The Expenses

I started doing a self-improvement thematic month project some time in 2015 and was informed that Mark Zuckerberg takes on a personal challenge that he works on for the year (read his 2016’s challenge here). Well, I think being a female is a sufficiently good excuse for my fickle minded approach to a lot of things, couple that with my general impatient character, a monthly milestone will possibly benefit me more.

My first theme back then is retirement planning. I came into contact with someone who semi-retired before 40. It appears that he is living a fulfilling life and has control over his time, having had a taste of that control during my semi-hobo-slum-it-out and not gainfully employed few months, that greatly appeals to me.

I googled key words like retirement, financial independence and found blogs with good material – 15HWW, cheerful.egg and MMM. In parallel I attempted to calculate how much my nestegg should be if I want to be FI by 35 years old… but the result is so disappointing I actually tried the calculation on a number of sites (think CPF’s, banks’ and insurance companies’ website) to check for consistency.

I don’t think I lowered myself down to the ostrich level of whining that I will never achieve FI, but I just quietly shelved dealing with this actively after the month past and subconsciously toy with the idea now and then.

Fast forward to present, I re-read some parts of MMM and a table that simplified matter by cleanly setting out savings rate’s relationship vs. working years till retirement caught my attention.

I thought 60% savings rate, which is 12.5years of working, looks achievable. Since CPF already contributes 20% of Ordinary Wage capped at S$6,000 = S$1,200, my effort to find the balance won’t be that difficult as I’m not a big spender. In any case I went to consult my expense manager app and plotted my expense graphs:

expense

(The earlier data got wiped out when I changed to iPhone… which is another evil expense that shall not be mentioned/repeated any time soon)

Expense tracking for June to early part of Aug 2016 is missing because I slacked off (opps) and I guess that’s why some outrageous spending took place in the form of a couple of leisure trips, concert watching, too many drinking sessions and online shopping.

My savings rate is approximately 50% (inclusive of CPF contribution) and MMM’s table translates this to 17 years of work. Another 5 years longer than what I thought I was on track to achieve!

Areas for improvement:

  • Personal – social gatherings, grooming and weakness for clothes (I might have over decluttered after reading Kon Mari but at least nobody can fault me for not trying ;p)
  • Food and entertainment – restaurants and drinks

 

Next steps:

  • Be selective about acceptance of social invitations
  • Hair cut can be done at a reduced cost
  • Facial package in town ended and I should not renew it
  • Stop buying so much clothes
  • Change social gathering to focus on fitness rather than food and drinks

 

Let’s see how Sep and Q4’s expenses will be like!

 

Lioness (Scrimping)

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