I mentioned in my earlier post that in order to move out of complacency, I need to move out of my comfort zone.
To move out of my comfort zone, I need to know where I am in the comfort zone. To do this, I did a reality check of how much it would cost for basic survival in Singapore. My definition of basic survival is to have food, shelter, clothing, basic healthcare, transport, communications services.
How I did this was to calculate how much money I would need just purely to survive in the modern society. In other words to survive without needing to hunt or forage for food in the world, to continue to have things like cellphones and Internet connectivity, healthcare, public transport, etc… a very realistic, very modest form of survival in the modern world. I figured that amount to be $20 a day, or $620 a month.
Food – $10
Transport – $2.50 (assuming 2 bus rides a day)
Communications – $2.70 (phone with Internet connectivity, including equipment cost over 2 years)
Clothing & Grooming – $1.50
Medical, Dental, Healthcare – $3 (average cost per day of basic healthcare)
Add a few more dollars for contingency and that comes up to S$20 a day.
This is excluding housing (as I continue to stay with my mother) and housing-related expenses (such as water, electricity, gas, appliances, furniture, etc).
In a way I was kind of surprised after arriving at this figure, because I had always thought that it would cost much less than that to survive. Considering how much people on welfare get in Singapore… used to be something like $300+, but I believe recently raised… I thought the figure would be much less than $620 a month. And that’s before housing and housing-related costs.
In other words, if I want to start out on my own, the best time to do this is before I have my own home. That means I have 3 years from now to do whatever I want, succeed or fail, and I have to start paying a 30-year loan on a HDB flat and start bearing the costs of starting and running a household. And if I want to move out of my comfort zone, I better do so before I become a father, because I don’t want my children to suffer along with me.
Without doing this reality check, I might not have realised how little time I have to make my mark before resigning myself to a life of struggling to have a decently comfortable standard of living in Singapore.
Anyway, I’ve been recording all my expenses since January this year and $20 a day is slightly less than half of what I am spending on average each day… means to say if I have to quit my job tomorrow, I’d have to make significant adjustments to cut dining out, taking taxis, etc to downsize my life to live with just $20.
Sounds tough but not impossible. And it also means that if I can at least start making some passive income that would give me at least $620 a month, my basic needs in life are covered. This kind of consoles me because it does mean that if I start out to run my own business, for the very first months I just need to make that much to cover my own expenses… which is not difficult.
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