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.
December passed in the blink of an eye. I spent the first part of the month vegetating on the couch because I came down with a very bad respiratory infection, the second half of the month was spent prepping for Christmas.
Overall, I kept my expenses below my income in December and managed to save about $200. $200 in savings isn’t a lot of money, but I’ll still take it as a win.
Falling sick and paying out of pocket
If you work for a company in Singapore, chances are they’ll have some form of medical benefit that covers GP and outpatient visits.
Unfortunately, now that I work for myself, I don’t have those benefits. Thankfully the cost of GP consultation and medication is affordable in Singapore, so it doesn’t exactly break the bank.
But it’s a consideration to factor in if you’re thinking of being self-employed in Singapore.
In Malaysia you only need to pay RM1 for a consult at the government clinic, Klinik Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). But Singapore’s polyclinics are only subsidised heavily for Singaporeans.
Sidenote: If you’re interested in knowing more about how health insurance works for foreigners in Singapore, check out this interview I did with Money Abroad.
A busy festive season
I usually make a trip back to KL for the year-end holidays. However, this year I decided to stay behind in Singapore to save money and time. Flights were expensive and I didn’t want to go through the hellish experience of traffic by taking the bus.
Christmas is a big deal for me so I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t celebrate it with loved ones in Malaysia. One evening, on a whim, my partner and I decided, why not host our own little Christmas gathering?
I texted some friends and before we knew it, we were hosting a Christmas Eve dinner.
Our quiet end of the year turned into a frenzy as we scrambled to get everything sorted for the gathering.
But hey, it made Christmas feel more like Christmas, so the expense was worth it.
Planning for the new year
Every year-end, I get excited about setting goals for the year ahead, but this time, I’ve held off on goal-setting.
In the past, I’ve been all about action – diving headfirst into goals without necessarily thinking about the processes and systems to support them. I’ve also noticed in myself an unhealthy habit – I keep living in planning mode. That is, I’m always planning what to do, but when it comes to actually doing the thing, I fall short.
In 2024, I want to be more intentional about not just what I want to achieve, but how I plan to get there.
The past couple of months are proof that I can just get on with things if I want to. I don’t need goals or targets to get me moving. I wrote 3 articles here in December, which is impressive given that I have a bad track record of staying consistent.
2020 Nicole would be utterly shocked at my current bias towards action.
Something clicked. I don’t exactly know what it is but I’ve made strides in avoiding procrastination and just getting things done.
But, of course, there’s always room for improvement.
Now, I’m grappling with the question of how to set goals in a way that doesn’t set me up for potential failure or detract from the momentum I seem to be having at the moment.
Something to figure out in January, I suppose.