Sometimes you have to give up a few of life’s little luxuries for that oh-so-important big purchase.
Making trade-offs. A little give-and-take. Prioritising. To some, this could sound like code for “hard times ahead”, but you know, being smart with money does not automatically mean “slumming it”. This is especially important to remember the next time you wait in line at Starbucks for your daily dose of coffee, or during your next trip to the mall.
Think about it: If you are spending upwards of S$12 a day on just two gourmet lattes, why not halve that expenditure by trying out cheaper but no less tasty coffees elsewhere? In just a few short months, or even weeks, you will have saved enough for your first and very own (not “vintage”) Balmain jacket (S$2,088) — #yesyoucan!
Combine this one lifestyle tweak with a few more simple saving strategies, and you could have enough to fill your entire wardrobe with investment pieces. Believe it.
For perspective: How many designer-inspired Zara blazers/coats/bomber jackets do you buy a season? Let’s say each one costs you about S$150. For every six Zara’s you don’t buy, you’re nearly halfway to your first Balmain.
So don’t be afraid to make the effort to look for deals. It isn’t that hard — not when you have Balmain bragging rights at the end of it. Here, let us help — these are nine ways you can save on the little every-day stuff in order to afford that coveted investment piece in three months. Or less.
1. Let’s Start Small: Coffee
Your favourite American coffee chain might give you an inimitable caffeine buzz, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to pay S$8 for your drink. That’s a whole meal right there. Cafes riding Singapore’s third wave of coffee movement provide a delectable and even artfully created cup of joe for much less. (And really, we should support local business anyway). If you substitute coffee for kopi, you’ll save even more.
Savings: S$4-S$6 X 90 days = S$360-S$540.
Jacket Score: Up to 0.25
2. Prioritise Your Purchases
Don’t lose sight of your goal. Yes, you might be tempted by that quick fix of a Zara number, and sure, it could pass off as a designer piece if you can style it like Nicole Warne and keep your jacket on come rain or shine so no one sees the real label. But let’s recap: Every Zara jacket you don’t buy is S$159 saved towards your Balmain fund.
Savings: S$159 X 3-10 (depending on your compulsions. You know who you are) = S$477-S$1,590
Jacket Score: Up to 0.76
3. Be On Top of Your Credit Card Points
Literally, here are rewards galore if you put in your due diligence. Put some recurring bills on your favourite airline-points credit card — your American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card for example — and watch how the miles pile up!
In a year, you could earn enough for a free return flight to Koh Samui, Tokyo or even further — leaving you with more cash to splash.
Savings: We estimate anywhere between S$300 and S$800 (depending on how big a spender you are)
Jacket Score: Up to 0.4
4. Clean Out That Closet
Come on, it’s out with the old, and in with a new Balmain jacket. Time to Marie Kondo the crap out of your closet, and sell all forgotten and impulse buys.
There are a number of ways you can recoup your money quickly and relatively painlessly. Just don’t get your La Perlas in a bunch at the shameless bargain-ers and time-wasters — you’ll get used to navigating the pitfalls of Carousell and Gumtree soon enough.
Otherwise, The Fifth Collection is our first choice for designer things.
Savings: Oh, this could go into four figures easily. And invaluable closet space.
Jacket Score: At least 1.0. Jack-et-pot!
5. DIY Lunch
Want to bet what your biggest day-to-day expense is? Your office lunch (probably). That S$40 you just spent on your sushi set today is just a drop in the ocean of money that could be saved if you packed a lunch instead. Being in total control of your food this way could be healthier, too — if you don’t give in to the urge to eat crisps and cold cuts at your desk.
Why not try a homemade salad-and-quinoa wrap? Remember, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. And what’s even better than having a skinny waist? A fat wallet.
Savings: S$320/month (ballpark) X 3 = S$960
Jacket Score: 0.45
6. Put the Cure in the Mani/Pedicure
Do your own nails! ‘Nuff said.
Savings: S$200 or so a month X 3 = S$600
Jacket Score: Approximately 0.3
7. I Scream for Weekend Ice Cream
Seriously, wait for the weekend to stock up on your favourite ice cream. Between the major supermarket chains, you can save S$9 by buying Haagen Dazs only when it’s on offer. Specifically, at S$19.90 for two pints, as opposed to S$14.50 each most days.
Sure, it takes a bit of waiting for the offer to appear, but this happens pretty often. And when it does, just stock up on like 10 pints if you have to — being frozen, ice cream keeps for a long time.
Savings: S$100. Small beans, yes, but still 1/10 a fab jacket.
8. Watch Your Phone Bills
Do you really, absolutely need to spend in excess of 60 bucks a month to re-contract your mobile subscription just so you can stump up a little bit less upfront for a flagship phone with 3GB data? No.
Let’s face it: If all you are doing is WhatsApping, Instagramming and some light GPS navigating, like most of us do, you really don’t need a S$1,000 iPhone. (Total cost: North of S$2,000 over 24 months.) If everywhere you go has Wi-Fi anyway, you probably could get away with sticking to a cheaper plan with a little less data but which is 30 percent cheaper per month.
Combine that savings with a S$0-upfront phone and well, that’s like a grand you could put to much, much better use. Also, unsubscribe from useless additional services like voicemail and roaming — it’s 2016 for heaven’s sake.
Savings: Give or take S$1,000 over three months.
Jacket Score: 0.48 (Half way there!)
9. Search for Coupon Codes, Wait for Sales
Before hitting the “checkout” button when making your next online purchase, do a quick search for the latest coupon codes out there — you could save a bunch of money on shipping for example, or profit from a surprise discount you didn’t know you were eligible for.
ASOS, for one, gives free two-day express shipping to Singapore using the code “EXPRESSING” on large orders. Many more great discount deals can be found on various coupon code aggregators, too! If you’re in no big hurry, you really should wait for sale seasons to save big.
Net-A-Porter is having a clearance sale of up to 70% now, for one. Who knows, the Balmain jacket could just be yours for half off — if you can wait a season.
Savings: Anywhere from 5% to 70% off your next purchase
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By Alexa Fang
Alexa Fang is a pop-culture vulture. She lives to read, write and travel, and decided long ago that life is stranger than fiction. When she’s having croissant, she thinks in French. “31 Rue Cambon” is her favourite address, and she believes that money one enjoyed spending is never money wasted.