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By Jessica Wee

This is an ongoing battle within the financial literacy community. Is cutting back on that designer coffee or avocado toast really going to make a difference?

Many personal finance writers advocate for lower spending for those in debt. Yet they have an apparently unlimited upper ceiling on how much increased spending can still lead to happiness, as evidenced by the high-spending lifestyles they are living today.

To be sensible, I’d recommend both paths: earn as much as you can, but one should never sacrifice integrity/soul to do it. At a certain level of income, the time to financial independence becomes so short that it becomes increasingly futile to earn more – that’s just how the numbers work out. Remember, FI/RE is all about the number and not your age!

However, all the earnings in the world are useless if you never know the meaning of the word “enough”. So get that concept in place right away – before wasting your time with increased income. Otherwise very little of that increased flow of cash will find its way into your piggy bank!

To double your income, try some of these biz ideas which are recommended by Hanniz, https://mymoneyinsights.asia/2022/02/17/do-nothing-rent-a-man-and-other-weird-business-ideas-that-worked/

You can also increase your income by monetising your skills eg:

  1. Doing bookkeeping for family and friends, chargeable per job/hour
  2. Increase productivity at workplace to get a promotion
  3. Provide babysitting service
  4. Sell unwanted clothes/furniture in a pre-loved forum eg: Carousel

On cutting back on expenditure, start by:

  1. Living nearer to public transport and thus, start taking public transport to work
  2. Walking or biking anywhere within a few kilometre radius 
  3. Stop buying extra stuff (tech gadgets, extra clothing, impulsive buys)
  4. For food supply, plan your weekly meal so that you can shop at a wholesale market and buy in bulk
  5. Make a home-cooked lunch every day
  6. Cook more dinners at home
  7. Plan for a potluck meal instead of meeting friends at restaurants
  8. Negotiate for corkage at restaurants instead of buying all drinks at ‘restaurant price’
  9. Open an online savings account and set a direct debit towards a financial goal eg: emergency fund/ vacation/ new furniture
  10. Get a cash back credit card
  11. Review all your monthly subscriptions and cancel those you have not used in ages
  12. Cancel your Netflix or any cable accounts – download movies instead
  13. Change all bulbs to LED light bulbs to save on electricity
  14. Claim your Save 3.0 E-rebate for electrical goods

Until you see increasing bank balances, it can be hard to convince people of just how useful it is to understand your spending, instead of just endlessly chasing more income.

Do both and keep track of your journey. You’ll be surprised to see the difference!

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