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The $2,000 a month Lifestyle of a DINK Singaporean Couple

Thoughtworthy was a YouTube channel that popped onto my social feed some time ago.

I was half-curious about this minimalist movement and naturally gravitated towards how this young, Singaporean couple with no kids (yet) design their lives around minimalism.

I thought their home was unique, Instagram worthy. I could never imagine how anyone could be comfortable working in front of a computer on a simple, modified Ikea floor desk. But I may be intrigued enough to buy a floor chair to feel how the chair actually work.

In their latest video, HL and Glo shared with their viewers how much they spend a month and why do they spend as much (or as little) as they do.

They itemize their variable expenses but also give a glimpse of their fixed expenses.

Deeply affected by their parent’s fight with major diseases, HL and Glo became certified fitness and nutritional coaches who used their home as their base.

By what they shared, I have the feeling that they were drawing down their savings at times when the income from their business was more volatile than anticipated.

“There were too many instances where we came uncomfortably close to running out of money. Part of the reason why we’ve been able to scrape by, is by going lean with our expenses, without feeling like we’re compromising on the quality of life.”

HL and Glo

I personally thought that statement articulates being lean very well. You do not have to spend big. Be conscious rather than unconscious about what and how you spend.

There is a minimum, baseline, steady-state lifestyle that we can fall back upon that gives us a satisfactory life.

Once you are able to identify this basic yet satisfactory life, find out how much it cost monthly or yearly.

Once I define this lifestyle as my survival expenses but I realize the definition give people the vibe that they are just barely scraping by. Some financial planners called this essential expenses. I think that is a better definition.

HL and Glo’s Expenses

Their numbers are representative of their lifestyle for the past few years.

SpendingMonthly Cost (SGD)Remarks
Water & Gas$30
Electricity$20
Home Broadband$40
Mobile Plans$10$5 for each
Transportation$40Can fluctuate
Food & Groceries$500Cook and eat out,
Entertainment$100
Miscellaneous$100
Total$840
Variable expenses

That is $420 a person. Sounds like an incredulous set of variable expense figure for many and they explained why this is not such a hard, dry lifestyle.

They were able to keep the water and gas cost very low because they defaulted to not using aircon and water heating (this means not turning on the heater while showering). They do have aircon and water heater at home.

I personally do not turn on the aircon and by default do not use water heater. I used to fear the cold but grown used to it.

HL and Glo’s definition of fixed expenses includes business expenses, insurance and mortgage. These expenses are fixed because they cannot be altered much.

Their fixed expenses probably comes up to $1,200 a month.

Some Thoughts

Money can be a divisive topic. Something that can be objective down to dollars and cents, can be utterly subjective at the same time.

Some may think that life is too short to live the way we do, like cheapskates, and at the same time, another group may think that this is not frugal enough.

And that is totally cool.

Ultimately, there is no one right way to earn, spend, save and invest your money.

HL and Glo

Whenever I came across a good sharing of their lifestyle and personal expenses, I would share it over here because your annual expenses determines a lot of things.

  1. How much surplus you will have
  2. How much do you need to accumulate for your financial independence

Different people have different lifestyle circumstances and that will drive their cost of lifestyle.

You might not connect with my rather low expenses because I am single, living with a retired parent, who is still work spending about $2000 a month (read my expenses here).

You might also not connect with some retirees in Singapore living on less than $2000 a month. (read Squeezing Your Life into $2,600 a Month)

HL and Glo falls into the group that is

  1. Married
  2. Not financially independent, not sure if they are financially secure, needing to draw upon their savings at times
  3. No kids
  4. Home-bound most of the time
  5. Young adults
  6. No car
  7. No parent allowance

And they manage to buy a lifestyle that cost $2,000 a month as well.

You can pondor about:

  1. Would this be a satisfactory life?
  2. Does your life look something like this, if you remove your kids, work engagement and a few other things?
  3. If your life looked like this, are you buying that life with only $2,000?
  4. If not, why were you not able to? What was the difference?
  5. If your current lifestyle is more than this, could you default to this kind of life if you stop working? Would your expenses look something like this?

