There’s no telling how tomorrow will be.
All these terrible events can happen – loss of job or even the country’s economy going to the dogs (we hope not!). In order to survive, money experts keep on pushing Singaporeans to cultivate a savings culture. One must always have minimum savings that can cover for three to six months of their expenditure.
However, some feel that they can only save once they receive a bumper pay increase or realize a dramatic increase in profitability from a business. They often overlook the option that by reining in on one’s expenses, it is possible to extract some good amounts for the savings pot.
Here are some tips to help eliminate unnecessary expenses and create handsome savings.
1. Have patience. Delay major purchases until the best time.
Some of the things appearing on your shopping list can’t wait. Or can they? That new TV or laptop can be bought in the coming month. Or the month after.
The idea is to act smart and wait for the seller to put it on a promotional price. In some sales or promotions, some may even cut down the price by providing a 50% discount giving hefty savings!
That’s not all. At times, when waiting, one may realize that they didn’t even need the item in the first place!
2. Take the public transport or carpool.
It is known that Singapore’s weather is dry and humid. When travelling around the country, it may be hard to resist the temptation of getting a cab.
However, the cost of a cooling and convenient ride can be hefty, especially if one develops the habit of taking private transport. The bill can easily go up to hundreds in a month. Hence, it is recommended that one takes the public transport as much as they can.
In some situations, there may be a need to take the private transport. An example would be when one is carrying a lot of goods. In such a scenario, consider sharing a ride.
Carpooling could add to the savings basket from the reduced ERP tolls, petrol, and parking fees. Ride-sharing apps such as GrabShare are worth a try for cheaper trips.
Still, it is possible to save further by taking advantage of promo codes from the app company by enabling notifications on the phone to ensure that deals do not pass by. Grab users can also accumulate points and redeem vouchers or attain discounts.
Another tip for commuters who need to travel around after midnight. When bus or train services have ended, taking a cab is not the only option. Consider Singapore’s Night Rider buses or Night Owls which are available on Fridays, Saturdays and Eves of Public Holidays. They generally charge a flat fare of $4.50 and one can easily attain the bus routes from SMRT or SBS’s website.
3. Reduce the coffee dates or make your own coffee.
Spending time at Starbucks or visiting cafes have become a part of Singapore’s culture. Until one realizes that they’re paying an upwards of $7 on culpa every trip. Not to mention the additional amount they may spend on cakes and desserts at the cafes.
While it is not an easy task, working Singaporeans and students could make beautiful savings by giving the Coffee bean and her likes a wide berth. They can also save more by making their own coffee and drinks.
Well, an indulgence or two can be allowed very occasionally.
4. Make your own meals.
Dining out once in a while is a welcoming break from the usual kitchen routine. But everyone knows that cooking at home will bring sizeable savings.
According to a survey by the HPB (Health Promotion Board), more than 60% of Singaporeans eat out at least 4 times a week. This is mainly due to their busy schedules or for convenience. However, dining out or ordering healthier and organic food sometimes don’t come cheap.
Homemade meals will definitely be more complete as one can personalize the dishes and add in foods with more nutrients. One can also choose to cook in healthier ways, such as using lesser oil or salt. Because you can choose your ingredients and that homemade food are usually of larger portions which serves many, money can be saved. In the long run, there will be health benefits as they can reduce the number of trips to the doctors and eventually save on their medical bills.
5. It is okay to say No.
It is alright to say no. How many times have many of us said yes because we felt “paiseh” to reject and ended up spending too much money? Or experienced peer pressure and said yes because we feel that turning people down is “not a very nice thing to do”?
Some of us end up spending out of our budget when faced with peer pressure. Our heartbeat increases when friends or colleagues choose to dine at pricier restaurants, or when they want to purchase an expensive gift to share. We smile on the surface and say yes, due to the fear of conflict or being left out but frown internally, planning which meals to skip just to survive until the next payday.
Sometimes, it is okay to reject politely. One can always join them for a meal another time or purchase their own gift.
In other areas, some Singaporeans are unable to reject charity donations even if they are short on cash. More money has reportedly been pouring online into charity with Singapore’s national giving portal Giving.sg, grossing hundreds of millions in just two years.
While touching other peoples’ lives is a kind gesture and definitely fulfilling, frequent giving could leave a dent in one’s pockets.
6. Putting brakes on impulse purchases and unsubscribing from mailing lists.
Data has shown that 4 out of every 5 Singaporeans swipe their credit cards on the heat-of-the-moment purchases.
