These 5 money-saving challenges will help you get serious about saving money in 2017.
Let’s face it: saving money for saving money's sake is no easy feat. Having a goal makes it slightly easier and even more meaningful. Say, you wish to visit Iceland next year or finally enroll for that Master’s degree. That’s something to work towards. But the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
The trick, as we always say, is to start small, make sure it’s measurable, review your progress and tweak your goal if need be. Still, it’s easier said than done. That’s why we thought you could also make it fun by giving yourself a few money-saving challenges — yes, kind of like a game. The duration is only 30 days, and there are only 5 tasks. Give it a go.
The S$1 Savings Plan
It’s very doable, we promise. On the first day, you save S$1. On Day 2, you put S$2 in the kitty. Every day, you add an extra dollar to be stashed away. (If you’ve been wondering what to do with all your dollar coins, this little exercise should help you to kill two birds with one stone).
By the end of the 30-day challenge, you would have saved an impressive S$465. What to do with this savings is entirely up to you, of course. Maybe you’re saving for a new piece of furniture. Maybe it could join the rest of your savings. Whatever it is, it is going to be extremely rewarding.
The 5-Minute Journal
You schedule activities like exercise, meditation and grocery shopping. Why not also take just 5 minutes every night to record — and reflect — on your daily expenditure?
Keep track, and make improvements and adjustments. We admit that this will take a certain degree of willpower and discipline.
A useful tip would be to keep all receipts for the day in a compartment in your wallet or a little pouch. At the end of each day, record them in a nice notebook.
Awareness and mindfulness are key to good financial health in the long run.
Save to Match Your Spending
What this means, essentially, is that you must put aside the same amount of money that you’ve spent for the day. We really love this one.
Quite literally, this challenge will have you think twice before spending on a “want” you could probably live without, rather than a “need”.
If, for example, you absolutely must buy that extra cup of Starbucks coffee for $7, then you’d better make sure you have S$7 to feed your piggy bank, too.
Should parting with S$14 for a sheer moment of caffeinated bliss stir a little pang of guilt in you, then walk away. Drink water instead.
A S$10-A Day-Budget
Everything is more fun when it’s a game. Yes, even saving money. So, let’s play a game of “Spend S$10 A Day Or Else…”. Simply put, you strive to spend not more than S$10 a day. It sounds challenging, but hey, this is not called a challenge for nothing. It’s hard, but not impossible. All you need is a bit of planning — every little bit counts.
For example, if you made your own lunch and have a water bottle at work, it’d spare you from having to shell out S$10 for a sandwich and another S$5 for a beverage at a fancy café in the CBD. It’s probably healthier that way, too.
Another trick: ABR. That’s Always Be Ready. You’ll notice that as soon as you get organised and manage your time with a bit more thought and expertise, you could be saving money, too.
Plan the next day’s outfit and breakfast the night before. It’ll save you time in the morning and reduce (or eliminate!) the need to Grab a taxi in order to get to work on time.
Just considering the extra S$15 you didn’t spend on lunch and S$15 you didn’t squander on an emergency cab ride, you would have saved S$900 in 30 days.
Waste Not Want Not
Pick an item every other day that you infrequently or no longer use or wear.
Admit it: out of the 20 pairs of jeans you have, only maybe 5 of them are on rotation duty these days. What are you doing with the other 15 pairs?
The designer bag from 4 seasons ago you’ve completely relegated to the back of your wardrobe. What does it do for you? What about the yoga classes you’ve already paid for, and the StarHub channels you never ever tune in to? Right, thought so.
How much money is just lying around in your life like Gudetama doing absolutely nothing for you except drain your bank account?
Sell them, or cancel them. We are pretty sure there are at least 15 of such items and services to say bye bye to. Start looking.
You can do this. Stay strong, and good luck!
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By Alexa Fang
Alexa 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.