Curious about whether the TSS team manages money habits well? This is a recurring money diaries series that will reveal all!
This week, we’re featuring our motion graphics artist, Haz, who talked to me about fitness and having great friends to help you along the journey to save.
The week’s breakdown
|Mon, 2/9||Breakfast: $4.40
|Tue, 3/9||Lunch: $9.90
Spacebib Sign Up: $10.98
|Thur, 5/9||Breakfast: $1.90
Lunch (Nasi Padang): $7.80
|Fri, 6/9||Lunch: $6
|Sat, 7/9||Dinner: $24.40||$24.40|
|Sun, 8/9||Bubble Tea: $4.90||$4.90|
|TOTAL SPENT FOR THE WEEK||$113.38|
So it would seem you’ve had the best week compared to everyone else. You spent the least! Is this your average amount?
Mmm… I think I spent less for that week in particular. I think it’s because I knew we were going to do this money diaries thing, so. [Sheepish.] I need to be normal!
I was just more conscious!
Did you feel restricted by it, then? Because you had to control yourself?
To be honest, no! Because normally I’d get breakfast on Monday, but then on Tuesday I won’t because I bought groceries the day before.
So then your breakfast is at home.
That’s quite normal, I do that often. I’ll buy bread after I come back from work for the next few days.
So what else do you buy?
Bread, jam, and sometimes I buy those tiny cereal boxes. [Pause.] I know they’re not good deals.
But you still buy them anyway!
Because it’s convenient…
But the bigger ones will last you for longer.
Yeah, but they don’t have those at 7-11.
… You buy your groceries from 7-11?!
It’s nearer! It’s on the way home. From the MRT to the bus interchange, the 7-11 is right in the middle. For NTUC, I have to go all the way to the back of the mall.
So this is the price of convenience. But if you went to the supermarket, the price of your groceries would be halved.
[Reluctantly.] Yeah… probably.
[Laughs.] It’s OK, you’ve already spent the money.
You don’t seem to randomly splurge on clothes or shoes. How often do you do that, if ever?
Once every two to three months for clothes. For shoes, as long as I always have two pairs of shoes, then I won’t buy anymore.
Normally, I don’t spend a lot of money. Even when I go out with friends! My friends are the kind where they’re like, “We need to save money!”
Yeah, we usually buy food to share, like a portion for three but split among four people. Because two of my friends don’t eat a lot, while another friend and I do eat quite a bit.
Those sound like the best friends in the world.
Yeah. And one of us – she just knows where the good deals are.
Does she have a lot of coupons?
Yeah, and on Telegram groups too, where they give out discounts and promotions. I’m very lucky.
I think it helps to have frugal friends. How long have you known them?
Wow, all the money you’ve saved from this friendship.
Do you guys talk about money stuff, or about your savings?
That’s the weird thing, we don’t talk about it. We only talk about our salary range and getting new jobs, but other than that, we’re private about our own lives. We do know that we just want to save more, since we’ve all just started our careers.
Then what about being at home? Do you talk about money with your parents or siblings?
I don’t talk about money with my family. My dad is the kind of guy who only asks if he needs help, but he won’t elaborate. It’ll be like, “I can’t pay the water bill this month, can you help?” Then that’s it.
He doesn’t give advice?
Yeah. You know, when I first got my first job, the only thing my parents said to me was, “Don’t spend so much. Save more.” That’s it.
They should work for The Simple Sum!
[Laughs.] Yeah, but I think they just want us to experience life for ourselves. So for my first job I only earned 1.6K to 1.7K, that was before CPF. I splurged a lot back then. I was about 20 or 21. You know, the firsthand experience of earning your own money? I shopped heavily on Zalora. And mostly for food.
Then I realised… the more you spend, the less you have. My parents kind of just throw you in the deep end despite that.
So they never once came in to save you (from yourself)?
Nope. The only thing my mom would do, because she’s a housewife and stays home often, is to pick up my deliveries. And she’d say, “How many times already, this month?”
