We are starting to dislike the concept of New Year’s resolutions. Everyone aims for lofty resolutions only to completely fail year after year.
So rather than giving you a lecture on financial responsibilities and ideas for impactful resolutions that change your life (i.e. start investing $20,000 into stocks next year), we think we will just stick to simple and absolutely easy targets that anyone can easily introduce into their lifestyle to improve your finances.
These are actionable tasks that anyone can accomplish today, regardless of the financial knowledge (or lack of) that they have.
1. Download A Budgeting App
Gone are the days when you have to bring pen and paper wherever you go to record your spending before taking even more time tallying up your total spending at the end of each month.
In today’s technologically advance society, keeping check of your expenses is as simple as opening an app on your smartphone and keying in a few inputs. There are literally thousands of such apps that are free for you to download on your iPhone or Android powered phone.
A couple of us from the DollarsAndSense.sg team use this app call Money Journal Lite. If you have never used any budgeting app before, learning how to use this would take about 1 minute or the time you need to scratch your elbow.
Keying in your daily spending should take no longer than 30 seconds everyday, which you can easily do while waiting for the MRT/ bus to arrive on your way home each day.
When you record your spending, you gain insights into how you are spending your money. The natural outcome of this knowledge is that you will be able to identify if you are really putting your money into good use or wasting it at things you don’t really care about.
2. Top Up Your CPF Account To Build A Retirement Portfolio
Not everyone knows or is comfortable with investing in stock to build his or her retirement portfolio. However, providing a top up to your CPF account and building up your retirement portfolio is one thing that anyone can do, even without having any financial knowledge.
Here are some benefits of doing so.
Reduce Your Income Tax:
Every dollar contributed to your CPF account will earn a dollar for dollar tax relief for your income tax. This is up to a maximum of $7,000 per person per annum.
Earn Risk Free Interest For Your Retirement:
You do not need to be an investment guru to be able to earn risk-free interest on your retirement portfolio. Heck, you don’t even need a financial advisor.
Every $10,000 dollars contributed to your CPF Special Account will grow to about $32,434 after 30 years. This is risk-free and free of any transaction cost.
Assuming you are 25 and start contributing the amount of $10,000 every year, you would be able to withdraw $32,434 per annum from the age of 55 onwards.
3. Get A Savings Account That Gives You Good Interest Rate
It is hard to believe that in information savvy Singapore, there are many who are earning 0.05% per annum on their saving account when they can easily earn 40 times more just by putting their money in a different savings account.
With both the UOB One and OCBC 360 accounts giving out interest rates in excess of 2% per annum for fulfilling basic tasks such as crediting your salary into the account, and achieving a minimum spend on credit cards ($500) issued by them, there is really no reason why people should not be earning better interests on their savings.
We are not saying this amount will change your life. But why say no to a free $50 per month (based on 2% return on $30,000 savings) when all you have to do is spend a combined maximum of one hour to reconfigure the way you collect your pay and spend your money?
If you can’t be bothered to open an account, transfer your savings and do some one-off admin work such as getting your HR to credit the salary into a different bank account, we would really question how serious you actually are about your finance matters.
4. Reduce Your Handphone Bills By Bundling Your Plans
It is an open secret that bundling your plans together with just one telco would save you and your family members a significant amount of money in the long run.
For example, a family of 4 who bundles their mobile plan together (for that you need to make sure that your broadband plan is also under M1) will get a discount of 25% of all 4 lines.
Here is a comparison
|M1 Lite +
(200 mins talk time, 3GB data plan)
|No Of Pax||4||4|
Based on our comparison, you can save about $42 per month simply by bundling your plans together. The added advantage here is that you can also add your family members under the unlimited free calls to three M1 members so you do not even need to waste your talktime when calling one another.
What are some other easy actions items that anyone can do? Share it with us on our Facebook page.
Bonds and Fixed Income