Just because you have money in your savings account doesn’t mean you need to spend it.
It’s not about how much you earn, but how much you save and what you do with that money (invest!).
You may think that paying a couple of dollars more is no big deal, but over time, the amount adds up quite significantly. This in turn affects your ability to FIRE, if that’s your ultimate goal.
If you want to see your net worth and savings increase, then you need to make sure that the money coming in surpasses your expenses. However. we understand that it might not be easy for everyone, since different people have different situations and have to deal with financial commitments.
Why people fail to save
We’re sure that you’ve heard your friends complaining about how broke they are because they aren’t paid enough.
However, the real reason why they’re broke isn’t because they aren’t earning a salary — it’s how they spend their money.
If you’re desperate enough to dig yourself out of that broke pit, you’ll properly budget yourself and follow a disciplined lifestyle. That is totally possible if you stop eating out every other night and buying unnecessary things.
Want to save? Get advice from frugal people
One of the best ways to improve your life (and bank balance) is by emulating the people who are doing it right.
It doesn’t mean you have to completely copy their lifestyle, but to find out what they’re doing that allows them to save up and see how you can apply some of these habits into your own life.
One way that frugal people save up is by living below their means. For example: Between a $10 salad and $5 meal at a hawker centre on a regular day at work, they’d usually choose the latter (even though they can very well afford the salad) because it is cheaper.
You may argue that saving $5 isn’t significant, but remember that every drop makes up an ocean.
That’s a $100 difference within a month and a $1,000 difference in a year, assuming you go to work 20 days a month. Shocked by the amount? Read The Real Cost Of Returning To Office for more expenses you’d never expect to rake up.
Scroll on for 5 Habits of Super Frugal People You Should Copy so that you can stop complaining about being broke!
Disclaimer: This article is not about being a cheapskate, because we believe that you still need to spend a little, live life and have fun sometimes!
1. Don’t pay full price for anything if you can
There are always ways to get discounts when eating out. Before you pick a restaurant, check to see if they have promotions on apps such as Eatigo, Chope and Burpple!
I personally love Eatigo because there are discounts of up to 60%, which makes your total bill really affordable — under $10 per person if you eat at selected restaurants at selected timings!
Deals on Eatigo always change so make sure to check in (usually on the day of your outing itself) before you go. It’s okay if you make changes to your plans because you can cancel up to one minute before your reservation.
If you’re too lazy to check on these apps, there’s always the option of your friendly neighbourhood hawkers. One meat and two vegetable dishes cost around $3 to $4 at the economic rice stall. If you’re on a really strict budget, there are food places out there offering full meals for only $2.50 such as 63 Laksa.
In fact, you can even get your meal for free if you offset them with your $100 CDC vouchers introduced during the Singapore Budget 2021.
There are tonnes of food deals and promo articles that are regularly updated on Singsaver, so do check those out as well.
- Best Steamboat Buffets: Cost and Promotions
- Dim Sum Promotions And Deals (April 2021)
- High Tea Promotions In Singapore (April 2021)
- 1-for-1 Buffet Dining Promotions In Singapore (April 2021)
- Best Value Meals Under $10 At Fast Food Restaurants In Singapore
If possible, do away with expensive food delivery. Opt for Foodpanda’s pick-up instead, as they offer meals that sometimes can be cheaper than buying directly from the restaurant itself.
Check out Fave and Klook and look out for promo codes that may give you additional discounts on top of your package. You can save even more, especially when you use these promos along with your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers.
Fave often has flash deals that give massive discounts. Thanks to these deals, facials can go for as cheap as $9 and $34 for a three-hour spa sesh. One thing to note is that you’ll have to pay the full price first, and your cashback will appear in your Fave account three days from purchase or upon redemption, whichever is earlier. This cashback can then be used to offset future Fave purchases.
Klook has a plethora of promo codes at any one point of time, so check out Singsaver’s Klook Promo Codes In Singapore 2021 for the latest ones.
Carousell is also a fantastic platform to grab dirt-cheap staycations, movie tickets, attraction tickets and more, due to last-minute cancellations. However, you need to be careful as scams on the platform are prevalent. Make sure to check out the seller’s reviews before committing to a purchase and insist on cash-on-delivery whenever possible.
Keep a lookout for Shopee’s 10-cent sale, which happens on weekends, usually on Saturdays from 1pm to 2pm. As there is no definite schedule for such sales, you have to periodically check in.
