A Day in the Life of a Frugal (but Happy) Person


Written by Liz

Just your regular 27-year-old, queer, super-introverted, FIRE-chasing, frugal Singaporean, who lives a pretty good life while earning only a modest salary, but still plans to retire at age 40 with $1,000,000. Click here to read more

September 23, 2018

The Long-Awaited Corporate Job Paycheck.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

I stare at my clock, watching the seconds tick by. I feel the impatience building up within me. “Will it just turn 12AM already?!” I scream in my head.

After what seems like a gazillion years later, the clock finally chimes twelve.

I grab my phone in a hurry, almost dropping it in the process. I wait restlessly as my iPhone’s fingerprint scanner takes ages to read my thumbprint.

Authenticated”, I read the single word off the face of my iPhone’s screen, feeling excited.

$2,825 has been credited into your bank account.

My screams of impatience turn into shouts of joy. Knowing that I will have a substantial chunk of change coming in from my various side hustles, which can cover most of my expenses, I quickly transfer $2,700 to my investment account. I add this number to my net worth, now standing at close to six digits.

For a moment there, I feel on top of the world. I survived yet another month at my crappy job!

After a few fleeting moments of celebration, my mind quickly returns to earth. I’m left with $900 for the month.Yet another tight month”, I think to myself.

Satisfied that my pay has finally been credited, I eventually fall asleep. A smile plays on the edges of my lips as I dream about the day I finally get to start my own business. The day I finally get to be my own boss. The day I finally get to command my own hours. The day I finally get to survive on more than just $900 a month.


Another Long Day.

The first day of the month is always the worst. It’s another 30 or 31 whole days before I collect my next paycheck.

I reach the office, my spirits much lower than the night before. But like an obedient little corporate drone, I clock in punctually and head to my desk. Barely even 2 minutes in, I feel my mind drifting, my heart dreaming.

The hours drag by, as if intending to make me suffer through every excruciating moment trapped at my desk, staring at dreadful spreadsheets. But I trudge on, albeit rather unwillingly.

When lunch time finally arrives, my colleagues disperse. They’re headed to town to shop and eat delicious meals.

Me? I’ve packed two slices of bread. And jam.

But despite the lack of a thrilling meal, I’m excited to have my lunch hour to myself. Maybe I’ll get some writing done. Maybe I’ll read.

Every minute of my lunch hour is precious to me, and I savour it greedily. In no time, however, my short respite soon evaporates into thin air.

People flood back into the office, ready to resume their mindless and meaningless work. I’m no different. Doesn’t seem like I have a choice.

The next four hours of the day feel like four weeks.

When evening falls, my colleagues bid each other farewell. They then head out to have fancy dinners. Maybe shop a little. Maybe catch a movie. Maybe go drinking.

Me? I just hop on the bus and head home for the day.

I put on my shoes, lay down my yoga mat, and work out for half an hour. My heart beats fast and the endorphins race through my body. I feel great. I feel alive.

Price? Free.

After, I feel ravenous. I grab dinner from budget places – my usual haunts. Despite being cheap, dinner is satisfying. Not everything cheap implies that its of inferior quality. Sometimes, there are hidden gems all around.

Price? About $3 to $4.

I spend the last one to two hours of my day doing things that feed my soul. Sometimes, I read interesting articles. Sometimes, I read a book. Sometimes, I get on the drums. Sometimes, I try to pick up bits of a new language.

Today, I just want to enjoy my favourite YouTubers’ content. They’re currently in Europe! I stare at my computer, enthralled by the scenic places and the quality of their videos. My heart aches with wanderlust. But I smile knowing that one day I’d have the chance to travel around the world too.

What’s the price of everything listed above? Almost absolutely free.

Before I head to bed, I like to count my blessings.

I survived work today!”, I congratulate myself. “And I’m really glad I had the time to do stuff that brings me joy.

“I’m happy with that.”


The Rest of the Excruciatingly Long Month.

The working days of the month go by at an agonizing sloth-like speed. Mondays are always the most painful. Fridays are worthy of celebration.

But despite the meaninglessness of my corporate job, I try my darnest to make full use of every hour that I have outside of work. Those hours of joy make me a happy person at the end of every single day despite my strong dislike for my corporate job. Those hours that I spend on things that make my heart sing? They give me the strength and see me through one day to another.

Surely, albeit slowly, the month eventually comes to a close.


$2,800 has been credited into your bank account.

I do my thing, clicking away at my iPhone. I tuck more than 75% of my pay away, never to be used for any purpose other than buying my financial freedom. My net worth slowly creeps towards that six-digit prize.

I know my happiness will be fleeting, so I try my best to relish the moment.

That’s a nice number.”, I chuckle, gently reminding myself that the sacrifices of the present are temporary and will be oh-so-worth-it.

“I’m happy with that.”


Just a simple story of a person living a simple life.

