I keep track of my expenses to see how far along I am towards financial freedom. It’s a good exercise to see if I’m living within my means and saving enough.
My wife and I split costs for big items, but I do still pay for dinner and expenses when we go out. My wife likes to feel taken care of, so I try to do my part.
I only count cash expenses. Some expenses like the home loan and childcare, are taken out from our Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Child Development Accounts (CDA) respectively.
Without further ado, let’s get into it. Arranged from biggest expenses to lowest.
|Groceries||$600||For 3 adults and 1 child. Nothing special here. We mostly shop at the neighbourhood Sheng Shiong. I used to order online for the heavier items, but its close to impossible to find a delivery slot now|
|Helper||$500||My helper’s salary is about $600 per month. Total expenses are about $1,000, including levy, food, and bonuses we give throughout the year. Split with wife.|
|Parent’s allowance||$500||I give my mum a fixed sum at the end of the year, and I let her choose to take it in CPF or cash. I get a small tax break if she takes it in CPF, but it’s really up to her.|
|Personal Food||$450||$15 per day. This is an overestimate, as I don’t eat out by myself every day.|
|Insurance expenses||$400||The vast majority of this is my kid’s endowment and life insurance plans. While I don’t really like insurance as savings plans, this is a safety net to diversify the sources of savings. Split with wife.|
|Eating out||$320||It’s around $40 per meal we eat outside on the weekends. It’s probably higher than I would like.|
|Medical expenses||$300||My medical expenses are much higher than most people, because you know, cancer survivor. I have scans and follow-up appointments to go.|
|Entertainment||$300||This is for expenses like buying gadgets, games and family outings.|
|Kid expenses||$250||It’s mainly diapers and milk powder. We tried to get him to drink cow’s milk, but he hands back the bottle to me with a wtf look.|
|Transport||$240||We cab on the weekends, so its roughly $30 back and forth every Sat and Sun.|
|Power and Water||$120||I’m a bit over average in use for my household.|
|Internet||$90||This includes TV channels which nobody uses. Can’t wait to reduce this when my contract ends.|
|Town council||$65||Pretty standard for 4 -room HDB|
|Netflix||$20||It’s pretty much mandatory during this period|
|Phone||$18||Circles Life corporate plan for 20 gigs of data. I also have unlimited calls for 6 months.|
|Youtube Premium||$18||This is frankly great. I replaced my Spotify subscription with this. The real benefit is ad-free Youtube viewing, which really changes how I watch video. It’s a family plan, so like $4 a month per person|
|Amazon prime||$3||The 2 hour delivery is pretty good. Comes with Amazon video, which I don’t bother with. At $3 a month, I think this is ok to have.|
That’s a total of $4,194 per month for my share of the household expenses. My wife’s own share and expenses are probably in the region of $3,000 (I don’t actually ask her),
This expense table doesn’t include travel, which will probably be $700 per month more. But we won’t be spending that this year.
If I add home loan costs, my wife’s needs, our total household expenses would probably be around $8,000. Whew. That is not a small sum. Assuming a 5% rate of return, we would need $1,920,000 for full financial independence and retirement for both my wife and I.
We still have time to reach that sum. Our expenses are also still below our income currently. We enjoy a comfortable middle-class lifestyle in Singapore, which is really a blessing.
Besides, life is more of a journey than a destination. I don’t find it’s worth it to be overly frugal, and miss out on the small joys in life.