8 lifestyle /habits to live below my means

Simply put, I define "living below my means" as - Spending the least I can to attain comfort in living and not being used to wasteful luxuries.


If we google a proper definition, living below one's mean is to "not spend more money than one earns". As you know, I have resigned from full-time work. I know I probably do not have enough to last myself till a ripe old age. Therefore, I am now working part-time and making do on limited passive income for a living, which may seems a little... daunting at first.

Due to family circumstances, I deem it as a phase I have to undergo. It is also an experience for me to see how I like the lifestyle of "Barista FIRE". The lean FIRE.

Here's an overview of how I save in my day-to-day life.

1) Cook and eat at home as much as possible

Besides having more vegs and less salt (healthier meals), we also saved a whole lot of money. A simple meal can cost about $3 or less per head. 

Easiest dish to cook would be soup and it's relatively fuss-free if you use an endo-cooker. These days there are many Youtube cooking channels to learn cooking from. Not Michelin standard but generally quite palatable.


2) Take public transport as much as possible

It's a money-saving no brainer in Singapore. The only downsides are the longer travel time and peak-hour crowds, which those who love to Grab or own a car might need some getting used to.

When not taking public transport, make use of transport booking apps' offer. Eg. Gojek now has 50% off promotion for the first ride and 2 free ride vouchers for travelling to/fro Covid vaccination centres. The promo code would automatically be applied on booking.

I also try to minimize travelling by bus to grocery shop at the mall by shopping online and at the supermarket near my house as much as possible.


Side note: 
HPB app Health Points can be used to convert to Ezlink $$ to offset some transport cost with min 150 points to redeem.


3) Forgo buying new branded goods

I infrequently bought some but regretted. Now that I think of it, if I am not going to wear or bring them out, there's simply no point in owning them. My so-called branded are not to the extent that they can be vintage or have great resale value.

Not to mention, branded stuff need routine maintenance to make sure they don't get storage damage. 


4) Forgo chasing trendy gadgets

I go for basic functionalities over looks or specs. Never own an iPhone nor smart watch.

Period.

5) Forgo buying new clothes unless old ones are worn out

I have no qualm wearing the same style year in year out. Also, I don't like to chase fashion seasons or trends. About half my wardrobe is boring classic black tops, cos easy to match with any bottoms and accessories!

My priority are presentable and comfortable to wear type of clothing. I also go for quality over quantity which explains why my clothes are generally quite durable to washes.


6) Look for the best deals

I like to shop online and stack coupons. One - I don't have to carry the stuff home, two - I can usually grab a better deal than shopping physically, three - I can compare prices easily.

It is also useful to frequent websites and social media to see what's on offer. Usually supermarkets and pharmacies run weekly promotions.

Applying promo codes on Food ordering apps also helped in saving.

7) Avoid subscriptions to non-essential services and find great deals for essential ones

No Netflix, no broadband, no Spotify for me.

I seldom watch movies or shows as I find them a time-waster. I watch YouTube occasionally.

If I do catch any drama or variety shows, I am quite happy to watch them on TV channels/ MeWatch or Viu. Currently I am spending about $30 on my mobile plans (update on 1/11/21: I have cut it down to $10+$10) which gives me 140 GB a month (now 106 GB). 

Recently, I have switched my OEM retailer from default to Tuas Power (bill rebate, cash rebate plus all-in-one bill). You can check out my referral code here if you are looking to switch too.


8) Engage in free hobbies

I do self-directed learning, blogging, reading, jogging and yoga. In fact, I don't even think I have enough time to do ALL of them in any given week.

Travelling abroad for leisure trips was the most expensive "hobby" that I used to have. With Covid and travel restrictions, it is now out of the picture. Using the $100 SingapoRediscovers voucher is my consolation and money-saving alternative.

--

While living below my means, I feel that it's still a rather comfy, stress-free and fulfilling life. (Although it may sound like misery or dullness to some.) Personally, I do not crave for a high life. So what worked for me might not necessarily work for somebody else as each of us has different habitats and ideals for life.


I would consider myself as quite fortunate to be living where I am. Singapore has a very well-developed transportation network, built-up heartland areas with readily accessible amenities, fairly budget-friend gadgets that can be easily bought and many retail promo deals (for those who are patient and willing to search hard). It is not saying that I cannot afford the luxuries but I simply don't see a need to. When there is no peer pressure, no comparison, no family commitment, why would there be a need to? I don't like status-seeking nor people-pleasing.


Since now we need to wear mask out daily and I seldom work, I don't even bother with putting on make-up. Looking at the expired or useless stuff I throw out every now and then make me realized how much money I could have saved if I hadn't bought them. 




Yes, we should only buy and keep stuff that spark joy. Hehe. It seems like as I get older, my preference shifted from getting material wants to gaining experiences.


Not being on bad debts might make a number 9 in the list, although it is not a habit by itself. Habit wise would be paying off credit card bills and outstanding loans in a timely manner. Take on only debts for things that would bring good leverage and not liabilities.


In conclusion, when we have minimal wants in life, it is not difficult to live below our means. As long as we are able to stay happy and healthy in body and mind - it is all that really matters. I find that hedonic living and budget living need not be mutually exclusive.



Are you living well below your means? Any tip or "lobang" to share?

Do leave your comments below.


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Comments

  1. To secure our financial futures and retirement planning; we all must learn to live well below our means.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,

    I think that there is a room for reduction in respect of the mobile plan.

    WTK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi WTK,

      Nice to see you dropping by!

      I actually have 2 SIM cards (totaling to $30 bill) as I needed one to run my home cctv. Any suggestions on further saving?

      Delete

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