Tips To Save Money (Covid-19 Edition)
A lot of people here in Asia, and in the world as well, over the past months, many have fallen ill, some in the region have lost their lives and many have lost their jobs.
For many, their future looks bleak and their dreams are broken. They need to downsize their houses and live simpler just to get by.
It is a very difficult time.
Covid-19 put the brakes on everybody.
Although it may immediately seem like a sad thing to have to live a simpler life and cut back significantly on one’s spending, it began to teach us what we could live without, what we didn't really need in life; and reduced us to the essentials. It reminded us of the really important things; the things that should really matter.
In this bleak economy, here are some tips we can save money and tide us through these challenging, unprecedented times.
Sales or No Sales
With this down-turned economy, many businesses (both online and brick-and-mortar) have turned to aggressive sales tactics to attract customers and drive up revenue.
When we walk into the shopping malls nowadays, we are greeted by sales and discounts.
There is the 9.9 sale, 10.10 sale, black friday sale, cyber monday sale among many others.
Sales get a good rep and people are often super hyped about them, but we are usually just deceived by the idea that we get to “save money”.
They mess with your mind. They waste your money. They add clutter to your home.
This is the great irony of sales.
Occasionally you get something you wanted – and now it’s at a great price.
But often, you spend money you wouldn’t have spent otherwise. You buy things you don’t need because it’s “cheaper” Think of it this way: If you bought something at $12 when it was originally priced at $15, you did not save $3. You spent $12.
Eating In or Dining Out
Ever since the implementation of the Circuit Break, we had been cooking and eating at home more than ever.
Learning to cook your own meals can save us significant amounts of money, replacing the costly deliveries and dining out with more reasonably priced options.
Home cooked meals do not have to be over-the-top, fancy or restaurant quality (if you can prepare something like that, hats off to you!). You really just need the right cooking equipment and some basic cooking skills and you’ll be able to whip up something delicious. There are many wonderful recipes which can be found online for you to follow.
With the Health and Wellness Program in place, you can kill 2 birds with one stone – keep yourself fit to earn points to redeem groceries vouchers.
Starbucks or Kopitiam
Starbucks – a brand so successful and prominent in the market that it is almost like an icon. Most malls have a Starbucks café and we hardly know anyone who doesn’t know the brand.
It’s hard to keep walking past the café and resist temptation to stop by and get yourself that Frappe.
After all, it’s delicious. And who doesn’t need a little pick me up?
But the problem with Starbucks is that it’s so expensive.
Each drink is more than $5. While it might not seem like a big amount on its own, it can be an exorbitant expense when it accumulates.
If we go every day, that’s more than $150 a month and more than $1825 a year.
This is a real first world problem.
Sure, Starbucks is delicious and we might feel “atas” drinking it from time to time, but if the main purpose is to wake ourselves up with caffeine – it’d be financially wiser to make your own coffee or get it from our local kopitiam. Many have even commented that the local Nanyang coffee does a far better job at keeping us awake and alert. Local coffee or self-brewed coffee also costs many times less than Starbucks or any other café’s drinks.
Subscriptions Yay or Nay
An easy way to save money is to cancel monthly subscriptions.
Look at any recurring charges that you have on your credit card. It could be YouTube Premium, Spotify, Audible, Netflix.
Think about whether you really use every single one of these subscriptions and think about the frequency that you use these subscription services.
There’s no need to unsubscribe every service, but if you realize that your frequency of usage is actually lower than what your money’s worth, it’d be recommended for you to unsubscribe now. Chances are, you won’t feel even a difference to your lifestyle after unsubscribing. Of course, you can always re-subscribe when you feel the need to, but you’ll find yourself with much more available cash in the meantime.
SIM-ONLY OR MOBILE CONTRACT
Now with SIM-only plans, gone are the days where you’d be locked down and tied to a Mobile Contract for 2 years.
The subsidized handphone sets are usually the most attractive aspect of mobile contracts. Telcos also frequently give out vouchers if you choose to re-contract with them to further entice you to keep being their loyal customer. Sometimes you get these vouchers too even when you switch to a new and sign a contract with them
However, you’ll be paying much more every month.
For maximum flexibility with a minimum price tag, you can choose to go with SIM-only plans.
SIM-only plans are generally cheaper than fixed contract plans.
Unless you need a new phone, you are under Corporate Individual Scheme (CIS), or you are under other bundles services which offer higher discount, you may be better off with SIM-only plan.
Open Electricity Market or SP Group
Now with more people working at home, bills may be on the rise since we are consuming more electricity with the constant operating of air conditioning, laptops, or other devices.
Is your electricity contract expiring soon? You can explore the various options available.
The Open Electricity Market now has 13 electricity vendors available to meet the energy needs of Singaporean households, and its launch has been rolled out progressively since November 2018.
This is something we can look forward to as there will be fierce competition between the 13 electricity vendors. One of the ways they’ll compete is via pricing, which means we get to have cheaper options out there. Some are worried of the possibility that their electricity supply might be disrupted upon switching to another vendor. However, you can rest assured that this won’t happen as SP Group will continue to operate the national power grid and deliver electricity to everyone.
You can check out more here and have a feel of what could be the best deal or package for you.
Saving or Investment
Now that you have saved an amount of money from the above methods, it is now time to think about where to put the money.
Do you know that you are actually losing money when you are putting money at home or in the local savings account due to inflation?
You can check out my previous article here on the things you can invest in during the financial crisis.
Book an appointment with us to grow your money today.
Tough times don’t last.
Tough people do.
As we progress through this period of difficult time together, rest assured that we are here in this together.
If you have any other tips, do share with us too.