Like an automatic reminder system!
Yeah but she’ll just say it and not do anything.
So she won’t take your card or anything.
What happens when you go broke for the month? Just suffer?
I’ve never been broke broke – I still have money for necessities. I don’t think I have bad spending habits.
I think so too. It’s either just food for you or… groceries, or your run sign ups. But wait – what’s Spacebib?
It’s an online platform for runners (both serious and casual) to join online or offline races. With online races, you can run at your own pace and do it anywhere and anytime, as long as it falls within race dates. Use any running app, record your run, and upload it to Spacebib, and you’re done! There are also expert runs which are more expensive. Free runs don’t get you shirts or medals – just a feeling of accomplishment.
How often do you sign up for this Spacebib thing?
I started joining runs for Spacebib this year. The admission fees are really cheap.
Yeah, not like StanChart.
I used to join those. Great Eastern too. It’s about $50 to $70.
And you still willingly paid. What justified the cost?
Well they were only once a year. To me, $40 to $60 is not THAT bad. If I sign up for a run I’ll be more motivated to practice for it, so I exercise more than usual.
That makes sense. If you pay the money you won’t want to waste it.
And Spacebib – it was because of my group of friends. They know I like running and they want to join too, so when one of them found Spacebib…
No more squeezing with other runners!
Yes. But I realise with Spacebib… You know how StanChart is like only once a year? [Laughs.] I join Spacebib runs three times a year! So actually if you think about it, it’s the same amount.
Oh… YEAH. Three times is about $33!
Yeah… but I’m running more! Which is good!
I guess you prioritise fitness a lot then. You don’t mind paying if it means having a healthier lifestyle.
Yes. I still try to keep any spending below $100. I don’t know why but I’m scared when things go above three digits.
For anything at all? What’s one thing you bought that went over three digits?
[Whispers.] My Converse shoes.
How much was that? $140?
About there. I think those were on discount but… I don’t use them anymore. Because they broke.
Yeah! And it’s my most expensive pair of shoes, you know. Everything just fell apart. Since then – I still buy Converse shoes – I no longer go for three-digit ones anymore.
Well, OK. So this week you’ve gone out twice a week. Is this normal?
I usually go out once or twice, yeah.
And your friends are super frugal so it doesn’t matter, right?
So… do you feel you can still reduce your spending, based on this week?
Hmm. I think it’s fine, actually.
Yeah, to be honest, you’re only just spending a little bit over $400 every month. Even with nasi padang prices…
That day we went to a well-known nasi padang place, so that’s why it was so expensive.
Outside the city would get you better prices maybe?
Yeah, probably. At a previous workplace there was a canteen and it was definitely much cheaper, about $3 or $4.
So have you learnt any unique money-saving tips from your frugal friends? Or is it just coupons all the way?
Usually it’s just coupons, digital ones! You know those 1-for-1 deals and discounts… my friend would send us promotions randomly. There was one where you had to dress up like your friend for a free burger. We didn’t actually go for that one, but it was unique.
My friend also reads a lot of articles with these discounts.
And you guys really go for it?
Yeah. Because of them, I’m more conscious of these deals. Did you know Singtel has a Saturday movie ticket deal? For the first 500 customers. I used it recently, but you need to pick earlier slots. I think it’s worth it, especially on the weekends.
What do you think you can do better when it comes to your finances?
Maybe… stop shopping at 7-11.
So, what are your financial goals right now?
Right now, it’s to fund my next overseas trip. I don’t know which country that’s going to be yet, but I do know a safe number I should set aside in order to travel comfortably.
Other than that, I’m pretty much just saving up for emergencies and the future. I think I’m still quite young, and honestly I don’t know what to expect in the future. Because of that, I don’t really have a sense of urgency. I do have a sum of money I save every month, but other than putting them into emergency and travel funds, the rest of my savings will just go to “the future” … In other words, just “unused money.” Haha!
Previous TSS Money Diaries “Episodes”