This post is contributed by Relax, the blog author of Wise Curve – get smarter every day!

I feel honoured to contribute a post on KC Lau’s blog. He’s one of my multi talented role models so I count myself lucky to be his net friend. Now let’s talk about money!

I am a young dude who’s seeking employment. Currently I am living with my parents and I don’t own a car. I have decided to start my monthly cash flow database with the help of Microsoft Excel and Expensr, just for fun. I know my cash flow is negative, since I have no income and live off my savings and pocket money. But at least I know this is roughly how my cash flow looks like when I become jobless in the future (anything can happen).

I record all my spending on Microsoft Excel. For each item spent, I assign a priority number so that I know whether I am spending my money on value-adding stuffs or useless junk. 1 is for mandatory item; 2 is for important stuff; 3 is for nice thing; and 4 is for useless junk. I convert the data into graphs where I can monitor my monthly and weekly spending. My monthly spending graph consists of lines representing active income, passive income, and expenses.

With Expensr, I can analyse my spending using pie chart. I made a mistake of including my investment portfolio on my Expensr account. Maybe I should just get Quicken and keep my investment data there.

Now let’s have a look at my spending in November. As you can see, I spend huge amount of money on books. In fact I have been buying books for the past few months, where my monthly book spending seldom goes lower than RM 200 (somebody stop me!!!). Most books are self improvement related non-fiction stuffs. Should I consider books as investment or expenses? Hmmm……

I eat only 1.5 meals a day. I skip breakfast and eat a bit at coffee break. Sometimes I eat a bit more, depending on the situation. Normally I eat dinner at home, which is free. Therefore, I spend nothing on food most of the time. The main reason I eat little is to live life efficiently — I save money and time. I strongly discourage you to eat less than 3 meals a day if you are below 24 year old because you need to eat properly to grow up well.

Most of the “food stuffs” I buy are white coffee and cappuccino at café. I love to indulge myself at café — escaping the harsh reality of life and enjoying privacy in relaxing atmosphere while reading my books. Once in a while, spending time at café is healthy for mind and body. My favourite cafes are Old Town, Station 1, and Nelson Tan (bird lays egg). Sometimes I go to Wings café to enjoy live singing.

I travel by train and taxi, and I believe that life without car is very economical.

At the beginning of November, I spend quite some money at internet café (under Outing category). After getting broadband internet, I can go online at home and save time and money. I think I will spend much less on internet in December.

At the end of November, I went for a holiday trip with my family for a week. I didn’t spend money at all for this trip.

For privacy reason, a portion of my spending will remain secret. Well, you know those ang pao and donation money, ahem….

I think I can improve my cash flow by setting a limit on how much money to spend on books per week. Self control on this item is needed otherwise my financial health will go kaput. I can spend less time at café, which will reduce my “food” spending dramatically – time for 3 in 1 Nescafe.

Most likely my transportation cost will increase once I start working. I might spend more money on self improvement, such as taking up extra courses to sharpen up some skills (for earning more money). I can predict that I will spend more money on “health care” at Thai massage parlour (genuine one of course).

That’s how I spent my money last month. Any comment on my spending habit is appreciated.

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