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How much money you can save really depends on the amount of time at your disposal. If I didn’t have to work or have a life, I would be able to grow my own vegetables on my balcony, sew my own clothes and make everything in my kitchen from scratch. Heck, I would even be creating my own soaps out of leftover animal fat and collecting and distilling my own rainwater. However, the sad fact is that the amount of time it takes to save a bit of money often makes it not worth the effort—especially to Singaporeans, who have a reputation for being constantly busy working. Here are four ways to save money with only a minimal time investment for the lazy Singaporean.
1. Automate your bill payments
Every month, a significant chunk of your time gets wasted as you log into your internet banking account or queue up at the AXS machine in order to manually pay all your credit card and other bills. That’s not exactly my idea of a lunch hour well-spent. I don’t understand why people don’t just automate all their bill payments to take place via GIRO. Considering banks can fine you about $50 for paying your credit card bills late, even if the amount owning is only $10, by paying your bills via GIRO you’re eliminating the risk of losing money every month. Also, automating your bill payments can help you to earn more interest if you are looking at some of the newer savings accounts out there.
2. Cancel subscriptions you don’t need
Subscriptions are a silent killer, slyly siphoning away your money while you slowly forget you ever subscribed to that service or publication. While you might have been enthusiastic when you first signed up, after a while the feeling fades and you end up paying for something you don’t even use. For instance, gyms typically see a huge surge in sign ups in January as, hot on the heels of their new years resolutions to obtain a body like a Victoria’s Secret model / Chippendale, people sign up for memberships in droves. However, after the Chinese New Year binge fest they’re fatter than ever and their gym memberships have fallen by the wayside.
3. Get dividend stocks
If you’re looking for a steady flow of income, want to get into investing but don’t want to have to watch the market like a hawk, purchasing some dividend stocks can be a nice way to do it. Obviously you shouldn’t go out and buy a batch of stocks as and when the fancy strikes you. You’ll have to watch the market before you make a purchase. But if you get your stocks at the right time and intend to hold onto them for the long haul rather than engaging in speculative buying and selling, you can pretty much sit back and enjoy the dividend income for the next few years. You’ll also be saving money by ensuring your existing cash doesn’t get eroded by inflation.
4. Revise your mobile phone plan
Practically everyone in Singapore has a mobile phone plan, and some of the most expensive mobile data plans can cost over $100 a month. The sad thing is that many of the people on these expensive plans use them not because they really need that much data or talktime, but because they were lured into upgrading their plans in order to buy a fancy new smartphone. Or they might have needed the data in the past but don’t anymore now that there’s free wifi at work and in many public spaces such as MRT stations.
Simply spending a few minutes surfing the internet for a cheaper plan, and then contacting your telco about downgrading your plan will take you less time than you spend commuting to the MRT station each morning (in fact you can even do your research during your commute), but can save you a significant amount each year. If you downgrade your $100 a month plan to a $40 a month one, that’s $720 a year saved right there. Not bad for a morning’s work.
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