Money Diary #7: A Week in Singapore on an Annual Salary of $60,000+

Welcome to Money Diaries, where contributors give you a peek into not just their expenditure but also their lives over a seven-day period. Reading a diary is a pretty good way of living vicariously through another person and we hope you’re in for the ride. 

Here, we have a web content manager who cooks and bakes frequently while working from home. This week, she attempted to read more and indulged in a meal at a popular restaurant for her best friend’s birthday celebration.

Profile

Age: 29

Gender: Female

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media Studies

Salary: ~$60,000/year

Job: Web Content Manager

Location: Singapore

Monthly Fixed Expenses

Debt: $116 (Education loan to repay my mom’s CPF)

Allowance to my mom/family: $400

Insurance: $390

Phone Bill: $50 (I pay for my dad’s too)

Gym Membership: $136

Spotify Premium: $8.90

Netflix: $0 (Leeching off another friend’s subscription)

iCloud storage: $1.32

Savings: Averages between $1500-$2000

How would you describe your relationship with money, before and after making your own?

Growing up, I did not have a lot of spare cash to buy anything unnecessary as the allowance I was receiving from my parents was just enough to get proper meals in school. Since I started working part-time at the age of 16, I loved the feeling of receiving more cash and buying anything that I liked with the amount of “extra” cash that I was getting. Since then, I am used to buying anything I want as long as I have the cash. Hence, I did not have the habit of saving money until I spoke to my financial planner — a friend of mine — a few months before COVID struck our city. They sat me down to discuss my spending habits and forced me to start saving — so I did. 

Did you receive any education — from family members, guardians, friends, or institutions — about managing your finances?

I never did. And I never understood why my mom was so thrifty all this while. Now, I am thankful that she is; I do not need to worry about my folks when it comes to having enough cash for a rainy day.

How much would you say that money occupies your mind and guides your decisions?

I am not stingy when it comes to spending on food; I can easily spend $200 on one meal. However, I will try to even things out by not spending on material purchases such as clothing, shoes, bags, etc. I do have a money expense app on my phone whereby I will log all my purchases like food, clothing, etc. As my current expenses are almost fixed, I spend approximately $1200 on food, transport, fashion (clothing, bags, shoes, and random stuff). Hence, the question of “how can I earn more money?” is always on my mind. The only way to have more cash in my bank is to earn more money instead of reducing how much I am spending. Because I enjoy what I am doing and I am still spending within my means; I believe in working hard and playing hard.

Daily Log

Monday

8.30am – Forced myself out of bed. Washed up and changed before piling on light makeup to look presentable as I have a 9am call with the web developers every Monday. These calls typically last for 30 minutes and my company practices the camera-on culture. 

10.00am – Had my breakfast after that morning call. I am trying to cultivate the habit of reading The Straits Times’ e-paper. I just subscribed two days ago and I spent about 10 minutes reading while eating my breakfast.

12.00pm – Had a craving for banana bread. Hence, I made some with all the ingredients I could find at home. It’s a slightly healthier version whereby I used olive oil instead of butter; replaced half of the plain flour with oats flour, and used zero-calorie pancake syrup instead of regular sugar. 

2.00pm – Headed to the kitchen to make my lunch. On most WFH days, I eat lunch around late noon. I made japchae for lunch using a recipe from JennIm’s videos. In my own version, the japchae ingredients were: carrots, cucumber, mushroom, onion, and Korean glass noodles with some sesame oil, light soya sauce, and white sugar. 

7.00pm – Did an hour of cardio in my room before dinner was ready. Mom steamed some pumpkin and made a pot of braised chicken wings with lotsa mushroom. 

9.00pm – Took a shower after dinner and settled some work stuff. I love to have some me-time by watching YouTube before bed.

Daily total: $0

Tuesday

8.10am –  Woke up to my alarm, washed up, and started working.

9.30am – Headed to the kitchen to grab my breakfast. Made coffee and ate the banana bread that I made yesterday.

2.00pm – Time for lunch! Made some simple noodle soup for lunch. It’s just tomatoes, enoki mushrooms, lettuce, spring onion, and some noodles.

6.00pm – Ended work and it’s time for my home cardio workout. My favorite go-to for my home workouts are videos by Les Mills and I did a “body attack” routine today. I usually do an hour worth of cardio.

7.00pm – Time for dinner! Mom steamed some food and stir-fried broccoli.

8.00pm – Caught up with some miscellaneous work. It was time to pay back since I couldn’t really focus during lunchtime.

10.00pm – Finally done! Time to wind down and watch some YouTube videos.

