Here's a story (or break down) of how I spend my money every month.
Salary: $2,500 per month
Expense: $1,500 per month
- $300 to my parents
- $700 for food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), entertainment, transport, phone bills
- $300 towards student loan repayment
- $200 for surprise expenses and insurance
I managed to save $1,000 saved every month.
Sure it helps that I'm single, am a guy (statistically speaking it is cheaper to be a guy), no family to feed (no kids no wife), no housing loan, no car loan, etc.
The only expensive thing is eating out every day, but that's not too bad in Singapore, compared to other countries like Australia, etc.
I also try to stretch my student loan - not pay it down too fast, and I stated the reasons why in another article that you can read HERE
My "amount of money saved per month" is not the best - I know a lot of people who get by every month spending even less than me, but it’s about saving a big enough portion of your pay while being happy, and everyone spends different amount to stay happy 😉.
After all, I’m a millennial who needs his Starbucks and stuff every once in a while.
Temptation Number 1: Buying New Clothes
There are temptations nonetheless and I'm constantly trying to fight them so that I can save more money.
I have about 8 sets of office attire but wears only 7 sets of them (I try to avoid my white shirt because they can be hard to wash and maintain).
Some times I feel like my wardrobe selection is so limited that it would not hurt to get a couple extra sets of work clothes.
But honestly, I always wear a jacket at work because it is cold.
No one can see what I'm wearing underneath.
So it does not make sense to buy something that no one is going to see most of the time.
Besides, for a guy, it's common to wear a white shirt and black pants daily - it's like a uniform.
No need for variety - that's 1 less headache every morning thinking about what to wear.
For women, I guess it's tougher. I heard from female friends that their colleagues would talk about what they wear to work and stuff, so it's probably tougher to always wear for the set of clothes for them?
A friend of mine told me that since she started working, her wardrobe expanded from 8 sets of work clothes to almost 30 sets - that's a lot of money spent on clothing 😱.
Temptation Number 2: Coffee
Coffee Starbucks, Coffee Bean, or just the Kopi at the coffee shop below my office.
These all cost money.
What's worse is that my office provides free coffee and tea 🤦♂️
Somehow, Nescafe, 3-1 instant coffee, or the coffee machine that brews coffee straight from the beans just does not taste as good as the $1.60 kopi-peng from the coffee shop below my office. Suddenly, after making some money, the need to buy decent coffee to start the day right seems important.
To make matters worse, I am actually trying to kick the habit (addiction) of drinking coffee.
Nonetheless, some things just cannot be avoided, and I guess the unnecessary coffee habit is going to continue 😢.
But, if you can avoid this, try to avoid this, you can save $8 per week or $32 per month just by drinking coffee provided by your office!
That's like a decent meal at Din Tai Fung! 🤤.
Temptation Number 3: New Devices
"I need a new phone", "I need a new laptop", "I need a new iPad", "I need this, need that".
How many of us fall into this trap?
Suddenly, because we can afford it, we start to find justifications to why we need new things in our life.
"I need a new iPad so that I can write more blog posts on my bed!".
Yup, that's the excuse I'm selling to myself to convince me to get the new iPad 😎.
That's the idealistic voice telling me to reward myself.
Then there's the practical side of me going "your laptop can fold into a tablet, if you really want to do work on your bed, you can use that laptop. But chances are you will not do any work on your bed because you are lazy".
On the bright side, team Practical seems to be triumphing over team Idealistic so I managed to control and not splurge on a new iPad.
Nonetheless, I still browse through Apple's website and store every once in a while, to admire the beauty of the product that I did not buy 🤣.
Instead of having strict budgeting rules and skipping the Starbucks, I follow the more flexible money management rule of 50-30-20.
And it sure seems that I'm well within the limits.
60% of my salary is spent on 'Wants' and 'Needs' instead of 80%.
40% of my salary is saved and invested instead of just 20%.
So I guess I am doing pretty okay.
What about you?
What are some of the temptations you face when you started working?