Food, entertainment, phone bills, rent/mortgage – these are some of the things that we can easily plan and budget for every month, and even several months in advance. Of course, we don’t usually budget to perfection – so I always add a margin of safety to my budgeting. So assuming that I need S$80 for my phone bills every month, I will put aside S$100 – just in case I incur additional charges like I sometimes do by going over my data limit.
One of the things that annoy me is how some people claim that they’re broke yet fritter away their money. It makes me wonder if they’re looking for sympathy, or hinting me to lend them some? I mean sure, we can’t totally cut back, go cold turkey and live on bread alone just because we’re broke, but if you’re still wasting your money then you are clearly not broke (so you should stop saying it), and if you are truly broke and wasting money without realising it, here are some things you can cut to save you some money (and keep friends who are tired of hearing that you’re broke):
I lived on my own for 4 years in London – 3 of which as a student, and 1 as a working adult. For the first year, after paying rent and buying groceries, I had barely anything left. I didn’t even take public transport, instead walking everywhere because I would rather spend that money on food and trips. I used to look at my friends and wonder if they get a lot of pocket money given their lifestyles. But after awhile, I realised that my finances weren’t actually that tight! I had a fair amount of allowances, my parents paid for my school fees, so there was no reason that I had nothing left at the end of the month!
I realised that I had no clue where all my money was going. So I decided to write down every single cent I used. I started off with a little notebook where I penciled in every purchase, no matter how much or how little it costs. I quickly found out I was buying 3 quid Lattes once or twice every single day; it doesn’t seem like much but that’s nearly 30quid in one week, which as a student it’s ridiculous. Back then, 3 quid can get you a full meal set from Subway. I also have a thing for pretty pens and papers, which on their own are pretty cheap, but nobody buys just 1 pen or 1 piece of paper – so it all adds up.
A lot of women shut off when it comes to the topic of finance or wealth planning. Because it’s boring. Because it’s just too complicated. Because there are too many things to buy and life’s too short to wait. But it doesn’t have to be! I think that we can look good without getting in debt; we just need to learn how to be financially savvy. And it can be interesting and fun!
With my frequent hauls, I might not look like the best person to be discussing about personal finance. But believe it or not, I have never been in debt and I like to keep my finances clean and well planned. I buy a lot of things because… well, I plan and budget for them so that I can comfortably afford them. Now and then I slip up and overspend, but over the long term, the averages work out for me.
How do I sustain my crazy spending? I am not rich, not sponsored, and not subsidized. I don’t get money from others to buy things. I do get a couple of beauty gifts a year from the boyfriend, but he makes a point not to buy me beauty products; he prefers to help out with holidays and experiences. I appreciate that, but that also means that I have to rely on myself to get what I want. So how do I do it?