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  • Timothy

The ‘Cutting Expenses’ Series: Switching to the public transport system

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

The two biggest goals for me this year relate to both financial and self investing.

I’ve decided that being intentional about investing will be a multi-pronged approach:

  1. Financial Investments

    1. Cutting down on expenses

    2. Increasing income

    3. Doing more financial research and analyses

  2. Investments in Self

    1. Taking good care of my health

    2. Overcoming procrastinations in professional certifications

    3. Reading more

Cutting down expenses is interesting because it challenges both the mental and physical aspect of life.

Physically, because it naturally means buying lesser stuff.

Mentally, because we need to learn how to live with less.

Luckily for me, I’m by default not a big spender, and I’m able to adapt to changes relatively easily.

That being said, while looking through my expenses and credit card statements over the last year, I identified quite a few ‘fatty’ areas where more trimming could be done.

One of the biggest changes that I’ve made so far when it comes to cutting expenses is switching to the public transport system.

You see, I’m very blessed in life.

So blessed that my parents bought me a VW when I turned 18, and I’ve been driving since then.

So blessed that they upgraded me to a BMW a few years after that.

I’ve been happily driving on a daily basis for the past 15 years, and I must say that just the simple act of driving has opened up a lot of opportunities for me in life.

With the car, I have been able to run errands for my volunteer work (a.k.a. ministry), comfortably driving over to the headquarters during lunchtime, and driving back with enough time to spare to eat my lunch. 

With the car, I’ve been able to wake up later than my colleagues for work, allowing me to get ample rest at night.

With the car, I managed to meet my girlfriend during my time of volunteering. I’ve also been able to send her home after our dates, as she lives at the opposite end of the island from me.

With the car….

Well, now the car just sits at home on the weekdays 🙂

So why did I decide to do such a crazy thing?

The simple fact is this: I save almost $400 per month by taking the bus and train instead.

Just. Like. That.

Instead of spending about $20 per day if I were to drive a car, doing public transport costs me only about $1.38 a day. That’s a massive 93.1% decrease.

Has it been easy? To be really honest, yes it was for me, and I’ve found that I enjoy taking the buses and trains very much, with buses being my favourite. 

Why? Because I can put on my earphones, zone out, and read on my Kindle while I complete my journey. The stress level compared to driving alongside crazy drivers on the roads is really no fight, no comparison at all.

With the $400 saved, I have decided to use it like this instead:

  1. $300 goes to a newly set-up DBS Bank’s Regular Savings Plan (RSP) into the STI ETF (which incidentally also clocks as the Investment category of the new Multiplier account requirement w.e.f. 1 Feb 2020)

  2. $100 goes to my monthly lunch budget (i.e. an extra $5 per day)

Already, this new arrangement easily looks like so much a better plan toward financial freedom.

Furthermore, I get to eat better, and walk more as well, which nicely coincides with my plan to be healthier.

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