6 Money Lessons To Avoid Being Broke

Nobody ever wakes up one morning and thinks, “I want to be broke.” A hefty loan here, a bad investment there, and a long credit card statement later – you have no idea how you landed in this state. You are living paycheck to paycheck without savings intact.

What can you do to turn the tide? Start by reading this article and applying these lessons into your life.


Goals mark your direction in life. If you do not have a clear destination to work towards, it can be difficult to find the passion or motivation to save. Whether you are eyeing on purchasing a flat or figuring out how to pay off your debts, crafting a plan can get you there.

As you set your financial goals, consider making them SMART. Financial goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Creating goals using the SMART method can help you ensure that you are working on an achievable goal within the timeline that you set. Stay on course!


Spending less than you make and buying what you can afford seem like simple personal finance rules. However, these are easier said than done. You can get distracted with the consumer-driven society that tempts you to live beyond your means. When this happens, a good rule of thumb is to save at least 15% of your income.

If you find it hard to save money, try paying for groceries and clothes with cash instead of a credit card. Take it one step further by using a budget per month. Withdrawing a fixed amount every month can help you to become more aware of your spending choices.


The majority of personal finance lessons do not center around financial education, but on financial behavior. If you can modify your behavior with money, you can alter your financial future. Remember that you do not need to be a financial expert to prepare an emergency fund or to save for retirement. Start by building a solid financial plan and committing to it.


Search for part-time jobs such as freelancing or dog walking to grow your income. You can take on other positions in the same company too. If you feel like you have reached the glass ceiling in your field, consider looking for new career paths to generate more income. Increasing your income can help your financial future.


Investing is a good way to protect and grow your assets. However, the talent of wise investing does not come to us all. You may be succumbing to emotions and invest impulsively, hence you win big or lose big.

As a precaution, have an advisor who is trustworthy and credible. Research on your part is vital as well. It will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to make smart investments.


It is understood that budgeting plays an essential role in controlling your spending, paying off debts, and staying on track with your financial goals. Creating a budget starts with adding up all your expenses for the month and subtracting that amount from your total income.

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Set monthly and daily spending limits to adjust and make up for any oversights. You can create a budget using a notebook, a spreadsheet, or a budgeting app. Use a tool with which you are most comfortable.

Sources: 1 & 2


7 challenges to help you save more money

Singapore currency

Are you beginning to plan for your financial future? Or are you hoping to make a down payment on a big purchase or preparing to start a family?

Saving money is an integral part of personal finances, but it can be hard to refine and practice. For some, saving money can feel downright impossible! However, with practice and patience, you can turn a new leaf on your money-saving journey.

Need some motivation? Building up your savings account can be easier if you take on these money-saving challenges that are sure to guide you to more excellent financial health in the near future.

#1: Introduce a “no extra spend” week

One of the hardest things to do when saving money is figuring out where in your budget that extra cash will come from.

Cutting out excess spending can be a great way to create more cash flow, but it’s important to ease into it so you don’t become overwhelmed and give up too quickly. Try setting aside a single week and limit all your spending to absolute essentials: bills, groceries, and any necessary transport costs.

#2: Exercise the 1% trial
1 per cent

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The 1% challenge is a well-known financial trend to help get in the habit of automatically setting aside a portion of your income every month for your savings.

Determine a small percentage of your monthly income (be it 1%, 5%, or even 10%) and arrange an automatic transfer that pulls that money into your savings account as soon as your paycheck lands. Over time, that will build up into some substantial added savings!

#3: Clear out your food pantry

Especially since the pandemic has made food delivery so inviting, it can be hard to remember what’s left in your food pantry. We know just how it feels like as foodpanda-ing or dapao-ing something is much faster and convenient.

But still, you want to force yourself to clean out all the food in your cupboards and intentionally cook or use up everything you have been storing for too long. This will aid you to save money and make more space in your kitchen!

#4: Borrow, don’t buy
a lady asking if she can borrow a dress

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Are you struggling with the need to bring in new items but don’t want to spend the cash? Try swapping out buying for borrowing for a month.

Every time you feel the urge to purchase something new, see if a friend or coworker (or even a close neighbour) has a version you can borrow. You would be surprised by how much money you save just by sticking to this principle!

#5: Set aside your spare change

Do you use a lot of cash daily? Start saving even more of that money by designating a certain amount as your spare.

For example, it can be a simple S$1 coin. Every time you receive S$1 from your favourite aunty at the Kopitiam, drop it into a piggy bank. These spare change can add up!

