About Last Month (August Savings Rate)

Hi. I’ve been offline for only a month but it feels longer than that. I missed this place (including the people who visit it). Really. But I’m glad I took a step back because I feel so much better now. I honestly wasn’t sure if I wanted to write this post but I didn’t want to miss a goal update, so I decided to pop up and write short one.

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AUGUST SAVINGS RATE

I saved 45% of my net pay last month, which is 5% short of my goal. I did make up for all the food I missed last July and I didn’t hold back. I had my Japanese food fix, including black sesame ice cream. Yay! My health did not improve much in August though and I think it was mostly due to stress and lack of rest.

FINANCES ASIDE, SOME LIFE UPDATES

The past two months have been difficult, it felt like everything was happening at the same time and as much as I tried to stay calm and positive, I came to a point when I had to accept that I wasn’t okay. I was trying to do so many things at the same time, same things I was doing prior to July, except that back then, I didn’t have to go house hunting and I wasn’t learning new things at work. I was trying to keep my schedule despite the change in my circumstances and that wasn’t a good call. I decided to let go of some things and Mandarin lessons and blogging (I might not post as often as other people but pre-July, I spent the first hour of my day blogging – writing drafts, reading other blogs, writing comments) made the cut. The decision made sense because 1) I couldn’t attend my Saturday classes because open inspections fall on this day and 2) I couldn’t put my thoughts in writing because, well, my thoughts were not organised. I also decided to take a day off from work and told my boss I wanted to take a mental health day. I didn’t do anything that day (bed, bed al and I wish I did that sooner. Do not underestimate the power of a full day’s rest. Seriously, it can change your life.

HELLO, SEPTEMBER

Hello, Spring. Winter has been cold and miserable that I was so happy that Spring finally came. I’m looking forward to what this season has in store for me. My gut says it will be good to me.

How was August for/to you? Did you reach your financial goal(s) last month? How’s the change of season for you? I’d love to hear your stories!

 

About Last Month (July Savings Rate)

July is my happiest month of the year, nothing can spoil it for me. So, migraine, wisdom tooth and house hunting issues aside, I still think July treated me well.

(A quick note for new readers: I’m trying to save 50% of my monthly net pay this year, and hopefully for many more years after, and I started this goal in February. Unlike other bloggers, I’m not putting away all of my savings for retirement but I’m allocating them between investing and planned spending. I wrote about this in detail here.)

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JULY SAVINGS RATE

After all the bills are settled (and after all unplanned spending), I saved 50% of my take home pay in July. My spreadsheet says I saved this much because I hardly spent any money on food (both groceries and eating out) and shopping. This result seems good on paper, but the story behind it it isn’t that great.

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That Day I Realised I Turned Into a PF Snob

I think many, if not all of us, in this community have experienced some sort of scrutiny or judgment when other people find out about our financial ways. While my family is very supportive of my choice to adopt this lifestyle, I still get the occasional “why don’t you buy this or that, you can afford it” especially from my mum. I haven’t had someone say something insulting to my face, but we have relatives who would always try to make us feel financially inadequate because we rent, drive used cars and don’t own a lot of things.

But this post isn’t really about how other people outside this community see us, but about how we see them. I don’t know if it’s true for everyone, but I think most of us are used to being questioned, to shocking people, to be on the receiving end of “Are you crazy?” or “Are you okay, do you need money?”, because we don’t like spending carelessly. I’ve read a few tweets about this, and probably posts too. But I haven’t come across one with roles reversed – a person outside this community, ranting about being judged by someone who is passionate about personal finance – probably because 1) they don’t blog and 2) we don’t do it anyway. Don’t we really?

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About Last Month (June Savings Rate)

It has been a very cold and often wet past month and while we were hit with higher utility bills, our general spending dropped as we have been choosing our warm and cozy couch over the outdoors. Ideally, this means our June spending should be comparable with previous months’s numbers, but no, we – mostly I – ended up spending a fair bit of monies last month.

(A quick note for new readers: I’m trying to save 50% of my monthly net pay this year, and hopefully for many more years after, and I started this goal in February. Unlike other bloggers, I’m not putting away all of my savings for retirement investing (or debt repayment) but I’m allocating them between investing and planned spending. Investing will be for ETF shares purchases while planned spending will be for: house deposit, fun and travel, education, and charity. You can read more about my goal in detail here.)

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JUNE SAVINGS RATE

June was the month of unplanned spending, but in the end, I still managed to keep 37% of my net pay, thanks to automatic savings. I literally had loose bills and coins and an unusually low balance in my transaction account by month end. I had an internal monologue with myself that involved the words really, seriously, funny and it’s okay. I was honestly okay with it though. I guess I wasn’t used to seeing my transaction account with such low balance, but I knew exactly where my money went and they were all legit expenses, so I was able to let go quickly.

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Financial Sanity Fund

When I started this blog last year, I had three financial goals for 2015: 1) to save $10,000 for a house deposit fund, 2) to invest $10,000 in shares and 3) to increase my net worth to $50,000. I did well with 1 and 3 but tanked on 2 because I was a noob investor and was too scared to invest regularly.

I was too focused on achieving my goals that I hardly wanted to spend money. My stress levels towards the end of the year went up (because, money + family issues), that I even refused to make a December update because I honestly had enough of it.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

Balance, specifically the lack thereof. That’s where I failed. I made a plan of saving money and increasing wealth without considering other aspects of my life such as studies, special occasions, travel, fun, etc. I committed to put all my extra money (net pay minus monthly expenses) to my financial goals. There was no other fund for extra spending. Spending guilt eventually developed. I was saving money and was on track to achieve my financial goals but I was also gradually feeling burnt out. Saving was no longer fun and instead of looking forward to it, I dreaded it and wished from then on that I could reach my financial goal sooner so I could move on and start spending my money again.

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STARTING FRESH

Our trip to Tasmania at the end of last year was an eye-opener for me. I realised how much I value travel and how much it helps me regroup, especially during stressful times. I knew right then that I want it to be a part of my financial map in 2016 and that I need it to be a part of it so I could keep my sanity. I spent a huge chunk of January evaluating how 2015 went for me, financially and otherwise and used the result of my reflections to write how I want my 2016 to be.

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