Smart Money Hacks for 2024

As we step into the final weeks of 2023, it’s time to break free from old financial habits and embrace money-saving strategies that can boost your income and savings.


Heading into a grocery store without a plan can be a recipe for overspending. We’ve all been there, wandering aimlessly and ending up with a cart full of things we didn’t really need. Avoid this by always carrying a shopping list with you. Having a clear plan in place will help you stick to your budget and make wiser purchasing decisions.

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If impulse shopping has been an issue for you in the past, it’s essential to protect your savings from unnecessary spending. Keep your savings in a separate account, entirely distinct from your day-to-day spending. By creating this barrier, you make it more difficult to dip into your savings impulsively, promoting a healthier financial discipline.


Stay in control of your finances by cultivating a habit of tracking your expenses. Whenever you receive a paycheck, record it in your budget’s income category. Likewise, make sure to log every expenditure, whether it’s filling up your gas tank or treating yourself to a delightful charcuterie night. By keeping a close eye on your spending, you’ll be able to identify areas where you can save and make necessary adjustments to stay on track.


Did you know that 4 out of 5 Singaporeans give in to impulse purchases? With 54% of consumers admitting that shopping on mobile devices has led to increased spending, it’s time to take control. Cut down on impulsive buying by removing those shopping apps from your phone. Instead, opt for online shopping from your laptop or desktop where you can be more intentional with your purchases.


Before you hit that “buy” button, take a moment to reflect. Ask yourself, “Is this the right time to make this purchase?” Give yourself some space between the desire to buy and actually making the purchase. Set a specific timeframe for consideration; for instance, commit to not checking out for 24 hours or even a few days after adding items to your cart. This simple money hack can be truly game-changing.


Whether you have ambitious financial goals as a family or just want to stay on top of your finances, communication is key. Schedule regular budget check-ins, either on a weekly or monthly basis, and involve everyone responsible for the family’s finances. By doing so, you can make informed decisions, track your progress, and work together towards achieving your financial objectives. Effective communication about family finances is vital, regardless of your specific goals.


No matter how well you manage your finances, there will inevitably be times when unexpected expenses arise. Rather than panicking and derailing your entire budget, it’s best to have a plan in place to handle these situations.

Consider creating a microbudget specifically for handling short-term unexpected expenses. Set aside a portion of your savings to serve as an emergency fund. This way, when unexpected costs arise, you can dip into this fund without disrupting your regular budget or long-term financial goals.


Resist the temptation to constantly upgrade your mobile phone just to keep up with others. Telecommunication companies may entice you with appealing upgrade offers, but remember that you’ll end up paying for that phone through your monthly contract. Instead, focus on choosing a phone that meets your needs and holds its value over time, allowing you to save money in the long run.


Increase your mindfulness and avoid impulsive online shopping by refraining from storing your credit card details on websites. When you have to enter your credit card information each time you make a purchase, it provides an essential pause to consider if the expense is necessary.

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Additionally, by not saving your details, you reduce the risk of potential hacking and unauthorized access to your accounts. Keep your online shopping experiences deliberate and secure.

Sources: 1,2, 3, & 4


5 Proven Ways to Save Money

While you may not have control over the economy, you do possess the power to influence your financial destiny through deliberate actions. With that in mind, here are five effective strategies for managing your finances:


Begin a nightly ritual of counting your coins and bills, setting aside your loose change with dedication. As these seemingly insignificant amounts accumulate, deposit them into your savings account. Witness the gradual growth of your savings, knowing that these seemingly trivial contributions will amass into a substantial sum over time. Moreover, utilizing cash for daily expenses can foster mindful spending habits, making it more challenging to part with physical currency. While this method won’t yield instant savings, it represents a steady and reliable approach to financial growth.


Achieving substantial savings at the grocery store requires a bit of proactive planning. Prior to your shopping expedition, assess your pantry and create a well-thought-out shopping list to fend off impulsive purchases. Learn the art of coupon hunting and enroll in loyalty programs at your local store to maximize your cost-cutting potential. Many stores offer additional discounts in exchange for contact information through their loyalty programs.

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If you possess a cash-back credit card, you could earn extra cash back on your grocery purchases. Some cards offer generous cash-back percentages, ranging from 5% to 8%. However, it’s imperative to pay off your credit card bill in full each month to avoid incurring interest and fees. Noteworthy credit cards for this purpose include the Citi Cash Back Card (providing 8% cashback at all supermarkets), HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card (offering 5% cashback at all supermarkets), and DBS Live Fresh Card (delivering 5% cashback for online and payWave transactions).


