How to get better at planning ahead in life

planning in a diary

Yes, I don’t deny that living in the moment is cool.

Life is short after all and there’s nothing wrong with wanna grab it by the horns and steering it in whatever way you deem fit.


Planning ahead in life is equally important too.

You can’t just always leave it to luck to determine your course or go with the flow all the time.

It’s time to find out ways to help you get better at planning in life—short- or long-term.

What’s your “now”?

To get started, you need to know how to get started.

So I want you to access what’s your present situation, your “now.”

Simply put, where you are in currently in life and where you want to get to. Maybe it’s furthering your education, getting promoted to a managerial position, or making use of every public holiday to travel out and see a new place.

Aha, which brings me to bring this to your attention:

Travel Thursday: 3D2N Itinerary to Miri, Malaysia at $204.20/pax (flights + hotel)

It’s a new series I’ve started yesterday and if you love traveling as much as I do, but trying not to spend too much, check out the above article.

Okay, so back to the topic.

Wait, we’re still on point.

You see, planning also applies to traveling.

I used to plan for my travels months before so I get the best deal. But sometimes, life gets busy and we don’t have extra time to sit down and plan the nitty gritty.

And that’s okay.

That itinerary is prepared in view of Labor Day’s long weekend so we’re still some time away from it.

Buy your plane tickets and book your hotel ASAP if you want to avoid price hikes!

Where do you want to get to?

For those who are not travel freaks, let’s look at another example, shall we?

For instance, maybe you want to get promoted at work.

promoted at work

Image Credits:

That’s one big goal, right?

It’s time to break down that goal into actionable mini-goals you can take to move closer to your destination.

If I were you, I would find out the criteria to get promoted.

Speak to your hiring manager about their plans to hire a manager or senior manager and what they are seeking in terms of qualifications, etc.

Or you can simply search job portals to see if your company has put up any hiring notices.

These job ads and their relevant descriptions are your blueprints for getting promoted.

That’s because you know what is required for you to be considered for a more senior position.

Just take a look at this recent job ad put up by Hilton for a senior manager position:

Hilton job ad

Whether it’s a degree, a graduate degree, or top-up certifications, you know where your next goal should be—start studying.

Are 5-year plans necessary?

I’ve read much advice asking people to draft a 5-year plan.

Honestly, I don’t have one and I think I’m doing not too bad. But it ultimately depends on you.

If you can’t even keep to a simple list of new year’s resolutions, then a 5-year plan is just going to flop.

I would rather have actionable plans for the first 6 months and then add more along the way than craft an ancient scroll that I won’t even relook at.

Okay, so let’s sum things up. To get better at planning ahead in life: reevaluate your present situation, think about where you want to get to and write down actionable steps you can take within the next 6 months to get things moving. One step at a time works better in the long term than trying to sprint and tire yourself out halfway, yeah.


Surefire Ways To Save Money On Your Next Event

For the past couple of months, I have been spearheading one of our company’s main events. This newfound responsibility made me realize why some institutions hire Event Managers and other professionals. Making sure everything runs smoothly within the tight budget was a burden that I had to carry on my shoulders. However, I kept thinking how this event will soon bring new contacts and exciting memories.

To deliver good results on a shoestring budget, consider these tips:


A huge chunk of your budget focuses on the event’s venue. Moving away from the CBD area and dwelling on the outskirts is a smart move for your wallet, but your attendees may be discouraged. You need to consider their travel time and parking fees.

Image Credits:

Image Credits:

Let us be honest! The venue that you will choose will never please everyone. This is why my boss highlights that conducting a “location survey” prior the event is a bad idea. If you cannot take their opinions into account then, you must depend on your negotiation skills. Find a person on the inside who can help you with the booking process or offer you discounted rates. Ask recommendations from your friends and family members.


