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6 savvy money management tips for a healthier bank balance

These wallet-friendly budget hacks can help you to save more and plan for your future.

These wallet-friendly budget hacks can help you to save more and plan for your future.

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS, SHUTTERSTOCK

TEXT: MELODY TAN

(No) thanks to inflation and other factors, the cost of living is going up, with necessities like water and public transportation already seeing price hikes.

But fret not, there’s a silver lining for your wallet. With these six smart money-saving strategies, your financial goals – from buying your first home to planning for retirement – will still be within reach, and you won’t have to resort to a diet of bread and water to achieve them.

#1 CHOOSE MEAL PREPPING OVER DINING OUT

Did you know that eating all three meals outside at a hawker centre, food court or kopitiam could set you back an average of S$16.89 per weekday?

Multiply that by 20 working days, and you could be spending $337.80 a month – or a total of $4,053.60 a year. That’s not even counting dining out at restaurants or ordering in when you don’t feel like leaving the house. Cooking at home is a cheaper alternative, but it’s often tough to find the time (or energy) to whip up nutritious meals after a long day at work.

The solution: Meal prep in large batches on weekends. Freeze your culinary creations in handy portions and grab one every morning to bring to work for lunch. This will also save you the time spent on queuing up, securing a table and walking to and from your lunch spot.

Meal prepping is not only cost-effective, but a huge time-saver as well.

Best of all, there are plenty of free recipes online that you can customise according to your dietary needs and personal meal preferences.

#2 LET YOUR SPENDING DO THE EARNING

Sometimes, you can’t avoid spending on necessities such as clothes for important occasions or a quick bite from a nearby mall when you’re short on time. Why not make use of your spending to save on future purchases?

Major mall developers like CapitaLand and Frasers Property Singapore offer loyalty programmes that allow shoppers to scan receipts via their phones to accumulate points, which can then be redeemed for discount vouchers and freebies.

Similarly, HomeTeamNS has its own Rewards+ programme, where members earn +HPoints when they book participating facilities, make in-app purchases, and sign up for or renew their memberships, as long as there is a minimum spend of $10.

East Villa at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir is ideal for a family-friendly weekend escapade.

Every 100 +HPoints can be redeemed for $1 off payments made on the HomeTeamNS mobile app. This rewards programme makes planning leisure activities, such as a fun-filled staycation at East Villa, both enjoyable and financially savvy.

#3 TAP ON SUPPORT TO LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD

If you haven’t yet done so, don’t forget to claim your Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers for 2024. Rolled out last month, this government initiative aims to ease the burden of living expenses for Singaporean families. Each household is entitled to $500 in vouchers: Half for use at participating supermarkets and the other half at participating heartland merchants and hawkers.

Budget 2024, which was announced on 16 Feb, included another $600 in CDC vouchers as part of the Assurance Package’s $1.9 billion increase, with the same terms and conditions of usage.

To maximise the mileage of your vouchers, pair them with existing membership deals or promotions at supermarkets. For instance, FairPrice offers discounts ranging between two to three per cent on certain days to groups such as senior citizens, Pioneer and Merdeka Generations, and Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) Blue cardholders. Be sure to check the designated day for these discounts and have your proof of eligibility ready to show at the cashier.

Keep a lookout for weekly promotions and discount schemes offered at supermarkets like FairPrice.

Other Budget 2024 initiatives include a Cost-of-Living Special Payment of between $200 and $400 in Sep for those aged 21 and above who earn less than $100,000 per year and own not more than one property. There are also U-Save utility rebates of up to $950, and a one-off Service and Conservancy Charges rebate for households in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats, with the amount to be determined by flat type.

#4 UNLOCK DEALS WITH YOUR HOMETEAMNS MEMBERSHIP

Discover a world of exclusive discounts, rewards and benefits at a wide range of merchants with your HomeTeamNS membership. Enjoy perks such as one year of free travel or home insurance, 15% off handyman services for your household needs, and special rates at Thomson Medical.

