June 17, 2016
Recently, the folks over at Refinery29 have been compiling an eye-opening diversity of “Money Diaries”, wherein millennial women document their spending habits over a seven-day period. While we love reading about the lives of other women on the other side of the world, the series has seen considerable flak from indignant Facebook users, particularly episodes trailing women with impressive annual salaries over US$50,000.
Of course, a week in New York City is definitely challenging – whether you’re bringing in $1k or $5k a month. But let’s be real; no one in Singapore would actively spend a weekly total of $40 just on morning lattes, especially not when there’s kopi bing easily in reach. And sometimes the reality is that not everyone has a buzzing social life all seven days of the week. So here’s to our attempt to document our own money matters, over five full working days in the sunny island of Singapore – to prove that you can have a social life while still being frugal. One catch: We’ve only got $50.
Location: Erm… Woodlands?
Transport: $45 on MRT Concession, c/o parents (thanks folks)
9am – I always just grab whatever bread we have at home and bring it to the office as breakfast, 1) because I’m poor and 2) I’m always late. Today it’s a peanut butter sandwich.
2pm – After running some errands nearby, I dabao prawn mee (dry) for $3.20 (darn these additional takeaway prices). It’s a blazing hot day, so I treat myself to kopi bing. $3.20 + $1.50 = $4.70
7.30pm – Dinner at home, which is free, since we Singaporeans pretty much all still live with our parents.
Daily Total: $4.70
9am – Peanut butter on bread again; sometimes breakfast can get really depressing.
12pm – We check out the new coffeeshop that opened further down the road from our office, and the gleaming rows of roast meats on display are the first thing that catch our eye. I get roast duck rice, which turns out so buttery smooth I make a mental note to do weekly lunches here. $3.50
6.30pm – I get off punctually today to meet a friend for a birthday meal. I’ve been dying to try Guzman Y Gomez to fill the Chipotle-sized hole in my heart, so I drag her to the outlet at The Star Vista. That’s $10.90 for a spicy chicken burrito bowl (+$2 for guac; geez). It’s nowhere close to the standards of American Mex take-out, but the meal is all right. Great company makes up for it! $12.90
8.30pm – I feel bad for not getting her a present, so the least I can do is splash out on ice creams for the both of us. We get an espresso shot soft serve for her, and an original milk one for me at MilkCow, before chilling and chatting into the night. $11.20
Daily Total: $27.60
9am – Is it really only still Wednesday? My dad bought a pack of croissants for NTUC today, so there’s a good start.
1pm – I’ve got the munchies for MacDonald’s – specifically nuggets. We walk over to the Macs nearby, but I end up settling for a McChicken meal so I can use what’s left in my FlashPay card ($6 lel), which was gifted to me. The meal comes up to $5.40 and I feel like a winner. I don’t count it as money spent since my cash stash remains unchanged.
8pm – Late dinner at home (fried chicken! Hooray!) before I pass out.
Daily Total: $0
9am – I pick up another croissant and stuff some leftover bak kwa into it before tossing the lot into my bag.
1pm – Everyone’s feeling lazy today so we stand in line for fish soup just across the road. My unadventurous palate and I have never tasted milk-infused fish soup before – it’s a lot less boring than I thought it’d be. I’m tempted to get a drink with my lunch but decide against it. $4.80
4pm – The midday munchies are an evil thing, but I put them to rest with some free strawberry biscuits a colleague brought back from Seoul.
7.30pm – I honestly did try making the effort to ask people out for dinner, but it’s a sad fact of life that no one’s into spontaneity these days – myself included. Fish and cereal prawn dinner at home it is.
Daily Total: $4.80
9am – I swear there’s a literal spring in my step this morning, despite the rain – because it’s Friday! My grandma’s in town, and with her a hoard of steamed white miku buns (called Turtle Buns apparently; I googled.) That basically means breakfast is settled for the next two weeks, starting today.
11am – I head out for a PUMA event with a colleague, but the space is just a 5-minute walk away from our office. Unlike when an event is in town, that means less temptation around for me to spend money on snacks – which is a good and bad thing.
12.15pm – We leave the event and join the rest of the team at the coffeeshop across. It’s been a while, so dry ban mian (dabao) at our favourite stall for all of us! This is the best dry ban mian I’ve ever had – the kind you legitimately have cravings for at night. $4
7pm – I check my wallet and find I have $9 in cash left. I’m meeting a friend for dinner at 313 Somerset tonight, and we head to the Food Republic on the top floor for some cheap eats. I order salted egg yolk chicken rice from the Mini Wok stall, my latest and greatest discovery. It’s $7 and so tasty! Plus the portion is massive. We window-shop for the rest of the night. $6.80
Daily Total: $10.80
WEEKLY TOTAL SPENT: $47.90