COVID-19 has swept the world off its’ feet. With it still lurking around, are you aware that there are many silent robbers that are robbing you of your wealth secretly? In Wealthdojo 6 Level Wealth Karate, we talk the importance of shielding our wealth from these silent robbers.
In this article, we are also excited to partner with Jocelyn who is a self taught investor in her 40s. Do check out her website below.
Have you saved money while working from home?
Since Singapore went into circuit breaker lockdown on 7 April, many Singaporeans have been forced to work from home where possible. Not all jobs are WFH-friendly but for those that are, benefits of a WFH arrangement include zero commute time, greatly reduced transportation costs and reduced weekday meal expenses (assuming you do not live in the CBD).
For the 7 or so weeks that Singapore was in circuit breaker, most establishments were forced to close and people were advised to leave the house only out of necessity, such as shopping for groceries or if working in essential services.
If you were working from home during the circuit breaker period, it makes sense to think that you should have saved quite a bit on transport and food expenses right? That may not necessarily be the case. Here are four reasons that may have prevented you from keeping within your budget:
#1: Ordering food delivery and “indulging a bit”
Instead of getting your weekday lunches from the nearby kopitiam or cooking at home, you may find yourself going for more expensive options when ordering food delivery. This could be to feed a craving or ordering from places that you’re not able to visit in person.
It is not uncommon for F&B establishments to mark up their food prices on food delivery apps. They do this to offset the platform/commission fee that food delivery platforms charge for listing their menu on the app! This means that even when ordering from the same place, opting for food delivery may cost 5-10% more than physically going to the store to tabao your food.
What to do instead:
- Have a weekly limit on the number of times you order food delivery
- Cook more meals at home
#2: Spending more time (and money) shopping online
Thanks for covid-19, online shopping saw a record boom worldwide. Instead of going to a neighborhood mall or Orchard road for retail leisure, Singaporeans went online instead, clocking record increases in app traffic and transaction volumes on popular shopping apps. Shopee saw a 40% increase in screen time by app users along with increased sales during the circuit breaker period.
Online shopping is just a click or tap away, with a lot less friction to carting out a purchase. With people being cooped up at home and spending less time outside, some have also turned to online shopping as a way to pass time. This can lead to impulse buys or spending more on non-essential purchases!
What to do instead:
- Move your online shopping apps to a folder and away from the first page of your phone, and unsubscribe from marketing emails. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Start an affordable hobby to spend your time more meaningfully! Eg. Exercising outdoors, reading, cooking
- Create a budget for your shopping needs and stay committed to it. Remember to prioritize needs over wants!
#3: Paying for convenience
The rise in door-to-door delivery makes it incredibly convenient to buy groceries or choosing to dine in, with food delivery. The trade-off for this convenience is the delivery fee. An additional $2-3 to have a meal delivered to your doorstep may not seem like much but if you’re ordering meal deliveries multiple times a week/day, those delivery fees can add up very quickly.
What to do instead:
- Consolidate grocery orders to capitalize on free delivery and/or save on delivery costs
- Watch out for promotions and discounts so you can save on these necessary purchases
- Consider walking to a nearby kopitiam to tabao your meal instead of getting it delivered.
#4: Paying for comfort
With most people forced to work from home, many have turned to buying desks and chairs for a more comfortable working experience. This makes sense if your existing tables and chairs are not suited for long hours of desk work. A quality table or chair may be a good investment in the long term, but take care not to let these “investments” become white elephants once COVID-19 is behind us and offices reopen!
What to do instead:
- Get creative with your WFH setup!
- Repurpose your dining area for work during the day,
- If you have a small fridge, use it as a “standing table” when you feel like you need a stretch
- Hunt for office furniture bargains on FB or Carousell. Businesses that have to downsize or close their offices will often need to get rid of their furniture.
Stay committed to your cause
If you are already managing your expenses and/or budget tracking, you probably have a good reason for doing so. You may be saving up for a house, or a new family member or just trying to make ends meet with reduced income. Reminding yourself about this goal can help you refocus and double down on keeping to your budget.
Sometimes, having a better picture of your money flow can help you manage your expenses and budgets. Create a sankey budget diagram of your monthly cashflow (check out mine here) and use that to guide your budgeting decisions!
Guest writer: Joce
A self-taught investor working towards her goal of achieving financial freedom in her forties. Check out her blog here: Financial Freedom by 40
Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo
Congratulations for reading thus far. COVID-19 seems to be here to stay. The journey ahead seems like a scary one and I want assure you that you will definitely get through it.
Special thanks for Jocelyn. Thank you for your special appearance. I really enjoyed your article.
Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.
Feel Free To Reach Out To Share Your Thoughts.
The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.