So you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to save more money this year, but we’re just a week into 2016 and you’ve already gone back to your old ways. Sure, you could start working on becoming a master investor, selling all the junk in your home or starting a side business. But at this rate, by the time you’re done it will already be 2017. Here are some ways you can save a bit of cash in a flash, so you have the rest of the year to work on your other financial goals.
1. Not paying your credit card bills by Interbank GIRO
If you’ve ever, in your life, forgotten to pay your credit card bills and been slapped with the hated late payment charge, do yourself a favour and sign up to pay all of your credit cards in full by Interbank GIRO. The full amount for every bill will be automatically deducted from your savings account, meaning you’ll never have to queue up at AXS machines, nor will you ever have to pay credit card interest or late payment charges ever again. Doing this also forces you to stop overspending on your credit cards in order to avoid the situation where the your account doesn’t have enough money to pay off all your bills that month. It takes but a few minutes to google the Interbank GIRO form for each credit card you have and then send it by mail to the bank, and yes this is a trick that can save you hours a year and keep your credit cards free to use.
2. Not picking a good savings account for your cash
Every Singaporean needs to know that you need to invest in order to not lose money as time goes by, thanks to inflation and the rising cost of living. But whether you already have a sound investment plan or are hoping to put one in place sometime in the future, you should be holding at least part of your assets in cash, including your emergency fund. Instead of letting your money rot away in the same savings account your parents opened for you when you were a kid, look for one that offers the highest possible interest rates.
3. Paying for unwanted subscriptions
If you’ve never ever tracked your expenses from month to month, don’t be surprised if you’re unknowingly paying for a ton of things you don’t use, or even know exist. Somewhere under those piles of bills lurk one from the gym you signed up for in accordance with New Year’s Resolution 2015, the magazine subscription to Teenage magazine you’ve had since you were in sec 1 but have since (hopefully) outgrown, and the $88 membership fee StreetDeal sneakily charged you. Cancelling all unwanted subscriptions takes a few minutes of your time (okay, maybe a bit more than that if the companies have terrible customer service), and if you add up all the money it will save you over the years, it’s a morning well spent.
4. Not bothering to claim company benefits
If you’re a full-time employee, there’s a good chance your company gives you some sorts of benefits—perhaps you get to take a taxi home if you work beyond 9pm or have to regularly cab to a client’s office. Maybe you can claim medical costs from your company when you visit a GP. Or you might have spent money on the company’s behalf when you organised an event for them. You would think Singaporeans, who queue for hours for stuff that isn’t even free, would jump at the chance to claim such benefits. But a lot of people just let the receipts collect dust in their wallets, until they finally quit the company without having made all those claims. If you want to make a bit of quick cash, dig up all the receipts you can make claims for and submit them asap… before you get fired or your company goes bust.
5. Not refinancing your home loan
No matter how big of a fashionista you are or how much you drink and smoke, there is (hopefully) nothing you spend more on each month than your home loan repayments. But just because you signed up for the cheapest home loan available 5 years ago doesn’t mean it’s still the best deal. Banks aren’t like fashion—there isn’t one bank that’s priced like This Fashion and another that’s Prada. The bank with the worst interest rates can have the best in a few years’ time. Refinancing your home loan can save you a ton of money when you consider the fact that you’ve got to make these repayments for a whopping 25 to 30 years.
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