Check out a range of visually appealing piggy banks from Lazada here if you need help getting started.

#6: Give yourself 52 weeks
white and gold calendar template

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Other than the 1% challenge introduced earlier, the 52-week challenge is also one of the most famous money-saving techniques.

It has you begin setting aside a small (and increasingly growing) amount of money every week. That money sits in a jar or drawer and increases with every new week when you add to it. The best thing is that you just need to start with a dollar from the first week.

Keep increasing a dollar as you go (S$2 in the second week, S$3 in the third, and so on), and by the end of your 52-week challenge, you would have saved a little less than S$1,400!

Or if you think you can raise your game, why not go for the 365-day difficulty instead? This means rather than saving an amount each week; you do it for every single day of the year. But do set a realistic amount lest you backslide and abandon the whole challenge altogether.

#7: Sell your stuff online

There are several platforms to sell your stuff online. Ladies with neverending piles of clothes can try selling their clothes with Refash. Simply pack, send, and receive cash or credit in 30 days! Click here for more information.

For more general kinds of stuff, you can check out Carousell if you haven’t already. I’ve personally sold a couple of items on the Singapore-based app and think it’s a rather innovative platform for buyers and sellers to interact.

Or since most of us own a Facebook account, why not try Facebook Marketplace? You can easily create a listing under various categories, including home goods, pet supplies, and even properties for rent/sale.

Beware of scammers, though.

Final thoughts
a woman standing in front of a kitchen cupboard

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You don’t have to take on the abovementioned challenges all at once since that would be overwhelming. Pick and partake in the ones you think are interesting and feasible. For example, after reading this article, why not put down your phone and start emptying your food pantry?

Little actions can lead to unexpected outcomes. Keep at it!


Valuable Real-Estate And Finance Lessons From Monopoly

Monopoly is a board game that has been causing family feuds since 1935. Monopoly was first marketed in 1935 during the Great Depression. It was an instant success and became a best-selling game in United States. Since then, over 275 million game sets were sold worldwide.

What is amazing about Monopoly is its ability to mimic financial scenarios in real life. On that note, here are four valuable real-estate and finance lessons that you can reap from the game.


In Monopoly, having cash enables you to purchase properties and pay fees for unlucky turns. You may need to shell out some cash to pay an opponent or to pay for a “Chance” card. It is important to always have cash on hand whenever you play. Do not spend all your money in one go!

In a similar way, you must spare some cash for unforeseen situations. The game teachers us about the importance of budgeting and saving money. You need to save enough money to cushion the blow of rough times, such as during this pandemic. Establish your emergency fund by identifying your current financial standing. It is best to build a fund that can cover about six months’ worth of your living expenses.


Let us go back to the game itself. If someone lands on your property, you will earn money. Players usually buy multiple spaces or properties around the board to increase their chances of earning money. Chances of earning are slimmer if you only have a few properties on the board. The same can be applied in real life.

You need to diversify your portfolio and scatter it throughout the different possibilities in order for you to maximize your earnings. Instead of putting everything in a single basket, make sure to diversify your portfolio with bonds, stocks, and so on.


Being patient is essential whenever you play Monopoly. You see, the game continues until there is a last man standing (i.e., the other players have gone bankrupt). Much like the game, you are playing for the long haul. Meeting your financial goals is a journey and not a sprint.

Whether you are saving up for your 2021 vacation or your upcoming retirement, you need to be patient. There will a be a few bumps and celebrations along the way. For instance, you may pay off your student loans first before purchasing a car. Setting up a new business venture will also take time and involve a lot of ups and downs. Ultimately, your hard work will help you achieve your goals.


The most expensive assets may not always be the best decisions. Most Monopoly players want to earn the Park Place and the Boardwalk since they have the biggest payouts. However, they are also the most expensive pieces to maintain. Many people lose at Monopoly by using this strategy because they do not pay attention to the overall cost. Instead, they only pay attention to the cash flow.

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Those who win at Monopoly are the ones who focus on the value gained for the price paid. You will not win by merely owning the most expensive assets. You will win by making the most money. In investing your money in the real world, you will win by selling high and buying low. Zeroing your attention to the most expensive assets may set yourself up for losses.

Sources: 1 & 2



Boost Your Savings With These Lifestyle Changes

Much of the world has been given a small portion due to the grave effects of the pandemic. Sickness, unemployment, budget cuts, and other painful transitions can give us a taste of poverty. Being in this situation allows to take a closer look at our finances.

