Fundamental Rules Of Budgeting

As you gloss over the pages of old personal finance books, you will realize that they stress on the importance of creating a budget and sticking to it. Poof! All your financial problems will be solved in a snap. However, life is not as simple as that.

Budgeting is the process of creating a financial plan based on your estimated revenue and expenses over a period. It is a complex task that takes your entire financial profile into account. It is up to you to embrace the process!

On that note, here are the fundamental rules of budgeting.


Awareness of how much money comes in and how much you spend will enable you to pinpoint your spending habits. Be honest with yourself! You will be surprised that everything adds up, once you keep track of your money on a regular basis. Start by writing down your expenses for a week and continue. Include your daily coffee runs and Netflix subscription. You can use online budgeting tools to help you monitor your money.


The only permanent thing in this world is change. Your efforts of controlling your environment will be put to waste because change is inevitable. If you reached the end of the month and noticed that you are struggling to pay bills, something needs to change. Alter your budgeting strategies and identify which categories you can cut down on. Fortunately for you, small changes can make a big difference.

Your income, expenses, and priorities will change over time. You must adjust your budget accordingly.


Within my immediate social circles, my partner is the primary model for self-control. He steers away from luxury and focuses on strategies that make him a savvy spender. He practices delayed gratification too. Learning self-control can help you accomplish your realistic budget.

If you are lucky, your parents or teachers taught you this skill when you were a child. If not, you will learn the importance of delaying gratification. Despite the tempting nature of credit cards, it is better to wait until you have saved up the money for a purchase. You do not want to spend the rest of your years paying for your credit cards alone!


Notice your spending habits. If you are constantly overspending on a budget category, consider having an envelope system. Use the allocated cash from the envelop and stop spending once it runs out. It is the ultimate accountability strategy.


Be realistic when it comes to your budget and your priorities. Whether you are paying off student loans or building an emergency fund, you need to focus on the goal. Knowing the reasons behind why you are saving and why you are making sacrifices will help you sustain your budget.


Ensure that your hard-earned money does not vanish by taking some safety measures. IF you are renting a flat, consider getting an insurance to protect your belongings from fire or burglary. If you just bought a laptop, sign-up for the warranty. This will help you cushion the costs of repairs.

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You must educate yourself on budgeting and handling money. The more you learn about handling money wisely, the more concrete your reasons for budgeting will be. Good luck!

Sources: 1 & 2


5 Habits That Drain Your Wallet

A habit is defined as a settled tendency or a usual manner of behavior. Whether you take daily morning walks or sip a cup of coffee at noon, your habits become nearly or completely involuntary as time passes.

The key to developing healthy habits that float well with your finances is moderation. If you are indulging too often on a habit, cutting back may save you money and protect your health. Below are just some of the habits that can drain your wallet.


Smoking raises your risks of serious health problems such as stroke, heart disease, emphysema, and cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking cigarettes harms nearly every organ of one’s body. Take care of your health by reducing or eliminating your smoking habit.

Let us start with the average cost of a cigarette. Last year, the average retail price for a 20-stick pack of cigarettes in Singapore was at S$13.08. A pack-a-day habit will run you about S$4774.02 a year. Imagine the amount of money you can save or invest in a span of 12 months!

Quitting smoking cancels out the costs for your finances and your health. However, it is easier said than done. There are several ways to quit smoking such as Cold Turkey and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cold Turkey entails that you stop all at once. According to WebMD, about 90% of smokers who try to quit choose this method. Unfortunately, many of them do not succeed. Using this method may put your body into a state of nicotine withdrawal. Let us focus on the other method. The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) uses the power of your thoughts, feelings, and mental processing in order to reduce your smoking habit. This works best with people who are open to counselling and psychotherapy.


Eating out regularly, especially indulging on fast food, is not the healthiest habit out there. It is simply hard to resist! This is due to the convenience and familiarity attached to fast food chains and restaurants. After an exhausting day at work, we just want to relax at home and not spend more time for cooking dinner. It is a lot easier to order a box of pizza or a bowl of ramen with a few taps on an app!

Despite the great deals that fast food chains offer, eating out is more expensive than cooking your own food. A five-dollar meal may not seem expensive, but the costs add up. If you eat out on a daily basis, you can consume about S$35 to S$100 in a week. Reduce your spending by planning your meals ahead of time and preparing on-the-go snacks (e.g., sliced apples or fruit-filled yogurts).


Consumed on a daily basis, artisan and gourmet coffees can get expensive. For many people, drinking a cup of joe in the morning seems like second-nature. They wake up and smell coffee. I have several friends who cannot function properly in the morning without having their cup of coffee. And it is not just the smell that wakes them up. It is the caffeine.

It may seem relatively cheap to spend a few bucks a day at a local coffee shop. However, you must consider all the money that you could have saved if you brewed your own coffee at home.


Some people have a habit of shopping for groceries on a daily basis. A good way to ensure that you stick to your grocery budget is to restrict yourself to one grocery trip per week. Frequent trips to the grocery store throughout the week can make you tempted to buy more than what you need. Making a routine of hitting up the grocery whenever you forget something indicates that you do not have a proper grasp of your consumption. It is best to plan ahead!

Avoid grocery shopping when you are hungry or when you have an ample amount of time to spare. People are more susceptible to purchasing additional items when they are hungry or when they go for leisurely shopping. These unnecessary items usually go to waste.


