Budget hacks can help you save more money while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Saving more money for your retirement is just one of the benefits of becoming a spend thrift. Smart money management will improve the quality of your life.

When you are in control of your money, you are even more attractive to your mate, finds the Ally Bank Love & Money study. This trait is more highly valued by men who no longer seek arm candy but a savvy woman who is smart with her life and money. As for women who are looking for a man to spoil them, the gifts end after the honeymoon. Men spend money to impress their beloved, but once they are in a relationship, the generous spending typically slows down.

Here are 10 hacks to boost your budget and improve your life.

  1. Rent or Swap Your Living Space – If you spend every other weekend out of town or visiting your mother, why not rent out your place via AirBNB or on similar short-term rental services? A Singapore one bedroom apartment is renting for $166 per night on average, providing its proprietor with an additional $2,000 or more in monthly income, according to AirDNA. Housing swaps are a way of saving on lodging costs on your next vacation.
  2. Set Time Limits on Shopping – When was the last time you spent a whole day shopping for a new purse? If you make $40 an hour, that’s $320 added to the price of your new handbag. While we discourage putting a dollar value on leisure time, we do encourage using time wisely. Seniors were the most active shoppers in Singapore over recent holidays, says AdNear, reflecting our tendency to adjust shopping time according to leisure time. Instead, spend some of that time in a yoga class or walking in the park? Many shoppers are enjoying the wider choice provided by online shopping. Deciding on a style online beforehand can shorten your time at the shopping centre. Also limit your exposure to marketing – catalogues, TV commercials, and so on.
  3. Form a Personal Finance Club – Through monthly meetings, online or offline, share budgeting tips and new budgeting tools. Discuss and explore the underlying psychological and behavioural problems behind your spending habits.Read the top 6 personal finance books every woman should read.
  4. Run a Green Home – Eco savings are a big cost-cutting frontier. Lowering your heating bill by one degree could cut $100 annually from your heating bill. Using energy savings light bulbs could put another $100 in your pocket. Buying items second-hand cuts down on resource waste and spending.
  5. Add a Treat Yourself Category – Monday, you bought the $10 bucket of your favourite ice cream – a treat you enjoy once a month. Wednesday, you wanted to sleep in so you drove to work and paid the $20 in daily parking fees. Friday, you bought the $30 bottle of wine to impress your new boyfriend. You are $60 over budget and the weekend has not even started.The way to avoid discretionary spending going wild is to have a weekly Treat Myself category, say $30. Instead of fine wine, to impress your boyfriend, explain how the $30 Beaujolais Nouveau you opened tasted like vinegar and why, in your informed opinion, this year’s gamay crop was not the best.
  6. Choose Cheap or Free Entertainment – Choose free entertainment or entertainment supporting a charitable cause several times a month. Singapore’s Buskers Festival and art tours, for example, are an opportunity to support local artists. Some of the very best performances are found in off-off Broadway theatre.
  7. Eat Organic Fruits & Veggies – Organic food typically costs a lot at the supermarket. Growing your own organic food is the best way to save money while improving your health. Even apartment gardening is possible, such as a small countertop greenhouse to grow the spinach you eat every day. Organic cooperatives will deliver a box of organic vegetables to your door based on what is in season each week. You will need to be a creative chef to use up all of your fresh produce, leaving little time for fast food or steaks.
  8. Make Money From Your Hobby – With so many self-publishers on the Internet, the demand for photographs has never been higher. Etsy is known as the place to sell arts and crafts. ArtsyShark has listed 250 places to sell art online.
  9. Join a Car Sharing Service – More Singaporeans are socialising their ride. Taxi pooling has become popular through services such as Split-It, GrabTaxi and other location-based apps. Car sharing services include Lompang, Sharetransport and Carpool King.
  10. Reward Yourself – Review your budget weekly and reward yourself for staying within your budget. Or find out how you can make extra money effectively.

Remember, smart budgeting is sexy.  Instead of buying a new dress for your date, invest the money and impress him with your portfolio returns.

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).

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