For the young ones, T-Play at HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok and Khatib clubhouses, along with Action Motion, offer fantastic active play experiences where children can burn off their excess energy and hone their competitive spirit.

A T-Play Membership, valid for two years, is currently priced at $20.37 for HomeTeamNS members, while guests are charged the full rate of $50.93.

Action Motion, in particular, features an innovative gamified system that displays player scores and timings on a leaderboard, adding an extra layer of excitement. HomeTeamNS members benefit from discounted rates at these venues. 

If your kids prefer cooling off in a pool or practicing their swim strokes, bring them to the nearest clubhouse pool, where HomeTeamNS Ordinary, Associate and Family membership holders enjoy free entry all day. 

Action Motion at HomeTeamNS Bedok Reservoir is perfect for family outings. The Action Motion Squad Pass is priced at $151.54 for HomeTeamNS members during non-peak hours and $206.28 for guests.

Additionally, the HomeTeamNS membership entitles you to useful discounts on childcare and enrichment programmes. Promotions are updated throughout the year, so visit the HomeTeamNS website and mobile app regularly to catch the latest deals.

In celebration of the inaugural Home Team Day on 24 Feb, eligible members and their family can get a one-year FREE HomeTeamNS membership. Existing members will have their memberships automatically extended to 31 Mar 2025. Find out more here: https://www.hometeamns.sg/htd2024/

#5 ONE IN, ONE OUT: DECLUTTER FOR CASH

If you tend to indulge in hobbies or make impulse purchases, set a rule for yourself: Before you can buy another item, you need to first get rid of one – by selling it online. While you might not recoup the full cost, selling your pre-loved items helps declutter your space and allows you to continue funding your passions without having to dip into your savings.

Selling your pre-loved items is also a great way to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.

Tip: While most people are familiar with mainstream selling platforms like Carousell, look to niche ones if you have specialised items – such as Novelship for sneakers and collectibles, MadamMilan and Née Vintage for designer fashion, and Thryft for books and clothing (which can be exchanged for store credit only).

#6 MAKE USE OF FREE LEARNING RESOURCES

Trimming expenses is only part of the equation when it comes to achieving financial freedom. Giving your career – and, therefore, income – a boost is equally important.

Leverage your SkillsFuture credits on approved courses to upgrade your skillsets and nail your next career milestone, whether it’s a promotion or a shift to a preferred industry. All citizens aged 25 and above have an initial $500 SkillsFuture Credit, plus a one-time top-up of $500 in 2020 (valid until 31 Dec 2025). Those aged 40 to 60 received an Additional SkillsFuture Credit of the same amount as a form of mid-career support.

This year’s Budget also comprises additional SkillsFuture credits of $4,000 and a monthly training allowance of up to $3,000 for Singaporeans aged 40 and above. Both are applicable to full-time programmes and courses that improve employability prospects to help individuals increase their chances of securing more skilled positions in the workforce.

NLB provides users with a wide variety of e-resources, including e-books, databases, newspapers and magazines.

For self-learners, the National Library Board (NLB) provides extensive resources beyond books. If you’re looking to start your own business or want to explore a different career, check out LearnX on the NLB website. The platform offers curated video and podcast playlists, learning packages and workshop listings on topics spanning diverse fields from digital literacy and sustainability to health and wellness and the arts.

Like our stories? Subscribe to our Frontline Digital newsletters now! Simply download the HomeTeamNS Mobile App and update your communication preference to ‘Receive Digital Frontline Magazine’, through the App Settings.

Upcoming Events & Promotions

Check out the exclusive perks and benefits we have for our HomeTeamNS members in celebration of the inaugural Home Team Day 2024! Find out more here: https://www.hometeamns.sg/htd2024/
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FREE 1-Year HomeTeamNS Membership

Check out the exclusive perks and benefits we have for our HomeTeamNS members in celebration of the inaugural Home Team Day 2024!
15th March 2024
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