the $5 challenge.

The challenge.

I took on the $5 challenge out of need. After a period of unemployment, I was left with $300 in my ‘current’ account to last me till the first pay day.

I made several assumptions –

  • Dinner @ home, groceries, phone bills and utilities bills are considered paid off
  • $5 only covered lunch and transports (including weekends)

Many people will say those are unfair assumptions because groceries, phone bills and utilities are not paid by me. Well, you’re wrong. I pay for the utilities bills and try to buy groceries that are commonly used. I also try to give my folks abit more allowance so that I can help with the groceries indirectly.

The first month. 

Like I said in the previous post, the first month was to find out how much was the minimal amount that I need to make it through a day. And this was how much I needed –

a typical day.

There were some day where I kept within the budget but lunch was rather miserable. It consisted of a chicken curry puff and a banana cake. It worked on days when I have no appetite or just lazy to squeeze with the people at Golden Shoe –

within the budget.

Other than 3 instances where I took a cab/spent more than $10 on lunch, I kept to the bare minimal budget.

Even for CNY, I tried to be more frugal than previous years. I cut down on my favorite pineapple tarts, did my own nails, gave up on buying new bedsheets and etc

The 2nd month

To my dismay, the vegetarian store that I frequent everyday raised their price after CNY 😦 Which means that I will need about $5.82 per day. But it was one of the cheapest food around town so I continued to walk to Golden Shoe every day. I did have more days where I only spent $2 for lunch.

I have about 19 days between the first pay check and the next pay check. So I had about $114 to spend within the period. I did some quick calculations on Monday and this was the result –

i made it!

And the most amazing part is that I managed to 30% of my pay! I used to save only 20% and even then, I tend to take a bit from it to spend. Oh! And the difference in amount between what I am spending now and what I was spending in the past amounted to $180 which I am going to save for my parents 😀

I am quite proud that I managed to keep within budget especially since that budget included transport fares to tuition, 3 dinners, 2 expensive lunch and 1 breakfast! (: Probably from eating only bread on Sundays ;p

According to the tags, I spent the most in transport ($54.78). Sigh. With the fare hike in the coming months, I have find ways to squeeze into the budget.


It’s not easy to survive on a $5 budget or even just on a bare minimal budget like what I am doing.

It’s stressful. There are times, I will walk from Golden Shoe to Clifford Centre to Golden Shoe again because I couldn’t make my mind if I should save and have a $2 lunch or a $3 lunch.

Or when I forget to tap out from the bus…My brain just keeps looping and looping at the amount I could have saved 😦 True story.

And then you will walk pass your favorite snack shop…Wanting to buy snacks, then you realised that your budget don’t cater for that. It’s torture. Especially for someone who snacks alot and who snacks to relive stress.

Social life is literally non-existent. You just don’t have the budget for social meetups. Plus, it’s awkward to have to explain to friends about your budget. On the off days that my big big boss’ secretary asked me to join them for lunch, I just politely declined cos I didn’t know how to explain the budget to them.

I’m lucky I have friends who understand and are willing to eat at cheap places with me. ber who came by Marina Bay and tabao-ed cheap food with me to eat by the bay. Sivan who met me for McDonald’s for dinner. And I think, I have to give a special shoutout to ZQ who I meet at least once a week for lunch, just so I will be disciplined enough to walk to Golden Shoe.

Of course, thank you to “JJ” who paid for the Teo Heng session cos I just started working.

I applaud the folks who have to do this everyday. Jiayou!

Why am I doing this? Moving forward.

I am going to continue to with this $6 budget thing. I found out that Food Fair sells mixed vegetables rice @ $2.50 for 2 vegetables today! So I am going to give them a try. Steamed eggs and tofu! YUMS!

Why am I doing this? For selfish reason really. If you have been reading my blog, you will know what that is. Even though recent circumstances are yelling at me to re-think, my mum and my brother are pushing me to go ahead. So I am still hoping that it will happen.

If it doesn’t, the amount I saved is still useful. Always good to save more for rainy days.

So yups. That’s all. Maybe I will give an update in another 2 months to see how I am getting along and what other ways I have found  to save/maximise the budget.

If you want to take on the challenge…

Alot of people say it’s IMPOSSIBLE to take on the challenge because of the $5 amount.

Here’s the thing. I think the challenge is more about spending only the basic amount that you need transport+cheapest food everyday for a month.

You will still feel the pinch, you will understand how difficult it is. Maybe even start appreciating what you have(:



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