Expenses – Aug 2012 vs Aug 2013

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Sometimes, its not how much you earn, but how much you spend (or save) that has an impact on your financial life. I have known people who earned the above average salaries but still live paycheck to paycheck due to a flamboyant lifestyle. I also know someone who does not earn alot, yet is able to build up quite a substantial amount of savings over the years. I decided to look back on my spendings for Aug 2013 vs August 2012, to see how much I have cut down. I had a hard time sorting through my previous year’s bank statements and credit card bills as I didn’t used to have a budget system in place.

Recurring Expenses (SGD) Aug-12 Aug-13 Differences
Parents Allowance 827 815 (13)
Credit Card Installments 450 486 36
Income Tax 89 132 43
Insurance 208 208
Mobile Phone/iPad Subscription 155 105 (50)
Transport 230 100 (130)
Food & Entertainment 1,078 700 (378)
Shopping & Misc 439 199 (240)
Unaccounted for 640 (640)
4,116 2,744 (1,372)

1) Credit Card Instalment – Zero saving:

From the first glance, it looks as if I am repaying the same amount of debt as I had from a year ago. However, I had previously carried a balance on all of my credit cards (3 card in total), and $450 is just the minimum balance I pay each month. I was in such a mess that I actually did not bother opening the mails for my credit card statements, as the balances were just too painful to look at. I just automatically pay $150 a month, hoping that by paying the minimal amount, my credit card debt would magically disappear on its own. Now, $486 is the true value of how much I am actually paying each month, which is solely made up of 24 months installments I foolishly signed up for bags/facial etc a year ago. I no longer fear opening my credit card statements as they usually show a ZERO balance now.

2) Mobile Phone/iPad Subscription – $50 saved:

I managed to get a better plan on my monthly subscription hence the savings of $50 a month.

3) Transport – $130 saved:

I managed to saved $130 on transport from not taking taxis/cabs whenever I am too lazy to take the bus or MRT. Singapore is a very small and relatively efficient place especially when it comes to transport infrastructure. So taking a cab is more of a luxury than necessity most of the time.

4) Food & Entertainment – $378 saved:

It’s scary how much I used to spend on food and drinks and other leisure activities. Although the current $700 a month on Food is still on the high side compared to some of my more frugal friends, I am pretty happy with the savings of $300 or more, and think it is quite substantial. Eating out is one of those things that I truly enjoy, so I’m not too big on cutting down and being frugal on this area. Drinking and clubbing on the other hand is something that I am able to cut down on, hence the saving of over $300.

5) Shopping & Misc – $240 saved:

I only set a budget of $100 for shopping and misc items each month, so I had actually exceeded my budget for Aug 2013. Comparatively, I did stop shopping online which contributed to the bulk of my overspending in this category. I now cringed when I open my drawer full of new clothes that I had bought on impulse. They are now part of the clutters in my messy room.

6) Unaccounted for – total elimination!

This is the most interesting category in my list of expenses. These are ATM withdrawal which I had never bother tracking and I do not exactly know what I spent on. It is possibly made up of food, misc items, mindless shopping, and taxi fares. This year, I make sure all my money is being accounted for using a excel spreadsheet that I created and now all expenses are accounted for. It feels great to be in control!

I used to think that there is no way to I can minimise spending and to start saving money. What I have here shows that through conscious efforts and the motivation to improve financially, IT IS POSSIBLE. It’s just a matter of how badly you want to save, to forgo instant gratification and save for something bigger like a fulfilling retirement, financial freedom, or even owning your dream home.

I am very happy with the amount I’m saving each month. A year ago, I had no idea saving money is so easy, After putting my mind to it and building a budget system for myself, it has become an habit. I now hope to maintain the same level of spending, and at the same time, to drastically work on increasing my income so that I can save more.

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3 thoughts on “Expenses – Aug 2012 vs Aug 2013

  1. wow come a long way. I wonder if you can pay more when you free up the resources. Whatever excess just pay up for the debt. that will clear it faster.

    after that we can think about how to reallocate the excess money.

    thank you for discussing about the pain

    • Hi there! Previously, I took up a loan to repay my credit card debt, hence I’m still servicing it as the termination penalty is actually greater than the interest paid. I look forward to the day when I’m truly debt free! I count business and housing debt as a “good debt” though. Cheers!

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