22 December 2014


End of the year means reviewing time! First up is finances:

The results were rather surprising. To start, my methodology was to sum up all my credit card expenses (as its my primary form of payment) over the past 9 month since living by myself by categories, then average the total.

Compared to an random estimate from the beginning of the year, I spent less on food (both groceries and eating out) but more on clothing, entertainment, and personal care items (like those skincare hauls...). Especially personal care, since it's easy to forget a lot of the expenses in this category, such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, etc. Also it's expensive setting up a new place "orz The good news is that, even with a safety factor, I can afford my current lifestyle on close to minimum wage!

I'm proud that I've reduced the quantity of my clothing acquisition, which consist of the following over the entire year:
  • Uniqlo: back up cardigan, heattech leggings, something else I'm forgetting
  • Jcrew: purple cords, not the greatest buy but still useful since its winter half the year 
  • Gloves (gift)
  • Baggu small pouch
  • LOFT: black dress pants, grey tank top, linen tee, skirt
  • Sam Edelman Trina sandals
  • Talula black blazer
  • Printed scarf (gift)
  • MEC rain jacket
  • Everlane cardcase, sleeveless silk blouse
  • Black ankle boots
  • Thrifted cardigan
  • Talula dress and gloves
However, the reduction in quantity is offset by the increase in each item's price. So from a purely saving moneys point of view, this is not a success. However, I give more expensive purchases more consideration, which results in higher satisfaction.

Food-wise, I'm satisfied with how often I cook. Not eating out frequently makes an incredible difference in spendings. An addition benefit of cooking is a great destressor / break from studying. The following strategies has worked well for me:
  • roast meat (1, 2), seriously. cheap, very little active cooking time, last a long time.
  • noodles / pasta for when you can't be bothered.
  • Metro has really good deals on meat sometimes. One time chicken breasts were $2.99/lb. Also buy the value packs, meat last a long time in the freezer.
  • Farmers markets are not as expensive as I thought (or maybe it's more true that grocery stores has both expensive and crappy produce), especially for fruits in season. There is also a huuuge gap in how much better they taste (N=2, fruits and honey).
  • Snacks are a giant money sink.
  • Coffee / bubble tea are a even greater money sink. I vow to never buy them again, aside from social situations. But really all the money I saved from this plus not drinking goes straight into funding my tea purchases. 
  • Living downtown places you in proximity of way too many great restaurants. I've limited myself to only eating out for social situations and never because I don't have food.

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