life in dollars
makr blog, via muus
I mentioned earlier this year I wanted to tighten my clothing budget, and set aside money to buy things rather than buying them right away, so I thought I would go on a related note and share a bit about my experience trying to keep to a budget. (In case you thought this blog was all about waxing lyrical about dining alone.)
A few years ago, I set some rules about how many “treats” I would allow myself a month that would allow me to have a social life and indulge in the odd butter + sugar magic, in order to derive a realistic budget.
I came up with this:
- One takeaway latte a week, or four a month (S$22)
- Maximum of two magazines a month (about S$25)
- Nights out drinking capped at twice a month, assuming I spend about S$30-S$40 each time (S$60)
- Meals averaging S$40 maximum twice a month (S$80)
- Coffee time (usually with pastry/cake) averaging S$15 each time, maximum twice a month (S$30)
- Brunch, averaging S$30 each time, once a month
- Daily workday lunches should not exceed S$10 a day (S$50)
This isn't much to some, and a lot to some, but for me, it's comfortable. It leaves me enough room for the odd outrageously expensive meal or spend generously on gifts. And of course, the occasional pair of shoes.
And because I predict better how much I expect to spend, I've been able to save better too.
The mistake not to make is to aim for a magic number. It doesn't work if you don't track how much you're actually spending first, before deciding what to add and take away.
Anyway, if you're still reading my amateur attempt at financial advice, you may be wondering how my experiment with the MHL dress went. Predictably, I had lost interest by the time I set aside the money for the dress. This is not to say I won't ever buy the dress, but it demonstrated clearly to me that it was of little consequence. If I bought the dress, I would be happy, but not much happier than I already am. If I don't buy the dress, I'm not unhappier at all.
Isn't this so often the case?
Happy long weekend! (I am in fact working tomorrow, but I have Monday off!)