So if I can ask a semi-off-topic question, not necessarily to OP...
I've never done this sort of budgeting - I've never really had to. I have no dependants, I came to HK mostly on a whim, and I fit my lifestyle to something similar to my means. Question is, do you actually expect to stick to the budget once you're here and spending money? That is, is it mostly a planning exercise, to see whether you can live the sort of lifestyle you want on the sort of money you'll have, understanding that no plan survives contact with the supermarket, or will you looking at your spending on a weekly/monthly basis and fitting it into your budget?
My salary was decent but for one/2 years, yes that is what I did, stick to my monthly budget to save a fair amount of $
BUT I had tones of fun. I just didnt spend on needless stuff (i do now, ie car, gadgets etc) and food was one of these things were I didnt need my western fix (except once in a blue moon). As my salary grew (sgnificantly) I became less budget concious after a few years but I still remember these years...and I have absolutely no bad memories at all...it was all good fun. Of course, same as you, I was single and no mortgages/debt back home.
but I saved really quite a fair share of money at that time, which eventually became very useful afterwards.
Like Mat, I also kept to a fairly strict budget when I first arrived here, then gradually loosened it up as my income grew. Obviously you can only plan so much beforehand, and budgets will need to be adjusted as necessary to the reality on the ground and to your own situation.
Welcome to Hong Kong!
Thought you might like to know of an excellent local kindergarten which will cost you a lot, lot less than $8k per month.
We live nearby to Tung Chung in a place called Discovery Bay, but we send out 3 year old to Green Pastures Kindergatern in Fu Tung Plaza and have been very impressed.
I was like you, I didn't really see the value in pre-school as our son is very outgoing. But unfortunately that is not feasible here in Hong Kong as the primary schools won't usually even look at applicants who did not attend. Plus we really wanted our son to learn Cantonese and so decided on a local school.
I was worried about homework and also my son being the only non-Chinese kid in the class, but at Green Pastures the mix is about 70/30 Chinese/non-Chinese from what I've seen, so it is a good mix. It also means they are used to dealing with non-Chinese speaking parents. There is homework, but it is about 20-30 mins a week during term time, with longer projects of maybe a couple of hours over the holidays. It's all fun stuff that my son enjoys, and anything in Chinese usually has guidance and translations included so we can help him.
Once you arrive and get your Hong Kong ID card you can apply for an education voucher:
Pre-primary Education Voucherl
This will give you a massive discount on the cost of any non-profit making school, which in reality means local schools. I can't remember the exact figure, but I think we pay about $4k a year for our son for the fees once the voucher is taken into account.
Another thing to note is that wherever you send your child to kindergarten in Hong Kong, you need to budget for a lot more than the fees - books, uniforms, trips, snack fees, school bus - all are on top and can add to up to a fair amount. Not so bad when you are paying very little in the first place but a real drag if you are already shelling out $7-$10k for just the fees.
Local schools aren't for everyone, while I'm very happy with the education the amount of bureaucracy and paperwork I need to fill in is baffling at times. We parents definitely get more homework than the kids! But overall it's been a great experience for my son and I highly recommend it.
They have a (admittedly not very good) website here , I'd encourage you to get in touch if you are interested as spaces get filled very quickly as it's a popular school.
If you have any specific questions, please don't hesitate to drop me a PM.
The $8,000 is really a worst-case scenario for us w/ the schools we plan to apply to, but coming in below that would be lovely.
I'm intrigued by the local schools but the homework & teachers' treatment of students at some of them do make me nervous, so it's nice to hear from English-speaking parents with a positive experience!
Botox.Original Post Deleted
I don't share that view but botox may help me.