In a perfect world, I would be working a 15 hour work week in a job I love and take pride in. Productivity would be sky high and I will still be justifying a salary of $3k to $5k, even though I work so much less. And instead of gorging myself fat at restaurants or spending my still hard-earned money at malls, the leisure time is spent having fun with friends/relatives in my home or better still, outdoors.
Okok, I know I am being a little greedy here. Why not let’s restrict the perfect world imagination to this blog instead. Ideally, I would only be spending an hour to churn out one quality post and my readers would increase geometrically until it penetrates the entire Singapore population in a year’s time.
It also follows naturally that in the first month of reporting expenses to my growing blogging audience, I am able to portray myself as one lean, mean and frugal saving machine.
Yes, we have arrived in September and you shall be the judge on whether this machine is indeed lean or perhaps, more fatty than you expected. After showing you our fixed expenses a few days ago, here’s the breakdown of our discretionary expenses for the previous month:
Eating Out: $597
Besides knowing where the money went, it should also help us to monitor if we had indeed eaten healthily for the past month. Therefore, we divided this category into 3 subsections: Hawker, Fast Food & Restaurants.
Hawker ($267) – Meals spent at food courts/centres are also accounted here, since they are also pretty inexpensive. This amount is pretty alright considering both of us eat out for lunch on weekdays. Furthermore, we don’t cook every night. Cai peng is the most common entry.
Fast Food ($32.25) – 2 meals for the lady and 5 for me (1 subway). We are both fast food fans. My wife is a sucker for those MacDonald French Fries whereas I love to wash down the burgers with soft drinks. This is a pretty good start since we are both trying to cut down on fast food, especially ever since I came to the realisation that Coke is something that is just slightly less toxic than drain cleaners. Urgh…
Restaurants ($297.80) – This is a huge amount, largely due to the birthday treat we gave to my sister. We spent $165 on a lunch buffet for 4. You could see we really made some effort to reduce expenses for this month since there were no records of Ding Tai Fung or Sushi Tei. 😉
Supermarket ($350.60) – This is another huge amount. Once every half a year or so, we would visit Giant to purchase items like detergent, washing powder and other heavy and bulky items. We would spend above $200 to qualify for the free delivery and unfortunately, our supplies were running out in August.
Wet Market ($64.80) – We generally visit the wet market for fresh produce like fish and chicken on a weekend and try to cook on Monday and Tuesday nights when the produce are still relatively fresh.
Baking Supplies ($64.85) – This is a big hobby of my wife. It gives her something interesting to do at home while I am typing out these posts to you. She’s making cakes, muffins and cupcakes almost every week. And Phoon Huat’s her new favourite hangout where one can grab some cheap baking supplies.
Beverages & Snacks: $26.10
The occasional sugar cane juice, bubble tea and a Tuesday waffle treat at Gelare.
Electricity, Gas & Water ($107) – I think this is pretty acceptable for a 5-room flat. We try to use the fan instead of turning on the air conditioner when we sleep, rely on the clothes hanger instead of a dryer and have a habit of switching off lights/appliances when they are no longer in use.
Cellphones ($58.73) – Two M1 iPhone Value+ plans. This number should be much lower but too bad we don’t include the revenue from phones sold as stated in our cell phone ownership strategy.
It’s too much hassle to tabulate the daily costs. Instead, it’s the 2 EZ Reload top-ups for her and one for me that’s recorded. Mine is lower since I exit the train station before 7:45am and qualify for free transport to work. One cab trip that costs $20.60 is included this month too.
We visited the dentist this month and both of us had fillings done. $110 each but I had some subsidies from my company.
An ang bao for my sis, some donations to colleagues and items for the 7th Lunar Month.
Final Total: $3,701.88 (included fixed expenses of $1,970)
First time we are recording both of our expenses after moving into our new place and it’s $3,700 in total. That seems pretty fair. In fact, it’s actually within the expenditure target of $50,000 in a year. Furthermore, there were some one-off expenses like my sis’s birthday and the huge amount spent at Giant. In spite of this, the target was still met! Woohoo!
But that’s actually an illusion since we haven’t budgeted for travel, which could easily cost a few thousands for both of us. Moreover, I suspect that every month, there would be its fair share of large one-off expenses. Therefore, a fairer but loftier target would be $3,500/month, especially since we have intentions to lower the expenditure target to $40,000 a year too once we start our 15 hour work weeks.
It’s too early to draw any conclusions or impose any restrictions (wife is heaving a sigh of relief) since we are only at the first month. We shall continue monitoring and we hope to see you here next month too!