Budgeting

3 Incredibly Simple Ways To Cut Your Monthly Expenses Without Sacrificing Your Lifestyle

Kissing the Money

Jeff Cuellar

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Ever get the feeling that life in Singapore is only getting more expensive each year? Does it seem like the price of your fishball noodles only grows as portions shrink? Does a $50 bill in your wallet disappear faster than a political dissident speaking out against a third-world dictator (or someone complaining about CPF)?

Well, I’ve got good news! Your gut feeling is correct.

According to latest statistics released by the Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI), Singapore’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) went up by 2.5% between April 2013 and April 2014 – because of rising food, healthcare, and transportation costs.

If you’re starting to feel the financial pinch of rising everyday costs, I’ve got good news for you (for real this time) – you can free up extra cash by making some simple budget changes.

Here are 3 very simple ways to cut your monthly expenses without totally sacrificing your lifestyle:

 

1. Cut Back on Your Utilities Usage

I could advise you to simply cut back on your shopping, but the loss of such an important aspect of life would probably be too painful for many Singaporeans to bear. Plus, this is an article about being able to maintain your lifestyle right?

First, you’ll take a good long look at your utility bills. Chances are good that if you don’t already know how much you pay monthly for utilities, you’ll probably get shocked when you realize just how much you’re paying every month.

Shock is good. It makes it easier for you to do what needs to be done – namely cutting back on the following utility costs:

  • Electricity: Cut back on your A/C usage by relying more on fans or by using the “free” A/C at your local mall, library, or Starbucks/Coffee Bean when possible.
  • Phone: Evaluate your phone plan and downgrade if possible. Plus, if you have mobile data, make sure you switch to wifi to surf the internet and make free calls with Skype or Viber. That’ll save you from paying expensive over limit fees on data and talk time.
  • Cable TV: Evaluate your cable plan and eliminate any channel packages you don’t need. And if you really aren’t home often enough to watch cable, you can either stick with the basic cable or simply sign up for a low-cost media streaming service like Netflix (here’s how).

If your electricity bill is particularly atrocious, you can find out how to greatly reduce it by reading our article on 4 Ways You Can Slash More Than 50% Off Your Electricity Bill.

 

2. Cook Dinner at Home from Monday-Thursday

Look, I don’t blame you for wanting to eat out every evening during the week. You work long hours and you just want to get some food on the way home and relax.

If you live near a hawker and are able to buy $3.00 chicken rice, or better yet, $2.50 nasi padang, then by all means buy dinner. But if you’re spending $8-$20 every night to get dinner because you work in an area with typically high food prices (Orchard, Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar), consider cooking at home.

Yep, that means you’ll need to buy groceries. Seriously, with good planning and about $50+, you can buy enough groceries to last you the week.

Not only will you save money that you would have spent on dinner, but you’ll still be able to have the weekends to take your wife, girlfriend, or pals out for dinner.

Before you go out shopping, take a minute to read our article 6 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries.

 

3. Use Your Credit Card Wisely

You’re probably a bit confused right now. Some of you are also thinking to yourself, “Why the hell is this guy mentioning credit cards when this article is supposed to be about cutting your monthly expenses?”

Notice how I mentioned that you must use your credit card “wisely.” Someone without the discipline to control his spending will only increase his monthly expenses. But if you’re someone who pays your credit card balance on time every month, it can be a great way to reduce your expenses.

How?

By relying on your credit card’s exclusive money saving discounts such as:

  • Petrol Discounts: Having a credit card that offers a petrol discount can definitely help you cut your fuel cost by 5%-18% at selected stations.
  • Dining/Entertainment Discounts: Having a credit card with good dining/entertainment discounts is an easy way to save on dinner and a movie.
  • Holiday/Flight Discounts: Having a good air miles credit card is an easy way to accumulate points that’ll go towards free flight tickets, but you can also take advantage of numerous travel discounts (hotels, restaurants, free travel insurance, etc.).

If your currently lacking a credit card that’s lacking good money saving discounts, please read our articles on the 3 Best Credit Cards for Drivers in Singapore and the 3 Best Credit Cards for Frequent Flyers in Singapore to see which cards are worth applying for.

 

Know any other simple ways to cut your monthly expenses? Share them with us on Facebook! For even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today!

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.