This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own, not those of my employer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.
January has just ended and we are over a month into 2015. For those who still remember your new year resolutions, how is the progress? If it is going downhill, another opportunity is just round the corner, Lunar New Year resolutions! *Smile* This topic arose during a recent conversation and it seems most of us had a new year resolution to save more money this year.
Out of curiosity, I did a search online for some life hacks on money saving tips. There was so much advice on a variety of creative ways to save. However, I felt that majority were advocating difficult or compromising ways of simply being frugal. For example, dining out less often, giving up expensive habits like smoking or drinking, take public instead of driving or simply spending less.
No wonder resolutions fail. However, I did find 3 simple yet useful tips from the sea of overwhelming information.
1. Paying By Credit Card
This may seem counter intuitive but the right credit card can actually help to save without compromising on the same purchase. Simply sign up at least 1 card from each bank and before paying, casually ask if there is any credit card promotions. Chances are if there is, it will usually save 10% to 20% off just like that. Even if there isn’t, using the appropriate card for the specific purpose will also help to save. For example, supermarket purchases can get 6% cash back and online purchases can get 7% cash back with Standard Chartered Singpost card; Weekend dining has 6% cash back with the OCBC 365 card; co-brand cards get more rebates, etc (Of course, the respective terms and conditions apply).
2. Doing Research First
That leads to point 2, doing the research for the right credit card. Nowadays with the availability of online connectivity, a quick check online will be able to do a comparison almost instantly. Just checking online if there is a cheaper alternative for the same item being purchased can help to save without compromising. So, simply do a check before purchasing groceries, air tickets, appliances, gadgets, etc. This can also be extended to research for the best deposit interest rates or mortgage rates for re-financing. For example, OCBC 360 Account gives 3.05% p.a. for a savings account if 3 simple conditions are met; POSB is giving 1.88% p.a. for a 1 year fixed deposit equivalent arrangement, etc (Again, the respective terms and conditions apply).
3. Planning Purchases
Last point to wrap up is to take advantage of certain time frame promotions. For certain purchases that are not urgent or can be paid ahead of time, it would be beneficial to hold the purchase for certain promotion periods like the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), Christmas Sales or like the recent SF50 promotion. Relating back to the first point, to fulfill the terms and conditions of the credit card, there is no point to “over-spend” and exceed the cash back limit within a certain period and subsequently not able to meet the next month, spread out the expenses or wait until the next billing cycle if possible.
Well, I hope these tips will prove useful to help save a little more as they are not impossible to do and most importantly, it does not compromise the lifestyle to be a scrooge. Do share if you have tips that have worked for you.