May 2018 – Monthly Update

May is the month where Ashton turned 6 months old. With Kate on her sabbatical, she is relishing every moment with our little ones before she heads back to work in a few months’ time. In a recent post, Kate detailed her thoughts on taking a sabbatical from work. On the personal expense front, we noticed her personal expenses went down by quite a bit during this period. At the same time, we have proven that we could survive very well as a one income family and that itself is quite a liberating feeling.

Recently, I received a letter from DBS stating that the FHR9 rate has doubled from 0.25% to 0.50%. As our mortgage is tied to the FHR9 rate, we might be paying above 2% interest at the end of our 3 year fixed interest period somewhere at the start of 2021. This is still not yet a concern for us right now as it is still below the HDB loan rate of 2.6%. However, with another two potential hikes before 2021, we might have to decide if we would want to choose to pay off our loan in full or to refinance should there be any better deals worth considering. For now, we shall maintain status quo and continue to set aside additional funds (CPF and cash) to fully pay off our home loan should the need arise.

On the family front, we have made it a point to frequent our neighborhood library every fortnightly. Ally is enjoying the new books we borrowed for her bedtime stories. I think the public library is one of the best places to enhance one’s knowledge at no cost and I really like the concept of resource sharing. Most of the books are relatively new and in relatively good condition. We seldom buy new books nowadays and patronize the library frequently which is clearly one of our favorite family activities.

We also started to watch quite a number of wild life documentaries on Netflix and Ally enjoys them very much, especially the ones on marine life. One of our favorite documentaries is “Blue Planet” by BBC narrated by the famous British naturalist David Attenborough. Recently, the sequel “Blue Planet II” was also broadcasted on Mediacorp Channel 5 at 9:30 pm every Sunday evening. I would highly recommend it to our readers.


Ally’s Favourite marine animal – the Manta Ray

We went to Downtown East on Vesak day as we discover a “Long Kang fishing” place at Fish@Aranda (within Aranda Country Club). We had great fun there, especially for Ally, who was busy chasing after the fishes. Personally, I think Downtown East is a good place to bring kids to as they offer many indoor and outdoor activities for both kids and adults. The newly refurbished water theme park “Wild Wild Wet” looks amazing and we can’t wait to head there the next time round.

Fitness Update
This month, I had managed to complete my second futsal session this year with my colleagues unscathed and I am contemplating getting a proper pair of futsal shoes for these monthly sessions. I also managed to run 5.6 km every week this month and clocked an average pace of 5 mins / km which is almost back to my former average speed. Hope to slowly regain back my former fitness by end of this year.

My weekly minimalist fitness routine:
1) Daily static exercise routine (5 times a week):
1. 20 x squats
2. 20 x one-legged squats for each leg
3. 20 x lunges for each leg
4. 30 x push ups
5. 45 secs plank

2) 1 x Swimming 18 laps (900 m) (using the ActiveSG free credit) and will cycle home for about 2 km using the bike sharing platform (Ofo bike with free credits from Liveup membership)

3) 1 x Staircase climbing 30 levels up and down plus static exercise on both ground and top level. (Done during lunch time in my office building)

4) 1 x 5.6 km run (average 5 mins / km pace)

5) Using the Great Eastern Get Great app, I’m currently trying to average 8000 steps daily and redeem vouchers.

Financial Update
We had managed to compile our May cash outflow and below is a snapshot:

FAMILY ($3,524.63)

Core: Variable ($1,579.10)

Food and groceries ($331.30)
$331.30 – Mainly meals for our family of four (this includes bread, snacks, and drinks, etc.)

Household ($48.85)
$27.90 – Newspaper subscription for Kate’s parents
$20.95 – Clothes Rack

Personal ($93.64)
$15.00 – Dave’s Futsal session with colleagues
$11.00 – Dave’s registration fees for a 5 km run with friends (yearly affair)
$4.50 – Dave’s clothes (balance after using some vouchers)
$60.58 – Kate’s Skincare and toiletries
$2.56 – iCloud 50 GB storage (monthly fees for Dave and Kate)

Groceries ($161.44)
$161.14 – Mainly groceries and some other household items form the supermarket

Transport ($150.80)
$50.00 – Ezlink card reload for both of us (for bus and train rides)
$20.60 – Cab rides
$80.20 – Cashcard and petrol (Kate’s father car usage)

Kids ($793.37)
$770.00 – Full day child care for Ally (inclusive of some optional enrichment class)
$15.00 – Long Kang Fishing (Aranda Country Club)
$8.37– Towel

Core: Fixed ($1,303.19)

Utility ($235.42)
$65.52 – Electrical/Water/Gas
$73.50 – Property Services and Conservancy Charges
$96.40 – Mobile / Internet

Mortgage ($820.00) – Paying using our CPF. 20 year bank loan (First 3 years fixed interest and floating on the 4th year onward pegged against the FHR9 rate). We would like to maintain an arbitrage on this home loan as the interest is less than 2% and we might repay it in full should the interest spike up when we reach FI.

Insurance – Health ($247.77) – Insurance premiums – hospitalization and outpatient (annual premiums amortized into 12 months)

Non-Core ($642.34)

Donation ($20.00) – Donations to Temple

Insurance – Savings ($622.34) – Insurance premiums – includes savings and whole life policies (annual premiums amortized into 12 months)

PARENTS ($1,546.42)

Parents allowance ($1,200.00) – We will maintain this as long as both of us are still employed and will adjust this lower upon reaching FI.

Insurance – Health ($346.42) – Insurance premiums – hospitalization and outpatient (annual premiums amortized into 12 months)

– This monthly cash outflow report is use mainly to gauge our post FI expenses
We included Insurance Savings as part of our cash outflow until they are fully paid up. The reason is that we will most probably still be paying for them even if we reach FI. We do acknowledge that this is not an expense but it is still a cash outflow nonetheless unless we monetize the accrued cash value of the savings policies.
– For an explanation on the above new categorization, you could refer here
– For our 2017 cash outflow full analysis, please click here

FI target family cash outflow (excluding parents) = $5,000 per month (core $3,500 and non-core $1,500)

Family ($3,524.63):

Core ($2,882.29) :
This month our family core cash outflow is almost $600 lower than our monthly average of $3.5k for this year and it is also the lowest so far this year. We have been dining in very often, which perhaps explains the reduction in this category.

Non-core ($642.34) :
This category remains pretty low with some donations to the temple.

Parents ($1,546.42):
We had contacted CPF and they came up with some suggestions in regards to topping up our parent’s CPF account. This move will greatly reduce this component and we should have an update on this very soon.

Grand Total ($5,071.05)
We spend about $3.5k based on the family cash outflow this month and it is also the lowest so far this year. If we would to exclude our mortgage of $820 which is paid using our CPF, our family cash outflow would come in at below $2.8k. We have been spending way below our FI target family cash outflow of $5k per month and we would like to maintain this target so that we have more budget for travelling when Ashton is slightly older. Our decreasing family spending trend gave us more confidence that our FI target is nearer than we thought but we will still stick to our original FI timeline which is two years away on June 2020.

What was the month of May like for you?

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