Every month, I track my spending and share them openly here. In my Month in Reviews, I go over notable (and often discretionary expenses) for the month and reflect on some key areas of life tied to money, either directly or indirectly: career, health, relationships and personal growth.
Writing these updates gives me helpful insights into my own life, and I hope they help you as well. By sharing my experiences with money, I also hope to encourage you to feel comfortable approaching your own finances and keep the conversation around money alive.
I never thought I’d say this: The silver lining to enduring a global pandemic is that I save more money. That said, here are some of my expense in March:
Investment – S$2,500
At first, I panicked when I saw markets crashing across the globe. It happened so quickly. But a numb feeling settled in by the time I registered what had happened. I didn’t make any moves (buy or sell) because let’s be honest, nobody knows what the hell is going to happen. It’s not easy to watch your portfolios lose value every day and stop yourself from making a rash decision.
As the weeks drew on, valuations became cheaper and more policies rolled out to prop up the global economy. I can’t confidently say that things will turn around soon, or that the companies I bought into will still be business after all this is over. But I gave it some thought, did some research, and took a chance to add more money to my investments because at the end of the day, I’m investing for the long-term and I have time on my side. (Disclaimer: This is not advice to buy or sell)
Food – S$487.45
Mid-March I started working from home. This caused an increase in my food bill because I kept getting food delivered. This comes as no surprise to anyone.
Malaysia expenses – RM889.40
I managed a weekend trip back to KL in early March before the lockdown. Unlike previous trips, this one barely made a dent in my budget as I stayed at home with my family.
I made some progress on my goals. For one, I surpass my investment and savings goals in March, yay! Now that I’m self-isolating, saving and investment becomes a goal that’s frankly easy to hit. I count myself as one of the lucky ones. I still have a job and I’m not taking it for granted.
Exercising is a huge challenge for me but I’m gradually getting more consistent with it. Before the pandemic, I took up yoga, pilates and Muay Thai classes to help me stay consistent. Going for classes is out of the question since the lockdown so I’m doing home workouts. Internal motivation has never been my strong suit. We’ll see how the home workouts pan out. I’d love to go back to the classes and I hope these fitness studios can make it through the next few months :/
I started reading two books but abandoned them halfway because I just wasn’t into them. This means I fell short on my reading goal for March.
I also fell short on my meditation goal but I’ve practised every alternate day so there’s still a good amount of progress on this goal.
March was long, exhausting and anxiety-inducing. For all of us. I was glued to the news almost every day and I absorbed and treated every piece of information with equal weight. And that, eventually, took a toll. I worried for my family, my friends, and my financial security. In hindsight, these worries, although reasonable, became outsized and contributed to severe anxiety. So, I cut back on reading the news, muted group chats, and spent less time on social media.
People are seeking clarity and answers right now but I don’t have anything particularly insightful to add to the COVID-19 discourse. Frankly, there’s too much already being said about it. The information overload doesn’t do anyone any good.
It was hard to adjust to the new normal but I just take the days as they come now. It helps to focus on the things I can control, namely my job, keeping a consistent routine, and staying in touch with my loved ones. By the way, can we cancel the phrase “new normal” from our vocabulary after all this is over?
There’s one small way I’m contributing to making this situation easier for us: If you’re looking for resources to help you cope with the lockdown and COVID-19 you can check out this MCO resource hub I published last week. I hope that this resource hub will become obsolete soon.
In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy.
Read other Month in Reviews for more insights.