Thursday, September 12, 2013

How am I coping with my expenses after marriage life?

Many people said that marriage is a burden to expenses. I wouldn't exactly deny that but I wouldn't want to avoid marriage too for that reason. It is true that when two people got married, it seems that even though your spouse is also earning income (which adds up to your overall household income), the expenses seem to go up exponentially faster than the overall income combined. So how did I fare in coping with my expenses after marriage?

First of all, I was only married in June this year. Since the month of Jun and July were mostly spend on honeymoon and transitioning, both myself and wife only start keeping track for the expenses from Aug onwards. So without further adue, this is how we have fared in Aug:

August 2013

People who know me would know that my wife and I are crazy food eaters and that we often post them on Facebook and Instagam. We like to try different types of food and atmosphere almost every weekends and we usually ended up spending much on food, which I think is fine. We usually spend little during our normal working days as we mostly ended up eating hawkers with our colleagues which costs very minimal. Overall, this segment usually represents more than 60% of the total expenses we incurred and it is not surprising to see why.

We live easy on transportation as we don't own a car and only take public transportation such as buses and trains. At times, we would splurge a little to take cab to and fro if it is necessary but at the moment, we don't spend on this too much. A few of my friends who own a car in Singapore can easily spend almost close to $800 on this segment per month. This is usually the biggest expense differentiation between a car owner and a non-car owner.

Utilities are a straight forward expense. It includes our telephone bills, internet as well as cable TV. Just on this month, I have managed to cut this segment down by canceling some of the channel which I hardly watch. I think I will be able to reduce this segment of the expenses down further in the coming months.

Our entertainment category makes up only movies. At times, we would like to splurge on concerts but because of the high demand we usually are unable to get the tickets. We love to travel as well but we don't seem to do so as much as the others due to certain restrictions we have as a couple right now. We don't drink, smoke and go clubbing - which is why our entertainment expenses are one of the lowest among all the other friends I know. Yes, a tequila shot can easily costs you $12 in just one gulp.

Miscellaneous expenses are usually an one-off and go expense. It consists of stuff like giving angpao or buying stationeries and are usually non-recurring. We would usually categorize buying clothes under this segment as well but it's mostly my wife who would buy. I still have my brand new clothes which I have not worn since my honeymoon in Japan ;)

There are people who have said that we spent too little and called us a misery. There are another group of people who thinks that we've managed expenses well and called us a thrifty couple. Either way, I think it does not matter. What I wanted to highlight was that we managed to keep the expenses in check every month without overspending our targeted budget. Sure, in some months there will be times when we would spend huge and we would let it run if it is a mandatory expenses like relatives wedding for example. But overall, we've managed to keep the outflow tight and still being able to live very comfortably with what we spend on food, entertainment and other things.

I have always believed that saving habit goes a long way in life that you can pass on to your children in the future. With a good saving habit and proper return on your investment, your children would inherit a good start to their lives, which they would then continue to pass on to the next generation after generation. The key starts from now.


  1. B,

    It's not miserly if it's a natural lifestyle choice ;)

    Different strokes; different folks.

    A miser is a person who refuses to take his family on an overseas vacation when it can offer so much joy.

    And got the cheek to explain how the savings, if compounded, can multiply into $X amount in Y years...

    1. Hi Smol

      Thanks for clarifying between the two difference.

      Both of us love to travel but there's always certain restrictions (not financially related) that keeps us from going. Having said that, im in no position to spend 10k each time we travel also. That would be killer to our expenses hehehe :)

  2. Hi B,

    If expenses have exponentially gone up after marriage, it also means that both of you are really thrifty since it is still so low. Food is a weakness for me and my wife too. We also enjoy dining out at good restaurants.

    Detractors are inevitable. I guess those who label your as misers tend to be viewed by us as spendthrifts too. ;p

    1. Hi Hww

      I like how you see it as us labelling them as spendthrifts and in many ways its true. Hahaha

      I guess when you live in singapore, food has got to be the number one detractor you cannot avoid. Everything else is ok but noy food :)

  3. Don't care about what people say. Life your life the way you choose to!

    1. Hi Mw

      Thanks for the kindly reminder.

      I guess you are right. They hv their goals and i hv mine.

  4. Hi B,

    Great sharing on your expenses after marriage. Good to know for a young single person like me ;)

    Have you bought your house already? I'm curious to know how much you pay for your housing loan every month?

    1. Hi Sg YI

      Hope the above will not deter you from getting married!!! Just kidding :)

      Both my wife and I are currently living with my parents. We like taking care of them and they like having us around so i guess it works out in both ways. I am also able to save on the housing mortgage loan each month. But having said that, i think it will be financially beneficial for every couple to own their own home in singapore, as they have proven to go up exponentially these past years.

    2. Hi B,

      I understand there are many people who feel that HDB flats should not be allowed for subletting.

      However, as a friend, I have to admit that it's a good opportunity for you. One can see it as a leveraged (but safer) investment with good and stable dividends.

