30 ingenious but simple ways to live cost effectively in Singapore for lower middle incomers.

  • Positive habits

Inculcate a habit of saving up from young in your children and family.

Limit your phone usage on internet or Whatsapp to prevent overblowing 3G.

Off appliances and sockets when not in use.

Bring a waterbottle when you’re out instead of buying a drink. You will save up to 1/2 or 1/3  your money on meals.

Put aside money you have budgeted for expenditure (e.g. monthly newspaper payment, marketing budget)

Before you buy an item, ask yourself – am I buying it because it is a trend that will most likely come and go, and I ultimately will not value it later on ; or do I really need and want the item for the long-term.

  • Optimal choices

Do not regularly engage, or become addicted to smoking, gambling, alcohol, or drugs, and start the cycle of borrowing money from your families and friends to continue this cycle.

Cut down on unnecessary tuition or supplementary classes for your kids. Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to follow to stay competitive. Asking your child to do something he does not like might work for some and they might even thank you in the future, but it might not work for others, depending on how aligned the classes are – to your child’s personality, motivation level, and interest.

Do a simple small-scale wedding, buy a cheaper ring, or don’t do both if you don’t see the need to. Marriage can be something simple if you want it to be. It does not need a flashy ring, expensive outfits, or a large scale wedding to envelope it.

Compare different price values and quality for the same item, and see which has the the best combination of both.

Vote wisely for a good team or individual to take care of your SMC or GRC every 5 years.

Don’t be embarrass to pick up any unwanted coins or money on the floor if there are.

Stay healthy and visit a doctor if you’re sick to prevent the illness or flu from affecting your health in the long term.

Bath once a day instead of twice a day.

  • Re-using things when they are still in good condition

Don’t change your technological devices or phone once a year. All phones have the same basic functions regardless of brand. Change it only when it is spoilt.

Don’t buy clothes unnecessarily every other week. Trends come and go fast. Re-wear your old clothes, or buy clothes that you feel you will still wear 10 years later e.g. vintage or classic pieces.

Buy 2nd hand items from Cash converter and Salvation Army which comes at a cheaper price (e.g. videos and films), and do not feel embarrass when relatives and friends offer to pass you items that may be useful or helpful to you.

  • Alternatives 

Wait for the season of discounted sales to buy supplementary items you want.

Explore affordable or free recreational activities.

Don’t buy a car, or spend frequently on taxi fares. Use public transport, cycle, and walk when travelling to places.

Have regular meals at home, coffee shops, or food court instead of frequently cafe hopping at expensive restaurants and eateries.

Buy a smaller flat instead of a 5-room flat or condominium.

Don’t install air conditioners in your house, replace it with fans.

There are many childcares which allow exposure to children from a diverse range of backgrounds and profiles, offer subsidies, provide care to your child throughout the day when you’re at work, and have both socialised play and academic learning. “Branded” kindergartens are not always the “best” option.

  •  NO to Splurging

Don’t splurge regularly on hair rebonding and colouring, perfume, colognes, expensive accessories, high end brands of clothings, shoes, bags, makeup.

Reuse old things if they are still in good condition instead of throwing it away. Buy only what you need during marketing and groceries, don’t overbuy and end up throwing it away due to the expiry date.

Place an appropriate amount of money in your wallet to prevent unnecessary splurging.

Don’t feel pressured to splurge on festivals, gifts, outings, or things you do not see the need to spend on, just because your social connections are doing it.

  • External Support 

Maintain amicable relations with the people you meet in your daily life as these connections may be determining factors during your times of need.

Do not be embarrass to tap on school, governmental, community resources or financial subsidies if you really need it, and fit the criteria. However, do not become overly reliant or abuse the welfare system as well.

Ultimately, save up regularly, spend wisely, and splurge once in awhile on what you genuinely enjoy, not just to please, or fit in with others, but only if you can afford it in the long run. Inculcate the importance of this financial culture so that it can be passed on to the next few generations 🙂

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Written by: Cass


Featured images credits:  Paris Chia Photography (website), @Instagram@Facebook

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