 40 credit cards In 2020 alone, I invested around $50,000 $35,000 $15,000 IRS, please don't arrest me! I mean I I do have ... like ... bank accounts in Switzerland... and ... like ... I mean, I have money on them but like it's it's not like ... you know ... All right guys – today I'm gonna talk about a topic which, at least where I come from, is a complete taboo Since the age of 18, I kept track of every single dollar that I spent I'm going to use this video to share with you exactly what I spent my money on All the lessons that I learned along the way and obviously all the terrifying moments where I thought that I would lose absolutely everything that I own For the past 9 years, I kept track of every single dollar that I spent using an app called "spending tracker" After almost one decade of using it, I think this app is really outdated nowadays so you should probably look for a more modern alternative But the principle is still really great! Whichever method you choose, just make sure that you can always enter everything you spend from your phone within a few seconds Why? Well, think about it this way If you're not able to enter every single expense that you have immediately as you spend it you'll have to wait until, let's say, you get home and then, you know you have to enter that $3 coffee cup that you had in the morning into some old-school Excel sheet and, I mean, there's just no way that you will always remember everything Also, whichever app you choose, please make sure that you have some kind of cloud backup because if you want to consistently keep track of your spendings for many many, years, or even decades ideally there's just no way that you will never lose your phone, or have all of your data erased at some point Also, since I'm really old-school and I've been using the same app for about 10 years I'm really curious about what new apps are out there so why don't you comment down below, first of all, how you personally keep track of your spendings and also what kind of apps or technology you use to do so Consistency is absolutely key here! Because, if you cannot keep track of your spendings for at least several months or even years there's just no way to observe short and long-term trends These short and long-term trends are exactly what will help you develop better financial habits and plan your future in a much smarter way Speaking of consistency, you can hit the like button, subscribe to my channel down below so YouTube keeps consistently recommending you my videos so you can learn something new every two weeks, when I post new videos Also, when it comes to some kind of banking apps, I don't recommend relying solely on them they may have some great statistics, and all of that but unless you plan on having the same bank and same credit card for the next 10 years there's just no way you're going to have consistent data I personally owned 36 credit cards Yes, these are actual real physical credit cards I'm sure I have your attention now! And I have around 5 virtual cards, leading to a total of over 40 credit cards I got large amounts in Swiss bank accounts Okay no no no no no This is not true! I don't have large amounts in Swiss bank accounts IRS please don't arrest me! I mean, I I do have like bank accounts in Switzerland and like ... I mean, I have money on them, but like it's it's not like, you know... Is it getting really hot in here? Or is it just me? So initially the thought about publicly talking about my own personal expenses and my money made me really uncomfortable Maybe it's because of my German roots Because in Germany it's a really taboo topic or maybe it's just because, well, I don't want the harsh judgment of the internet but either way, I think it's really important to talk about money Because money really matters! You know, money isn't everything – obviously – but it's a very important factor in your life And if everybody keeps their own finances completely secret I think it sometimes makes it really hard for young people to actually understand how to handle their own money, since they don't have any example of someone else doing it Having lived in over 6 different countries during my studies I really figured out you know how much it costs to live in certain areas and how to really make your dollar, or whatever other currency, stretch Alright guys, so without any further do Let's. Talk. Money.
To be completely upfront with you, I grew up in a not so wealthy household my parents moved from Germany to Croatia when I was just around 5 years old started working for some NGO, so we never really had any money for some kind of luxuries so we were living a very normal, and basic lifestyle I was taught from a very early age on that I should save every single dollar that I have and never spent anything and I really took that lesson to heart So whenever I would get some money for my birthday or maybe something from my grandma I would just put it in some kind of old school piggy bank and I would keep it there for many years and by the time I was around 18 years old and, you know I really couldn't do a lot of fun stuff because I was saving so much I had a total of $1,000 saved So, depending on where you live, that probably doesn't sound like a lot of money But for me, you know, saving literally cents at the time this was a lot So, personally, when I look at this now $1,000 isn't a lot of money Given that I live in an area very $1,000 can't even get you through a full week So, I personally now wish that would have had more fun before I was 18 and just you know spend that money on some occasional fun activities trips with friends, going to the cinema, or something like that but I can't really change it and I don't really regret it because I do think that I learned a valuable lesson Alright, so it was around 2014, I just turned 18 years old and, as I said, I had $1,000 