Photo by Andrea Tan

Week 1: Sept 1-7, 2015

Budget: RM119 = RM17/day
Actual: RM222.20

Living on RM17/day might have be far too optimistic. I forgot to add GST to the amount. Went waaaay over the weekly budget.

I decided to go easy on myself the first week. By “going easy”, I was still recording every cent spent and making conscious decisions. To some extent, it is working. This means no overpriced designer coffee just because I was bored, or filling up my fridge with too much fresh produce that isn’t going to get eaten before it rots.

However, there was still unnecessary purchases. Did I really need a jar of raspberry jam? Not so. Did I need to go for a late afternoon snack, followed by dinner, and ending with dessert? It would be better for my wallet if I didn’t, but these were things I did all the time without thinking of anything beyond instant gratification. Did I really spend nearly RM75 on things I put into my face-hole in one day? Yes. Yes, I did. And most of it was just junk.

Week 1 on Wally

In a way, this is good to know. I’m getting that rare big picture of where my money is going and it’s shocking. You’ll never guess what she did next. Your jaw will drop.

I’m using an iPhone app called Wally to record all my expenses. The figures you see in the image includes expenses that are not counted as part of No Spend Month (ie bills, etc.). I’m still trying out this app and it serves its purpose so far but there’s a slight learning curve that I’m still trying to get around. I’m less patient with learning the little details of apps these days. Instant gratification and all that.

I’m also keeping track of prices with another app called Grocery Genius, which compares prices of places you’ve shopped. It’s a free version so entries are limited. Anyone got a similar app to recommend? Normally I’d buy the app if I like it but we all stopped looking after the ringgit went past RM4 to USD1.

On to other discoveries and strategies.

The 250g bag of Colombian Arabica at RM28 saved me from getting coffee outside, although spending that money all at once was slightly cringe-y. I found earlier this month that my Starbucks card has a balance of RM0.30. I decided not to top it up. This was another one of my regular cash drains.

Eating a little bit healthier and cooking more. On stocking up the groceries, it’s better to err on less than get too much. I tend to stock up on stuff with a longer shelf life, so instead of getting more stuff, I’m working through what’s in the pantry. Started the morning lemon water habit because I’ve been wanting to try it out.

My plan for the coming week is to plan the social outings better, pack meals and snacks from home, get more fruits, and sell more books from my library.