Ever wondered what your salary and shopping habits are like in comparison to your peers? Money Talks is a column by CLEO that takes an honest look at how young Millennial and Gen Z women spend their money. If you would like to submit a money diary anonymously, click here.
In today’s column, we speak to a 30-year old Digital Media Specialist who currently has $60,000 in savings and is hoping to reach $80,000 by 2021.
Occupation: Digital Media Specialist
Industry: Mass Media
Education level: Degree
Income tax monthly instalment: $159
Savings plan/investments: $465
Phone Bill: $60
Entertainment: $5 (Netflix shared account)
How much she thinks she spends: $200
How much she actually spent: $2,527
On how she shops:
I tend to shop only for what I need or when there is a sale. I shop for new clothes every two to three months because that’s about the time it takes for me to feel my wardrobe needs a refresh. In the meantime, I am usually building a wish list on ASOS and only consider checking out when a promo code floats by. I would usually spend $20 – $100 on clothes, and usually at stores such as ZARA and Topshop.
I tend to splurge on designer bags once or twice a year and can spend between $500 and $3,000 for each purchase. My faves are Saint Laurent, Celine and Valentino. The next two bags that I am eyeing are the classic Celine box and Chanel reissue—but I am planning to get these secondhand or at a discounted store like Reebonz. If I am eyeing a big ticket item, I’ll make a mental note to start saving for it before the actual purchase. I also prefer to pay via interest-free instalments whenever possible so that I can continue to earn interest on my savings.
I also use the Sephora app once in a while for beauty purchases, especially when I already know what I want, but the in-store experience is much better.
For everything else, I’ll head to Qoo10 and Shopee.
On her savings:
I do feel quite secure with my savings but a huge portion—close to 50%—is going to my wedding and home renovation fund. I am now thinking about trying to build my savings for what comes after that, such as growing my family and paying for my future children’s education.
I’ve been using the “save first, spend later” approach for about three years now and it has been very effective for me. When my salary comes in, it’s automatically assigned to different savings goals that I’ve set up in my OCBC 360 savings account. The goals I have now are home renovations, wedding and rainy day. Whatever doesn’t get assigned, I use it as spending money.
I currently have about $60,000 in cash saved up, and I have two other endowment plans that will mature in 10-20 years’ time which I plan to use for retirement or any relevant big ticket purchase at the time, such as changing my car or a down payment for new property.
I am hoping to reach at least $80,000 in cash savings by mid-2021 (although, two years ago, my goal was to reach $100,000 by 2021).
On how she’s cutting costs:
As 2021 looms, I am watching my spending much closer. I try to set a budget of $1,500 to spend per month and have been religiously tracking my spending on a money app (Monny). In order to cut down on my spending, I am no longer subscribed to any fitness memberships and I work out at home instead. I have also restricted the majority of my meals to coffee shop/hawker centre fare and made a pact with my partner to only have one restaurant meal per month.
Frankly speaking, I usually burst my $1,500 budget by a couple of hundred dollars. But if I spend more this month, then I’ll try to make up for it the next month by spending less.
I would definitely like to be earning more now, as I felt like I settled for my current job’s salary (I was offered more elsewhere and my previous job was paying higher but it was too toxic to stay). And to make matters worse, I recently found out I won’t be getting a 20% yearly bonus that I expected, which would have been an additional $13,200. I plan to start looking for a job with a pay increment after 2021.
My partner earns slightly less than me and has more things to pay off than I do, so I am bearing the responsibility of saving more aggressively to lighten our load.
I do have one guilty pleasure, though, which is traveling. I am always up for going on a holiday that I often don’t consider or even bat an eye to the costs involved. If someone were to ask me if I wanted to go to the Bahamas tomorrow, the first thing I would think about is, “Do I have enough leave?”
More stories from this column:
Money Talks: I’m A 29-year-old Yoga Teacher Who Spends $1800 On Insurance Every Month
Money Talks: I’m Unemployed And Receive A $6,000 Allowance From My Boyfriend
Money Talks: I’m A 24-Year Old Creative Who Saves $1,000 A Month