In a competitive job market such as ours, Polytechnic and University students are keen to secure working experience before they fully join the workforce. Make this your advantage by hiring interns or part-timers. I am not talking about hiring any student that is willing to offer their knowledge for a relatively cheap rate! Hire people who study graphic design, photography/film, management, and marketing.

If you are willing to spare some time to training, both of you can benefit from the experience. Think about it! You are giving a worthwhile experience and pleasant recommendation for the intern while the business is receiving low-cost (and sometimes free) services. Post job openings at and for FREE!


My co-worker was approached by an agent from a prestigious insurance company. He was interested in setting up a booth at our event. This works favorably to both of us as our clients belong to his targeted age and socioeconomic group. This situation proves that sponsors can pay by providing products or services at reduced or no cost. Some institutions prefer exposure as their currency. Sponsors do not always have to provide cash!

Approach possible sponsors by privately messaging their social media accounts on Facebook or Instagram.

Image Credits:

Image Credits:

As the head of the event, it is essential to go the extra mile. Do not settle for two or three options. Widen your options and shop around!


Important Things You Must Know About Women And Money

The spending and money management patterns of Singaporean men and women are intuitively different. But, if you surveyed people around on your own, you would realize that there are distinct differences between how these genders approach money. With that in mind, here are the common money mistakes women make and the essential financial steps they must take:



According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, women take control of about 73% of the household spending. The control the wives have over the budget can lead to overspending. Overspending can occur in shopping for clothes, cleaning supplies, home decorations, bags, and more. This is why knowing when to save and when to splurge is an important distinction for financial security. Overspend only on products that are useful and long-lasting.


Although more and more women are breadwinners nowadays, there are still a good number of women who are totally reliant on their husband’s income. This is bad because unforeseen events such as unemployment, divorce, and death can happen to anyone. Which is why women need to create and secure a financial future for themselves by having a career or skill they can depend on.


Let us face the facts. Women outlive men on average and often remarry. This is why women should prepare for their additional years and long-term elderly care. It is always a good idea to be prepared.

Image Credits: (License: CC0 Public Domain)

Image Credits: (License: CC0 Public Domain)



To prevent overspending, women shall use online tools that are interactive and time-saving. There are a lot of free help available on the Internet such as budgeting software called Money Dance or Mint as well as retirement resources called Vanguard Retirement Insights or Central Provident Fund Retirement Calculator.


Financial independence starts by talking about finances comfortably. This will create a community of friend who can turn to each other for advice on money issues and investments. Also, getting comfortable in the S$ topics should be applied when you are talking to your financial advisor.


Prepare for your retirement and emergency fund by prioritizing your investments. Save money on near term needs such as the emergency fund first then, move on to the long-term investments such as retirement fund. Since most women tend to be risk-averse, the more you are comfortable with talking about money, the more you will be able to take calculated risks.

Original investments for the next 10 years

Image Credits: Ars Electronica via Flickr

Sources: 1,2 & 3


Your Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Europe Trip

Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Europe Trip

In our earliest post on How to travel Europe on a shoestring budget, we talk about how you can travel to Europe without breaking the bank. Careful planning is essential and that is what this article is going to focus on.

Step 1: Prepare the things you need

Things you need:
1. Map of Europe (Google map will do fine)
2. Notebook & writing materials
3. Internet and/or travel guides
4. Credit card (For making online booking)
5. Travel Companion(s) (duh, to discuss.)

Step 2: Shortlisting the places in Europe you want to visit

This is going to be the most exciting and fun part of the planning. With occasional squabbles, you will spend hours researching on the best places to go with your travel companion.

Go do some research on the most travelled places and UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Use a travel guide to do your research if you have one. Otherwise, just connect to the internet and use Google.

Jot down the places you want to go in this order.
[Places of attraction] – [City], [Country]

For example,
1. Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
2. Colosseum – Rome, Italy
3. (List goes on, depending on how adventurous you are)

Mark a cross ‘X’ on the map for each destination. (I hope you don’t fill the entire map with crosses.)

