According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, in 2015, the average household in Singapore carried S$1,816 in credit card debt, up 8.9 percent per year since 2009. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to grow your money if you consistently overspend. By embracing the following three habits, you can stop frittering away your hard-earned cash and see your finances improve to protect your future.
1. Spend less than you earn
This is a basic but golden rule to follow. Instead of heading to the nearest shopping mall the moment you receive your pay cheque, put part of your salary aside into a savings account that you won’t access except for emergencies. Automate this process to make it easier. Start small and build up. Once you get used to this, saving a part of your salary will become natural and less painful.
2. Don’t fall Into the emotional shopping trap
Are you the type who indulges in retail therapy? The problem with shopping every time you have a bad day is that you could easily be spending much more than you should. Instead of going on a buying spree every time your boss disagrees with you or whenever you have a tiff with your partner, find other solutions that can help you de-stress or cope with your emotions. For example, instead of heading down to your neighbourhood mall, take a brisk walk around the nearby park. Not only will it distract you from the stressful situation, the Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB) also notes that regular brisk walking can help lower your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, in addition to relieving stress and anxiety.
3. Keep track of your money
Put your money front and centre by checking your bank account(s), if not every day, at least every week. This way you can ensure several things, including:
* Your deposits such as income or dividends from shares have come in as scheduled
* The bills that you have automated from your account have been paid
* You have not incurred additional charges (whether from your bank or service providers)
Track your expenses so that you have a clear idea of your spending. This is the only way you will know exactly where your money is going and whether you need to change your habits, such as eating out more at food courts instead of restaurants. Once you see exactly what’s happening with your money, you will see how simple things like cutting down on visits to the nearest café actually make a difference to your savings.
Whether you are trying to curb your spending or struggling to get out of debt, embracing these three habits will help take your finances from chaos to clarity.