Practical Budget Hacks to Power Up Your Savings
Managing your personal budget is about more than just watching the income going in and the expenditures going out. An important aspect that’s often overlooked is developing a clever strategy about how you activate products and services – which ultimately represents a dollar value of your total worth. Buying, selling or sharing specific possessions or skills will have an impact on the growth of your finances, and it’s not hard to develop a plan that will boost your budget volume and monetary worth. Find out exactly what’s worth activating.
Successful budgeting involves careful assessment of your “needs” and “wants”. For example, do you need to buy an expensive car, or can you carpool with friends instead? Do you really need to buy that designer gown for your friend’s wedding, or can you rent it for a cheaper price?
Budget Hacks #1
Buy: Electronic Gadgets
In this high-tech era, smart phones and laptops are essential tools for your work and daily routine. Using communal computers at community or collaboration centres can be a temporary fix during periods when your budget is tight. However, it’s best in the long run to invest in your own gadgets for the sake of your privacy and workflow efficiency.
Singapore is a haven not only for the fashion-minded and foodies, but also for the digitally savvy. According to Time magazine, the country has the widest available range of electronic gadgets, from portable DVD players, MP3 players and cameras to mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Sim Lim Square and Funan Digitalife Mall are the two most popular emporia for electronic goodies. Tech in Asia, however, cautions against buying from certain stores in order to avoid possible scams.
Read: 10 Steps to Develop a Healthy Relationship with Money
Budget Hacks #2
Buy: Internet Service
While you can always visit your local internet café, rent portable Wi-Fi for your business or even leech off your neighbor’s connection, it’s safer and more convenient to contract for your own internet service. Going to a café every time you need to work or check email can be tiring and time-consuming. Renting portable Wi-Fi can be more expensive in the long run. Using others’ Wi-Fi connections, even your neighbour’s, makes you vulnerable to hacked passwords, leaked data and stolen files.
Currently, the three biggest internet providers are M1, Starhub and Singtel. In addition to these, there are also smaller companies such as MyRepublic and ViewQwest that are getting positive reviews from consumers. When choosing a package, remember to consider the contract terms, speed and price. Most ISPs offer packages with contract terms ranging from 6 to 24 months and speeds exceeding 100 Mbps.
Budget Hacks #3
Share: Fashionable Apparel
Eye-catching designer clothes and accessories are meant to be worn and shown off only once at special occasions like weddings, posh birthdays and galas. However, the mind-boggling price that you pay to purchase this kind of fashionable apparel may not be worth the expenditure if you wear a piece only one time.
If you want to appear in a really memorable dress at a special event, consider renting instead of buying. Her World Plus recommends the recently launched Rent a Dress service for those who need a beautiful designer dress for a special occasion. Prices range from SGD 45-150 for cocktail dresses and SGD 80-200 for long evening gowns.
Budget Hacks #4
Share: Transportation Service
The package price of a car is typically inclusive of the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), Open Market Value (OMV), Additional Registration Fee (ARF), other fees and taxes such as the duty fee, GST and dealer gross profit, and the first year of road tax. However, in order to calculate the overall financial responsibility of owning a car, you also need to factor in the cost of your car loan including interest, auto insurance, future road tax, maintenance services, petrol and parking. According to iMoney Singapore, if you are buying a Mercedes-Benz E-200 Avantgarde, the best-selling car of 2014, the lifetime expense you can expect is approximately SGD 350,000.
Fortunately, the public transportation system in Singapore is one of the best and least expensive in the world. According to Hawksford, it will cost you only about SGD 150 a month to commute to and from your office. If you absolutely need a car, however, consider sharing the cost of petrol and parking by carpooling. There are various carpooling platforms such as Tripda and Share Transport that you can check out online.
Budget Hacks #5
Sell: A Spare Room
Do you have a spare bedroom in your home? Maybe you can turn that extra room into a comfortable temporary stopover space for travellers by using platforms like Airbnb.
Take note, however, that Housing and Development Board flat owners are not allowed to sublet their units to tourists for short-term stays. As the concept of home-sharing is becoming more popular, Airbnb has opened talks with the Urban Redevelopment Authority to start hashing out a clear framework for short-term rentals.