One night every month when you experience insomnia (reading - at the end of the month).......Instead of being a potato couch, why not sit down and jot down how/what/where your hard-earned income has gone to! Write down how much you spent on your petrol, car maintenance, parking, utility bills, loans, etc, etc.
Syukur Alhamdulillah, so far I don't have insomnia due to the problems that you're facing. I know basically where and how I spend my money. Firstly, I'm fortunate enough to be in a position to engage an established accountant to keep track of my spending. You see, my bank CIMB through its' Visa and MasterCard, send the monthly statements detailing all my spending when using the cards. I know how much I spend on petrol, Celcom, Astro, water, TNB, TM, sundry goods at Tesco or Giants each month. I would then know the total amount I spent on the items for the whole year. From there I can prepare for the following year's budget. Just like the government. You have your own accountants too, maybe you're well off enough to engage more than one.
Now, the hard decision to make. Are there ways to reduce the spending? I'm not going to suggest to you what to do, instead, let you know what I practice. Who knows, maybe you can pick up a point or two. You have to remember that we're two separate entities. I'm very disciplined and you? Only you know yourself.
When I was still working in Kuala Lumpur, I made it a habit to put the allocations for the expenditures in envelopes. There were envelopes for household (sundry goods and the weekly marketing), petrol, utilities (water, TNB, TM), miscellaneous, eg, newspapers. I told my wife that she could find the envelopes in the drawer. Other than the weekly marketing at the wet market, for other expenses I used credit card where possible. Then I credit the amount into the bank from the respective envelopes. As I said earlier, I wanted to collect the reward points. When my accountant want his fees at the end of the month, no problem at all since the fund was available. Unless there was an emergency, we strictly adhered to the budget.
Now, of course, the situation has changed. Petrol bill has reduced so much since both of us are no longer working. And as I said in my 'Credit Card' article, I get 2%rebate whenever I patronize Petronas services. To DGCC it's only 1 km and to RKC 15 km. Whenever I need to visit my 3 siblings at Kuala Lumpur, and when I go alone, I have my 'driver' to drive me there (by bus or train lah..). The cost for the round trip if I drive is about RM300 - petrol and tolls. Whereas it cost less than RM100 if I use public transport. In case of emergency, of course I'll drive.
I can't do anything about the monthly golf clubs' subscriptions. The amounts are fixed. However, I can cut costs by having drinks outside the clubs. It costs RM3.50 for a glass of iced Nescafe at the club whereas at, say Gymkhana Cafe at the Equine Centre about 1km from DGCC, it costs RM1.20 only - a saving of RM2.30. Mind you, I play almost daily and at least I save about RM50 monthly. I make it known to my gang that my monthly budget for golf is RM100. This includes our monthly outing, namely to Cinta Sayang, Permaipura, Harvard and Putra, Kangar. We pool cars and the best part of being a senior citizen is that we get special rates. RM100 is sufficient, you know.
I don't subscribe to the philosophies of 'live to eat' and 'bior pape ase bergaye'. I don't go to fancy restaurants or 5 star hotels for meals. I love home cooked food. One thing for sure, it's clean and healthy and of course, cost very much less. Clothing? Not that important to a pensioner. The things that I need to change frequently are golf related items, namely golf shoes, gloves and socks. And I buy these items during sales. I'm not willing to spend RM200 for a Dockers pants, but I'm patient enough to wait for the sales period - 50% discount. Imagine, from RM200 to RM100! A saving of RM100.
You know, I'm amazed to see that teenagers and adults alike, including grandfathers/grandmothers, are willing to pay in order to hasten their demise. They're willing to spend at least RM8 daily for a pack of cigarettes. I suppose they don't subscribe to the 'donate your organs' campaign. Anyway, I don't think their organs are suitable at all with all those chronic diseases. I can give 1 tip on how to 'go' free of charge (FOC)? Wind down your window while driving and follow behind those smoky buses and lorries and take a deep breath to inhale the carbon monoxide. You can wash your face on reaching the office.
Well, something to ponder about......!