5 ways to cope when your cost of living goes up

cost of living

It feels like Singaporeans have jumped out of the pan, only to fall straight into the fire as a major cost of living crisis looms over our heads. With petrol prices rising steadily each week and totals at the cashier creeping up with each weekly grocery run, many of us struggle to stretch our dollar.

However, if there’s one thing that COVID-19 taught us, is that change is a constant.

Here are some of our ideas on how to cope when our cost of living goes up.

Go on a financial diet

Unlike setting a budget, a financial diet is less rigid because you work on reducing your expenses over a period of time. You set a goal for your expenses and then decide how to trim the fat. It’s not as punishing as adhering strictly to a budget (because taking a Grab is sometimes, essential) so it’s more sustainable in the long run. Think of it as a form of training to make better decisions forming positive and thoughtful financial habits for the long term.

Sweat over the small stuff

Spending $7 on bubble tea or handcrafted coffee drinks 3 days a week adds up to close to $100 a month. That’s over $1,000 a year! Sweat the small stuff when it comes to budgeting because it’s easier to make small changes than big ones.

But if you’re really craving a caffeine boost, get your Kopi O Siew Dai/Kosong at $0.90 from NTUC Foodfare and Kopitiam outlets! At these outlets, signature breakfast sets of toast, eggs, and Kopi/Teh are also priced much lower between $1.80 – $2.50.

Consider also, packing homemade meals instead of eating out. While there’s nothing wrong to buy a hearty lunch to fill your tummy and keep you happy for the rest of the workday, dining out can bump up your expenses.

Instead of dining out for just about every meal, we decided to make a weekly grocery run, and cook every meal at home.

And that brings us to the next point…

Buy Groceries Online

Very often, we spend more when we set foot in a supermarket. A simple grocery run of just getting milk and bread may sometimes evolve into something more ‘sinister’, like a stack of other unnecessary items piled up in your shopping basket.

If you want to avoid overspending at the supermarket, consider buying your groceries online. Selecting your items online, keeps you focused. Online supermarkets also have exclusive online promotions, translating to more bang for your buck!

Want to save more? Find online shops that allow you to pick up your items so you can avoid delivery charges when you don’t meet the required minimum spend.

Vehicle Ownership

As with everything else in life, your transportation costs can vary wildly depending on your choice and usage.

The virtues of owning a vehicle are undeniable, but there can be drawbacks. Inflated COE, rising petrol prices and road tax, and the miscellaneous hidden costs which are dependent on your usages such as car park rates, ERP, maintenance, and repairs!

Meanwhile, for many of us who do not own a vehicle, we are likely to rely on a combination of public transport such as buses, MRT, and taxi rides. An unlimited MRT and bus monthly concession pass for adults will set you back $128.

And if you’re the sort to depend on hailing rides to work, then you’d be familiar with surge pricing and the morning rush hour. While there are various promotions and codes to save on your fare, it is essentially an unnecessary expense to commit to regularly.

But as always, in the middle of difficulty there lies opportunity. Rather than taking up an entire taxi by yourself, carpool and rideshare when you can. By sharing the ride, you reduce the fare and your carbon footprint too!

Cut down subscriptions

If everything is more expensive, then it stands to reason that you’ll probably also need to cut back on your discretionary spending like subscriptions.

Subscriptions often sneak into your budget and hide there, eating away at your money without you even realizing it. Identify all your recurring payments and if it’s for a service that you don’t use regularly, it may be time to cancel.

If you don’t have any subscriptions (because you leech off… I mean, share with others) you may still be paying unnecessary fees like your credit cards. Consider switching to one without an annual fee.

Cutting down expenses is one way to cope with the high cost of living. The money you are saving not just makes your dollars go further, it can also be set aside. Over time these savings can add up and help you to reach goals you may otherwise never be able to reach.

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