“My finances have taken a hit. How should I manage?”

 

It is natural to feel anxious when your income has taken a hit.

 

While you may be facing many uncertainties, it is important to stay positive and keep working towards getting back on your feet.

 

Here are some ways that could help you regain some stability in your finances.

 

Track your cash-flow

Knowing where your money goes helps you manage your cash-flow better.

 

It helps to list your income sources and expenses, in as much detail as possible, to see if your cash-flow is positive or negative.

 

Here are examples of income sources and expenses:

 

Income

 

  • Current salary

 

  • Income from investments, such as dividends and coupon payments

 

  • Interest earned from savings

 

Expenses

 

  • Household expenses (e.g. groceries, bills)

 

  • Personal expenses (e.g. mobile phone plan, dining out, credit card bills, insurance premiums)

 

  • Loan repayments (e.g. housing loan, car loan, rolled over credit card outstanding balances, renovation loans)

 

Tip

You could use the MyMoneySense Expense Manager to estimate your expenditure and set up a budget.

Be aware of your spending habits

Now that you know what you are spending your income on, you can adjust how you spend.

Follow these steps:

 

  • Decide which items you do not need and remove or defer them if possible (e.g. subscriptions).

  • For the items that you do need, consider more budget-conscious alternatives (e.g. choosing house brands, taking public transport). You could also make small adjustments to your lifestyle, such as being more mindful of how the household is using electricity and water.

Work out your finances carefully if you have to take on new financial commitments at this time, such as planning for a wedding or starting a family.

Tip

Credit card bills usually incur the highest interest among your loans. If you are unable to pay your outstanding balances on credit cards or revolving credit lines, you can apply to your lenders to convert your balances to lower interest term loans before 30 September 2021.

Quote “Special Financial Relief Programme (Unsecured)” to your bank when requesting for this assistance.

Plan a budget and keep to it as best as you can

Drawing up a budget can help you take control of your expenses.

 

Being disciplined about following the plan – such as keeping to a shopping list – and reviewing it regularly are equally important to stretch your dollar.

 

The Consumers Association of Singapore has a mobile app called Price Kaki, which could be helpful for finding household and grocery items at the lowest price in your area.

Tip

If you would like to learn more about budgeting, you might like to join Financial Health Seminar conducted online by the Institute for Financial Literacy.

 

We also have a new online budgeting tool called MyMoneySense .

If you really have to take a loan…

Before you take a personal loan, consider alternatives such as financial assistance schemes offered by various government agencies or social service agencies.

 

Take note of these tips if you really must take a loan:

 

  • Borrow only what you need and can repay. Understand the details of the payment plan (e.g. how much interest you need to pay and how long it will take to clear the loan). Be mindful that if you cannot meet the contractual terms of the loan, it may result in more interest and fees, which will lead to further financial strain.

  • Do not take up loan offers through SMS or messaging apps like WhatsApp. They are either scams or unlicensed moneylenders – licensed moneylenders are not allowed to make any cold calls or send any unsolicited text messages to advertise their services. Refer to the Ministry of Law’s website for a list of licensed moneylenders.

Tip

Use our calculator to estimate your monthly repayments and how long it will take to clear your debt.

Note

There are other avenues to get help beyond the relief schemes and payouts that the Government has announced.

 

The Courage Fund has a scheme for lower-income households affected by COVID-19. (Apply here). You may approach a social service office near you.

 

You can find a full list of government payouts that you may be eligible for here.

 

Find out more

 

Download : Tips on budgeting during COVID-19

 

 

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OTHER ARTICLES IN OUR "FINANCIAL RESILIENCE" SERIES:

 

“I want to know how to prioritise and manage my debt.”

 

“I have issues paying my mortgage.”

 

“I have problems paying my insurance premiums.”

 

“My income has been affected because of COVID-19. What financial support is there for me?”

 

“Where should I go to look for a job or upskill myself?”

 

“Should I invest now?”

 

“How do I protect myself from scams?”

 

 

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