Being unemployed involuntarily is easily the most unenviable position to be in. But it is a reality that happens quite unexpectedly and you should be prepared just in case. Here are a few things that you can stop doing to save you money until the pay cheque starts coming in again.
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1. Superfluous spending
It is only when you are unemployed do you realize how many of those daily, sometimes mundane, activities are actually a waste of money. Hopping into cabs at the drop of a hat, shopping for fashionable threads, munching on those exorbitantly priced popcorns at the movies, and what to say of that weekend bar crawl – make these things of the past till you manage another job!
We recommend: Save, save, save. Common sense dictates that conserving what you have is the first rule of surviving a bout of unemployment. Frittering it away on luxuries – stuff that you thought were necessities when you had that regular income automatically become luxuries now – is easily the topper in wasting money that can be squirreled away toward more urgent requirements like water and electricity bills. Take a step back and scale your lifestyle down a bit.
Must-try tip: Stay away from malls
2. Dining out
Living in the culinary heaven called Singapore and not dining out can be quite the task. But when the situation demands it, you might as well give those taste buds a break from eating out. Dining out is a luxury that an unemployed person must do without. It seems completely unnecessary that you waste a considerable part of what is left of your budget on expensive food.
We recommend: This is where serious budgeting comes in. Food bills are a recurring and necessary expense. You need to sort the issue out so that you don’t end up eating, quite literally, into your savings. Cooking at home is step one – much cheaper than any other option.
Additionally, you could shop for reasonably priced or bulk groceries while using cards that earn you the most cashback on grocery shopping. In case ordering in is unavoidable, scour the internet for deals and offers; or just sign up for a well-priced meal subscription. Alternatively, this is the best time to explore what Singapore’s famed hawker stalls have to offer!
Must-try tip: Check out Giant or NTUC FairPrice warehouse sales.
3. Upgrading gadgets and services
Singapore and gadgets seem to go hand in hand. The latest phones, trendy gadget and services put more of a strain on our budgets than we realise.
We recommend: This would be good time to give the fashionable gadgets the cold shoulder. The world will NOT come to an end if you are not found with the latest phone, but it just might collapse if you can’t pay your monthly EMIs or other bills!
Switching from your expensive cable service and instead streaming from Netflix is an idea that will save you a considerable amount. Consider reworking your internet service – you don’t need the fastest fibre plan to get things done. You could also go through your gadget stash and sell some of it on online!!
Must-try Tip: Sell and buy (if you have to!) on Carousell, Shopee or Gumtree
4. Cabbing it
Transportation is a huge cost and one that can easily be trimmed to help you save. Cabbing it in such times would prove prohibitively expensive; and completely unnecessary unless there is an emergency. Ditch the comfort of the cabs and walk that extra bit to a bus stop.
We recommend: Uninstall those cab apps now! We are not recommending that you stay put in one place – only that you try out cheaper means of transport like the super-efficient public transport system of the country.
The MRT and bus system should suffice for most locations around the city. Alternatively, you could cycle your way around – its free and you get a good workout, saving on gym subscription in the process. Win-win!
Must-try Tip: Install MyTransportSG, SG Buses, SBS Transit IRIS and good old Google Maps. You’ll never need a cab again!
5. Not making your credit card work for you
In times like this, using your credit cards efficiently, will go a long way. Although it is also the best time to not run up bills and stay cautious spends.
We recommend: Use the card in a way that helps you the most – figure out what offers you have on your cards and try to coordinate your expenses with your card to get the most benefit. For example, get up to 5% cashback on your grocery spends with the HSBC Visa Platinum Card. Keep a few other cashback cards handy for all other purchases or whip out the Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum Card and get 7% cashback on online shopping.
Must-try Tip: Look up the cashback sites before you buy online.
6. Spending on travel
Holidays are obviously a ridiculous idea when you’re out job hunting, but we are talking all non-essential travel here. Visiting relatives and friends out of town or travelling for a concert or a show can get you down more than you bargained for.
Budget wise, you can start adding bills for everything from the travel tickets to eating out, accommodation, and commuting.
We recommend: Stay put at home – ignore those tempting invites. If it is work related or some sort of an emergency, be wise and choose the cheapest mode of transportation and accommodation.
Must-try Tip: If you’ve already booked vacations, try selling off the packages or booked stays to friends. Most hotels may have a strict cancellation policy, but are happy to accommodate other guests, even when the stay has been booked on your name.
While you will soon be employed again, some of these tips can come in handy even when the going is good!
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