Guard against impulse spending by introducing a cooling-off period between the moment you desire an item and the point at which you actually make the purchase. If you find yourself shopping online, consider placing the desired item in your cart and stepping away for an extended period, allowing time for thoughtful consideration.

If waiting for 30 days feels impractical, experiment with shorter intervals like 24 or 48 hours for smaller purchases. I, for one, have an online cart filled with 5 items that I am contemplating on buying. I will give myself a month before I start to remove items from the cart.


Explore cost-effective alternatives for your cable and telecom services. This might entail downgrading your cable package or opting for a more affordable telecom plan. Additionally, consider eliminating your landline or trimming down on excess streaming services and premium subscriptions to curtail unnecessary expenses.


Liberating yourself from the shackles of high-interest debts can significantly relieve financial strain. Expedite your debt repayment process by adopting the snowball or avalanche methods, enabling you to minimize the total interest accrued and free yourself from debt’s burden sooner.

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Once you’ve conquered your debts, redirect the money you would have allocated to debt payments into your savings. If your disposable income doesn’t permit extra debt payments, contemplate engaging in a side hustle to generate additional income that can be channeled toward debt reduction.

Sources: 1 & 2


Grocery Shopping Mistakes That Might Be Keeping You Poor

Championing your grocery runs takes experience and skill. As a young adult, you may encounter challenges and make shopping mistakes along the way. As you become more experienced, you will be able to pick the right items while trying to save money.

From buying only name-brand products to buying fruits that are out of season, here are some supermarket mistakes that are slimming your wallet.


Say you enter the halls of the grocery and find countless options in the aisles. Keep your eyes peeled on the products in the topmost or lower shelves. These shelves often stock up on generic or store-exclusive products. You can get similar-quality products for a fraction of the price when you do not snob these generic products. Brand does not always equate to quality.


When you are buying fresh produce, a good indicator of value for money is the price per kilo on its label. Do not always presume that loose produce is the best option. Sometimes, packed fruits and vegetables are cheaper. Get the best deal every time you shop by getting into the habit of comparing loose produce to different packaging sizes.


Various vegetables and fruits are less available during certain times of the year. The shortage of supply influenced by the high demand hikes up the price in the supermarkets. When this happens, you will be paying more. Keep track of what is in and out of season through helpful charts. Not only will the produce be tastier, but it will be cheaper too!

For instance, blueberries can cost up to S$10 when it is off-season compared to the price of around S$5 when they are in season. During the off-season, you can look for canned substitutes such as peaches and pineapples.


Do not pick up the first packet of meat you see, as tired as you might be. Inspect the food first, before leaving the store. Visible brown spots are telltale signs that the meat is about to go bad. Check the sell-by date too. You do not want to waste your money on meat that is about to reach the end of its shelf life.


Did you know that some supermarkets provide free services such as descaling and filleting? If you are a newbie cook or you just do not have a good handle on fish, it is best to take advantage of the free services offered at the supermarket. Otherwise, you will ruin a good fish.


Making a meal plan for the week will help you reduce your waste and encourage more savings. Make a list before you visit the nearest supermarket. Remember to check what is available in your own home too before you start planning what you are going to bring home.


The longer the amount of time your meat spends in room temperature, the higher the chances of bacteria growing on it. When there are more bacteria on the meat, its lifespan becomes shorter, even if it is kept in the fridge. So, if you have an extensive list of items to grab, let meat be the last item before heading to the cashier.


The appearance of fresh produce is often manipulated by manufacturers to make it look more attractive to consumers. When fresh produce looks unnaturally spotless, it is usually because of the wax or pesticides that make them look fresh and shiny. Avoid these chemicals by embracing fruits and vegetables with natural spots or specks.


Many people go through the supermarket aisles and only look at the prices. While it is an excellent idea to pay attention to the price tag, you should also consider the size of the products that you are purchasing.

While one item on the shelf may be cheaper, due to packaging, you may get less product on a similar item that only costs a few cents more. When you are aware of the package price and size, you can make a more informed decision. Spend more money on things that will actually last longer.


Coming inside the grocery store with a list in hand does not always end up the way you want it to. Even experienced grocery shoppers buy too much of what they need. When it concerns highly perishable goods (e.g., strawberries, broccoli, and spinach), buying in bulk often results in food wastage. Items tend to go bad before we have a chance to consume them.

