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22 October 2007


a) Mortgage (if any):
i) Family : If necessary, change to a bank which offers a lower interest rate or flexible payment scheme. Sometimes interest rates fall, ask your current bank if you can apply for the new rate. Don’t skip payment, you loose money on penalties.
ii) Working Singles : n/a
iii) College Student : n/a

b) Rent :
i) Family / Working Singles / College Student : Scout around, you may find a cheaper option.

c) Car loan/Transport :
i) Family & Working Singles : Interest rates are more or less similar from one bank to another. Don’t skip payments, again you loose money on penalties and getting your car back if it gets towed away. Even better, buy a second hand car (be careful of maintenance) or a motorcycle.
ii) College Student : Use public transport. Buy a motor cycle if traveling distance is too far or the bus/train is unreliable.

d) Petrol & Toll :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Cost depends on how far you have to travel. Try to live closer to your workplace, kids’ school, your college. Alternatively balance your driving distance between your workplace, the college/school and the nearest town so that you don’t have to travel too far to any of these places. Even better set a straight path so that everyone in the family doesn’t have to go in different directions but on the same road from home – school/town – workplace. To cut down even more, use a public transport or share with a colleague.

e) Groceries :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Eat at home before going shopping. Compare prices. Buy the cheaper alternative (not luxury but it will keep you alive). Buy bulk for families if necessary but not goods that go bad quickly. Stay away from tit-bits like crisps, candies or chocolate at the check-out counter. (They are put there to temp you on the way out). Don’t buy tit-bits while waiting for the bus/train. Make sure you & your wife don’t pay double for things like newspapers, coffee at the nearest cafe in the morning etc. Bring food/drink to work/school/college. If you are an avid gardener and you have the space, grow your own food.

f) Cable TV :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Again this is not a matter of life and death. It is considered an extra entertainment. Just have the ordinary channels on. Find other entertainment that don’t cost much.

g) Internet Access & House Phone:

i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : These two often go together. If you really want to do without the extra cost, stop having a house phone /subscribing to an Internet access altogether. Go to a nearby Internet Café if there is one within walking distance.

h) Mobile Phone :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Don’t yak on the phone just because you are bored most of the time. Get out more often, meet your friends/family or have them call you. Sending short messages is even more cheaper. Don’t have more than one phone unless someone else is paying for the bill (like your company).

i) Medical Bills :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Keep a healthy lifestyle. Eat nutritious food, exercise more, pray more, laugh more etc. Unfortunately, medical expenses are often unavoidable.

j) Electricity bill :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Switch off the lights, TV etc. when not in use especially if you are not at home. Air conditioning you can do with out. Use a fan. Get solar power/wind power etc.

k) Water bill :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Shower instead of soaking in the bathtub. Use a front loader washing machine instead of a top loader. Wash your car only when necessary. Use a glass of water when brushing your teeth instead of letting the tap run. Get a water saving toilet which has two choices for flushing. Get a water tank for rainwater. If the quality of water is poor in your area, use it for washing, in the bathroom etc instead of for cooking or drinking.

l) Miscellaneous :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Depends on what you find filtered away by the end of every month. IF you are really determined to save money - keep track no matter how tedious. Did you put aside money for house/car maintenance, road tax, tire change, dental appointments, birthday parties, visit to the vet (for pet owners) Sudden extra expenses for visits by relatives etc? Don’t lend money if you don’t have enough even for your self. Do have savings for your retirement?

m) Children School fees :
i) Family : Can’t be avoided but you can choose a less expensive school.
ii) Working Singles : n/a
iii) College Student : n/a

n) Kids Extra Activities :
i) Family : Cut down or cut out totally depending on how serious your money problems are at the moment. Let them find entertainment at home or better still spend time with them. Give them extra lessons yourself. Find ideas from the library/internet.
ii) Working Singles: n/a
iii) College Student : n/a

o) Entertainment :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Now this is where most people can cut down most. It’s not a matter of life or death. You can still survive with minimum entertainment.

p) Books/Magazines :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Buy the minimum basic books required for college. Go to the library often. Stop buying magazines, they cost a lot over time.

q) Photocopy/stamps :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Send letters/post cards sparingly maybe once a month or two. Read and write down articles/information before thinking of photocopying. Only photocopy things that are difficult to write down. Borrow if possible.

r) Credit Card :
i) Family, Working Singles & College Student : Only use during emergencies (life and death). Pay more than the monthly minimum required. You loose money on high interest rates. Don’t accept that Gold or Platinum Card when it is offered to you just to show off.

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