Budgeting

3 Ways to Sneakily Save Money Without Even Realising It

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Joanne Poh

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Saving money in Singapore can be quite a torture. Imagine yourself, sitting at that overpriced bar at Marina Bay, sipping on your glass of tap water as all your friends clink their champagne flutes.

Picture yourself standing exhausted in the MRT cabin that’s mysteriously still crowded at 11pm, and cursing your company for not offering to pay for your cab ride home even if you worked late.

Now think of how you spent your annual leave this year, watching Korean dramas on your laptop, while your friends flooded your Facebook feed with pictures of their holidays to Iceland and New York.

Poor, poor you. Yes, being the only guy in town who’s trying to save money can make you feel like the most deprived soul in the land. But hey there are some ways you can sneakily save money without even knowing it, or feeling any pain. Here are three.

 

Cancel subscriptions you don’t use and downgrade plans you’re paying too much for

It’s one thing to pay for something that actually gives you some joy, or at least some relief. That cab ride home after work might cost 15 times your MRT fare, but if it buys you an extra hour to spend with your friends and family, so be it.

But subscriptions that secretly take your money every month even though you don’t benefit from them are another thing altogether.

For instance, so many young PMETs have fancy gym memberships that if all of these people were actually working out regularly, the gyms would be permanently flooded. The only reason they can still operate without having to enact crowd control measures is because the majority of their members don’t actually go there, or they tell themselves they will, one day when they “have the time”.

Then there are plans we pay way too much for even though we don’t need to. If you’re that guy who’s on the $99 iPhone plan, I sure hope it’s because you’re calling your mum 50 times a day.

Cancel the useless subscriptions and downgrade those you don’t need to the minimum you can get away with paying, and you’ll find you magically save more each month without having to change your behavioral patterns.

 

Raid your own wardrobe to uncover “free” stuff

Everyone knows that girl who’s constantly complaining that she has “nothing to wear” when her closet is in fact so jam-packed with clothes her bedroom looks more like Chatuchak’s clothing section than somewhere you would actually sleep.

Many people have gotten so addicted to buying stuff they’ve forgotten what they already had. After all, digging through the bowels of your wardrobe for something new to wear is harder than just heading to the nearest Topshop and paying $150 for a new outfit.

If you can’t seem to stop shopping, it’s time to take stock of what you already own. Empty out your cupboards and reorganise them. I guarantee you will find a ton of stuff you forgot existed, and that is actually good enough to be used again. Everything that you’re sure you’ll never use again should be thrown out or donated.

 

Make plans for your free time, but pick cheaper options

Let’s be honest. When you go out for dinner with friends and spend $80 per head on some exotic-sounding cuisine, does the cost of the meal make or break the night? Or is it the presence of your friends that counts?

People often joke that in order to save money in Singapore you have to be content with having no social life. And yeah, going out in Singapore can be freaking expensive due to the high cost of alcohol, rising cost of restaurants and lack of late night pubic transport. All this adds up and, for many PMETs, it’s common to spend $100 on a single Friday night.

In order to keep your social life chugging along without a hitch but still spend less, all you have to do is be the one who makes the plans—just do your price research beforehand and choose cheaper options.

Dinner and drinks could mean $100 spent on some atas restaurant at MBS and a few cocktails at a bar where the bartender tailors the cocktail to your personality. Or it could be happy hour at a place with $10 drinks (of which there are plenty) followed by an affordable buffet. Or, if your friends are the kind who go everywhere in flip flops, it could mean a hearty zi char spread followed by a Tiger.

There are various price points when it comes to entertainment, and the trick is to go as low as you and your friends are comfortable with, rather than always picking the most expensive options you can afford in order to look like you’ve “made it” in life.

What are the easiest and most pain-free ways to save money? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.