Interested to hear comments about this. You can leave any comments below.

You can also view HL and Glo’s content on their website here.

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Rokawa

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Oh yeah to add on. wife has retired.

Passive income savings can cover hdb installments if necessary.

So life is good. I'm 37. Target 2024 to near achieve double passive income vs expense similar to rich dad cashflow2.0 game. Well can find another job or semiretired by 2023 if job become stressful or change dept. Apr2023 is the target to 2nd time clear hdb loan.

Not very minimalist though. Over 13 years of marriage, got 2 oversea holiday to KL. Haha. And 1 is a honeymoon

rokawa

Monday 24th of May 2021

@Kyith,

its my personal household numbers.

Food is broken down into 3. Grocery, Work lunch, Dining out. Grocery will pretty much include non food stuff as well when bought supermarket (like detergent, dishwashing, etc).

budget 600, 40, 90 mthly. current avg jan-apr 585, 12, 29 respectively.

work lunch is pretty low due to wfh. one of biggest expense of groc is 3-4 times a week purchase of salmon fillet. so on avg $35 per week. but its a critical ingredient to keep cholesterol low.

im not very atas on restaurant. cant see why i need pay % of service charge haha. lets say i want to eat pizza, im more likely to not dine in to avoid service charge. and i am unlike most ppl. i eat to live and not live to eat. so if can fill up stomach with $4 vs $15. i would choose $4. or gasping at a $3 cookie or snack which the cost is equivalent to a lunch meal like $2.50 chicken rice + extra rice. Or that starbucks coffee. not sure how much is it. $6? thats like 2 meals cost. Yea i dunno how to enjoy live. maybe will try once 2023-24 comes along.

Kyith

Friday 21st of May 2021

HI Rokawa, thanks for sharing. I was trying to understand if this is a set of your numbers or you are saying they missed out on some stuff. Congratulations that you have put yourself in such a good position. Can I find out how much does your family of three spend on food?

Rokawa

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Including all the missing stuff mentioned by commenters. Exclude the hdb installment by cpf. Well it is by cpf. Only left 23 mth anyway.

Ranged 2500-2600. Will be Ard 2000 if exclude allowance for parent.

2 adult 1 kid. Minimalist enough? Haha This is including annualized expense which occur once a mth and such.

So if the mth lack those annual expense can be 1.7 to 1.8k

Pete

Thursday 20th of May 2021

I admire what they do so the least I could do is to subscribe to their channel. Not sure if what they do will be sustainable especially we don't know the full extend of their financial. Love their home though, they could provide consultancy services to setup a minimalist BTO flats as another source of income!

Thanks for sharing this Kyith; I wouldn't have known this without this post.

Kyith

Friday 21st of May 2021

Hi Pete, I am not sure as well but some of these YouTube can suddenly become sustainable. I think either their video shoot is good or their home looks much nicer than mine haha (my home confirm does not look like theirs!)

retirewithfi

Thursday 20th of May 2021

I noticed some missing expenses, for their flat: service&conservancy fee,appliances/furniture/repairs,property tax. For the two of them: medical/dental,clothing/grooming (they cut each other's hair?) and income taxes.

lalaman

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Agree with retirewithfi that some expenses were left out (maybe intentionally) ...

The vloggers only just included the bare essentials to keep the amount low (possibly as a click-bait??)

Some things that come to mind 1) insurance whether its Whole life, term or medical shields/DPS (compulsory though can be paid out of CPF)? 2) clothing (surely you have to change innerwear at least once a year unless they don't mind wearing hand-me-downs?) 3) occasional gifting that you cannot escape (CNY, parent's birthday treats, anniversaries, special occasions etc.) 4) medical bills they have to pay out of pocket since they are freelancers and not covered by corporate medical plans 5) One big expense is their video/camera equipment/accessories bill which they probably charge under business expenses etc etc etc

Nevertheless, they have set a good example for the Millennial generation on how to live simply ... especially in this VUCA day and age where nothing is guaranteed.

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