Money on My Mind: Back to Budgeting | Annie

Each month we reflect on our financial lives because it helps us be more intentional with our financial well-being. We hope that by opening up the conversation, we can break down the social stigma around talking about money. Check out the rest of the series here.

I haven’t written down my expenses in a long time so I thought it was time I started it up again. It helps me figure out where my money is going and what I can do to improve my spending. I go through phases where I’ll be really frugal and only spend on the necessities to spending more on things I want without too much thought.

Here are my expenses for December:


Amount (TWD)


Food & Dining



Auto & Transpot


parking and gas



phone bill







Health & Fitness


doctor’s appointment fee



movie tickets, film developing, hostel, and more


$13,911 ($452 USD)



Wow okay. I spent more money this month than I normally do.


Spent more during the holiday season.

  • I spent a lot on food. I also treated my family to dinner a few times. This month, if I’m going out exploring, I’ll bring snacks with me from home and a water bottle.
  • Many shops were having sales, so I stocked up on some things like jeans and undergarments. I bought two pairs of jeans that were $799 each.
  • Usually when I go shopping and I see something I want to buy, I’ll think about whether or not I really need it. If it’s cheap but I don’t need it, I’ll pass on it. If it’s something I REALLY love, then I’ll get it. Sometimes I will leave the store and see if I will keep thinking about getting the item. For the most part, I forget about it.

A trip to Taipei costs a lot.

  • I went up to Taipei multiple times in December. I paid for parking my scooter by the bus station, bus tickets, and MRT.
  • I know ways that I can cut back on some of my commute cost but this month I got lazy and went with the more convenient (read: expensive) options. Taking the train is much cheaper than taking the bus but I didn’t want to stand for an hour so I opted to take the bus where I’m guaranteed a seat.
  • To save money on parking when I go up to Taipei, I’m going to find a free parking spot near my gym and then get on the bus at that stop. Once I come back from Taipei I can go straight to the gym! Killing two birds with one stone. I was quite proud of myself for figuring out this solution.

I’m adding an entertainment category.

  • I realized most of my miscellaneous  expenses fell under that category so this will help me see how much I’m spending on things like the movies and museum tickets.

I tracked my December expenses in an Excel spreadsheet.

  • In the past, I’ve used both apps and good ol’ Microsoft Excel to help track my expenses. Both worked well. This time around, I decided to stick with Excel just because I already had the spreadsheet created. I ended up having to write down what I spent in my phone Notes app and then imputing it into Excel on my computer when I remembered, which was a bit of a hassle. Maybe for the next month I’ll try using an app instead.
  • Some businesses like night market food stands don’t give out receipts. So for things that don’t have receipts I have to remember to jot it down right away. Otherwise I forget and I don’t have evidence to help me remember.

Generally I’m pretty good about making purchasing decisions, but this month didn’t reflect that so I know I can do better!

2019 Goals

This year I want to save up enough money to travel outside of the country. I will track my expenses, set a budget for spending each month, and regularly check in a few days a week to see how I’m doing to make sure I’m on track.

I also want to figure out ways to increase my income to help me save up for travel. Juliet always said I would do well in freelancing and it is something I’ve toyed with for a while but was too afraid to try because I didn’t think I had the discipline for it. I want to try something new so I will tackle that this year. First step is to create my website! So stay tuned for that.

Do you budget? What are some of your financial goals this year? I want to hear them! Leave them in the comments (:


Check out other posts in our Money on Our Mind series!

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