Why the 10-cent sale is good: You can get practical things like wallets, cross-body bags, masks, hair ties, screen protectors, socks and more, all for only 10 cents (including shipping).
After you receive the product, leave a review in exchange for Shopee coins, which can be used to offset future purchases.
The general rule of thumb is to always find promo codes before buying something online, and stack promo codes whenever you can. Some sites that allow this are Shopee, Zalora and Lazada.
Groceries and household items
Don’t simply buy from the first store you see. Go around various supermarkets to check where your item is cheaper and make a mental note of the prices so that you won’t let a good deal pass you by the next time you come across it.
There’s always room for bargaining if you’re signing up for all beauty packages, including facial, waxing, massage and IPL packages. Your beautician has the authority to slash prices and throw in upgrades.
Even if you're really interested, don't look overly excited. Pretend to consider and say things like “I’m not sure” or “I’m strapped for cash”. Because they want your business, they will work with you to come up with a payment solution. After you’re satisfied with the price (and if you really aren't really cash-strapped), ask them to throw in an additional free session or product if you sign up and offer to pay in full on the spot.
If they start hard-selling and making you uncomfortable, just walk away.
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Cut out the middleman (financial advisors) and directly buy insurance online from Singsaver. Not only are the premiums cheaper, you can even get 15% off and $110 cashback via PayNow when you use promo code SSHOME5Y when you apply for TIQ Home Insurance (HDB).
If you’re new to a bank, sign up with Singsaver to get various perks like cashback, a staycation at Andaz and the latest gadgets, including a free Dyson AM07 tower fan, Apple Watch Series 3 and AirPods Pro.
Click here for the Top Credit Card Promotions And Deals On SingSaver (April 2021).
2. Think ahead when it comes to purchases — you can get cheaper prices and better seats/rooms
When leisure travel permits, ask at the front desk during check-in if there are free upgrades available. Chances are higher especially if you’re a frequent flyer with an airline. Also, book connecting flights with short layovers instead of direct for significantly cheaper rates.
For example: The usual cost of a direct, round-trip flight from Singapore to Seoul is around $900 to $1,000. But I only paid $380 for a round-trip to Seoul with a short three- to four-hour layover in Bangkok via Airasia.
The earlier you book your room, the cheaper and more room choices you’ll have, especially when you book for occasions such as Valentine’s Day. Of course, different websites and hotels differ in price each day, so you’ll have to keep track of their prices.
When you check-in on that day, subtly ask the receptionist to throw in a late check-out or a free room upgrade.
3. Milk your credit card for miles/cashback/rewards
If the store only takes cash/NETS, we’re not patronising them. Why spend your money for nothing? Just kidding.
Spending on various credit cards often provides you with cashback, rewards or miles that you can use to redeem things like free flights in the future.
4. Bargain, bargain and bargain
Whenever you’re buying something in person, ask for a cash discount or free service. But of course, you’ll have to choose the right situation. You don’t go to the auntie selling tissue paper below the MRT and tell her you want to buy her entire 10-pack for 50 cents.
You do, however, have a lot of bargaining power with hotels, clothes, weddings, any kind of beauty packages or anything that requires you to deal with sales representatives. But of course, don’t go too far and lowball them. And make sure you’re really interested in purchasing, if not you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
General tip of the day: Just ask. At most you’ll get a rejection, but at least you’ve tried.
5. Frugal people have the power of walking away, and they’re not afraid to say no
When you’re being forced to spend above your budget, just walk away or say “no”.
It’s a fact of life that not everyone will be on the same page financially, so don’t be afraid of judgment and do not judge others if they are not willing to fork out the same amount of money as you are.
Just remember, real friends won't dump you just because you don't want to have a share in their $2,000 yacht rental for someone else’s birthday party.
It’s not about how much you earn, but how much you spend and save that matters. And once you save enough, invest to grow your money and beat inflation!
Read these next:
Money Confessions: 9 Singaporeans Share Their Portfolio Asset Allocation
I Am An Artist/e — Here’s How I Make Money From The Arts: Chen Yixi
I Was Retrenched At 26 Years Old And I Have No Savings
I Won $572,571 From TOTO, And This Is What I Did With My Money
I’m 27 And I Accumulated My First $100,000 By Investing And Saving Over 4 Years