4. Planning financial habits, needs and expense before ‘I QUIT’

Have you seen any of those funny ‘I QUIT’ videos? The funniest one I have seen, was this guy who calls a freelance marching band and to play the band while he marches out of the office singing ‘I QUIT’ because he won a lottery. The first day at after completing the battle between the heart and mind I wanted to quit my job. I wanted to rent a marching band, march into office and play the tune for ‘Queen-We will rock you’ while I sing.

Sing the lyrics below along to this tune
Buddy, you are a pain, made my life hell
Played with my life, like I just don’t care
You got horns on your head, you’re a big fat ass
Stole my time and made them yours, singin'
I QUIT, I QUIT, and you stink!
I QUIT, I QUIT, and you stink!

I would have done it in the world where an Apple was just a fruit. The world we live in an Apple could cause you an arm or a kidney. Blessed with no overdue payments, but I had mountain of debts. From credit cards to personal loans to automotive loans to housing loans (notice all the loans ends are not singulars).

The transition took me 5 months. Various overthought of steps were involved in the making of ‘Racing The Rat’ and it was not an easy process. I spent the first 1 and a half months on panicking😣 & planning my financial habits.

By planning financial habits, I meant to learn

  • What is my current expenses.
  • How much do I really need?.

Sounds easy. I kid you not it was a pain, I dated Microsoft Excel for a very long time to accomplish this.

Current Expense

I know what you are thinking, should be easy. Earn 1000, have a balance of 100 bucks so your expense is 900. Nope! I needed to break it down into tiny bite sizes so I could shift to the next phase. I created a simple Excel file where I would fill in every single cent I spent for the day. Below is a sample for 3 day on the level of details I tracked for a month

Sample detailed 3 days expense tracker
Sample detailed expense tracker for 3 days

How much do I really need?

The next step is to categorize them into simple categories such as Breakfast, lunch, dinner, Entertainment, Friday nights (Yes, Friday night was a category by itself for me. Its the most important night for me), etc.

Sample categorization of 3 days expenses
Sample categorization of expenses

With my beloved Excel (If Excel was woman I would be married by now😂😅), I averaged to show me what is my benchmark expense. Example my average daily expense for breakfast was RM 5 and average expense for my entertainment was RM40.

Sample expense benchmark
Sample exercise to benchmark expenses

I spent a week keeping my expenses within the benchmark to check on its accuracy (Yes, I am a data person, you should already know that with my obsession with Excel and my calculations). After a week knowing that I can keep my expenses within the budget the next course of action was to lower the benchmark.

I started to experiment cutting my expense to to the least possible an example from an average expense of RM5 on breakfast daily and an average of RM16 for dinner, I reduced to it to a fraction of the cost by just by preparing a simple breakfast and dinner at home after purchasing 1 weeks worth of grocery(buying daily grocery actually is more expensive than eating out). Instead of having my beer outside in a bar I would have it at the beach with some beer snacks from the grocery store. Just with this exercise I managed to reduce my expense by almost 40% and enjoy mother nature in a less crowded environment.

You would think I reduce it more by just stinging on my entertainment, but my logic says that we always need some entertainment in life to keep it at peace.

Whats next

Realistically this exercise only helped me to reduce my basic expenses but not my monthly commitment. Follow on my next post I will be sharing on what I did for financial planning and what did I do to reduce my monthly commitment. To be able to survive this fight against the Rat Race

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