It’s the Hols! Day 6, 7 (Xmas and Boxing Day Edition)

So what did I do for Xmas? I counted money.

To be exact, I finished tabulating my expenditure for the year 2010 (up to Nov) with the recent arrival of my utility bill for Nov. A summary below with nice colorful graphs:

For those who want to use my template for their own expenditure monitoring, below is the link to a preview/download page.

Expenditure sheet for 2011: Preview (Google Docs)

Note: I have to apologize for the messy layout. This spreadsheet kind of grew organically; I tend to tag on new stuff as I discover I needed them from month to month.

The quick Summary

I want to acknowledge the fact that the money I spent monthly is unrealistically low for most people. Why?

First, I do not have to spend money on rental or mortgage for the roof over my head. That will easily double to triple my monthly expenditure.

Second, a third to half my meals are eaten at home, and I often bring leftover food to work/school for lunch as well. Again, this can easily double to triple my monthly expenditure, especially if you work in the city area where food is alot more expensive.

With that said, I do firmly believe that it is possible to spend less than $1,500 if you plan ahead and commit to being frugal.

“Analysis” of my Year’s expenditure (TL;DR section)

I started monitoring my expenditures in Mar 2010. The number in Feb’s Savings column represents my total “emergency” fund, or monies that I keep on hand to deal with those hiccups that crop up in life.

My work as a contract teacher earned about $2900 a month, which dropped to $2400 once I deduct my CPF contribution. As you can see from the picture above, slightly more than half my paycheck went straight into savings, mainly because I wanted to fatten my fund till it hit $20,000 (my original target).

In June I left the job and went on a trip to visit some family in San Diego, which explains the $940 deficit in the month of Jul.

Starting Aug, I embarked upon the SPUR programme with Digipen, which paid a monthly stipend of $1000. Expenditure from Aug onwards contracted sharply as well.

By the end of Nov I have saved a total of $14,000 in my “emergency” fund.

In conclusion, I have failed to meet my $20,000 savings mark. Mostly this is due to the loss of income from Jun onwards. However, I am happy with my monthly saving rate.

On a side note, average figures at the end of the summary are on the “optimistic” side because there were no figures for Jan/Feb expenditure.

The year ahead – 2011

For this coming year I doubt I can make the $20,000 savings mark again – $400 saved a month for 12 months = $4800 saved + $14,000 original = $18,800.

What I can do is to push my monthly savings to $400 on average. The extra $100 in savings will go towards some long term goal that I will decide by New Year’s Eve.

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