2020 has been tough and with the less than optimistic job market, it can be hard to feel confident about your finances. Although the government has come up with many schemes to help make things easier for the average Singaporean, most of feeling overwhelmed when it comes to budgeting is the lack of control we have over our own money. It definitely is a good idea to seek out a financial consultant or advisor and while this article is not enough to advise on how to organise your financials, it is a list of simple ways you can take control over your budget. Think of it as your pal sharing some small tried and tested ways!
HAVE AT LEAST 2 NO-SPEND DAYS EVERY WEEK
The two ways to increase your bank balance is to either make more money or to cut back. By creating two days a week where you spend nothing will significantly help in your “cut back” methods. While it may seem like nothing, having a day or two where you do not spend on that iced coffee or your $15 salad (come on, now), will really add up. To make the cut back efforts feel more rewarding, create a savings account where you put in the day’s estimated spendings which will then because the day’s estimated savings, adding to your budget. After a couple months, you will start to see it all add up and having your savings appear in a tangible form will only motivate you to keep at it and save more.
KEEP TRACK OF ALL YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS
A huge part about being in control of your budget is knowing where your money is going silently and automatically every month. A reason you may be feeling overwhelmed is also because you know in the back of your mind that you are paying for a few monthly subscriptions but you can’t seem to remember them all. So you’re low-key freaking out about ‘haemorrhaging‘ money every month. The thing about monthly subscriptions is that they are seemingly harmless at the moment of purchase – $2.99 a month?? That’s nothing! How could something cheaper than a cup of bubble tea even affect my monthly expenses? Right? Wrong! Just like how daily savings can add up, these small purchases can start to pile up and soon, you will be spending hundreds on things you might not even need anymore! My advice is to take note of all your subscriptions – Netflix, Spotify, VSCO, what have you- and figure out if you really do need these. If these subscriptions are things you can’t part with, create a Google Sheet where you key in all the things you are paying for (automatically btw) each month and tally up your total per month. This will set your mind at ease knowing that you are not still shelling out bucks for unnecessary things like that web domain you bought when you were 15. You’re welcome.
SET UP MONTHLY GOALS
Guys, nothing feels better than reaching a goal. Why do you think people are obsessed about to-do lists and New Year’s Resolutions? We crave that boost of serotonin when we finally hit that goal or when we get to mark something off as “accomplished”. The same goes for saving money – we will be more inclined to save when we are saving towards a goal. Create a monthly goal that you would like to hit by the end of the month and keep working towards that week by week. Having this number in mind will encourage you to make smarter choices. For instance, if you’re at the end of the month and you’re deciding between having a nice meal delivered to you (maybe $20) or eating out at a restaurant ($50 + drinks + cab home), knowing that you’re $50 away from your goal might motivate you to stay home and not splurge too much. That isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy the nice things in life too when you’re trying to stick to a budget! This brings me to my next point…
AVOID THE SAVER’S BURNOUT
That’s right. Just like any dietician would encourage you to take cheat days off your stringent diet, you definitely should do the same when saving money. As much as it is important to stay strict and save, treating yourself every now and then is also as imperative. Remember to set little rewards here and there for being so disciplined and that will make the entire process more sustainable and dare we say, enjoyable!
DON’T SHOP HUNGRY
You’ve heard this one before! Do not do your grocery shopping when you’re hungry because you would be more inclined to buy things without thinking and on impulse. This obviously leads to unnecessary spending and when you are trying to take control over your spending, that’s definitely something you want to avoid. Shop with intention and never with impulse. Doing this also helps to prevent food waste and trust me, there’s nothing worse than being forced to throw out expired food WHILE you’re broke. 10/10 do not recommend.
This method also applies to shopping for clothes, luxury items and more as well. When you are buying something, sit and ruminate on it for a sec. Do you really need this and will you still covet it after the initial novelty has worn off? Give it a couple of days and if you find yourself still thinking about it, THEN come back to it and buy the item!
And there you have it – some simple ways to keep control over your budget. With that, hoolah’s buy now and pay later scheme comes in handy! By allowing you to pay in instalments for three months, you are forced to rethink your purchase rather than being impulsive, signing the bill and not thinking about it ever. The buy now and pay later solution helps remind you of what is necessary and what isn’t, and with no interest fee, you can make better financial decisions at no extra cost! We love to see it.