in savings and that was exactly the day when I started keeping track of all of my expenses So let's start with that! After getting rejected by MIT for my undergraduate studies which was of course very devastating for me I really wanted to study at my dream University ETH Zürich in Switzerland I got admitted, but unfortunately life in Switzerland was so expensive that there was just no way for me to study there So, unfortunately and sadly, I had to study at the University of Zagreb because it was my only option I moved out of my parents' house for my first year of undergraduate studies Finally! Freedom. Right? Well, except now I had to actually finance my own life which wasn't exactly easy during my first year of undergraduate studies in Zagreb I lived in a flatshare together with a friend The apartment was literally falling apart There were cracks on the walls, mold all over the ceiling the bathroom kitchen It was really horrible and there were little cockroaches all over the place So this lovely little apartment cost us $80 per month per person The only positive thing about this apartment was the fact that the location was directly next to the university so it took me only around 5 minutes every morning to commute During that year I spent around 80 cents per meal at my university which was heavily subsidized by the government And, as you can imagine, you don't really get much for 80 cents But at least I didn't spend a lot of money! In total, it cost me around $60 per month for food At that time I was still super active at triathlon so I spent around $25 per month for the triathlon membership and around $20 per month on protein powder which, relatively speaking, was very expensive at that time So, what does this all add up to? It's in total $80 per month for rent, $60 per month for food around $10 per month for some fun activities, such as going to the cinema with my friends I wasn't doing much obviously, since I was very busy and a total of $96 for other stuff, which includes triathlon, protein powders, and occasional expenses In total, that adds up to $250 per month As I won three medals at the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in high school I won a really nice scholarship, which covered pretty much all of these expenses And it really had to because – remember – I only had $1,000 of savings and my parents weren't sending me any money In 2015, which was the second semester of my studies I suddenly received a much better scholarship, that paid around $500 per month This was a huge upgrade, and actually a lot of money given that the average salary in Croatia, at that time, was only around $650 per month This then finally allowed me to get a better room – with no cockroaches! It cost me $135 per month On top of that I spent another $126 on average for food $100 for occasional fun stuff, like weekend getaways or going to the cinema $115 dollars for other stuff, such as utility bills, sports, etc. In total, that added up to $476 per month And I also spent about 10% of my income on donations which I will not include in the future in any kind of expenses because I consider it to be a bit private but I personally think the donations are really important because my parents really relied on them as NGO workers I think it's just a nice gesture to put some of my income apart and give it to other people All right, let's fast forward to summer 2015 I got my very first internship, which I was really excited about I started working as a climate scientist in Denmark, at Niels Bohr Institute and I was really proud to get that, because it took me a very long time and emailing a lot of professors and reaching out to a lot of groups until I finally found a place where I could work On top of that, they even offered me a $400 stipend per month for accommodation which, if you know Copenhagen, obviously isn't enough I mean, even if you lived under a bridge with $400 per month you would barely be able to buy food So, luckily through some friends, of friends, of friends I managed to get a free room They let me stay there without paying anything per month and in total, I only had to pay for my food Alright, altogether this adds up to $0 per month for rent $350 per month for food and around $50 for occasional fun stuff I was working around 80 hours per week at that time so I didn't really have time to spend any money on really anything else I really had to work so hard because I wanted to publish a paper my very first paper, because I saw this as a great chance to prove myself and then hopefully leave Croatia for a better life and after this very productive summer in Copenhagen and went back to Croatia and continued spending around $467 dollars per month on average And then something really crazy happened! Something that completely changed my life A friend of mine told me that there exists a hedge fund called the D. E. Shaw & Co.
Which, if you know I submit my CV and apply, they would fly me to London Nice plane, nice hotel, and let me interview there I had no idea at that time what a hedge fund was but a free trip to London really sounded amazing because it was something that, let's face it, I couldn't really afford So I just said yes and submitted my CV Long story short, during the interview process they asked me all of these combinatorics and probability questions which I totally aced, given that I had gone to so many math and physics competitions And then, two weeks after I flew home, the manager called me and made me an offer I legitimately almost dropped my phone when I heard how much money they would be paying me $15,000 per month for an internship! If you're curious about the whole internship experience, which is really crazy you can watch my video they're made specifically about this It just sounded like way too many zeros in the end I mean $15,000 was really 30 times as much