If you went to the Woodbury factory outlets or Disneyland Orlando recently, be glad you had the chance to go, because the US dollar is now worth 1.38 SGD, a figure that looks set to rise the rest of the year. We’ve been enjoying a great exchange rate the past couple of years, but it looks like those days are at an end. Online shoppers and students studying abroad in the US look set to be hit the hardest . Here are some tips for cutting costs as the greenback gets stronger.
Know where to go on holiday
If you’re planning a holiday or planning to further your studies overseas for a year or two, avoid the US and instead pick a country with a weaker exchange rate. While the Singapore dollar is faring poorly against currencies like the US dollar, Thai baht, Hong Kong dollar and Ren Min Bi, it’s still performing strongly against the Australian Dollar and the Euro.
Australia is a particularly good choice as the Aussie dollar hasn’t been this low in many years, while despite speculation of a rebound the Euro still remains low. This means swapping out Disneyland Orlando for Disneyland Paris and admiring street art in Melbourne instead of San Francisco is the way to go.
Check prices before shopping on US websites
During the good years when the US dollar was low, lots of products were cheaper to buy online even on sites that required the use of a shipping service like vPost. Now that prices have risen, it’s wise to check the cost of the items you usually buy online to see if they’re still the cheapest option available.
- If you buy skincare products on Amazon, check if they’re now cheaper on local online stores like Feel Beautiful when you factor in shipping.
- Those who buy vitamins and organic products on iHerb might want to check if their usual products are now cheaper in local stores or switch to an Australian online retailer. I get the sense that most of the health supplements should still be cheaper on iHerb though.
- If you buy computer hardware on Newegg, cross-check the prices at local retailers. A lot of items are now going to be cheaper locally since the price difference wasn’t that great to begin with.
Check the interest rates on your existing loans
Thanks to the weakening of the Singapore dollar against the US dollar, interest rates in Singapore have been rising slowly but surely. If you’ve got a home loan to repay, you’ve probably already noted to some alarm that the SIBOR has been rising. That means you could end up paying a lot more in the long run for your property.
While we hope you did lots of research at the time you signed up for your home loan, it might be time to look at what else is being offered on the market. If you find a home loan at a much better price, refinancing your loan (which basically means jumping ship to another loan provider) can save you a lot of money in a long run.
Read this article elsewhere on MoneySmart to get a better sense of whether you’re a suitable candidate for refinancing. Then check out our home loan comparison tool to see just how much cheaper the other home loans being offered are.
Have you been affected by the rising US dollar? Let us know in the comments!