How to Spend Money To Make (More) Money


Ryan Ong



Finance is all about momentum. Once you’ve made $1,000, it’s easier to make $2,000. Then it’s easier to make $3,000, and so forth. It’s like putting on weight; you start with one little nibble, and the next thing you know, you’re claiming disability because you can’t fit through doors any more. Like me, everyone’s been through that at some point. Right? No? Shut up you skinny freak. In this article, I look at how small expenditures can result in big gains:


1. Pay Your Refinancing Costs

Refinancing your home loan might cost you some money. But get the timing right, and you’ll more than make back the difference.

The two main costs of refinancing are lock-in and clawback. If you’re in a lock-in, you forget this idea. Typical penalties are 1.5% of the loan amount, and being strapped to the chair while your banker drops his trousers, moons you, and does the ka-ching dance.

Clawback is a different issue. Banks retain a three year right of clawback: When you refinance within three years, you have to repay certain subsidies. These are typically fire insurance and legal fees. The amount is about $2,000 to $3,000.

But if you refinance into a cheaper loan package, the clawback isn’t a big deal: A year of cheaper loan repayments will more than compensate for it. Just make sure you’re refinancing into the best available package. Check the free loan comparison sites, like SmartLoans.sg, for details.


Man signing contract with keys on table
“Uh, this last line says I also admit I was a lying twerp to the last bank?”


2. Hire Designers, Not Just Contractors

I discussed the difference between Interior Designers and General Contractors in another article.

A quick recap: Interior Designers handle things like wiring, plumbing and safety, in addition to picking curtains and stuff. It’s architecture for girls. Contractors are the “hands on” people. In a world where everything works as it should, the Interior Designers give instructions to the contractors.

Over time, some contractors decided they could handle the froo-froo decorating and bypass the Designer. The result: living rooms that now resemble the inside of a Joo Chiat KTV.

Bad taste aside, many contractors get commissions from selling certain materials. Some are more interested in the suppliers’ money than in making your house look good. While Designers may also get commissions, they have massive egos; they won’t tolerate ugliness for a few extra bucks.

You’re well advised to pay an Interior Design, or a design firm that employs Designers and contractors. Eventual costs tend to be 20% more.


Gaudy baroque room
Our cleaning lady’s going to be pissed.


3. Hire Some Help

You know why a lot of side-businesses fail ? (Besides money, Captain Obvious). The answer is time.

Maybe you don’t have time to handle social media marketing. Maybe you don’t have time to do deliveries, or compile surveys. That’s when you should bite the bullet and hire some help.

Poly and University students are always into added income. And I think most people would be happier to rip out and sell their organs than work in retail. A decent wage may be costly, but what does it matter if it keeps your side-business going?

Maybe your returns will drop, but you can keep your day job and still get some passive income. Just make sure the cost of your hired help doesn’t chew up more than 40% of your side-income.


Singapore graduate
Doctorate, very good. I’ll give you $500 a month to cold call these people.


4. Donate and Participate in Fund Raisers

Okay, let me start by saying that, if you only donate to network and know people, you have no soul. And probably a bright future in fund management or investment banking.

That said, giving up money to charity causes can result in nice bonuses. That’s why there are corporate sponsors for charities. You don’t think it’s purely out the goodness of their hearts that businesses do that. By supporting charities, they get free advertising, encourage new customers, and build community relations.

Learn from them. If you run a small side business, donate when you can. If you’re donating as an individual, look out for gala fundraisers. It’s an excuse to introduce yourself to important people. Might help that job search later.


Cheque presentation
“Thank you for…is that your resume stapled to the back of this cheque?”


5. Self-Upgrade

Spend some money on short-term courses. I’m not talking about a Degree or Diploma, but things like painting, music, or Photoshop.

The potential benefits are huge. Apart from networking (two people who play the same instrument have a lot to talk about), you’ll also find marketable skills. A basic course in photography, writing, or painting can result in marketable skills. Advertisers, for example, can apply techniques taught in all three.


Photographer texting
“Don’t text me, this photography thing matters to my job. Get another surgeon to do his brain op.”


Some courses can also reduce long-term costs. If you’re self-employed, I highly recommend Accountancy and Business English. The price tag may seem steep (some cost over $3,000) but they’re worth it. It gives you the option to skimp on hired help, when it comes time to write press releases, damage control letters, or invoicing.

If you’re going for a high priced course, make sure it comes with certification. You never know when you might need to turn in a resume.

You can also follow us on Facebook, and we’ll let you known when we find a money-maker of a course.

Image Credits:
stuartpilbrow, Victor1558, e_chaya, nasrulekram, House of Lim, kodomut

Got any ways to spend money to make money? Comment and let us know!

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Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.