Why it is hard to budget in China

Now, obviously this is an excuse NOT to try to save money or anything, but there are a number of reasons why budgeting for me here (until I move to the states in a year or so anyway) isn’t really appropriate. Sure, I keep track of my money, but I don’t do a crazy plan and the hubby and we still manage to save at least half our paycheque by the end of the year (oh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!) . I have no idea if this applies to many people overseas, but I do feel very fortunate that I am in the position I am with the husband.

So here goes:

1) We are not in debt: I finally finished paying off my loans, and the hubby his car payment last year. So whatever we don’t spend we get to save. I know that when we move to the states in a year, we will probably want to buy a house. But until we get to that point, I have happy being debt-free.

2) We barely have any expenses: we are lucky to be in a position where the school pays for a housing allowance, and we don’t use all the money for rent. The rest of they money we use it towards household expenses (electric, gas, and water bills, plus TV and internet). The only expenses we really have are transportation, food, and phone bills. I  find it sad that some of my coworkers still complain expenses. Really!

3) Things are so cheap here: If we cook at home, we spend an average of 3-5 USD a meal for the both of us (cheaper if it is vegetarian).  I have most staples in the pantry so it is super easy to save.  You don’t even need to bulk buy (except for imported goods) and all supermarkets stock fresh produce daily, so I barely have to meal plan to save money. It’s so awesome.  That being said, we do tend to eat out a little too much at times and I am working hard to fix that issue. But sometimes going to a western restaurant helps to combat homesickness.

4) Impulse buys are easily forgiven: Again, goes back to things are pretty cheap here. Of course, if I feel like shopping just for fun, I limit myself to the local markets (like Dongmen and Hua Qiang Bei).  Last impluse buy: two awesome ‘silver’ necklaces for USD 1.50.

This makes me a little nervous about going back to the states, because I’ll have to be more careful about what I send there more so than here.  But until then, I figure I can enjoy myself while I can 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Why it is hard to budget in China

  1. I agree China is blissfully less expensive than living back home (I’m from the UK) – but I don’t know how you can bear Dongmen, I lose my mind about 10 minutes after going there – my wife drags me there around once every 3 months or so and I can’t stand it. So many people, browsing so much junk, and apart from Starbucks there’s almost nothing there for me – they don’t even sell shoes in my size. I love the DVD store at Lao Jie station though, I occasionally grab a tube from Lohou get off, grab some DVD’s and then head off home.

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