2 years ago, I shared my achievement of hitting $100k cash before 28.
Today, I'd like to share how I accumulated >$50k within 2 years time. Honestly, saving around $25k a year is nothing to brag about. But I hope that with my revised tips - which doesn't differ much from what I had two years ago - would inspire or motivate you, especially the younger ones, to do the same for yourself.
To save money, start with discipline.
Set a goal
- When I achieved $100k at 25, I set myself a new goal to hit $200k by 28. I still have some time to go and may or may not hit $200k given that I've huge expenses coming up (wedding and housing/reno). But, having this goals helps me to work towards it.
- The thing is, I don't force myself to save a fix amount each month because I think I am disciplined enough. I still continue my indulgence of eating good food, going for holidays, and buying stuff I like because I know I have a healthy amount of savings to afford it. It feels good to know that I can buy what I like without worry.
- If you are starting out on this savings journey, maybe you can set a goal to hit $100k by a certain age? Don't ask me why $100k hahah it just seemed like a good goal to start working towards to :P
Set a budget
- If you are not disciplined, chances are you'll spend frivolously. Work out a budget based on your income. For example, if you are getting $2400 as your take home pay, and gives your parents $500 allowance per month, you are left with $1900 for yourself. Do up a spreadsheet on the fixed expenses you will incur - say, telco bills, insurance premiums etc.
- Work out the remaining amount you are left with and apportion it for savings and expenses such as food and shopping. You may want to keep your food and shopping budget low and keep watch so you don't bust your budget!
- Like I shared above, I've not limited my spendings - there are months where I spend way more than I should, but I am not really bothered as I know I'm disciplined enough. Of course, if I follow this step strictly, I'd save even more!
Track your expenses
- One tip I'm still doing today is tracking my every bloody expenses......every single day. To be honest, it's not fun at all. And, I occasionally missed out my expenses because....don't you have times where you forgot what you ate even when lunch was just a few hours ago? But it gives me a good idea of how much I'm spending, be it food, shopping or miscellaneous items. With this step done, you can tweak your budget accordingly!
- The same goes when I travel overseas. To my partner, he finds it a chore zzzz but it turns out to be a great thing for me because I get to see where my money goes to and tally to see if I lost/drop any money hahah! See, aren't I disciplined?
Stop your bbt or starbucks fix
- I shared how being low maintenance helps in saving money. While my peers spend $5-7 on their starbucks drink, or $3-7 on their koi frequently, I only indulge in them once in a while. I say once in a while because I don't deprive myself entirely from these sweet treats. It's ok to have such indulgence occasionally, but I never enjoyed having these extra sweet stuff anyway. Being health conscious and disciplined helps ;)
- This one habit already helps in saving more than my peers. For every $3-$7 they spend, I am richer by $3-$7 for I save it up!
Save money in high interest accounts
- While spending lesser helps in saving money, generating interests from your savings help to propel you further. One example from a book that struck me most was this joke about how a guy scrimped and save, only to put his $$$ in a briefcase stuck in his backyard. Roars of laughter arose when a fellow audience asked where he is staying at so he could access his cash. You see, his $ in the briefcase is earning nothing, in fact, it is a negative return given inflation. If he had parked the money in a savings account, he would have generated positive returns!
- You are making progress by limiting your spendings, but you impede yourself if you leave your money in low interest banks. There are plenty of high interest accounts out there so do your own research (again, discipline) to see which fits you best.
- I currently am on the BOC smartsaver, but am itching to make a move to the DBS multiplier. I also have the CIMB fastsaver which is the BEST savings account at 1% without you have to fulfil any conditions.
Save money in fixed deposits or bonds
-Before the introduction of the SSB, I was always on the look out for good fixed deposits - park it for a year to get 1.25%-1.6% which is better than CIMB fastsaver of 1%.
-With the recent attractive interests from SSB, I've gotten my family to park their money in the SSB. So far, I've ~$28k parked in the SSB and will be putting more should I see good rates ;)
Review your credit cards
- I've plenty of credit cards. It started because I wanted to milk certain rebates or receive freebies after signing the cards. But after a while, you realise that the actual credit cards you utilised are only a few.
- Hence, be disciplined to review the cards you want to keep or remove - which I've done it here. I will still continue to sign some cards if the deals are attractive, but I'll keep an eye on the number of cards I have, and where possible, cancel or seek waiver of the annual fee. One thing to note is, I will never pay for annual fees....even paying annual fees for miles doesn't seem attractive. Miles seem to be a hassle and a headache to utilise.....
Get cashback credit cards
- I used to have the best cashback credit, IMO - the BOC Family Card. It gives me $80 interest for $1500 spend, and $100 max rebate. That's a whopping $180 cash a month leh!
- Unfortunately, I don't have any preferred credit cards at the moment. Even the DBS Visa Debit is not for me because I don't clock $400 via paywave in a month - unless I make forced spendings....
- Most cashback cards force you to make minimum spendings. If you are a low spender, you can use the SC unlimited cashback card for 1.5% rebate. If you are going to spend money, why not milk some rebates?
Got bonus? Don't touch it
- With a >$25k savings a year, Frowns88 asked two points a) whether I'm saving $2000 a month, b) and if so, I should have a decent salary.
- To answer a), no, I don't always save $2,000 a month - my savings goal was met only because I DO NOT TOUCH MY BONUS. Like the word "bonus" indicates, it is an extra payment given to me. As best as possible, spend only within your monthly take-home salary and keep ALL your bonuses aside. Always remember, be disciplined and BUDGET your money well!
- As for b), how much would "decent" mean? :P I started off with a pay slightly lesser than most peers. It sucks to know I was paid lesser than the median for my cohort. But with some luck (thank god my bosses like me) and hard work, I've received around 10% increments. Let's just say I've not exceeded the HDB income ceiling, and may not even hit it in the next few years; comparing to other bloggers of similar age who have already exceeded the HDB and EC income ceiling ;)
- Which brings me to another tip...
It's not how much you earn, but how much you save and invest
- Don't feel disheartened if you are earning much lesser than others. We all wish to earn big bucks, but honestly, does everyone get the chance? We also harbour the thoughts of striking rich with TOTO because who doesn't want to be an overnight millionaire?
- But let's be practical, the odds are not in our favour. So, live realistically and practically.
- To summarise, set a goal, set a budget, track your expenses, keep your expenses low, save your remaining money in higher interest accounts, invest if you know how to, review your financial situation once in a while, and don't spend your bonuses (if possible)!
And lastly, READ
- There are lots of self-help books on personal finance. I'm pretty inspired by the Automatic Millionaire by David Bach and read the whole book during my short holiday. Read and open your mind about the various methods and ways to save money, earn money and invest.
- Many swore by Rich Dad Poor Dad but I kinda drift away after reading a few chapters. Generally, most books teaches you the same few tips as what I shared above. Ultimately, it's up to you to make your own financial decisions in life.
- So, read up as much as you can. There are loads of Singapore financial bloggers sharing their thoughts and journeys. Each teaches you different lessons which you can takeaway from. For me, I'm definitely not the best writer/blogger. In fact, I don't call myself a blogger for I blog just for my personal documentation :) But if my sharing helps you in some way or another, I'd be glad to know (plus I'd like to accumulate good karma hahah!)
I hope the above points helps you to kick start your personal finance journey.
Nobody is a better planner for your life than yourself. So, be disciplined and start it yourself...soon 😊