Cunning marketers are constantly planting numerous advertisements in front of Singaporeans growing online audience and are making a kill as orders keep flowing. Social media has also become a wonderful platform for marketers to plant their advertisements.
Mailing lists are also a great source of temptation where companies constantly lure you with new product updates and one may impulsively purchase what is not needed.
Similarly, there are more strategically placed shopping malls and more are falling into the trap of spending.
Again, budgeting will help one avoid sinking into money troubles as a result of splurging on non-essentials. As the saying goes, purchase what you need, not what you want.
7. Taking care of precious or big ticket items.
Part of the spending goes to replace items which a person may have given out or run down.
For instance, some families are too quick in disposing of a baby stroller only to find that it would have served the second born as well if they had stored it safely.
Cars, computers, sofas, and such other home assets could cost less to replace or maintain if they accorded the care they deserve.
8. Consolidating loans to get a clear view of your finances.
Juggling too many loans is a headache even without talking about the suffocating interest rates.
Clever Singaporeans are turning to the Debt Consolidation Plan (DCP) to save on the accruing interest costs. Under the plan, one can combine all existing personal loans and credit card debts into one loan, usually at a reduced interest rate.
The facility is such that the financier can even buy out loans held in other banks. By consolidating their loans, one can get a clearer picture of how much money they are spending or how much they should be saving.
9. Rest the Credit Card, it’s tired.
Singapore has gone cash light with the advent of multiple contactless payment methods.
And there’s no denying it – the convenience of digital payment methods is truly great.
But this also makes it very easy to spend on unplanned things since an individual will only need to enter a credit card, scan a QR code or enter a phone number to complete a transaction.
An alternative would be to retire the credit card – even leaving it at home – and go back to the good old cash even if temporarily.
Psychologists argue that we feel more pain when handing out an actual dollar bill so there’s a tendency to think twice before heading to the cash till.
10. Buy a water bottle and choose a design that you like so that you will keep using it.
Sure, water is life. However, Singaporeans can be a little too fascinated with bottled water. More and more Singaporeans choose to purchase mineral water while they are outdoors and in the long run, incur large costs on bottled water.
Firstly, bottled water is mostly not much different from the tap water. Secondly, prices of water in Singapore are a bit outrageous.
For example, in places such as Sheng Shong or Fairprice, a 1-liter bottle cost somewhere between $1.8 to $2.
The same bottle can go for between $4 to $6 in the other popular spots such as Night Safari or Sentosa.
Drinking from one’s own bottle is much cheaper and the way to go for the savings-conscious.
11. Keep fit by working out at home.
One can still stay in shape without splashing out on the gym membership.
Some body exercises don’t really require expensive equipment while free online tutorials can replace the expensive trainer. With YouTube and numerous online platforms, one can easily access workout videos and follow through to exercise and keep fit.
Squats, push-ups, hip raises are some of the simple but effective workouts that one can do from home. Dumbbells, which are generally not too expensive, can also be purchased should you need to add some weight to your routine.
Also, jog around your neighbourhood or park and breathe in some fresh air. It is free and is known as one of the most calorie burning exercises. It also helps one to recharge and relieve stress.
12. Record your spending. You will be surprised at the amount you spend.
Sometimes, the realization that one can’t explain where the money went can be horrible.
Keeping tabs on personal spending is, therefore, one of the important ways of controlling expenditure.
At the end of it all, an individual is able to analyze their expenses and decide what to cut back on.
And nowadays, the proliferation of apps makes it even simpler. So, why not start by downloading and installing a budgeting app like Dollarbird, Daily Budget Original or Monny? Some of the app features include challenges which helps the users to set budgeting goals.
13. Create a standing order.
While everything else is done, serious savers will always channel a specific portion of their salaries into a bank savings account.
They even go a step ahead to automate the process by initiating a standing order. With such an arrangement, it’s hard to postpone or create excuses.
One of the best ways of securing a comfortable future is to start by saving today.
While it may not be easy, putting brakes to overspending could generate enough amounts to enable one to afford their dream lifestyle.
Even though the above 13 tips are not exhaustive, it should help to leave more money inside one’s pockets.
However, it must be noted that the above tips will only work if one is disciplined enough to follow through. Discipline is the key element for success. It will be tough at the start, but one has to start planning their finances somewhere.
If you are struggling with your finances or require help for your financial planning, feel free to speak with our friendly and professional consultants today!
Budget Budgeting Credit Card Finance Management Finances Impulsive Purchases Learning Loans Manage Spending Money Saving Tips Night Owls Night Rider Night Rider Buses Personal Finance Piggy Bank Save Money Savings Self-improvement Tips Ways To Reduce Spending