Congratulations, you’ve graduated!
1. Golden Rule for Savings
There are loads of rules for savings out there on the net. There’s the 50/30/20 rule, 70/30 rule, 50/50 rule, and more. So which rule is the right one? Well, the right rule is this: there isn’t any.
However, if you want to accelerate your savings and retire earlier, I would recommend increasing the percentage of your savings to at least 50% of your income.
But do be realistic about your savings goals, and always take into account the following questions first: – What monthly bills do I need to pay? – Is there a monthly amount that I need to contribute to the household? – How much is my transport costs per month? – What is the minimum amount of money that I can spend on each day for food and leisure?
2. Create Separate Accounts
One of the biggest mistake that anyone can make is putting savings and expenditures together in the same account. There are 3 main accounts that you should set aside for and they are: – Savings account: This is where your fixed monthly savings will go to.
For instance, if you’ve decided that 50% of your monthly salary goes into your savings, then every month, without fail, it should be credited. However, decide on the purpose of this savings account. Is the account for retirement?
Or do you want to access the amount only after 30 years? This is up to you to determine. To save without a goal is equivalent to not saving at all. You could probably sign up with agencies that deal with such specific savings account like Prudential or AXA. Of course, for these accounts, access is prohibited and you’ll only see these dollars when your fund has come to its fruition. Nonetheless, there are many benefits like attractive interests, dividends or bonuses to entice avid savers so do make sure you do a thorough research on the savings account that you really need!
– Emergency account:
As suggested by the title, the money deposited into this account can only be accessed in times of need. But again, you need to define emergency. For instance, is it running out of cash in your main account before the month is up? Or is it unexpected illness that comes along your way?
– Long-term Goal account:
From saving up to that dream wedding or car, this account is for you to go after a bigger goal. What determines a long-term goal? In my opinion, a long-term goal requires the person to save for at least 5 years before the account can be touched.
If you don’t like having 3 different cards in your wallet, then consider getting OCBC’s Frank card as they have an option for you to create goals to save for, and will automatically deduct the money from your main account every month in order to reach your goal.
3. Declutter your life
Just like how items and excess clothes can clutter up your house and life, it is important to declutter your finances too! So how does one go about doing it?
A simple way to declutter is to take a look at your wallet, dump everything out and take a browse through the content. Do you have any unnecessary expenses that you can cut down on, such as that expensive gym membership you don’t really go to?
Or maybe you have too many retail membership cards? Regardless, taking a look at your wallet once in a while will let you know if your finances are getting eaten up by unnecessary expenses.
4. Never pay more for what you can get for less
Why pay for the original price when you can get it cheaper? From warehouse clearance sales, to discounts and cashbacks, there are numerous ways for you to get what you want AND save money at the same time.
Before buying an item, always think about whether you can get it cheaper down the road during a warehouse or seasonal sale. There are many websites out there dedicated to recording sales that are ongoing for different products.
After which, look around and see if you can find discount codes or cashback options to help you reduce the cost even further. For instance, ShopBack is a platform that helps shoppers get their value for money with various cashback, coupons and discount options. Which is why, your new mantra when it comes to buying items should be, “Why pay more when you can pay less?”.
5. Make it a habit to keep track of your finances
Just like exercising, keeping track of your finances might seem like a chore and there will be times where you don’t feel like doing it at all. There are loads of apps out there that can help you keep track of your finances.
Personally, I don’t think the apps work for me as I don’t really like to update things regularly. So what did I do? I created my own Excel spreadsheet on Google Drive, and at the end of the month I will pull out all of my receipts and bank statements, and update it in the spreadsheet.
Not only do I reduce the amount of time spent updating it, I am more inclined to update and keep track of my finances because it’s something I only need to do once a month. But then again, that’s something that works for me. The trick to making it a habit is to find a way that is enjoyable and least painful for you to do it.
6. Learn how to make your money work for you
It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for. –Robert Kiyosaki If you think that just by saving your salary alone will ensure your retirement, then think again. You’ve often heard this saying: make your money work for you instead of the other way round. But the main excuse that people give is, they don’t have enough capital, they aren’t sure where to start or they think investing is a gamble.
Which is why, before you learn how to make your money work for you, you need to change your mindset on this first. Because when there’s a will, there’s a way. If you think you don’t have enough capital to start off, then start by setting aside money to create that capital. If you aren’t sure where to start, read books and speak to people who are knowledgeable in that field.
Finally, if you think investing is gambling, then I’d say, it’s only gambling if you don’t know what you’re doing. So stop procrastinating, and start doing!
7. Know your worth
If you’re a graduating student, then it’s highly likely that you will be on the search for a job. During your job search, think about the fair amount of salary you would like to receive and negotiate it with your potential boss.
However, when it comes to this, always keep in mind the current market value for your skills, and be reasonable in the amount of salary you think you deserve. One of the ways you can find out your worth is by checking out the latest statistics by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) HERE. Depending on the type of institute, course and duration of the course, the average salary for a graduate varies.
However, when it comes to negotiation, do take into consideration that there are a few hundred graduates out there in the market aiming for the same job as you. So tread wisely.
8. Constantly upgrade yourself to increase your worth
Just because you’ve graduated from school doesn’t mean the studying stops. If anything, your real education starts now.
The answer to that is this. By constantly upgrading yourself and learning new skills, whether it is related to your current field or in another field, you have a higher bargaining power when it comes to your salary and job security, which in turns affects your overall finance. Think of it as investing in yourself for higher returns.
9. Familiarize yourself with current news
10. Reward yourself
What’s the point of saving and investing constantly if you don’t reward yourself? One of the things that I learnt was to give myself certain milestones and reward myself with something when I hit those milestones.
Here are some examples:
– Cut down on unnecessary food expense (such as random snacks, sweets & drinks) by $100 for that month = Reward is 1 cup of Starbucks – Saved $500 in one month = Reward is a set of new clothes/accessory under $100
– Read finish 1 investing book = Reward is extra $50 for that month to spend By setting certain milestones to hit, and rewarding yourself when you hit it, getting your finances on track won’t be a chore, and over time it will become something fun instead. Think of it as a game, and the more you save, the higher your experience points will be. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information? Don’t worry and take things one step at a time, because we know you got it!
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