Having recorded my expenses since October 2014, I am getting a sense of how I am spending my money. In this post, I will update some of the expense figures that have changed this year and re-classify some expense items as monthly expenses instead of fixed expenses.
1105 828 (CPF)
Late last year, I did a refinance of my mortgage loan to get a lower interest rate and reduce the number of years of my loan repayment with a higher monthly repayment amount of $1105. After due considerations (and calculations), I decided to change the refinance contract to reduce the monthly repayment amount and push the loan repayment period to the maximum possible, which is 23 years.
This is quite the opposite from my initial refinancing strategy because I did more calculations and found that if I maxed out the loan repayment period, the surplus CPF monies would allow me to achieve my Minimum Sum by the age of 41.
Update: I have changed my refinancing contract in March 2015 to reduce my monthly repayment amount to $828 and extended the repayment period to 22 years.
Parent Allowance: $500
My mother retired many years ago after her leg started giving her problems. On top of the monthly payouts from her CPF account, I have been giving her some allowance each month. $500 isn’t very much but that said, she isn’t spending much as well. I try my best to manage most of the household expenses so that she doesn’t have to pay for any of them.
$154.48 (excluding Medisave premiums)
I did an evaluation of my personal insurance portfolio recently and surrendered my investment-linked policies, switching to several term insurance policies for a much more well-rounded insurance coverage.
Health: $18.17 (Medisave) and $22.75 (Cash)
I feel that health insurance is very important (especially when medical costs in Singapore are very expensive) so I took up a PruShield plan (highest tier for government hospitals) with my insurance agent a few year ago.
As part of my mortgage loan refinance, I was required to take up a mortgage insurance policy with Aviva with a slightly higher mortgage insurance premium.
Update: With the new changes made to my refinancing contract, the mortgage insurance premium had to be increased due to the increased term.
Income: $137.66 (till Mar 2015)
Working in Singapore requires me to pay taxes for my income once my salary exceeds a certain limit. Last year I did not make full use of tax rebates to reduce my income tax. This year, as I left my previous job and did a 6-month sabbatical, next year’s income tax should be quite low.
Property: $12.53 (till Mar 2015)
One of the perks of living in a 3-room HDB flat in Singapore is that the property tax is very low. While I expect property tax to increase along with our property annual value figure, it is still minute compared to all my fixed expenses.
Here’s where things get a little tricky. I’m a big TV buff and instead of subscribing to an expensive cable subscription, I got myself a VPN subscription and a Hulu Plus account. I also have a premium Spotify account for music on the go and in the gym. I’m grouping everything under utilities because I deem them as essential services. Some may argue that I can easily reduced my utilities through piracy but I believe paying for premium contents (just not as much as the crazy prices our cable subscription cartel is charging). I also keep a Hoiio Main Line subscription to maintain a private number for my side business.
Update: I decided to renew my Astrill VPN and Hulu subscriptions on an annual basis so I’m transferring them from Fixed Expenditure to Monthly Expenses because I only pay for them once a year.
Astrill VPN: $8.65
SingTel Fibre 100mbps Internet: $37.29
SingTel Mobile: $26.97
Hoiio Main Line: $10
True Fitness Gym Membership – $43.25
Update: Having moved to a new office location, our gym benefits were terminated because there isn’t a True Fitness gym nearby.
$888.83 (Cash) and $846.17 (CPF/Medisave)
Third month into my expense tracking and I already missed doing it on time! I got caught up with the holidays and celebrations that I forgot to update my blog. Luckily I continued to enter my expenses conscientiously on my mobile phone.
My total expenses for December is up to $4397.53 (including fixed expenses of $1900.99). That’s crazy high and above my salary! You must be thinking, ‘How could you overspend your budget like that?’ Well, fortunately I made a decent fortune in the mahjong sessions over the past month so a good portion of my expenses were covered by the winnings.
Party party party! I indulged in several gatherings with my friends this month and shopping expenses definitely hit an all time high this month. I look forward to reducing all these expenses next month. I started planning a bicycle commuting route to my new workplace making use of the Park Connector Network (PCN). While transportation costs form a small percentage of my overall expenses, I hope to see it get reduced and get myself fitter with the physical exercise from all that cycling.
Commuting charges on the B.M.W (bus, MRT, walk) went up this month because I took a few more taxi rides at nights.
I was surprised I didn’t spend more than $700 in December considering the fact that I was out with friends a lot more. Awesome!
Groceries went up compared to last month because I was back on my regular diet and cooking more often.
My only excuse was that it’s Christmas so I spent more money shopping online and pampering myself. Time to cut that down after December.
Entertainment expenses was pretty mild considering the festive season.
I bought Christmas presents for the gift exchange at parties but I did not splurge on expensive presents.
Second month into my expense tracking and I’m starting to get use to doing this. My total expenses for November is up to $3151.21 (including fixed expenses of $1900.99). While I didn’t manage to reduce my variable expenses by half like I wanted to, I’m glad to find that many one-off expenses were greatly reduced. November’s challenge was a partial success because while I failed to reduce the costs of eating in restaurants (for good reas0ns), I managed to reduced my shopping expenses to ZERO!
The biggest impact to my expenses this month was going for a Tonsil operation to remove my defective tonsils that have caused me to fall ill on several occasions. I chose to do the operation this month because it’s the quieter part of the year where there wasn’t a lot of work to do and I could spend 2 weeks on medical leave, working from home. The best thing was that my insurance agent informed me that the operation would be 100% covered by my shield plan because I had bought a rider on top of the basic shield plan previously. As I was spending half of November at home recuperating, expenses should be reduced by quite a bit.
Commuting charges on the B.M.W (bus, MRT, walk) went down a little this month due to my 2-week medical leave and working from home.
I thought that I would spend less on food after the operation but because the tonsils hurt so much, I spent more money on soft food and desserts.
I didn’t buy much groceries this month because I couldn’t eat any of them anyway.
Woohoo! I actually didn’t do any shopping this month at all. I’m pretty proud of myself for not spending money buying anything I don’t need.
Entertainment expenses went up quite a big this month as a Japanese friend was visiting Singapore this month so I brought him to a nice dimsum restaurant for some food. We also had a birthday celebration for a friend of mine so we treated him to dinner.
Birthday gift ($40) – I contributed some money for a friend’s birthday gift. Well worth the price because he liked it very much.
IC Re-registration fees ($10) – I paid $10 to re-register my IC. Everyone has to do it at the age of 31.
Haircut ($10) – Got a haircut to look decent for a change.
A return ticket to Taipei in January 2015 ($282.56) – I saw that Scoot had a pretty decent promotion for flights to Taiwan and since I had to clear some of my annual leaves early next year, I bought a return flight to go for a well-deserved holiday.