Budgeting is a simple concept of putting some money for you or your children's future.
Everyone has learned the importance to budgeting and saving but many have not been successful at putting it into practice effectively.
Your expenses MUST NOT = Your income
This leads you to have NO positive cash flow. Which is no good...
If you are not able to put money aside and invest for your future, you will be trapped in the "Rat Race".
It is a never ending cycle where you're just working for money and there's no financial progress since the moment you started working.
Pros And Shortcomings Of Using Alternative/Sub-accounts To Separate Out Savings
You may have an alternative bank account where you have been squirrelling savings away with some success.
If you have, you can consider sub-accounts and OCBC for example has such a feature.
OCBC online banking has a "SAVINGS GOAL FEATURE".
By setting a goal, a sub-account is created and it will automatically calculate how much per month you need to allocate to this goal to achieve that target.
For example, if you want to $100,000 for a house upgrade, you'd need to move $1,235 per month till Dec2025 to achieve that.
Once your savings have been moved into your goal, you CANNOT withdraw it from your bank account.
However, this amount of money is still visible to you online. You can still move back the money from this sub-account back into your main account ANY TIME.
From my experience in budget planning, this can work if you have been saving relatively well. If you are struggling to save, having sub-accounts will NOT be sufficient.
Move on to the next section to learn on the 3 steps to save more today!
Step 1) Get A Budgeting App Onto Your Phone
The best way of monitoring your money is by getting a Budgeting App.
There are other popular apps as well such as the Seedly App or the Mint App.
Be familiar with what the application can offer you in terms of categorizing the amount you've spent. The seedly app can also help you consolidate your bank accounts to display the amount you have in total.
This step is the foundation and is crucial for you to gain a savings mindset change!
Step 2) Do A Credit Card Bill Audit
Check on your credit card bills. Be more aware on what you have purchased.
I'd recommend to go through a few months of your previous bill thoroughly to identify patterns on how you've been spending so far.
2 quick real life stories...
I've a cousin who is in the banking industry and he used to spend quite a lot on drinking. In the banking industry, hanging out at bars after work is common.
After doing a credit card bill audit, he realised that he had been clocking almost $2,000 a month purely on drinking expenses.
The audit was his wake up call as to where his income had been going.
He wanted to change and start saving up and the first step was to cut back on his drinking expenses.
I've a friend's husband who used GRAB frequently for transport to and fro work. After the credit card bill audit, he realised he had been clocking more than $600 a month on it.
A simple change in habit to wake up earlier and leave on time for public transport.
By categorizing your credit card bills into your app, you will EMPOWERED to manage your money and budget more effectively.
I'd further add with a strategy that is to be accountable to someone on your audit.
This person must benefit from your change. It could be your parent or your spouse.
Step 3) Set Specific Targets On Where You Want To Cut Back
A poll on Singaporeans’ spending habits over the past three months found that food and beverage is the highest expenditure!
A Singaporean could spend an average of $17,000 if he eats out every day for a year
What about you? What are your dining costs?
For me it's mortgage and car expenses. These expenses are kind-of fixed.
But I cut back on dining. I target to spend within $1,000/mth of dining in total for a family of 3!
The way I achieve it is to dine only in restaurants when I have a discount.
If you are looking for dining deals to reduce your dining cost,
In this dining app, you get 1 for 1 restaurant or buffet deals!
Set some targets for yourself and be specific.
Bonus Step: Move The Savings Directly Into Investments
Even with all the willpower and discipline you may have, it is easy to go back to old spending habits whenever you paycheck comes about.
This problem was mentioned in a previous post I did on emergency savings.
For my private clients looking to improve their saving habits, my recommendation is to allocate out a regular investment and move the money quickly out of the bank account. It is easily done with giro.
If you are looking to adopt this idea, make this amount you channel out THE AMOUNT YOU ARE LOOKING TO CUT BACK ON SPECIFICALLY IN STEP3.
If you want to cut back $500 on transport expenses, match it with a $500/m investment plan. Over time the amount will slowly start to grow.
In a couple of years, you will have a saving pot that you can be proud of and can help you with your short and long term financial goals.