Make Your Money Work Harder For You
Simply Her Singapore|October 2016

Don’t let financial issues take over your life. Take these tips from financial experts on how to get rich faster, from saving quickly to investing cleverly.

Davelle Lee and Priscilla Kham

INCREASE YOUR SAVINGS QUICKLY

Need to save a lump sum quickly to buy a new car? Or looking to accrue capital to start a business? Start by setting SMART goals for each of your big-ticket expenses, says Vincent Tey, executive director of Providend, an independent private wealth management firm. That means setting targets that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and within a Timeline.

When estimating how much you need for a big-ticket expense, Vincent advises adding 10 per cent more to your total target amount as a buffer. This gives you a clearer picture of how much of your income you should apportion to each expense.

With your goals set, you should now work backwards from each lump sum and determine how much you need to set aside each month to save enough by the deadline. Then, use these clever saving strategies to achieve these goals.

1 TRACK YOUR SPENDING 

Create a detailed income and expenditure statement, says Vincent. Categorise your expenditure into fixed and variable expenses, and diligently record and review your finances. “Review your total expenditure pattern at the end of the month,” he says. This lets you see what you tend to spend the most on.

Michael Tan, senior account manager at GYC Financial Advisory, says an easy way to do this is to use an Excel spreadsheet.

2 CUT BACK

Study your finance statement and identify areas you can cut back on. Prioritise all expenses. “It’s all about choices,” says Michael. Always ask yourself whether you need something and what purpose it serves.

For example, if you’re planning a family holiday, ask what you value about a trip. Is it beautiful scenery, or time spent with the kids? If it’s the latter, skip the expensive European tour and opt for a cheaper destination in South-east Asia.

Sim Weiping, a professional certified coach at Executive Coach International, says one way to scale back is to cross out three expenses at a time until there is nothing left.

“The order in which you cross out items will give you a sense of what you can cut back on,” she says.

You can even review your insurance plan(s) to see if there is unnecessary coverage you can cut, to save on your monthly premiums, says Vincent.

3 AVOID EMOTIONAL SPENDING 

“Do you spend money on a whim or go shopping because you’ve had a bad day?” Weiping asks. “When do you usually splurge the most on things you don’t really need?” Be aware of such times so you can put a stop to unnecessary spending.

“Go for a jog or make someone else’s day better. Do something that makes you feel better instead of indulging in retail therapy,” she says.

4 REDUCE YOUR CREDIT CARD LIMIT 

Doing this will train you to be disciplined in your spending, says Weiping. You may not actually be pushing your credit limit, but having a lower one will make you more mindful of what you do spend on.

“What’s great is that it also helps you avoid those huge credit charges when you happen to overspend,” she says.

Alternatively, Vincent suggests leaving your credit card at home and using cash instead. Withdraw a predetermined amount of cash for the week and restrict yourself to that amount, says Michael.

5 AUTOMATE YOUR SAVING 

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