    3. Hi Hww

      Thanks for the suggestion. It is something I have been contemplating to and will definitely give it a good thought for it ;)

  5. Hi B,
    Wonderful blog post and well, its low for two persons for some category (food is an exception) but it's a way of life you chose, so i dont see it as a miser's life.
    Howabout parent's allowances? To me - that's always the single most largest item every month.

    1. Hi Anonymous

      Thanks for the compliment :)

      I have to be honest and say that I don't give my parents allownce every month. We are a lucky family to have lived comfortably (my dad has the same phiolosophy as me in saving) so he is earning very very comfortably. As of now, they do not require allowance from us but this might change in the future.

  6. I think you should add the SP utility bills too (electricity, water gas), this will be $100+ per month, unless this is paid by your parents... same too with the HDB conservancy charges, and HDB mortgage payments, and credit cards and PC shows etc, quarterly will be more accurate than monthly. My 2 cents.

    Being together will usually not cost much. Its when only you have kids, then you will spend >$1000 per month on kids alone, like maid, school fees, tuition fees, clinic, fees here and fees there...

    1. Hi Anonymous

      I have excluded the SP Utility bills because they are paid by my parents (you are right about this). I currently live with them so they are continuing to pay off the utility bills in the meantime. But I have no issue if they want me to pay it moving forward.

      I used most of the Credit card for the above expenses so I have included them. I don't usually believe in owing credit cards for enjoyment and it is something that I avoid to.

      And yes you are right again about having kids cost. Kids will increase expenses a lot and that's where the challenge will come from eventually. I agree that two adults don't usually need to spend a lot.

  7. Hi B,

    Having a 1.5 litre Japanese car really costs more than just $800 a month. The all in cost is closer to $15,000 to $20,000 a year in Singapore. No car = big savings. You are wise not to have one. :)

    1. Hi AK

      I've learned to be thrifty like what you did. hehehe just kidding.

      In other countries, I would want a car but maybe if I move out of Singapore one day ;)

  8. Parent allowance, Smart Phone, Annual Tour, Taxes and Insurance are the few items that have to be considered. For annual, i will split the sum up into by month.

  9. I am actually very surprised that parents' allowance is missing from your list of expenses. If this is included, it could easily be one of the biggest items on the list. Not only is it one of the biggest, it is guaranteed to be recurring as well. Not including it will severely distort your expense account.

    I guess the next biggest expense on the family budget will be children. You won't be hit until later:)

  10. Hi Lim KT

    My purpose of writing this post is not to show people how low or big my expenses are but rather the purposeful outflow of where my cash goes into.

    Regarding parents allowance, i dont give them because they are currently living a life that is very comfortable and they have mentioned to me that they do not require the allowance. Having said that, whenever we go out for lunch or dinner outside, i would be picking up the tabs for the family.

    While i understand that this may not be an apple to apple comparison to you or the others, it is never supposed to be the purpose of my writing. Everyones life is different in its own and theres no way we can simplified our comparison between you and me.

    But i agree the next biggest expenses are going to be children and i will see it soon :). By then i would gladly disclose all my expenses once again when such event occurs :)

    1. Thanks for your honesty. Most people will get defensive if they do not pay allowance to their parents. I think it is ok if this is the arrangement with your parents.

      If you don't mind (not being judgmental), I think for those who really know old folks, aged parents will definitely be very happy if their children give them allowance even if they say they don't need it. I can guarantee you will make them very happy:)

      By the way, nice blog!

    2. Hi Lim KT

      Thank you too for the kindly advise. I really appreciate that :)

      I will definitely give that a consideration. The one thing i've always done though is also to eat dinners and spend weekends without fail with my parents. I want to really make them happy and enjoy our company in a more non monetary terms. I hv friends who hv given their parents allowances and bonuses but spend their dinner, weekends with friends and go holiday without their parents. I dont think thats what parents are looking out for in their children. Either way i think parents want the best for their children and children wants best for their parents. It can work monetary or non monetary way but its the happiness as a family that matters at the end of the day :)

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  12. Hi,

    Are you able to breakdown your current expenses with 2 kids? im having a hard time to save and invest more as really the kids expenses in singapore is very high. Especially that i am not a Singaporean.

    For example, just for 1 kid the childcare expenses plus diaper, food, etc already $1.5k per month.

    So i want to know how you manage your expenses with kids around.

    Thanks Brian.

    1. Hi

      I have 2 kids and we hired a maid and the cost of kindergarten is about 600 per month plus everything adds up it probably ties back to around 1.1k per month for each kid.

      Indeed it is tough especially if you're the only sole breadwinner plus the fact you are a foreigner it makes everything else very expensive around here in Singapore.

    2. Thanks for the reply. Yes its hard to reduce kids expenses and we dont even have maid. Thus its hard to increase the investment :(

      Btw, when you start about 10 years ago, how much do you invest monthly/yearly until you can amassed about $800k for now? Considering fresh grad salary is $2.5k to $3k per month. If they set $1k per mth thats only $12k per year. When i tell your story, they hard to believe that $12k a year can make it to $800k in 10 years times.

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