Expenditure Update: November 13

With this post, it will be 4 months straight of sharing the monthly expenses of the 15 HWW household. And I will be honest and admit that this is the longest stretch whereby I have consistently recorded my expenses. (Yeah, I have had my fair share of lazy, lackadasical moments in the past.)

I first started recording expenses and income when I began giving tuition after my National Service. Even though the income was lumpy, I managed to observe some patterns in both the income & expenditure after establishing 2-3 months of records. Thereafter, the habit started dying a slow death since the goal of roughly knowing my expenses and income was already met.

The above process will kickstart again whenever there’s some significant changes to the income or expenses: like getting a girlfriend in university, employment, marriage, and now, having our own place. So does this mean that I will stop recording my expenses soon?

That’s unlikely, since I am still quite far from the medium term goal of lowering our expenses to $40,000/year. Moreover, with a household to upkeep, expenses do tend to be larger and thus more volatile. In fact, it’s interesting to note that our expenditure shot up to $3956.24 in November. And after including the past 3 months’ expenses, the running average has creeped up to $3,780.

Below is the detailed breakdown for this month’s expenses:

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Eating Out: $726.30

We ate really well this month, with plenty of restaurant visits. I would even go as far as saying we were indulgent, having spent at least $100 more in this category compared to the previous months. Likely a syndrome of “spending the bonuses even before receiving it”.

We did not visit the wet market this month (again) due to certain inexplicable reasons (or even excuses?). On a more positive note, we did start cooking more often using ingredients we bought from the supermarkets. The frequency is something we hope to keep up in the coming months.

Hawker ($254.35) – $250-$300 seems pretty standard these days and cutting down on this category is likely to prove counterproductive to the overall food budget unless we cook much more often for dinners.

Fast Food ($18.70) – This part is something that I am really happy about. We have been slowly eradicating unhealthy fast food from our diet. One MOS fish burger, a McDonald’s filet meal plus a footlong Subway sandwich is all we had this month.

Restaurants ($453.25) – The trip to Johor Bahru City Square, a weekend lunch at Jack’s place for 4, a meal at Din Tai Fung for 4 and two meals at Old Town White Coffee (we like the Ipoh Hor Fun there!) contributed to this bloated subcategory. Perhaps, just perhaps, there’s a need to rein in our dining habits that is showing some signs of lifestyle inflation.

Groceries: $160

Supermarket ($45.80) – Simple and basic staples and vegetables for a few quick meals, plus the use of some ingredients that have outstayed their welcome in the fridge. =p

Wet Market ($38) – Went to the Bugis Dry Market to grab some nuts as snacks. Bought half a kg of cashew nuts, macademia nuts and some pecans. Nice to nibble on at 4pm in office or 9pm on the sofa. This nut stash should easily be able to last us for at least two months.

Bakery ($21) – Includes the amount spent at Lavender Bakery in JB

Baking ($55.20) – Mrs 15 HWW held some “lessons” for her colleagues and guided them to bake chocolate cakes. She also baked a lychee martini cake for her aunt’s birthday. Some liquor expenses and shopping at her favourite Phoon Huat bakery supply store.

Beverages & Snacks: $28.20

Beverages ($13.80) – Some sugar cane drinks and a purchase at Starbucks because Mrs 15 HWW had a craving for one of their Christmas special drinks.

Snacks ($14.40) – A Bengawan Solo pandan cake that was initially supposed to be a small gift for one of our visits to my uncle and a Mr Bean cone ice cream.

Utilities: $146.74

Electricity, Gas & Water ($88.01) – Within expectations

Cellphones ($58.73) – Two M1 iPhone Value+ plans with no excess usage.

Transport: $100

1 EZ Reload top-up for each of us.

Departmental: $281

Clothing ($16) – Bought a shirt in JB for my father-in-law.

Personal Items ($265) – Includes the $234 for Mrs 15 HWW’s renewal of her salon package. If I am not wrong, think it allows her to cut/dye her hair for 8 times.

Miscellaneous: $544

Others ($544) – There is a large amount here since both of us attended the wedding lunch of one of her best friends plus a treat for the hens night. There’s also Mrs 15HWW’s lunch treat for her aunt’s birthday plus the cost of the catered food during the hosting of her colleagues early in the month.

Total: $1,986.24

Overall Total: $3,956.24 (included fixed expenses of $1,970)

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9 thoughts on “Expenditure Update: November 13

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Dividend Warrior,

      No problem. You have been equally generous with sharing your portfolio too!

  1. SGYI

    Thanks for sharing.

    Your miscellaneous added up to pretty a lot this month. Expect more to come. Weddings, baby’s first month gift, colleagues farewell lunch and gift, and even funerals. All these cost are what i categorize as unavoidable especially when you’re working.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi SGYI,

      You are right. These variable annual expenses are hard to predict and estimate and the bulk of it will likely be wedding and funerals, easily adding up to a few hundreds each month. The rest are much more manageable.

      Nonetheless, I don’t expect >$500 to be a norm every month. Will need more data to get a better average.

  2. B

    Hi HWW

    Money well spent, as long as the money don’t get spent unnecessarily 😉

    Christmas and bonuses are coming, so you and Mrs HWW both deserves it!!! 🙂

  3. SGFTFund

    Thanks for sharing.

    Does your utilities includes Internet and cable TV? Haha these two is something me and my wife cannot do without, if you could means you couole are highly discipline individuals!

    I also track my daily expenditure on a spreadsheet, like you I spent mostly on outside food and with my new born coming next year. My expenditure will definitely go up!!

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi SGFTFund,

      Internet is included under the fixed expenses article. It’s $43 a month.

      We don’t have cable TV and it’s actually ok since we don’t actually watch that much TV nowadays.

      Congrats on your new addition to the family! No doubt that costs will go up but still possible to exercise some frugality to limit the increase? =p

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi Hikari,

      I guess $100 isn’t a good reflection. We only record the EZ-Link top-ups and somehow we had high balances in the card just prior to Nov 13. On average (you can refer to other updates), the expenses should be closer to $150.