I’ll be the first to say that as a server we make good money in comparison to other jobs that require more hours worked, more stressful deadlines, further education and other crazy nonsense for these people to make the same we do. The problem is that when we make our money it is mostly in the form of tips, which is cash in our hands. This makes it easy to spend which is why I suggest you make a budget so you don’t spend all your hard-earned cash and end up being left with nothing to show for your hard work.
Right now you’re probably thinking “Nathan you can’t tell me what to do with my money” and you’re 100% right, I can’t. I’m just giving you some advice so that you don’t have to stress about relying on having to make a certain amount of money each shift to cover yourself.
I’ll list a few tips on what I like to do to help me save but also allows me to have awesome fun at the same time.
- I don’t look at what I make on a day-to-day basis. Instead I like to write down what I make each day then add everything up at the end of the week, or even the month. I do this because you have some good days and at times some not so good days, so if you accumulate your total over some time you won’t let those bad days get to you.
This also gives you an approximate average as to what you are making per week or month.
- I have a list of my monthly expenses like mortgage/rent payments, phone bill, grocery budget, utilities, fun (mandatory to have a fun budget), TV and internet bills etc. Having an idea of what your monthly costs will help you to spend wisely and have fun wisely. Just know which are the necessities and prioritize accordingly.
- I have three separate accounts from my main bank account, one is named “Have fun with that” another is named “Bills/Expenses” and the last is “Emergency fund”. Each week I split my earnings up into percentages (I have a set percentage that I have assigned towards each account) then head to the bank and put my cash into those different accounts. I do this first before spending anything so I can then see what I have left over to play with, and possibly use for other unexpected expenses. I also have a separate bank account which has accounts for “Car”, “Home” and “Retirement”. These have small amounts going in to them after each pay.
- Don’t forget taxes. Now in reality a lot of people in the industry claim only a part of their tips when it comes to tax time, and this was recently brought to the public’s attention when in St. Catharines, Ontario, Revenue Canada did an audit on 145 servers. Just be sure to have something set aside for when tax time comes around just as a safety net.
At the end of the day it’s your money and you can choose to do whatever your heart desires with it, but if you’re going to take anything away from this post then let it be to create a budget. I only wish that I had created a budget years before I did because it is a crucial tool which has allowed me to do and buy things I probably wouldn’t have been able to if I didn’t have one.
If you’re worrying about your money situation then all you will think about during your shift will be how much you need to make, instead of thinking about your guests first. Remember that when you take care of your guests and make them your priority, then the money naturally follows.
Enjoy your week!