Regular followers of Mr and Mrs Budget will know that we track our expenses monthly.
Many might find that tracking expenses is a tedious thing to do, especially you need to log down every single transaction that you spend on a daily basis. Mr Budget, like many many Singaporeans or Malaysians trying to sort out his life, tried to start tracking his finances long time ago, and always failed to keep to the habit.
I remember my first attempt of daily expenses tracking was in university back in 2010, when I needed to know where I spend my money on. After tracking for a few days, life caught on and I soon stopped tracking because I didn’t understand why I need to track my finances, and told myself that since I have no control over my finances, there was no point in tracking.
After all, every month I would always end up spending everything in my bank account.
I tried again when I first entered the workforce in 2012, but because I was living pay check to pay check, with an entry salary of S$2,400, all of my salary would be used up for my rental payment, school loan payment, and my daily expenses.
To me, there was no point in tracking my expenses too because the entry would be the same – I would spend S$500 on rental, S$500 in school loan payment, S$500 on food, and the rest would either be brought over to next month, or will be spent indulging on entertainment.
It was only in mid 2018 when I finally sit down and told myself that I need to know where my money is going and only with these information can I optimise for my cashflow.
This was also due to the fact that all financial gurus out there included expenses tracking as one of their mantras – surely all of them cant be wrong?
Here’s the first annual expenses report after I started tracking my expenses:
|Groceries / Home||$9,931.37||$827.61||10.31%|
|Shopping / Cloths||$1,525.40||$127.12||1.58%|
|Malaysia Mortgage 1||$10,222.20||$851.85||10.62%|
|Malaysia Mortgage 2||$1,308.91||$109.08||1.36%|
|Singapore Mortgage & Home Renovation||$16,102.11||$1,341.84||16.72%|
|CPF / EPF||$8,000.00||–||8.31%|
Looking at Mr Budget’s 2019 annual expenses, the highest expense categories are our current Singapore home related expenses, taking up a 16.72%. This is on the high side as we just moved into our new home this year and incurred a one off renovation and move in expenses.
This is followed by our wedding expenses, which Mr Budget spent almost S$14,000 on. This is another one off item and the cost is cushioned by a one off receipt in January from our wedding angpao received.
Another high expenses category is the monthly mortgage payment of Mr Budget’s condo in Malaysia, which will be done soon, earmarked for investment purposes.
Our home and groceries expenses is also another high expense category as both Mrs Budget and I are still purchasing new stuffs for our home occasionally and we are figuring out our co-living expenses. We foresee this to ease a bit this year in 2020.
Surprisingly, Mr Budget’s food expenses only makes up 5% of his total expenditure in 2019. We will be using this as a barometer to compare against our projected expenses for our retirement planning.
While the overall expenses is high, eclipsing almost $100,000 of cash outflow in 2019, Mr Budget draw comfort in the fact that the high expenses categories are either one off items or are for asset building purpose.
These are the expenses paid in 2019 for asset building:
|Asset Building Expenses||Total||%|
|Malaysia Mortgage 1||$10,222.20||10.62%|
|Malaysia Mortgage 2||$1,308.91||1.36%|
|Singapore Mortgage & Home Renovation||$16,102.11||16.72%|
|CPF / EPF||$8,000.00||8.31%|
|One Off Expenses||Total||%|
Minusing these, the actual day to day expenses such as meals, insurance, commute, groceries et cetera only makes up 32% of my total expenses in 2019.
With these data points, Mr Budget looks forward to comparing them with my 2020 expenses to see if there will be any improvements. I foresee that while bulk of the one off expenses this year will be channeled towards the asset building expenses this year, especially to continue servicing my mortgage responsibilities, we will see an overall reduction in expenses this year.
For those of you who have not been tracking your cashflow, Mrs Budget and I really encourage you to start doing that. Once you get into a monthly habit of collating your expenses, you will continue to do that to find your spending patterns and with that, you are able to better optimise your personal finance and make data driven decisions.
Side note, do you track your expenses? What do you use to track them?
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