Have you ever felt like your salary was limitless?
LOL, me neither.
So why do we sometimes spend like it is?
Here’s a secret: you don’t have to go through Pay Day pain every single month. For real.
As a middle-income Singaporean plebeian who struggled to balance having fun, saving and being able to buy all the things I need, I’m going to share with you three tips from my personal salary guide that helped me lots – especially when I’m just an average income earner.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial planning consultant or money mogul – just sharing easy starting steps for money management as an everyday layman! Motto – start with the little wins before the big wins.
50-30-20 Budget Setting
Don’t worry, this isn’t math! The numbers here refer to how to break down your salary:
- Expenses (50%)
- Wealth (30%)
- Savings (20%)
Having this big picture allows you to cap how much you spend, grow some of your money into a bigger pot for the future, and give you assurance as an emergency fund.
Why more money for Wealth and not Savings? Because wealth tactics, like investment in equities, grow your money faster than Savings can. If you’re up for a challenge, decrease the amount you’ve set aside for Expenses so you can invest or save more!
And don’t spend more than 50% on expenses. You want to keep the same standard of living you have now, or have an even better one, when you’re 70, not worse!
Small Savings Add Up
Don’t forget that as and when you can, you should cut expenses whenever possible.
Here are some #auntielobangs you may have been missing out on:
1. Cut out the things you want but don’t need
If you’re spending $5-7 a day on that expensive latte when there is a coffee machine in your office, you’re missing out on saving $110 (based on 22 workdays) a month!
If you have non-essential everyday indulgences like expensive coffee, bubble tea, cab rides, movies at the cinema or online shopping, review them and cut wherever possible as long as it doesn’t adversely affect your well-being.
Start with 3 expenses to cut or replace with lower-cost expenses, and you’ll gradually find it easier to cut out more. Replace movies with Netflix, or use the office coffee machine – these savings will enable you to focus on essential purchases, investments or savings!
2. Source for the best places to get your essentials
Are you getting the best prices for the items you need? Swanston at People’s Park Centre, Jintaitong supermarket in the heartlands and myCK department stores are just a few places where you can find staple cosmetic and skincare brands at prices lower than Watson’s! For example, Himalaya Herbals facial foam costs $10.90 at Watson’s but $7.90 at Jintaitong. And buying contact lenses online – much cheaper than in store!
Buying second-hand on Carousell gets you great prices too, especially when you’re handling expensive life transitions like moving houses or getting married.
3. Cashback and loyalty programmes
Yes, it literally means that when you spend, you get cash back. FOMO now?
Shopback is an example of a cashback platform that aggregates brand and retail partners, and provides users with cashback every time they shop with a Shopback partner. Even though the cashback amounts may seem small, they really add up!
You can also choose to use loyalty programmes like Grab’s rewards programmes, which help you accumulate points that can offset future purchases. Offsetting $10 a month means saving $120 a year, which could buy you flight tickets to Bangkok!
Pick the Right Savings Account
There is the ordinary bank account that gives you 0.05% interest on your savings. And then there are Savings Accounts with higher interest rates, depending on how much you save, spend, invest or insure with the corresponding bank!
To find the best Savings Account for your lifestyle, check out this cool article from Seedly that also has a calculator to help you compare accounts easily. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get more money, even just for spending!
Don’t let Pay Day keep getting the better of you.
Pace yourself when your paycheck comes in, cut what you can, and you’ll find that the money in your bank account keeps growing, instead of decreasing.