Cents and Sensibility
Article by Joyce Sim (18 April 2008) for CDAC's Newsletter
Managing your Money
- Differentiate between Needs and Wants
Write down the things you intend to spend your money on. From this list, consider what are important and you can’t be without (e.g. food and decent clothing), and list them in the column under the title ‘NEEDS’. List the remaining items in the ‘WANTS’ column. Buy what you NEED and save for what you WANT.
- Draw up a Budget
A budget, or a spending plan, will help you cover all your needs, wants, expenses, and saving goals. Set aside money for your daily expenses – your needs, and save the rest (money for things in the ‘Want’ list, for rainy days and emergencies). Ensure that you keep to your budget. Keep track of how you spend your money. Record your expenses for the week to have an idea of where your money goes.
- Make Saving a Habit
It’s easy to save when you have saving goals. Think of how pleased you will be when you have enough money to buy what you want. Whenever you are tempted to use your saving, remind yourself that when you spend your money to buy things today, it’s gone – you can’t spend it tomorrow. When saving becomes a habit, you will automatically and effortlessly put aside a portion of any additional income (reward, birthday gift or money you earn for running errands, etc.) to build up your finances.
- Use Cash Refrain from buying on credit. When you pay hard cash for something, you usually feel the pinch, so you’ll be more thoughtful and careful about spending.
- # Stretch your Dollar
Find ways to spend a little less on things that you spend most money on e.g. go for a more economical healthy choice instead of a $4 - $5 lunch set. In this way, you’ll have a little more to spend when required and still keep within your means.
Money Smart Tips
- Compare Prices
Take note of the prices of items you intend to purchase when shopping. Know where you can get the best price.
- Search and Purchase Online
Search online for goods or services with the best value for money. Inform interested friends and relatives, and pool your purchases so that the goods will be sent to a sole address, to cut down on delivery costs.
- Be a Money Smart Guru
Initiate a ‘Wise Money’ or ‘Money Good Enough’ (or whatever you want to call it) programme / club / forum where friends could brainstorm and suggest innovative ways of saving and spending wisely. You could afford to have a small party to reward yourselves if the programme reaps results and everyone manages to accumulate some ‘extra’ money.