Although it is tempting to buy more than what you need to get the sweet deal of 10 for S$10, avoid unnecessary spending and stress. This does not apply to parents who have a huge family with many mouths to feed.


Cost per kilo and cost per unit are important in making informed decisions. When we think of bundles, we usually associate getting more items for an affordable price. However, this is not always the case! Compare bundles with standalone items to get your money’s worth.

For instance, you are buying cartons of juice.

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2 cartons of 275ml juice cost S$5, which totals to about S$0.009/ml
1 carton of 500ml juice costs S$3.50, which totals to about $0.007/ml

The difference between these prices may seem minute, but it can affect your savings in the long run. Remember to check the price of the item versus its quantity. Additionally, you have to compare the prices across the available brands. These steps may take time, but your wallet will surely thank you later.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, & 4


7 Ways To Become A Smart Grocery Shopper

These days, rising inflation which causes a higher cost of living means more households are looking for cheaper grocery prices to ensure that they can still buy the same quantity of goods with a similar-sized budget. Therefore, it has become even more important to learn how to shop smart when we are on our grocery runs. Let me share with you 7 ways to become a smart grocery shopper.

1. Fill your grocery basket with discounted items displayed at the front

To ensure shoppers never miss out on more savings, do you know that items on promotion are almost always displayed prominently at the store entrance instead of being tucked away at the back? Alternatively, head straight for items marked with the Price Drop Buy Now icon where great bargains are released on a weekly basis every Thursday. Grocery shoppers are thus able to commence their shopping journeys by filling out their grocery baskets with heavily discounted items first.

I adhere to this rule strictly to ensure that I am off to a good start as I gradually navigate my way through the store while I keep an eagle eye on more hidden gems.

2. Buy only essentials that are competitively priced

Here is a quick and easy way to ensure that we are buying essentials that are the lowest priced in the market without having to do the comparison ourselves. At FairPrice, simply look out for the Everyday Low Price icon where 500 daily essential items are competitively priced in the market at any time.

To provide greater savings, FairPrice will freeze the prices of 50 items, out of a pool of over 500 popular daily essential items, every month. The list of 50 items will be announced every last Thursday of the month through its print, online and social media advertisements so remember to keep a lookout!

3. Take advantage of limited-time promotions

Supermarkets tend to run limited-time promotions, especially if the fresh produce are in season during that period. At FairPrice, simply look out for the Price Drop Buy Now icon to snag weekly specials or items that are on limited-time offers.

For myself, I take advantage of these periodic discounts to buy in bulk and stock up on items such as non-perishables which have longer shelf life. Such opportunistic purchases are a smart way to save massively on my grocery bill!

4. Shop strategically on the “right” weekday

When visiting the supermarket, who you shop with may make a difference to your grocery bill! Let me explain how FairPrice provides discounts to various shoppers on all weekdays with Save Even More.

On Mondays, Pioneer Generation cardholders enjoy a further 3% discount on their groceries in recognition of their contribution to nation-building. On Tuesdays, Senior Citizen (≥ 60 years old) enjoys 2% discount. If members of the Pioneer Generation are not free on Mondays, they get a second chance in the week to enjoy 3% discount on Wednesdays at FairPrice, which is also extended to Merdeka Generation cardholders. On Thursdays, it will be CHAS Blue cardholders who get to knock 3% off their grocery bills.

Therefore, I sometimes get my parents to come along during my weekly shopping trips to FairPrice! Not only do I get to enjoy additional discount, I also get to bond with them and learn nifty tips on how to pick the best quality produce! Perfect for killing 2 birds with 1 stone.

5. Join the supermarket’s loyalty programme

It pays to be loyal to a supermarket chain. Simply find one supermarket near your neighbourhood and stick religiously to it to accumulate loyalty points. For example, at FairPrice, NTUC Union and Link members earn Linkpoints and enjoy 50% deals daily! After amassing a substantial amount of Linkpoints, shoppers can use it to offset the bill of their next grocery bill.

Wine lovers should not miss out on substantial savings as a Just Wine Club member. Simply pay a membership fee of $20 for 1 year or $35 for 2 years to enjoy an additional 8% off on regular and promotional wines!

6. Pay with Mobile app to get free discount voucher

Do you know that first-time users of the FairPrice App get up to $5 off when they pay with the app in-stores? Don’t sniff at this little incentive to get you started on this payment mode! Eventually, you will come to appreciate the convenience of skipping long queues and having all your Linkpoints tracked seamlessly on the FairPrice mobile app. If you are still not a Link member, simply download the FairPrice app to be one. Be notified of promotions instantly pushed to your mobile phone so you don’t miss out on great deals.

