So, you've left the relative safety of Singapore Education System and are now about to embark into the big scary world of Singapore Working Adult.
Chances are looking at your first paycheck is going to fill your mind with doubts on whether you can live comfortably in the most expensive city in the world. Many people will tell you that Singapore’s great for the rich, but not so great if you’re not making tons of money.
But unless you have a deep burning desire to own a Lamborghini, most middle income Singaporeans are actually totally capable of affording to give themselves (and their families) a comfortable life. Here are 3 tips for scaling down on expensive stuff yet still living a joyful experience of fun, friends and frivolous things once in a while.
1. Pause more often before spending money
We don't mean a joyless existence of torturing yourself by never forking out more than $10 a day. It's about pausing to think before you spend.
Most of us fall prey to impulse spending and, worst of all, lapses in judgement because you feel pressured by a salesperson to buy something. If you know you are someone who frequently get pressured into buying stuff you ultimately don't need, or spending on a big ticket item without doing your due diligence like reading up about it on the Internet or asking around, you may find yourself spending in ways that ultimately don't benefit you or make your life more fruitful.
If you are prone to impulsive buying, simply pause to ask yourself whether spending this money is going to make you happier one month from now. If you are easily pressured into buying things, simply pause to think twice (or thrice) before you decide to pay for it. By stopping to ask yourself those questions, you can cut down quite a bit on your spending habits.
2. Understand that saving money is not about depriving yourself
One of the biggest ways to start saving money starts from a change in mindset. If your idea of saving money means eating cai peng with no meat every day and showering only once a week to save water, it's no wonder you think spending less equals a miserable life.
In the journey towards saving more money, the first things that should stop spending on are the ones that you don’t even notice you have, or that you don’t benefit from. For example, an expensive monthly mobile data plan when you're actually not using up that much data. Or facial packages or gym memberships that you rarely use, but are paying money on a regularly basis for anyway.
Once you've stopped spending on those things, it will make it much easier to be in control of your finances. Kind of like bandaging up a wound that you didn't notice was bleeding you out slowly.
3. Learn a new skill in order to save money in the long-term
There's no point envying that ex-schoolmate who has a first class honours degree, is currently working in the bank, and doesn't seem to have any money problems to worry about. Oh, and he also has his daily lunches at fine dining restaurants.
Well guess what, coveting someone else's lifestyle isn't going to miraculously transform yours overnight. Which means we will have to improve in some areas in order to help ourselves live more comfortable lives. We might have to acquire some new skills just so we stop paying for other people to do it for us.
For instance, cooking is one skill I believe every Singaporean who cares about their health and wallet should have, but that many unfortunately don’t. Learning to cook simply will cut down on dining out or ta bao-ing regularly. Learning how to make simple repairs on your bicycle, home appliances, and computers can also help save you on hiring someone to do it for you. It will also help you become more self-reliant.