People who have a tendency to purchase a bottle of energy drink everyday may develop a tolerance towards it. Chances are, you will need to drink more than a bottle per day to keep you buzzed all throughout. That can cost you more than .50 cents a day. Is it time for you to kick out your energy drink habit?

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If you need the energy drink to keep you active throughout the day in compensation of sleep deprivation then, you need to alter your sleeping habits. You will not feel exhausted at work with a full cycle of sleep. If fatigue persists, you may consult a doctor.

Sources: 1 & 2



Welcome The New Decade With This Financial Mindset

The Financial Mindset is a predetermined set of beliefs about money. Although you cannot verbalize what your mindset is, it still exists. We all have this set of beliefs within us! It is important to note that your financial mindset affects the energy you give off and the energy you receive.

With a new decade, it is high time to refresh your finances with your financial resolutions or goals. Laying out your new financial resolutions or goals can help shift your mindset and give you new ways to perceive your life in general.


Start the year right by creating a vision board with your 2020 financial goals. Much has been said about creating a life you want to indulge in through visualization. You attract what you set your mind into. So, put several images of the things or milestones you want to achieve this year.

There are no wrong answers! Whether you want to have your own car or keys to your new flat, you can put all these on the board. Find inspiration on how to make one in Pinterest or in this Money Digest article.


In a world where people are so used to taking, aim to be the one who gives. Ask yourself some wealth-creating questions such as “What unique product can you offer?” or “Which service can your peers benefit from?” This trait is seen in many millionaires and entrepreneurs. Search yourself to know how to add value in other people’s lives. This will enable you to make money in the process.

You may not be able to answer these questions right now, but the important thing is to put your mind in a resourceful and open state.


How many of you have created a budget based on your average earnings per year? This may seem as a premium plan to have, but you are not creating a realistic budget. Realistic budgeting goes beyond creating an Excel sheet and figuring out how much to allocate for every category. It enables you to look at how much money you have right now.

Based on your current funds, you will be able to create a realistic budget for the month. When you blow a category up due to overspending, you must not quit. You need to have an emergency fund for that. Only budget and consume the money you have right now.


It is common to have a financial resolution whereby you want to save more money. In order to do that, most people start by tracking their spending. See where you can cut back and where you can make room for more savings. It is a tedious task at first! However, you can re-frame your mind by attaching your Psychological wellbeing in the mix.

To help you with your frugal mindset, you must experiences purchasing differently. Track your spending and write down how you felt after the purchase. Do you feel happy or guilty? Where you shopping while you are bored or angry? Emotions play a huge part in managing and spending your money.

It is crucial for you to be aware of your spending patterns and triggers. Mindfulness of situations that trap you to spend can enable you to change your financial life. Bring value and joy to your finances through healthier spending patterns.


Your mind is a powerful tool, which creates your reality. It dictates what you believe is possible and leads you to it. This is why it is important that you feed your mind with optimism grounded in your current circumstance. Consume books such as Think and Grow Rich from Napoleon Hill or podcasts from trusted financial advisers.

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Feed your mind with a grow mindset to indulge on a better financial year ahead!

Sources: 1 & 2


Where Did All Your Money Go?

“Where did all my money go?”, a friend of mine shouted in an open space.

Let us face it! People usually do not realize how much they are spending. You may not have a lavish lifestyle but, you seem to run out of money. Why is this so?

If you want to uncover the answer, tracking your spending comes in handy! Reach clarity by understanding how you manage your money. This step will help you to fully take control of your finances.


With the complexities of finances, where do you begin? Consider starting with identifying your spending habits. Do you pay to get your hair professionally dyed or do you dye it at home? Do you buy coffee from Starbucks or take advantage of the free-flowing coffee? Shed a light to your daily expenses and match these with your financial goals.

When you have identified a mismatch between your spending habits and financial goals, you can immediately plan the necessary alterations. Tracking your spending is essential to making better financial choices.


Looking at your spending habits under a microscope entails that you have the ability to categorize each one. Complete your task by writing your expenses on a notebook or a ledger. Much like us, these expenses exist in a variety of ways. Some expenses are exclusively for students, while others are exclusively for working adults.

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Begin tracking your expenses by dividing a piece of paper into several columns. Assign an expense category on top of each column and highlight the allotted amount for it. For instance, the “entertainment” expense category can only consume S$100 of your monthly income.


It goes without saying that you cannot force things. Forcing someone to love you reeks of desperation and displays no self-respect. Attraction comes naturally. Same with your finances. Taking control of your finances must not be a forceful act. Forcing success may lead to shutting down opportunities that you could have had. Try taking small steps first.

After categorizing each expense, commit yourself to recording your daily spending. Awareness of your daily spending helps you to keep track of how much you have left on each category. Simply deduct the amount that you spent today from the category’s “allotted budget”. A savvy shopper equips himself or herself with these information.


Embrace modern technology by downloading an app or a software to keep track of your expenses. I, for one, use the free Spendee app. This user-friendly finance app allows me to categorize my expenses and to illustrate the entirety through graphs or charts. Entering a budget is as simple as pie!

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Some apps or programs allow you to sync your device to the computer. This way, your partner can examine your spending habits too. As a team, you may prevent overspending and stay within your bounds.

Source: The Balance