7. Pay with a cashback credit card

Finally, always pay with a cashback credit card if you have one! That is an additional saving that you might not benefit from if you are paying with cash instead. For myself, I pay with the NTUC Link Credit Card by Trust when shopping at FairPrice that allows NTUC Union members to save up to 21% savings. For non-NTUC union members, you can get up to 15% savings if you sign up for the Trust Link Credit Card.

Here are my 7 tips on how to become a smart grocery shopper! At times like this, every cent saved is indeed every cent earned. Do share this article along so that more households can benefit from shopping smarter and their wallets will definitely be thankful for it.


Who Says You Need To Compromise On Your Grocery Shopping Experience To Get Cheaper Prices?

Majority of grocery shoppers want cheap grocery prices, quality produce and a pleasant shopping experience. Is this an impossible trinity that cannot be achieved during a grocery trip? I attempt to solve this mystery by making a visit to the supermarket at my neighbourhood.

Moreover, it is hard not to notice that amongst daily essentials, prices of eggs have already gone up from $5 to $6.50 for a tray of 30 eggs. Given the backdrop of rising costs of living, would prices of daily essentials also spiral out of reach? It turns out that it is actually possible to score cheap grocery prices with absolutely no compromise on the product quality and shopping experience!

I made my way to FairPrice supermarket located in my hood. For a start, I realise that it always pays to be observant by looking out for these icons in-store. Here are some examples on how I stack up for more savings and rewards while shopping at FairPrice.

Most households would have a list of essential items that go into their grocery baskets during every trip. Likewise, I am no different. I make sure to only grab essentials that come with the Everyday Low Price icon since these are competitively priced to be amongst the lowest in the market. Since there are more than 500 most popular essential items, I am not short of varieties to keep my grocery bill affordable. These items comprise popular grocery items such as fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, staples, dairy, household cleaners etc. For example, I purchased FairPrice Thai Fragrant White Rice (5KG) at only $6.50. A similar branded product would have cost upwards of $10 at other places!

If you are FOMO-ing now, don’t worry as you can also score this bargain since this is one of the 50 items on the Everyday Low Price list that would have its price frozen for the month!

For shoppers who can’t decide on what to cook tonight, I recommend that they check out items under the Price Drop Buy Now icon for some inspiration. These are weekly specials or items on limited-time promotions guaranteed to ensure shoppers go home bagging a bargain of up to 50%. Even a meticulous homemaker who plans the dinner menu in advance can look forward to nutritious meals and incredible savings at the same time.

While I am out and about fishing for the best deals in FairPrice, I get to shop in comfort all the time. I appreciate the wide entrances, improved interiors and comfortable aisles that can accommodate multiple shopping trolleys. No more banging into each other’s elbows! After ticking off everything on my shopping list, I flash out my mobile phone and pay via the FairPrice App at the checkout counter. If you are a new user just as I was not too long ago, you get to enjoy up to $5 ($3 FairPrice e-voucher, and NTUC Union members, can earn additional 200 Linkpoints ($2 worth) off your first in-store transaction.

Important information such as Link membership and credit card details can be securely stored on the FairPrice app with my authorisation. This is an amazing digital improvement as I no longer need to carry multiple cards which bulk up my wallet unnecessarily!

Moreover, this makes it extremely convenient to stack my savings since Linkpoints are now earned through the FairPrice app. Coupled with daily discount schemes under store promotions as well as Save Even More and exclusive deals where NTUC Union/Link Members enjoy 50% off, these savings can add up to a substantial amount. For instance, under Save Even More, Pioneer Generation enjoy a further 3% discount on their groceries on Mondays and Wednesdays while Senior Citizen aged 60 and above enjoy 2% discount on Tuesdays. These all savings that can be stacked on top of all the aforementioned promotions. Therefore, if you are still not a FairPrice member, do sign up online simply by downloading the FairPrice app.

Alternatively, shoppers can breeze through the queues by paying conveniently via Scan & Go on the FairPrice App. All in all, it is a seamless shopping experience from entry to checkout for myself and FairPrice customers alike.

With quality products, affordable prices and a pleasant shopping experience, every trip to FairPrice results in all-round better value for my household. As FairPrice has shown, it is a myth that one has to trade down on the shopping experience or product quality to score better grocery prices. Therefore, next time someone tells you that you need to compromise on the quality of your groceries due to inflation, you know that it need not be true!