Expense Report: January 2020 ft. Chinese New Year

This is my first ever expense report, and I’m excited to dig in!

Part of the reason why I wanted to share my journey is to keep myself accountable. That means that I’ll be publishing every dollar spent, so as to be able to identify gaps and opportunities in my spending.

This would also hopefully help frame my spending habits, and aid me in looking for patterns and whether they’re good or bad habits.

To do this, I track my expenses manually using Spendee, as the likes of Personal Capital and Mint don’t link to my banks and cards directly.

So, let’s dig in.

Chinese New Year:

The Year of the Rat!

The festival fell right at the end of January (it falls between 21 January and 20 February every year). Besides the get-togethers and dinners, both leading up to the festival and on the actual days themselves, we also partake in the giving of red packets, and my family…

Well, my family tends to go a little extra with it. You’ll see why in the breakdown.

Now, I’m not married, so customs dictate that I don’t have to give anything to all my relatives. Instead, I just give them to my parents, my god-mom, and my two nephews.

The only saving grace is that I’m also receiving red packets from my relatives, and while I definitely don’t break even, the amount reduced my overall expenditure.

I would say that this is my Christmas, except I also exchange gifts on Christmas, so… 😬

The numbers:

These are all in Singapore dollars, with US$1 being approximately S$1.37.

ThingCostNotes
Rent / Family$1,310This is made up of a fixed amount every month ($750) that doubles up as rent, with variable expenses making up the rest of it for things like medical bills, house repair, servicing, medical bills for my family etc.
Eating Out$177Compared to years past, this is actually a drastic change. The total also includes reunion dinners with friends - those, I definitely paid my fair and happy share for.
Groceries$209This includes food, and cleaning products. I thought I would've been able to cap this at $150, but didn't manage to. Let's see how I do next month and adjust accordingly.
Insurance$210One of my bigger financial mistakes was signing up for an endowment plan. I've since canceled it, but because of a weird arrangement with the bank, I still have 6 interest-free installments left on the payments.
Bills$63Cable and phone; pretty standard stuff.
Transport$218Public transport is actually way down at just $24 this month, due to me serving my notice at this current work place and working remotely for the month of January.

The rest of the nearly $200 is contributed by rides on Grab (a Lyft/Uber equivalent), most of which were rides during Chinese New Year as we shuttled from relative to relative.
Entertainment$5An e-book to my Kindle, because it isn't available in the library.
Hobbies$13This domain, actually!
Chinese New Year$1,880Here is where the Chinese New Year red packets situation comes into play - I gifted $1,880 (oh look, that's auspicious) to my family. Definitely a huge chunk of my entire expense report.
Others$308One big purchase here for prescription glasses at $298, but fully claimable under my current employer's insurance.

The remaining $10 is a renewal fee for my identity card; a stark reminder of turning 30.
Reimbursements & Claims+$1,452$298 for the glasses, as mentioned.

I received $1,154 from my relatives, which knocks my actual red packet spend down to $726. Not a paltry sum!
Total$2,941Whew! Not great, but an abnormality.

Over to you – How was the first month of the new decade? Do you plan for the year, or play it by ear?

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