as I had ever spent in a given month until then This internship was definitely a life-changing event for me not just because I suddenly had more money on my bank account but because it completely rewired the way I thought about money In good, and in bad ways When I arrived in London my brain was still completely wired to that "don't spend a single cent of your money unless you absolutely have to" mindset So, I started searching for the cheapest possible accommodation and with a lot of luck, some friends of my parents' neighbors were kind enough to let me stay free of charge, again just like in Denmark, in their apartment in central London It's crazy how kind some people are! And on top of that, partially because I was still shocked by how much more expensive London was compared to my hometown in Croatia I spent almost no money in the first two months, saving around 90% of my salary I remember really well having a discussion with my boss at D. E. Shaw & Co. talking about our colleague who, had just spent $20,000 on his sofa In my mind I was just completely incomprehensible I mean it's a sofa you, sit on it, and that's it right And my boss just looked at me and smiled and said well Samuel give it a few months and you're gonna understand it And man he was so right During my time in London I spent a total of zero dollars in rent given that my gym membership and food in the office was already covered by the company I didn't have to spend much on that So in total I just averaged around 300 dollars per month on extra food weekends and evenings and I spent around 550 on some occasional fun trips, to for example. Oxford, Cambridge to visit some friends and a total of 433 on average per month on other stuff In total this adds up to 1,283 dollars per month on average Have to admit I wasn't really immune to this change so even though I started off in London trying to save every single dollar that I could, very soon I started spending more and more money So for example after two or three months I went on a business trip to the New York headquarters where I ended up spending around one thousand dollars per day Even though this wasn't really my fault because, well, they put me in an expensive plane, business class ticket, nice hotel review in Manhattan and overall they paid for everything so it didn't really include anything in my expenses And just after my internship I went in a really beautiful vacation to Monaco and Saint-Tropez. ended up spending around 3,000 dollars in total This also wasn't included in the London expenses obviously and yeah I feel a bit embarrassed about this because you know I started off saving so much money then I ended up spending so much more And I think that's a really valuable lesson to learn just because you got a raise or a great new job you shouldn't really increase your spendings proportionally Rather use this as a chance to save more money After my time in London ended I went back to Croatia to do my third year of undergrads and I noticed that my brain had really been rewired because you know I started spending a lot more money than I actually had to and at some point this even annoyed me so much because you know spending money also takes time because you know you go on weekend trips, you do all these fun things, which on its own isn't really a bad thing, but I realized it was kind of a distraction for all the goals for my career that I had So I decided to donate a very large chunk of the money that I had made in London so that I could focus and go back to my normal life Anyways even though I donated a lot of money there was just no way to going back to my previous lifestyle where I just spend, if you remember 250 dollars per month in my first year, and 450 per month in my second year But luckily since Croatia, at least at that time, was relatively inexpensive Even my rather extravagant lifestyle for these standards wasn't that crazy expensive So in 2017 I went from spending just 450 dollars per month on average to spending around 1,720 per month on average in Croatia Depending on where you come from this may not sound like a lot of money But keep in mind that this was almost twice as much as the average mid-career Croatian worker would make The good news was that around that time I also started receiving a much better scholarship from abroad which was adjusted to cost of living in other countries which are way more expensive even though I didn't really need that in Croatia Getting good deals was always something that I was really good at so after searching for a new apartment I managed to get a once in a lifetime deal on the former residence of the Ukrainian Ambassador I managed to negotiate down the rent to just 450 dollars which even for Croatia was just a third of how much it should have cost My direct neighbor who had the mirror image of my penthouse apartment was paying around two thousand dollars per month So how did I get this deal? Well maybe it was charm or maybe I was just dealing with the most incompetent realtor of all time Probably was the latter Compared to the previous places that I had lived in in the first and second year of my undergraduate studies this place was a real dream It was a three bedroom top floor apartment with jacuzzi and view over the entire city of Zagreb Alright so in the third year of my undergraduate studies I spent 450 dollars per month on rent, 200 per month on food, 480 dollars per month on fun stuff such as weekend trips Notice that this was almost five times as much as in the year before 590 dollars per month on other things which included physical therapy for my knee injury which I had before, but just couldn't afford physical therapy and it total this adds up to 1,720 per month on average At the end of the third year of my undergraduate studies I decided to drop out because I simply didn't see the value of the program