Budgeting

4 Things You Should Definitely Be Giving Up That Will Help You Save Much More Money

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Joanne Poh

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Asking a hardcore chain-smoker to give up cigarettes might be an unreasonable demand, even if it means he gets to save a few hundred dollars a month. Other things, thankfully, are easier to give up—in fact, you might not even miss them or be glad you’re rid of them.

If an overview of your budget sends you into a panic and you’ve decided you need to cut some things out of your life, here are a couple of guidelines to help you weed out the things you’ll miss the least.

 

Anything you no longer use

Paying for something you don’t use is like throwing money into the drain. Your account balance continues to get lower, but you get zero benefits from it. To find things that you pay for on a recurring basis but never use, you’ll have to scrutinise a breakdown of your expenses and painstakingly weed out each one. The next step is to get rid of items you’ve purchased that you never use and could sell on the second hand market. Here are a couple of unused expenses you might have overlooked.

  • Gym memberships you barely use – these can usually be sold or transferred to another user
  • A mobile data plan that gives you more data than you need each month – downgrade yours at the first chance you get
  • Magazine or newspaper subscriptions for publications you rarely read because you get all your information online anyway
  • Guitar you bought but quit playing when you realised you were tone deaf

 

Anything that makes you feel bad

Money itself isn’t particularly attractive—it tends to stink from having been dropped in toilet bowls and farted on through some guy’s back pocket. But it’s handy to have around because you can use it in ways that make your life better. If, however, you’re spending money in ways that make you feel like crap, it’s time to wise up and cut these things out of your life because they’re doing neither your wallet nor your life any good. Here are some examples of things you might secretly hate.

  • If you’ve been drinking to the point of feeling sick every weekend, take a few drinks off your weekly order list.
  • If you hate wearing high heeled shoes because they make you feel handicapped, stop buying them.

 

Anything you pay for only because you care about what people think

Personal finance is, as the phrase suggests, something that’s deeply private. Yet people frequently spend money in ways that are dictated by the opinions of others. If that’s what’s happening to you, try cutting out some of these pride-fuelled expenses and you’ll find that you’re not really missing much without them anyway. Here are a couple of things that Singaporeans are particularly prone to paying for in order to save “face”.

  • If you’re spending hundreds of dollars on clothes every single month, you might be doing so out of a wish to impress the people around you.
  • A car that’s too expensive for your needs could be the result of being image-conscious.
  • Eating lunch at expensive restaurants every weekday? Perhaps it’s time to admit that you care too much about what your colleagues think and where you’re seen.

 

Anything that doesn’t make sense to pay for at your income level

It might be humbling to admit it, but many of the luxurious items you pay through your nose for are, let’s face it, items that you actually shouldn’t be buying, given your current income level. It’s time to take a long, hard, objective look at your finances and cut out those things that it doesn’t make sense for you to continue paying for.

  • Many car owners in Singapore should actually not be owning cars given their incomes. It’s not uncommon for people earning $4,000 a month to be spending $1,000 a month on their cars, petrol and parking, which is a crazy 25% of their income.
  • Property is expensive in Singapore, but you make the situation worse if you insist on buying private property and spend such a large proportion of your monthly income on installment payments that you’ll be immediately thrown into a crisis should you lose your job or suffer a pay cut.
  • Spending more than a month’s (or even 2-3 months’) salary on a handbag sounds insane, but is pretty common in Singapore given the huge number of people carrying designer handbags that cost $3,000 to $7,000 a pop.

What have you given up in order to save money? Let us know 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.