Saturday 18 May 2019


Let's pause for a moment and appreciate the title. It took me a couple of minutes to come up with that. Ha! Right, adulting. Smart money handling. Unsexy words but essential, I'm sure we will all agree. I am one with those people campaigning to ditch advanced maths lessons (Trigonometry, for example) and introduce personal finance or home cooking to today's teenagers... for crying out loud! I'm sorry but never have I ever used my sine cosine rule until now. On the flip side, this girl needs to feed herself and earn slash save slash invest because she likes nice things!

1. RENT (OR MORTGAGE) Wherever you are in the world, I am sure living space cost cuts a bigger chunk of your income. Unless, of course, you are one of the few fortunate ones who enjoys free lodging. London is known for its sky-high rental / house price tags. Look closely to what you're signing up for (tips below).

Tip: Carefully plan where to live. Consider your transportation costs, food shopping, nearest hospital, time it will take for you to get to work and vice versa, etc. If you're a newbie, think about flat sharing at least for the first few months (that's what I did before). When you finally found a place that you see yourself living for a longer period, try to negotiate. Check the escalation clause (percentage that landlords charge you on top of your current rent - this happens every year usually). I'm so thankful that this thought hit me when I signed a contract just recently. I managed to agree a certain escalation percentage and guess what, turns out they are charging twice of what we've agreed to other residents. 

2. FOOD and coffee, if you're like me. I recently succumbed to the fact that I need two separate bank accounts if I want to manage my finances better. I have a Monzo account (there's so many alternatives, I just like the colour of their card, it's hot coral, BTW). Basically, what it does is it tracks your spending and put it in an aesthetically pleasing summary. It's an app on my phone so, in a given period, I can track how much I spend on eating out (which is on top of my list often!), groceries, and the like.

Tip: Make coffee at home. I don't mean the instant one if you're a coffee snob (trust me, I totally get it). I researched on what's the best way to enjoy a coffee and found the joys of brewing a ground coffee from a moka pot, add a steaming hazelnut milk and there you go, a nice coffee cup for a fraction of a price. I also do online grocery shopping from Ocado (as mentioned here). It's such a time saver and I seldom buy things I don't need in the first place.

3. TRAVEL. This comes with how long you've been travelling and your priorities, I think. I enjoy short weekend holidays compared to a, say, two-week ones. I make it a point to have both at least once a year but I'm gravitating towards tiny bursts of travel these days. Case in point, we're going to Brighton, England this bank holiday. I'm hoping that the weather will cooperate!

Tip: Don't travel for the 'gram. Social media can unconsciously lure us to plan a travel so we can have something to post but hey, you - as in what you feel - are more important than the likes, hearts and comments combined. Make your travel intentional. What do you really want? Do you want to stay in a cabin all day and watch old movies? Do you want to eat out or sip a coffee in a foreign cafe? A good marker of a well spent holiday is you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world after the trip.

4. IDLE SAVINGS. It may not seem like a cost but it is an opportunity cost. Your savings are slowly but surely being devalued by this thing called inflation and if you're not careful, you are working hard and getting less. Take a good look at your savings account and think of ways to increase it with little to no effort from you down the line. Investing, even if it's daunting, is a necessity not luxury. Think of your money as the time of your life spent working, because, surprise! It is!

Tip: Schedule a meeting with your HR personnel if you are employed. Ask them about all the benefits available to you. You are probably entitled to buy shares of your company at a bargain or you can up your pension contribution for years ahead. Alongside, dip your toes in the stock market. For example, buy shares of stocks (like Apple and Alphabet aka Google - not sponsored of course) and see how you feel with the stock exchange's ebb and flow.

5. IMPULSE BUYING. I will always love shopping but there's a fine line that I live by. I'd rather have few, quality items than ten substandard ones. I'm talking about essentials here like coats, bags, laptops and running gears. I'm a fan of a cost per wear (CPW) concept. If I buy a £200 coat but I use it 100 times, CPW is just £2.00. Likewise, if I get a £30 coat and use it only twice, CPW is then £15.00.

Tip: I noticed that most of my trips to Oxford Circus is due to the fact that I'm bored. So, this spring, I made a list of things that I enjoy the most (other than shopping). This includes organising small get-together with friends, basking in the sun (if there's any), finalising our wedding and cooking at home. -CMK


  1. Nice post! I agree with your CPW concept. Get good quality stuffs even it costs more than the substandard ones. Thanks for sharing! :)


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