Step 3: Plan your travel route

Now that you have shortlisted the places you want to go, it’s time to plan your travel route in the most efficient manner. By efficient, i mean the route that saves you the most time and resources.

Before you jump into planning the route, go search for the cheapest airfare to any of the European city that you have shortlisted first. This will be the first and your last stop of your travel plan.

There are online aggregators that compare the cheapest flight for you. For example, there are sites like SkyScanner, FareCompare, Kayak, Expedia and Zuji where you can enter your departure and return date and you get a list of flights where you can sort and filter the prices accordingly. Try to search for the cheapest return airfare. For some, there are also other factors to consider such as the quality and service of the airlines, convenience of the airport, miles point, etc. I will leave the prioritisation to you.

Once you have confirm the city to be the first and last stop. Label the cross ‘X’ with 1. I will use Amsterdam, Netherlands as an example.

Next, look for the next ‘X’ that is bordering around Amsterdam, Netherlands. By bordering, i mean connected that is not separated by land or sea. In my example, my next stop will be to visit Kölner Dom in Cologne, Germany. Mark it as 2, and follow on with the rest.

My third stop will be Museumsinsel (Museum Island) in Berlin, Germany

The rest as follows:

  • 4th stop: Prague (Czech Republic)
  • 5-6th stop: Vienna -> Salzburg (Austria)
  • 7-11th stop: Venice -> Rome -> Florence -> Pisa -> Milan (Italy)
  • 12-14th stop: Lauterbrunnen/Junfraujoch -> Zurich -> Basel (Switzerland)
  • 15th stop: Paris (France)
  • 16th stop: London (UK)(There is a train operated by Eurostar that takes you from Paris to London)
  • 17th stop: Amsterdam (Netherlands) (You can take budget airline such as Ryanair or a Ferry from London to Amsterdam)

*Note: Such itinerary took me a month to travel to all the places. It was tiring but fun and satisfying to conquer all of them within one month. If you were to ask me again, i would suggest condensing the above itinerary to 10stops/4 countries tops if you can only afford anything less than one month of travel. If you can afford to be away longer, go for it!

Step 4: Get busy with the nitty gritty

Now that you have a map filled with ‘X’s and numbers. You need to work out your mode of transportation that takes you from each stop.

Europe is connected by high-speed rails and you can easily hop around country in a matter of hours.
You can purchase the Eurail Global Pass that allows you to take their high speed train.

If you are age 25 and below, good news for you! You can get the Youth Traveller Pass. It costs about €442 for a 10days travel within 2 months. Check out the latest price at their website. You can also purchase them from our local travel agency. Just call them and ask.

It is not cheap, but it beats taking a more costlier option – budget airlines. Taking rail also save you times if you travel at night and book one of their sleeper cabin.

Now you need to schedule your train’s timetable time. Eurail has a very useful timetable that allows you to check out the train arrival and departure time.

For example, a route from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Cologne, Germany.

There are a few routes with different timing and train. Some of the route requires you to change train. Make sure you pick the right one.

Note down the details of the train station and arrival timing in your notebook. You will need them later.

Step 5: Book your accommodation

Once you are done with planning for your train timing, you need to settle your accommodation. Look for
an accommodation that is situated near your railway station (if you are reaching at night) or a somewhere near the places of attraction.

There are different kind of affordable accommodation which you can consider instead of booking a hotel.
1. Backpackers/Hostels (Use Google)
2. Homestay (I’d suggest airbnb)
3. Couchsurfing (free)


You will need your credit card to make the booking.

Step 6: Prepare and print the confirmations

Your last step would be to print out all the booking confirmation, fix them onto your notebook or file. I stapled all the confirmations and maps on each pages of my notebook from day 1 to day 30 so that it won’t drop. I also download offline maps of each cities on my iPad.

Now you can skip the travel agent and save the cost on tour packages!

Here’s the final product on a map.