that I was in anymore and I managed to get a research fellowship position at UC San Diego So I packed my stuff and moved to sunny California During this time period, I was extremely busy, working around 80 hours per week in the office because, well, I want to get as much research done as possible I worked on machine learning research for low power electronics If you're curious about that you can watch my TedX talk California just like London was extremely expensive for someone coming from Croatia so I decided to get the cheapest room possible and spent around 650 dollars per month for my room I also averaged around 685 dollars per month for food and around 100 per month for entertainment Even though I had crazy working hours, I didn't want to miss a chance to surf from time to time and have some fun Even though for most of the time I didn't really spend a lot of money for fun stuff and entertainment, when I was done with my research appointment in California, I decided to go on a one month road trip I rented a Ford Mustang convertible, had an amazing time, and I spent around 8,000 dollars in one month So if you divide these 8,000 dollars by four we get around 2,000 dollars per month on average So we can add this to the entertainment cost Overall it was a lot of money but honestly it was totally worth it In total this adds up to 3,950 per month on average for my stay there California was all good in fun but as I came back to Croatia I still had one major problem Namely, I was still a college dropout and even though I had some savings from working for the hedge fund in London, without having a completed bachelor's degree I just couldn't start a master's or PhD program anywhere Despite everything I had accomplished in my life my situation seemed kind of hopeless I couldn't get a job without a university degree and also couldn't go for a master's or PhD program as I wanted to And after months of desperation, I finally managed to convince EPFL in Switzerland, which is ETH Zurich's sister university, which is just French speaking to admit me to their master's program as a college dropout So allegedly I heard that this was the very first time in the history of the university that they ever admitted someone without a degree To my great surprise I even won the only scholarship for the entire Physics department of EPFL covering a major part of my living expenses I managed to get a room for just 500 per month and I spent around 600 per month for food I also averaged around 350 dollars per month for fun stuff even though as you can probably imagine, given how expensive Switzerland is, that just meant that, you know, every few months I would go on a fun trip but other than that that was really just working day and night in Switzerland I got involved in so many different projects and organizations that I was super busy, so my friend Alexander and I decided to together hire a personal assistant to help us clear up our schedule, take over all the small tasks, so that we could focus on all the important things in life In total, together, with all the other expenses that I had this cost me around 1,880 per month on average Which leads to a total of 3,330 dollars per month on average for living in Switzerland After my first year in Switzerland I got really interested in this topic called Quantum Artificial Intelligence and yeah, I know it sounds very buzzword and cool, and I started talking to the National University of Singapore about maybe joining them for a research fellowship Interestingly, Quantum Artificial Intelligence is currently also the topic of my PhD research here at MIT and I made a really fun video, so if you haven't watched it already you can check it out They offered me a 700 per month scholarship to work in Singapore and well if you know Singapore, you're probably aware that 700 per month doesn't really get you too far Somehow I forgot to respond to their last email, so after two weeks I got really lucky because they thought that I'm not interested anymore and they made me a new offer which was usually reserved just for visiting professors And on top of the salary, they even agree to pay for my room which was amazing so I decided to accept the offer When I arrived in Singapore I was really stunned to see the most beautiful apartment complex that I'd ever been in It had a pool at a spa, even breakfast included and everything so when I got the key at the reception I just walked up and when I found my room number I opened the door and behind the door there was a beautiful three-bedroom luxury apartment I was a bit confused so I went back down to the reception and asked the receptionist, hey so which of these rooms is mine, and just looked at me and smiled and said well the whole apartment is yours So yeah, I had an amazing time in Singapore but with the exception of one spontaneous trip to Vietnam I was still working around 80 hours per week on a research paper which I just published a few days ago Alright, so the breakdown of my expenses in Singapore looks like this I spent zero dollars in rent even though the market value of the apartment that was in was probably over 7,000 dollars a month Then I averaged 595 dollars per month for food, 700 per month on fun stuff such as the spontaneous trip to Vietnam which, I by the way, highly recommend, and around 805 dollars on average for other things which included sports, protein powder again, and utility bills In total that adds up to 2,100 dollars per month on average for living in Singapore After coming back to Switzerland from Singapore I was was really busy Involved in so many research projects that it was very hard for me to keep up with all the different classes and courses and exams that I had at EPFL For some very silly administrative reason I ended up losing my scholarship with EPFL which was a huge issue given that suddenly I had