Expenditure Update: September 14

After the hefty expenses of the past two months (see here and here), September was a welcome respite as the total expenses added up to a much more reasonable $3,900.

Notably, that’s still higher than the lofty target of $3,500 and without a doubt, expenses are creeping up as we continue to bask in relative luxury. I am also disappointed to realise that I have been yakking away on this point for aeons without taking any real action.

But that’s going to change from this month. I have decided to set a small monthly challenge that’s related to a reduction of our expenses to make both my life and this regular update a little more interesting. Who knows, this might also help me to form better long-term habits and put in perspective some of my long-held preferences/biases.

October’s Challenge: No fast food expenditure

Hopefully, this would be replaced by cheaper and healthier alternatives like nuts, fruits and home-cooked food. And even if it’s hawker food, I have a feeling that even the most unhealthy of hawker fare is rarely more hazardous than french fries and coke.

We shall see how this challenge goes in a month’s time. =)

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Eating Out: $620.53

Hawker ($145.10) – The Mrs was overseas for a few days and I started cooking some simple dishes for myself during lunchtime.

Fast Food ($68.05) – One KFC dinner for the extended family, breakfast meals and 5 set lunches. Oh my. Now you probably can understand why I came up with this month’s challenge. =p

Restaurants ($407.38) – It’s good that it’s quite muted over at this category this month. =) Some key entries include a lunch buffet treat with a colleague at Ellenborough cafe, a meal with the family at Lao Huo Tang @JEM plus another hefty meal at Yum Cha.

Groceries: $7.70

Supermarket ($7.70) – Some eggs, chin chow, barley and fruits on that one or two times we didn’t make use of our vouchers.

Beverages & Snacks: $80.90

Beverages ($14) – A Starbucks Frappuccino when I was meeting another blogger and a few sugar cane drinks at the hawker centre.

Snacks ($66.90) – We bought some apple strudel and durian puffs on two of our trips to the auntie’s place.

Utilities: $164.73

Electricity, Gas & Water ($106) – Air con usage has increased in the past couple of months and finally, the bill is showing it.

Cellphones ($58.73) – From next month onwards, the price of one of our plan would increase as I just re-contracted for an iPhone 6 Plus on 19 September. But well worth it as I also sold the 16GB silver iPhone 6 Plus for $1,600 on the day itself. The >$900 profit will help to cover my monthly mobile plan charges for the NEXT THREE YEARS! (Read here to find out more about how you can reduce the cost of owning a phone.)

Transport: $149

1 EZ Reload transaction for each of us and 3 cab fares.

Departmental: $121.90

Personal Items ($121.90) – The DFS at the airport was holding some clearance sales and the Mrs was alerted by a friend that works there and she took advantage of it during her work trip to KL.

Miscellaneous: $843.42

Medical ($20) – A trip to the doctor for the Mrs a few days ago. The bill was $40 bucks but she can claim for the first $20.

Gifts & Treats ($714.62) – Both of us attended my cousin’s wedding and the Mrs’ secondary school classmate also celebrated her marriage this month. She also bought an SKII gift set from the airport to prepare as a X’mas gift for her mother.

Entertainment ($27) – Just before my brother enlisted for NS, I brought him to JB for a movie and a Karaoke session. It was a blast and really cheap entertainment @$27 for two!

Others ($81.80) – Haircuts for me, a new PS3 game that couldn’t sustain my interest for more than 2 days (can be regarded as positive?), $14.60 worth of LOSSES AT POKER (yeah, I recorded this too 😉 )

Total: $1,988.18

Overall Total: $3,873.18 (included fixed expenses of $1,885)

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    6 thoughts on “Expenditure Update: September 14

    1. B

      Hi 15hww

      Looks like your expenses are back on track 😉

      Its always good to set out a challenge to minimize eating outside. Im probably going to challenge myself too.

      And yeah the losses on pokers 😉 it goes as income to the other side of winners

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi B,

        Most people struggle to monitor for even a month and sometimes, even that can be misleading. There is a reason why it’s good to monitor expenses continuously as sometimes we discount the effect one-time discretionary expenses have. They can add up to a significant 30-50% of the year’s total expenses, as is likely to happen to us this year. =)

        A monthly challenge is good and I have procrastinated long enough. Finally set something that I feel is reasonable enough and hopefully, a period of 30 days is enough to eradicate or at the least, reduce a bad habit.

        Yeah, I only record losses and too bad I don’t account for some one-time revenue like the sale of the iPhone 6 plus. But I guess not recording them means I have some margin of safety if I semi-retire/retire the moment my passive income covers the expenses? =p

    2. TheFreeThinker

      Keep up the good habits of recording down your expenditures!

      From a financial planning perspective, it will be good to put on the cap of an entrepreneur and come up with ideas on how you can bring in some moolah (besides dividends from your investments) during your break.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi TFT,

        It’s become a habit and surprisingly, most people don’t believe me when I say it doesn’t take up more than 5 mins a day, even when I have to account for two people’s expenses.

        Ah, entrepreneurship. That has to be a factor behind my eagerness to semi-retire early.

        However I am more keen in social entrepreneurship rather than the traditional kind? It’s interesting that I recently had an engaging conversation with one of the more well-known and successful entrepreneurs regarding semi-retirement.

    3. Newbie

      Hello 15hww,

      Nice blog you have. Makes me motivated to track my expenses 🙂

      Just wondering, have you tried any of the different promotions out there to get rebates for your cab fares? I have been wanting to try, but have not, as the admin charges are not very transparent and also, mostly afraid of being scolded by taxi drivers :/

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Newbie,

        Thanks for your kind comments and it would make my day if I were able to make you motivated enough to take action. =)

        Actually, we rarely take cabs since I stay near an MRT station. Buses and trains work well for us most of the time so I rarely pay attention to cab fare rebates. And to be honest, I feel driving a cab can be a tiring vocation so I almost always round up the cab fare.

        But if I am not wrong, Uber has arrived in Singapore recently and it appears they could be cheaper than traditional cabs.