Hope you enjoyed it,

Become a Millionaire and Retire Early on a Modest Salary Book Cover

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  1. APurpleLife

    LOVE IT!!! It’s so interesting to see a day in the life of someone else. I see a lot of myself in what you’re saying as well. I also stay up to watch my paycheck hit my bank account at midnight 🙂 . I also get paid monthly at my job, which I hate (it’s usually every 2 weeks in the US). It seems like a lifetime and I keep forgetting I’m not doing this job for free since it seems so long between paychecks. I need to be better about doing things I love outside of work. I’m usually so drained that I don’t. I tried to do more this past week and have had basically no down time as a result. A lot of awesome social time with new friends, but I’m missing my re-charge time. I need to find a better balance. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to improve my situation!

    • Liz @ Splurging on Freedom

      APL, thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I love seeing “a day in the life” of other people as well, so I decided to write one myself 🙂 Yeah I hate that we have to wait for the whole month before receiving our paychecks, so it’s like “I have to stay up!” Cheap thrills!

      I think it’s important that you schedule some serious down time though. I’m like a hardcore introvert, so that means working and socialising tires me out more than most. I used to go out after work, but would find myself super grumpy around my friends, which is terrible. And I don’t even work as hard as you! Can’t imagine what would happen to my mood if I had your crazy hours. I hope things improve over the next few weeks, and remember to recharge! 🙂

  2. Dragon Gal

    Hi Liz, Thanks for reminding us that the best things in life are often free! I’m glad you can find happiness in your daily life in spite of your corporate job. Good for you for having a positive attitude and having the inner strength to make the sacrifices you need to make in order for your dream of financial freedom to come true. I’m an introvert too, and I completely relate about needing your own time at the end of the day. Sometimes I think being an introvert is what’s allowed me to save so much money (ha!). Rooting for you as you continue on your path to FIRE! Cheers, Dragon Gal

    • Liz @ Splurging on Freedom

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Dragon Gal! I seem to be really harping on the best things in life being free, huh? 🙂 I love what you said about being an introvert and saving so much money because of that – I feel the EXACT same way! I know many of my friends and colleagues love going out for dinners and shopping sprees. But I just love staying home most of the time to read, write, watch YouTube or Netflix, or just chill. I honestly DON’T have the physical and emotional strength to go out more than a couple times a week! (Hard-core introvert here!) To be honest, I think that’s why I’m saving so much money! You’re definitely right about this 🙂

  3. myearlyretirementjourney

    I loved it! This is exactly how I like to write on my blog. What’s the end goal? I don’t know that I know your number or your goal.

    I love that your side hustle pretty much can fund your life right now. That has to feel good! I think I might try some extreme frugality for a year…just to have my big pay check go straight to savings…that’d be pretty awesome!

    How did you decide on the number you were going to live off of? Mondays are the worst! i don’t hate my job though…i just don’t like working. period.

    • Liz @ Splurging on Freedom

      Thank you so much! Yeah, I see these posts on your blog too and I really enjoy them as well. It’s so interesting to see the little details of the life of someone else 🙂 My end goal? To save up enough so that my dividend income can cover a chunk of my expenses, allowing me to quit my job haha!

      About my side hustle, it definitely feels good to be able to cover almost all my expenses with it. But I have to admit that it makes my schedule extremely hectic. To the point where I’m feeling more and more burnt out. So while I’m earning a good chunk of change, I can’t keep going at this pace forever.

      Definitely try extreme frugality for a year. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing over the past year, and it’s been working fantastically. I’ve found that it’s working well for me, I feel better than ever, and I’m going to continue doing this 🙂

      I don’t really have a budget, or a number, or anything like that. I just spend based on what I need, and I need very little. Some months I’m a little impulsive and spend more, and some months I’m super frugal and spend less. Over time, I’ve realised that I’m perfectly comfortable spending only about $1,000 a month, so I try to be consistent with this.

      Agreed man, Mondays suck big time!

  4. Karena

    Hi from Oz. Gosh this took me back. This was my life many years aga in the corporate world. I’ve now been working for myself for 12 years and whenever I’m having a bad day I always remind myself how my corporate life used to be. I’m loving your blog, you are very strong and inspirational, as I’d imagine many people would give up and just go back to the 9 digits. Keep on keeping on Liz..

    • Liz @ Splurging on Freedom

      Hi Karena! Thank you so much for stopping by. Your kind words really made my day! 🙂 You’re so inspirational and so brave as well to have quit your corporate job to start working for yourself. 12 years is exceptional, you should be proud of yourself for building a successful business. One day, I’d want to be like you and work for myself for the rest of my life 🙂 And like you, I’d work hard and tell myself that I don’t want to go back to a corporate job. I think that’s fantastic motivation to get through the tough days!

  5. oprolevorter

    Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

    • Liz @ Splurging on Freedom

      Thank you for letting me know! I fixed the problem a little while ago, and it seems to work fine on my browser now. I hope it’s working on yours 🙂