no more income and at the same time I had only savings that would last me for at most three months in Switzerland I was really terrified because now I thought that very soon I would have to drop out of a university and I would not graduate in the end Luckily, just around the time I connected with a professor from Harvard University and I started working with her on Quantum algorithms This was a paid position taking care of all of my financial problems So on February 14, 2020, together with my friend Alexander, we moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts and this is where things become really interesting I started my appointment at Harvard University and half a year later I started my PhD at MIT And once arrived in Cambridge I decided to completely change the way a view and handle money So instead of saving every single dollar that I made, I tried to spend and invest as much as possible in different entrepreneurial projects So some of these projects were mostly for fun and experimental and others were a bit more serious One of the really fun projects that I did was I started trading airline miles together with a friend I think over a period of two years we must have made around 2 million airline miles which allowed us to purchase over a hundred thousand dollars for the first class and business class tickets so every time since then we fly between Europe and the US we always find first class We would have a private limo that drives us around the airport in Frankfurt and the caviar and champagne that we have on board obviously isn't too bad especially given that we paid the miles and not actual real money In 2020, alone I invested around 50,000 dollars into my own startup called Assist-o I even had to take personal loans to finance all of this which in hindsight was a huge risk It almost bankrupted me at One occasion I also invested around 35,000 into a small real estate business that I'm running on the side Funny enough, this paid itself back in less than one year It has been probably the best in investment I ever made because since then I'm making quite a decent amount of money every month from it I also invested around 15,000 dollars plus a lot of time and energy into this YouTube channel Hopefully that will have been a good investment You can help me by liking the video and subscribing to my channel Excluding the 100,000 dollars in business investments that I made here's how much I spent on average living in Cambridge, Massachusetts Over the past two years, I spent an average of 1,620 per month for rent even though I'm currently paying a lot more, around 2,000 dollars per month for my bedroom because I live in a really nice flat share directly next to Harvard University I also pay around 880 per month on food, 290 of these are for restaurants and take out I usually prepare my food for roughly five days in advance I just eat chicken with rice and potatoes I know it's not very creative but it's very simple and saves me a lot of money But as a bodybuilder I still have to eat so much that in the end it still adds up to, well as you can see quite a lot of money on top of that I spent roughly 390 dollars per month on entertainment maybe occasional trips, and I spent around 190 dollars per month for utility bills I also average around 230 dollars per month for clothing, mostly Ralph Lauren shirts I know this sounds like a lot but let me explain so you might be thinking that bodybuilding is expensive because you have to have a nice gym membership But I can promise you that's just a tiny, tiny portion of the overall expenses Food is super expensive because you have to eat so much But what is really the most expensive out of everything for bodybuilding is the fact that once you get bigger and bigger you constantly have to keep buying new clothing because the old ones will just become too small for you I also spend around 260 dollars per month for occasional trips if I cannot cover them with miles and around 670 dollars per month on other expenses that I haven't accounted for In total this adds up to 4,160 dollars per month For living as a PhD candidate in Cambridge, Massachusetts this is also roughly equivalent to how much a computer science PhD makes at MIT Compared to all of the places that I have lived so far Cambridge is by far the most expensive when it comes to cost of living, even more expensive than London and Singapore which are already among the most expensive cities in the world I know some of this comes down to my personal choice such as wanting to live in the nicest part of Cambridge right next to Harvard University Some of my friends really managed to bring down their housing costs by well either living further away or just living in some houses that are a lot older and haven't been renovated Also I do have to emphasize that if you get admitted to MIT or Harvard for undergraduate degree or for your PhD you will always be guaranteed funding So if you're doing a PhD you will always receive a salary or as an undergrad if your parents cannot afford it then Harvard and MIT will always support you financially and give you free housing All right, that was it, these were all of my expenses since the age of 18 The main takeaway of this video is keep track of all of your spendings, log every single dollar that you spend consistently for many years of your life because it will make your financial planning for the future so much better If you would like to watch my TedX talk about machine learning for low power electronics you can do so over here To watch my video about Quantum Artificial Intelligence, which is my PhD research, you can watch it over here And if you want to watch my Day in a Life video you can do so over here Thank you so much for watching don't forget to subscribe to my channel and like this video if you learned something new See you next time, goodbye