Daily total: $0

Wednesday

8.30am – Woke up feeling extremely tired this morning. But I pulled myself out of bed and started working. 

10.00am – Time for breakfast! Had my leftover banana bread again and made coffee. 

2.00pm – Mom made some green bean soup so I just had it for my late lunch as I wasn’t hungry and will be having an early dinner appointment tonight.

5.30pm – Time to get ready for my dinner date with my best friend as it’s her birthday today.

6.00pm – Booked a grab and picked her up and we are headed to Burnt Ends! As one of the restaurants in Singapore that’s highly raved about, it was not easy to get a reservation. Luckily, my best friend knows one of the waiters. $16

6.30pm – Reached the restaurant and loved the ambiance as usual. We were sitting at the counter where we were facing the open concept kitchen. It’s pretty cool because you get to see the chef cook and prepare everything. But on the downside, you will smell like barbeque after sitting there for quite a while. $180

8.30pm – Took a short walk to our next destination, a cocktail bar called D.Bespoke. 

8.45pm – It is a Japanese cocktail bar with no menu so you have to tell them which alcohol base and flavors you fancy. I’d usually ask for something gin-based that’s fruity yet not too sweet and that’s what I went with. My friend decided that she just wants a Bloody Mary. $77

10.30pm – Took a bus to our friend’s place at Cairnhill Nine and chilled for the rest of the night.

1.30am – One of our friends decided to have Hai Di Lao for supper so they went to pick it up as dining out wasn’t allowed for more than two pax. I was too full from dinner so I just had some soup. 

3.00am – Finally time to head home, it was a long long night. I was extremely exhausted. Shared a cab with the birthday girl. $10

4.00am – Got home, showered, and went to bed immediately. 

Daily total: $283

Thursday

12.00pm – Got up and had a zoom call with a friend to help him with some administrative stuff for his work.

1.30pm – Ended the call. Headed to the kitchen to make myself some late brunch. I made some avocado and egg wrap as well as a cup of coffee with a side of a Chinese pear.

3.00pm – Time to get ready as I am heading to my friend’s house, which is 30 minutes away from me by train.

4.00pm – Reached my friend’s house and headed to the pool to chill and catch up.

5.00pm – Was deciding on our dinner menu for tonight. Decided to order some Korean food — fried chicken, rice cakes, and kimchi tofu soup — for dinner.

6.15pm – Food arrived and I was pretty surprised that it was quite good. $23

10.00pm – Chatted for the rest of the night and took a cab home. $11

Daily total: $34

Friday

9.00am – Had a hard time waking up this morning. Steamed two red bean buns for breakfast and made a cup of coffee before I got started with work as I was pretty hungry. 

1.00pm – Headed to the mall opposite my house to pick up some wrap as I ran out and would love to make the same avocado and egg wrap again for lunch. Picked up a cup of KOI hot milk tea as well. $8

6.00pm – Ended work just in time for my usual cardio session before dinner.

7.30pm – Showered and headed to the kitchen for dinner. 

9.00pm – I love to stay in on Friday nights; watching YouTube videos aimlessly is my favorite thing to do. 

Daily total: $8

Saturday

11.00am – Woke up feeling a little hungry so I made myself a small yogurt bowl.

3.00pm – Met my friend for a late lunch at this cafe called SYIP. The food was amazing. We ordered an ikura kombu capellini and a creamy chicken scrambled egg croissant. I had a cup of dirty matcha while my friend got an iced latte. We also shared mentaiko fries and a kahlua tiramisu! $36

5.00pm – Headed to Orchard for some retail therapy. 

8.00pm – I walked non-stop for hours and at this point, I was tired from shopping and looking at things. ~$100

9.00pm – Took a train home together with my friend. We dropped by McDonald’s and got ourselves the Hershey McFlurry. Mad love! $3

Daily total: $139

Sunday

11.00am – Woke up and caught Love Hard on Netflix as my curiosity was piqued after watching Aimee Song’s Instagram stories. 

1.00pm – Finally got out of bed and had some bread that I bought last night when I was out. 

3.00pm – Went back to bed as the weather was amazing.

4.00pm – Decided that I want banana bread for breakfast tomorrow, so I woke up and made some. 

5.00pm – Vacuumed the house and packed my room.

7.00pm – I had a very simple dinner tonight. Mom bought a honey-roasted chicken from the supermarket and boiled some veggies. 

9.00pm – Spent some time reading the Straits Times e-paper since I didn’t manage to do so the past few days.

Daily total: $0

Weekly total: $464

Feature photograph by Kimberly Tong, follow her on Instagram @crimeofrhyme.

a contributor

One of many contributors sharing their stories under the cloak of anonymity.

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