I thought I was rather frugal. I do not drive, live simply and had set myself a annual spending budget of 30k for 2017, which I thought was rather modest in expensive Singapore.
I had aimed to keep basic monthly expenses to <$1000. That is $12k for the entire year for food and bills. The other 18k of the budget goes to indulgences like holidays and insurances.
But after reading a few blog posts by other folks, I am impressed by how they have been even more disciplined in their annual spendings.
- In the USA, Root of Good shared recently about how his family of 5 managed to live for under US$40,000 a year in 2016. He has 3 kids, taken several holidays and bought an extra car for his family. Both his wife and him are now retired from active work. He is 37 years old this year. (about S$11k per person annual expenses)
- Back home in Sg, there is Dave and Kate, with their 2 yo daughter Ally. As a family of 3, they have decided on an annual budget of S$60,000. They have a fixed cost of about $30k (parents’allowances, utilities, daycare etc) and only have the other $30k to work with for the 3 of them for the rest of the year. They are striving to live well with a minimalist lifestyle in expensive Singapore. (about S$20k per person annual expenses)
- Then there is 15HourWorkWeek with his family budget of S$42,000 for him and his wife. This includes a mortgage payment of $11k and parents’allowances of $5k, leaving only $26k for them to spend for 2017. They are also going for a Melbourne holiday soon. (about S$21k per person annual expenses)
Comparing my annual budget of $30k for only myself, it seems that I have it good. When I shared that I was living on $1k each month, some friends gave me incredulous looks. And several asked if I was alright with money. Some even offered help when I told them I was unemployed and not having any active income.
I am sure there are many other disciplined, financially savvy people out there who have stringent budgets. I believe that we are striving to live life with less now, so that we can have more in time to come.
Today is Valentine day. It’s hard not to notice. When I turn on the radio, DJs are encouraging the lovey-dovey mood, before they start to advertise. Malls are decked out (probably reusing some of the CNY decorations) to entice lovers to buy. Even the airlines are running fare promos to entice people to spend. It seems that nowadays, every occasion is an important occasion and you must spend cash to show your love.
It may be cliche to say that if u care, then everyday is V day (hope my woman is reading this). But I truly believe it. There’s no need to buy ridiculously priced roses on 1 particular day (just cos the retailers say so) when I show my love to her everyday. I don celebrate V day, but I celebrate her presence in my life each time I see her.
We can only resist the endless onslaught of commercial marketing piled upon us if we are clear about our goals. I spend frugally and within my budget so that I will have freedom of choice. It is also to help my partner reach FI sooner. In a way, that is best V day present I can give her someday.
January is over and I am proud to say that I have managed to keep my basic expenses below $1k. I have also booked vacations to Bali in March and Melbourne in April. I am still excited at my ability to go anywhere, do anything and live freely.
It has been 6 months since I was last employed. I am still living good.