How is your financial health? Before anything else, evaluate your financial objectives and assess your spending and saving patterns. Ask yourself why you want to save and what your priorities are. This is to ensure that you know which path to take to reach your desired goals. Afterwards, review your cashflow and create an allocation plan. Move any excess funds to a bank account to help facilitate discipline against impulsive spending. Choose a bank with a high interest rate.

Other lifestyle changes include automating your finances, shopping smartly in supermarkets, switching to generic products, discussing about household finances, and going on a cash-only diet. Let us start with automating your finances.

Most bills can be paid online and many establishments have the option of setting up automatic payments. Try automating consistent payments for fixed costs such as your telecom, insurance, Netlix, or Spotify bill. This way, you will not miss a billing statement and will not incur late fees. You may also apply automation to your credit-card bills, if you want smoother transactions.

Secondly, you must use savvy shopping strategies in the supermarket such as using a coupon. Coupons can help you save a lot, especially when you are buying in bulk. Grocery tricks such as employing the numbers game – wherein they will put an irrational price of “S$3.99 or S$3.96” (instead of S$4) can trick your mind into saving more. Watch out for this!

If you are grocery shopping, it is best to shop on a full stomach. Shopping on an empty stomach may cost you a lot. Your feelings of hunger can make everything enticing, including junk food and other unnecessary items. Try eating a healthy snack before heading to the store. Your wallet and your tummy will thank you for that.

Thirdly, you may switch to generic products whenever possible. My sister and I recently went to the pharmacy to pick up some antibiotics. Interestingly, the generic brand was three times cheaper than the branded ones. You have to weigh your options and consider generic products for items such as toiletries and pet supplies. What is important to you? What are you willing to sacrifice? Only you can answer these questions.

Fourthly, you must discuss your finances with your spouse or partner. Knowing each other’s spending patterns and financial plans can help you set a life of success. Dealing with financial issues is something that most couples have to do. However, you have to do it as a team. Get comfortable talking about money, because a single conversation will not suffice. Reduce your electric and water bills by conserving water and switching off the lights when not in use. Use money-saving household cleaning hacks that enable you to make your own cleaning products.

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Lastly, you may go on a cash-only diet. This entails that you will ditch you plastic cards for a month or a certain period. It takes a lot of self-control and patience. Buy things that can only be bought through your allocated cash. When your cash runs out, you will be out of funds until your next scheduled withdrawal. Spend and plan wisely!


Simple Acronyms That Can Help You Save Money

Stuck in a rot? Consider imbibing some or all of these four acronyms to maximize your daily savings!

1: BYOB – Bring Your Own Beverage

Bid farewell to your endless Starbucks trips and say hello to BYOB. Bringing your own beverage and food to school or work has many benefits. For starters, you can choose what you eat for the rest of the day. This is especially helpful to the people who vowed to lose weight or to eat healthier meals this year. Lastly, bringing your own beverage and food lessens your chances of dining out. BYOB prevents you from mindlessly breaking the bank on food expenses.

2: PIYS- Put In Your Savings

Aside from having a physically fit body, you must strive to have a financially fit account. Luckily for you, you can just PIYS. Whether you have accumulated loose change or have work incentives, you can PIYS. Do not spend your extra money! Put it in your savings account instead. You may also enroll your account to an institution’s automatic savings program to ensure that you do not touch your money.

3: YODA – You Overspent Days Ago

If you need a reminder on why you need to save, just think of Baby YODA. This adorable Star Wars character cannot only charm your heart, but also give you a potent reminder. “You Overspent Days Ago or You Overspent Decades Ago” is something that resonates many Singaporeans. If you are bound to repeat the same financial mistakes you have done in the past then, what does that make you? It is time to learn from the past and focus on your needs.

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Start building a future that you will be proud of. When faced with another temptation to spend, simply evoke the name of YODA. May the force be with you!

4: ABC – Allocate, Budget, and Cut

Did you know that budgeting is as easy as ABCs? Simply start with Allocation, proceed to Budgeting, and apply the Cut. Allocation is the processes of listing down your expenses and identifying which ones are important. Allocate the right amount of money per expense category.

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Then, maintain a budget that you will keep track of. Monitor your progress and the money you are currently saving. Lastly, apply cost-cutting when your savings remain too low. Cut down unnecessary expenses and focus on expenses that will help you survive.