by Emily Goh. |
We have partnered up with Crunch to provide you with helpful information to gain better financial literacy. Through our post, you will learn how to manage your money better, save more and secure your finances for the future. If you often find yourself clueless on money matters like paying your first income tax, applying for loans or even how to save more without feeling miserable, this series is just for you.
We got your back. It’s time to take control of your #MoneyMatters.
You know how when we imagine an increase in our bank account balance, the first thing that pops into our head is always to save more. Sometimes when we are really determined, we would do everything we can to save, and that means eating bread for a whole week despite how it makes you feel miserable.
But then again, sometimes it feels as if no matter how hard you try, cutting out all of life’s wonderful pleasures that money can buy does not seem to make the cut. You cut out that wonderfully crafted morning latte, the urge to proceed to checkout on all your online purchases, cutting your hair super short just so you can save up on haircuts etc; and yet, it feels as if you have hit a stagnant point in your saving capabilities.
Image: Swedish Nomad
Before you start beating yourself up or starving yourself further, maybe there is a possibility that you can achieve your financial goals by increasing your top financial funnel, i.e., increasing your income.
So how do you know when it is time for which?
Here are some tips on how you can do both, and when you should do which so it can serve you better (without you constantly being anxious about your #MoneyMatters).
HOW TO SAVE MORE MONEY:
1. Observe your spending habits and work on it.
It is always difficult to start saving more money if you don’t fully understand your spending habits. Just simply start by recording all your expenses for one to two months, such as doing it on a Financial App like Hey Alfred, and it will help you track and breakdown how much percentage are you spending on different categories, such as food, shopping, rent, debts etc.
By understanding specifically which category are you spending on, you can evaluate if it makes sense to you or not. If you find a specific category that you are spending too much on, it is time to review how you can adjust and realign it to fit your new budget.
For example, if you realised you are spending a lot of food, perhaps you can look into the details, and figure out if you really NEED to spend that amount, or you can reduce it by finding other alternatives such as buying food from other places or consider meal prepping to become more cost-efficient.
2. Be a smart shopper
There are certain things you cannot avoid spending on. Sometimes it is essentials that you truly cannot live without, like a roof over your head or food to sustain yourself.
But then again, there are certain little things in your life that may seem like wants, but it is something that has a super great return of investment. These things include comfy pillows that help you sleep better, good coffee to fuel you through your workday or a good notebook that you jot down your ideas on.
When you are working around your budget for these guilty pleasure purchases, perhaps you can look into ways on how you can get it for better prices. Sometimes it means checking out coupons, be it in the form of Promo Codes or buying through third-party platforms like Fave, or wait for in-store Happy Hour promotions, or compare it from different sellers to get it at the best price. Whatever you do, always browse around to see if you can get yourself a better deal before purchasing it impulsively.
The savings may seem small, but we are all familiar with this saying in Malay, “sikit-sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit”, so this extra effort will help you save a significant amount collectively.
3. Consider buying pre-loved items.
Another smart way to save cost is by exploring pre-loved items before you walk into a store to buy a brand new one. Especially if you are looking to buy higher price point items like electrical appliances or furniture, buying pre-loved ones is not a bad idea.
You can check out websites like Carousell or Mudah, and if you spend a little more time researching and finding the right fit, you will be able to find something almost as good as new, for a fraction of the price.
For more ideas on how to save money, check out this article here.
HOW TO EARN MORE MONEY:
1. Work towards a pay raise.
This does not mean you just walk up to your boss to ask for a raise with the reason that you need to achieve your financial goal sooner.
When you find yourself hitting a ceiling for the amount of monthly savings, it is time for you to evaluate how you can work towards a higher income. This could be you working towards a promotion, such as exploring managerial roles especially if you have gained some experience and seniority in your company.
But this does not happen very quickly, it will take some time and effort from your end to improve your skills and work towards that promotion or pay raise. Always focus on creating better value to your company and see how you can contribute a larger percentage to the company’s business goals, and then slowly work towards it. How you can make this process more goal-driven is to have a chat with your team lead or manager and express your interest in scaling your career growth, and see how you can work towards it better. To know more about how you can negotiate for a promotion or pay raise, you can check this ou here.
2. Explore higher paying job positions.
Sometimes, it is not that your company does not want to give you a promotion or a raise, but rather it is not within your company’s capacity.
Perhaps you can do some research to understand better the average pay for a position like yours (based on your technical skills, experience etc), and see if your current salary is justifiable. You can check platforms like Glassdoor to get a better idea of the market rate.
If what your company can offer you does not match your expectations, maybe it is time to explore and move on to a company that is more aligned with what you are looking for. Before you make any rash decisions, always be transparent with your manager or HR manager, and express your concerns.
3. Monetize your creative hobby.
If you are in a reasonably paid job, and still feel like you have the capacity to go out and earn more money, you can explore creative side hustles from the skills you have to offer.
If you are really good at baking, you could participate in flea markets on weekends, or if you often do your own meal prep and your colleagues all get jealous, maybe you can sell lunchbox meals to your office peeps and earn some extra pocket money.
There are so many ways you can monetize your hobbies and make them your side hustle. If you have a technical skill that you have to offer such as copywriting or graphic designing, you can also get freelance gigs to work on so you can earn extra. But when it comes to side hustles, always remember to be ethical, where you don’t want your side hustle to be in conflict with your main job.
Whether or not you want to take the saving more or earn more money route, it is highly dependent on your current priorities. If you feel like you don’t have enough time to expand your skills or work on a side hustle, then maybe at this moment it would make more sense for you to look into your expenses and see how you can stick to a tighter budget.
However, if you have reached your maximum savings ceiling where all your expenses are justifiable (with some room to spare for joy purchases), then perhaps it is time for you to explore how you can maximise your income.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t make money matters feel like its a suffocating factor that robs you of your happiness or wellbeing, like starving yourself or working 20 hours a day etc. just to get there.
Instead, look into your current lifestyle and how you manage it, and explore how you can obtain your financial goal with a more joyful and comfortable approach. Find what serves you and your daily life and work towards it progressively, so it will be a fun and exciting journey for you.