A Week In Singapore On A $118,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We asked a millennial woman how she spends her hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar. (Thanks, New York mag, for the inspiration.)

Today, we are featuring a Canadian-Chinese woman living in Singapore.
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Industry: Finance
Location: Singapore
Salary: $117,850 (based on current exchange rate of USD/SGD: 1.4)
Age: 29
Roommates: 1 (husband and dog)
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,780 (split 50/50 with my husband)
Utilities: $300 (50% water and electricity, 50% mobile bills)

Day One

9 a.m. — It's Sunday, so I head to a barre class. I pre-paid for a package of 10 classes for $215. Stop by 7-Eleven to grab a bottle of Fiji water. $2

11 a.m. — The barre class is held near one of the only two açai-bowl places in Singapore, so I go there for food. The shop is located in the basement of a shopping mall, and on the way over I get distracted by Ladurée. I buy three macarons. Then, I get the Nut Bowl from Project Açaí with peanut butter, banana, and chia seeds. $15.11

11:50 a.m. — I arrive at a Starbucks to meet a potential interior designer for our condo. I get an iced tall Americano. $3.07

2:30 p.m. — The meeting runs for two hours, and both my husband and I are starving. We go for Chinese hotpot and pig out. The bill comes out to $78.57, but the husband pays for it. We keep our finances separate for now, so we alternate paying for big meals and rent is split. If we have a child, we will probably open a joint account.

4:30 p.m. — Even though we are stuffed to the brim, we still get organic soft-serve to take home ($8.43). Husband pays for it.

6:30 p.m. — We take our dog to a dog café, which serves both doggy and human food. The dog gets a pork bento box, and my husband and I each grab an iced drink. $17.14

Total: $37.32

Day Two

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8:30 a.m. — I take an Uber to work each morning. Owning a car is exorbitantly expensive in Singapore, so we take Uber everywhere. $8.46

9 a.m. — I pick up my usual iced skinny mocha for the morning. $5.36

12:30 p.m. — Lunch with a friend. I get a soup-and-sandwich set. Our lunch expense is reimbursed by my company, capped at $15.

5 p.m. — I didn’t particularly enjoy the soup and sandwich at lunch, so I get an early dinner. Taiwanese meat with rice and sweet-potato fries. $7.50

Total: $21.32

Day Three

8:30 a.m. — Uber. Why the fare varies every day I will never understand. $14.14

9 a.m. — I'm starving, so I get my usual iced skinny mocha and a chocolate croissant. There is a morning combo special today. $5.36

12:15 p.m. — I am at the airport waiting to board a flight to Hong Kong for work. I don’t particularly enjoy food served in economy class, so I get a bowl of beef noodles prior to boarding. I also grab two gossip magazines to catch up with all the Kardashians. $22.14

6:30 p.m. — In Hong Kong, I meet up with a friend who is flying to Paris that night. She treats me to a detox juice.

7:45 p.m. — I'm back in the hotel and I order a Reuben sandwich and fries from room service. I charge it to the company card.

Total: $41.64

Day Four

8 a.m. — Client breakfast at hotel. I get the Bircher muesli. The client pays.

12 p.m. — I grab a quick lunch with my colleague at an Italian place in Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. The two of us rack up a $150 bill, charged to my company card.

6 p.m. — Shopping for a new moisturizer at Joyce Beauty, which is similar to Space.NK in the U.K. I buy the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder as well as the Silk Cream, and packs of sheet masks from Karuna. $321.33

8 p.m. — Dinner with girlfriends at an Asian-fusion place. The bill for the eight of us comes to about $260, split evenly. $32.13

Total: $353.46

Day Five


8 a.m. — Client breakfast at hotel. I get the Bircher muesli again, and charge it to the company card.

2 p.m. — I have to rush to the airport after my last meeting, grabbing a bowl of ramen prior to the flight. $15.42

2:30 p.m. — More gossip magazines and some snacks, since I'm still hungry after that ramen. $14.14

Total: $29.56

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — Uber. $10.05

11:30 a.m. — Salad for lunch, paid by company.

6 p.m. — I buy some pork and veggies for my dog, Pluto. He's on a home-cooked diet, so I get various parts of pork to cook for him. $32.14

6:30 p.m. — I'm tired and hungry. Order Chinese takeout and eat way too much. $17.85

Total: $60.04

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Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — Uber to take my dog to the dog park. $7.21

10:30 a.m. — Snacks for all three of us at a restaurant in the park. My dog gets grilled chicken without seasoning, and my husband and I share some fries, accompanied by an iced lemon tea for me and a beer for him. I get the bill. $28.57

5:30 p.m. — Another meeting with a potential interior decorating firm, and some more takeout Chinese food. $7

Total: $42.78
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day.

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