“A good rule of thumb is to put 10% of your pay into savings.”

English Lesson: A good rule of thumb is to put 10% of your pay into savings.

Your nephew has just graduated from college and started his first job. You're talking to him at a family get-together. You give him some money advice.

A good rule of thumb is to put 10% of your pay into savings.

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a rule of thumb

A "rule of thumb" is an easy-to-remember rule that you can use to make a decision. 

Some useful rules of thumb include:

  • Don't date someone that you work with.
  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Put at least 10% of your pay into savings.

"Rules of thumb" aren't always true, but they're true most of the time, so you can follow them unless you have some better information to use instead.

The phrase "rule of thumb" is most often used in sentences in two ways:

I don't date people I work with, as a rule of thumb.

A good rule of thumb is to put 10% of your pay into savings.

put (money) in savings

Putting money "in savings" means putting the money in a savings account at a bank. You can use it like this:

I try to put a few hundred dollars in savings each month.

(someone's) pay

A person's "pay" is the money that they get for doing their job.

The government takes out a third of your pay for taxes.

A more formal way to talk about pay is with the word "salary":

Nearly 40% of my salary goes to taxes.