The walk from my home to the nearest MRT station takes about 20 minutes. On shady days, I reach the station nice and cool. On most days, the feeling is like having emerged from a sauna. Still, I walk to the station three days a week. The rest of the walk, I am behind my wheels. Okay, I confess that I consider a car as a “nice-to-have”.
I get three benefits from my unusual commute arrangement. First, walking is good exercise, and as a bonus, I get 20 minutes worth of sunshine and vitamin D. Second, by driving 4 days a week, I am able to shave $40 off my weekly car expense (petrol and parking fees). Third, less driving means less mileage which translates to higher car resale value.
I am sharing this story to bring out a more general point – that, with a bit of imagination, all of us can devise interesting ways of cutting costs, something that should be high on our agenda in place like Singapore. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.
What are other ways are there to cut costs? Here’s a non-exhaustive list:
- Buy house brands and buy in bulk (I immediately think of toilet rolls here, but thankfully, many other necessities are now house branded in NTUC supermarts).
- Substitute coffee shop coffee for gourmet coffee. The difference per cup may be as much as $3.50-$4. That stings.
- Pack your own lunch.
- Skip the drinks at food courts – the food is expensive enough.
- Make fewer Orchard Road shopping trips (most of the stuff you need can be gotten from suburban malls. If not, you probably can’t afford them anyway).
- Cut back on Michelin-starred social dinners.
- Buy last-season wear on big discounts, be it online or from physical shops
- Hunt for funky fashion wear at non-designer prices
- Imagine new uses for old stuff (example: I stood a horizontal display shelf with partitions on its end, and viola! – it transformed into a super-slim bookcase 🙂
And the list goes on, limited only by your imagination and determination to be a savvy shopper.