Budgeting

6 Things You Can Do By Yourself Instead of Paying Someone Else to Do It

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Joanne Poh

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Singaporeans are master outsourcers. We like to pay people to do everything for us, from household chores and minding the kids to washing our cars and feeding ourselves. We never have time to do anything for ourselves because we’re so busy earning money to pay the people to whom we outsource our lives to.

While we’re not saying you should go off the grid and start generating your own electricity and fetching water from a well, here are six things you can do on your own that can save you quite a bit.

 

Cut your own fringe

Anyone who has a fringe knows how annoying it is to have to cut it cut every one or two months or risk looking like the Shaggy Dog in that Disney live action movie. This is especially so when the rest of your hair could actually go three to six months without being cut.

The easy solution is to simply cut your own fringe. It’s nowhere near as hard as cutting the rest of your hair. There are numerous videos on Youtube showing you how the pros do it like this and this. It also helps if you watch your hairdresser closely when he cuts your fringe instead of squeezing your eyes shut in fear that hair will get into them, so you know how to replicate the job later.

 

Give your headphones a new lease on life

We all know how it feels when that pair of headphones you shelled out over $100 for becomes unresponsive in one ear. Most people just say a prayer for their dead headphones before tossing them into the bin. Don’t do that. Instead, head to Funan Centre or Sim Lim Square (yes, that Sim Lim) and ask if anyone can help you fix them.

A simple soldering job should cost only about $10 (but ask them first so you don’t get fleeced) and can give your headphones a new lease on life. (Okay, we know you’re not exactly doing it yourself, but it does remove the need to buy a new pair of headphones). You can also check this out:.

 

Source for your own meds

Most of us don’t realise it, but doctors in Singapore often get patients to pay for medication for which generic versions are available at Guardian Pharmacy  at a fraction of the price. That’s because Singaporean clinics have their own pharmacies or dispense their own meds, so it’s in their best interests to sell whatever nets them the highest profit. If you’re down with a flu, fever or cough, always google the medicines the doctor tries to prescribe on your smartphone before you agree to buy them.

Chances are you’ll be able to find cheaper equivalents at Guardian Pharmacy. For instance, doctors are always trying to sell expensive paracetamol equivalents that can be replaced by Panadol. If you’ve got a friend or relative who’s a doctor, even better, as you can just check with them what to buy after receiving an MC from your regular GP.

 

Pack your own lunch

If you cook at home for dinner, you have no reason to spend extra money on lunch during the work day. Just make an extra portion during dinner, pack the leftovers into a tupperware and voilà, you’ve saved yourself the $5 to $15 you would otherwise have spent on lunch at the office.

Most offices have cutlery and a pantry where you can heat food up in a toaster oven. If you’re a big eater, supplement your lunch with fruit or snacks bought at the supermarket. This trick can save you $100 to $200 a month and requires little extra effort.

 

Do your own nails

Manicures and pedicures cost a ton of money. That $30 to $100 you spend each time really isn’t the smartest use of your money, especially when it’s something you can do on your own. A nail technician can easily learn the skills to give someone a basic manicure and pedicure within a day—it’s the nail art and other fancy treatments like extensions and gellish that require greater skill.

If all you’re getting is a basic coat of nail polish, you can learn how to give yourself a professional-grade manicure and pedicure easily here:

 

Watch workout classes online

If you’re a member of a gym or have signed up for a package simply so you can attend exercise classes that don’t require any specialised skills like bodypump or zumba, save your money and just google up videos on YouTube instead.

There are numerous full classes on YouTube that you can follow repeatedly till you know them by heart. For instance, you can find hour-long K-pop workout classes here and zumba classes here. So long as you’re not doing anything potentially hazardous like standing on your head, these videos give you the same value a real live gym instructor does.

What other things do you DIY? Tell us 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.

  • Hans C

    The food here in SG is so cheap, why would anyone pack a lunch if even the lowest paid workers can afford to eat in a hawker? My tip for saving money: learn basic handy-man skills, drilling a hole or changing a ceiling lamp is very straightforward. Just check youtube for instructions.