This article was first published by Aspire.
How many of us actually keep a close watch on our monthly expenditure – how much we spend and what we spend most on? For most Singaporeans, we spend the most on food! The next in line is transport. And that’s true regardless which age group we belong to, according to Singstat’s 2012/2013 household expenditure survey.
Arguably, three years is a long time and things might have changed. But if we were to look at past surveys, the story is the same. We’ve definitely spent more than the past because of inflation. Other than that, though, food and transport have always been areas where we spend a bulk of our money on every month.
If that’s the case, taking out a few trips to restaurants and a couple of taxi rides from our monthly indulges can indeed help us save $50, $100 or even more. It all depends on how often we pamper ourselves and our willingness to cut down on that. Every bit goes a long way. Just think about our older selves, they would surely want us to spend less so our later years will be more comfortable.
Live within humble means
It makes perfect sense that the kind of lifestyle we choose determines how much we spend and in turn, how much we save. Not only would our older selves wish we spend lesser now, but also our children. They might grow up expecting to improve or at least maintain the lifestyle they grew up in.
Another thing is schools don’t teach personal finance, which arguably is one of the most important subjects in our lives. As adults and parents (now or in the future), we should take responsibility and educate our younger generation about the importance of money.
Before stepping into an expensive restaurant the next time, think twice. Especially if it’s not on a special occasion but rather, just a moment of craving for indulgence. Habits are formed before we even know it, our lifestyle choices are like that too. Think for our future and family.
Don’t just save, grow the money
Nevertheless, saving alone is almost never enough, especially for the Singaporeans who belong to the bottom house income quintiles. Looking at the table below, the bottom 20 percent of Singaporean households actually have negative savings. They are essentially spending beyond their means.
Depending on a salary alone certainly proves insufficient. But with the Internet being so prevalent, everyone with a laptop or a smartphone can technically work freelance at any time and anywhere. Apart from leveraging on the Internet, tutoring, helping part-time at events and many more offline jobs are available to anyone who is willing to trade their free time for money.
Also, if you’re interested in investing, here are seven things we’ll keep a close watch on in 2017. All these would most likely impact retail investors and anyone serious about investing should know. After all, technology and investments are the top two ways billionaires around the world amassed their fortune.
Start as early as possible
Minute lifestyle choices become habits bit by bit over time. Starting young gives us more time to get used to a certain type of lifestyle, hopefully, one that doesn’t require robbing from our older selves. Our lifestyle choices affect our family too, so think of this as not just for our sake, but for those who matter to us.
It can be as simple as eating at our favourite restaurants one time lesser a month or opting for the bus or train instead of an Uber or Grab ride. Of course, even if we really need to, we could share our ride with others. With the recent Federal Funds rate hike, savers will be rewarded more among other implications. With the money we saved from these changes in our lifestyle choices, grow it for the future.
As Warren Buffett says, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” We want our future selves and family members to be sitting in the shade, don’t we?
Shares Investment and its editorial arm, Aspire, believe that everyone needs financial literacy. We work towards achieving that goal by helping retail investors make more informed investment decisions by presenting well-researched data in condensed and relatable formats, across our websites, magazines and offline events.