I'm doing much better budget-wise this month.
Part of it is that I just got reimbursed about $1200 worth of claims and yearly benefits (woo hoo!).
I also made my very first online order of supplements a couple of weeks ago and the whole transaction went very smoothly. The prices are not only 50% cheaper, but the guy actually delivered it to me for free. Love it.
My largest expense after the supplements was a new formal jacket for work. My old one was very ill fitting because I had apparently dropped some weight since I bought it. Sad though, because its in perfect condition. I'm not sure what to do with it.
Anyway, I saw a very nice jacket for $70 at a dept store and it was the very last piece. But I agonised over it and finally decided not to buy it (I always do this when I think something is too expensive). Then of course, a week later I made up my mind and stopped by to get it. And big surprise - it was already gone.
But on the same rack were a bunch of other new jackets under the same collection. The clincher was that they were abt the same price as the one I saw first but at 20% off. I bought it then and was so glad I waited!
Viewing the 'Budget' Category
I'm doing much better budget-wise this month.
I haven't been doing so good at being frugal these past few weeks. The effect has been that I now find myself with only sixty dollars in my spending account.
The good thing is I get paid on the 21st/22nd or so, so its not too bad. I also have some cash in my purse still. I just feel really insecure because I'm used to having a buffer of >$100 at any given time in that account. Its not a good feeling.
The problem is there's been a lot of things I've been wanting lately, but before you think I'm out shopping for shoes or something, let me just say I'm so not.
Instead I've been spending my money on supplements. Sigh... My life is so exciting, isn't it?
Anyway, the good news is that after some searching I managed to find a couple of local online stores that have much lower prices. Its like half of what I pay for at the health food stores!
It's been a while since I've updated this blog.
I'm a lot busier at work now because its the unlikely situation where both my managers are away on holidays at the same time, leaving me to handle a lot more than I normally do.
Although its stressful, its a good exercise in a way, I'm learning some new things, and at the very least our VP is around when something comes up that I'm unfamiliar with. Eventhough he's in Hong Kong, he's quite accessible still.
Budget-wise, I'm on track and I've learnt some lessons as well.
I made up an excel spreadsheet last year to track how much I can save each month. I started in August 2006.
I've found that on average, I socked away $1,400 per month in 2006, not counting my bonuses. I had set a 2006 target of $1,000 per month, so I'm happy I exceeded it.
To be perfectly frank, I actually cheated in a way, I knew I'd make the target easily. But since its my first time tracking my savings so closely, I wanted to get that positive reinforcement thing going when I exceeded my own expectations.
(Yes, I know this sounds somewhat silly...But I wonder if other people do this too? Set a purposely low bar so that they will succeed?)
Anyway before I meander, because I did "so well" last year, I got a little overly ambitious this year.
I socked away $1,800 in February, which didn't leave me with much to spend. I barely made it to the next month.
Anyway by March I've had to lower it to $1,500. This has left me with abt $700 for all my monthly expenses. Still very do-able.
I'm quite pleased overall, but I've learnt that I shouldn't overdo the saving bit either.
I didn't shop at all for fun stuff in February. (By fun stuff I mean clothes, bags, and shoes.)
But I let myself buy a pair of really lovely pants and a gorgeous necklace this month. I felt I deserved it. Plus after not shopping for so long, it felt sweeter somehow.
I got my pay in earlier this month because of the Lunar New Year. Which was cool, but it doesn't make much of a difference to me personally. And not just because I don't celebrate it.
Most companies in Asia would give their employees their pay before the New Year starts since families would be spending more on food, decorations, the reunion dinner, and money packets for their family members.
Me? I just really love the two days off from work.
Budget-wise, today is a no-spend day for me. I made my own breakfast and lunch. And I plan to do the same tomorrow as well.
Yay! I just checked my spending account balance and I have $54 left. My next paycheck will come in a couple of days, so I think I did pretty well with the budget.
I would have done a lot better too, except that I had to pay for a lot of cab rides these past couple of weeks. (Its all for work though, so I'll get reimbursed, eventually... I haven't totalled up my cab receipts yet, but they'll easily top $80.)
On a separate note, I also got an extra $212 last week from my Nov/Dec claims at work. I didn't add it to my spending budget of cos... that would defeat the purpose.
But it helped just now when my dad asked for a $150 advance. He's a little short this month because he had to get his cellphone fixed. The screen crapped out. (Just as a background, I give him a few hundred each month when my pay comes in, and so does my sister. )
Anyway, it was cool that I had the extra $$$ on hand and I didn't have to tap my separate savings account.
So I've finished my first week back at work.
I'm at odds with the timestamp - for me its nearly midnight, Friday in Singapore (which is where I am by the way).
All in all, after I got over my initial depression of being back, it was a good few days at the office. It was great to see my colleagues again.
I also received a plaque for an award last year. I've never gotten anything like that before, so it was nice to receive. Its made of glass and cut to look like an iceberg but with really sharp points. I figure with the right amount of force, I could kill someone with it.
But for now, its just sitting on my desk.
Work-wise, I was too zombie-fied to get anything done the first couple of days, due to my severe lack of sleep (my out-of-whack body clock hurt me bad).
But today was better, and suffice it to say that some work got done.
I've been keeping tabs on my spending too.
This week's spending:
- One dinner out ($12)
- Bought one top ($34)
- Topped up my bus card ($30)
- Lunch at work ($15)
- Toiletries ($9)
I also went grocery shopping today to buy food for the weekend. This will stop me from ordering food in, which is a really bad and lazy habit that I need to cut down.
- Food ($10)
Rats. Now that I've added it up, it looks like too much.
Hopefully, my spending will lessen next week.
Some of the stuff, like my bus card and toiletries I don't have to spend on again so soon.
(I should feel guilty for buying the top but I don't. I like it a lot!!!)
Since I'm starting a new work month tomorrow, I thought I'd also start tracking my spending properly on this blog.
Before this, I would budget by "ballpark figures".
My fixed expenses are low, and I'm able to save about 50% of my take-home pay each month.
After locking that into a separate savings account (to keep it safe from my own grubby hands), what's left is about $600-$700 which is my spending money for the month until the next paycheck.
I am officially starting out with $567.22 in my pocket. Which is good because it's also the amount of money in my spending account!
(Its also a little less than what I'm used to working with, but fair since this month is shorter with the holidays.)
Writing this down, I suddenly feel challenged (which is good) and more accountable (which feels scary/bad to be perfectly honest, but ultimately will be good, I hope!).
In other news, I'm returning to work tomorrow, after a looooong and yet too-short of an absence. This truly sucks.
I just hope I can wake up in the morning!
p.s: Note to myself - find out how to fix blog timestamps. Its nearly midnight here where I am!