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The last letter of our H.E.A.R.T. series concludes with the value of ‘thrift’.

What comes to mind when you think of thrift?

Some may think it involves doing some retail therapy in thrift stores; while others may think that it has to do with buying cheap. Not to be misconceived as being stingy, the word thrift is used to describe the quality and practice of being careful with money and not wasting things. Being thrifty means being mindful of one’s spending habits which entails getting the best value for a low cost and spending less on the non-essentials.

On this note, two co-operators share why being thrifty is an incredibly good thing.

Mr John Raghavan, Chairman of Singapore Government Staff Credit Co-operative (SGS Credit Co-op), the first co-operative to be registered in Singapore, offered some tips on how to stretch the dollar.

  • Capitalise on promotions and sales but spend wisely. Be money-smart. If you have set your mind to go shopping, at least be on the lookout for the best bargains. Take time to look for good promotional deals, for example, one-for-one deals or purchases that give you the best bang for your buck.

    Travel used to be a major expense in our budget. With travel restrictions, many have accumulated some savings. Thanks to the government, “SingapoRediscovers vouchers” and “Singapoliday” are two familiar terms we’ve been hearing a lot lately. All the reason to rejoice and one way to stretch the dollar. With the $100 worth of SingapoRediscovers vouchers, Singaporeans can spend on hotel stays, attractions tickets and local tours. Furthermore, we’re helping to support tourism businesses, which have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • You can also adopt the value of thrift in ways such as having home-cooked food, not eating out frequently and cutting down on extravagant festivities or celebrations. These can be a huge money saver.

  • Make your money work harder for you. You can save with SGS Credit Co-op for a higher return.

Ms Denise Ong, SNCF Scholar, shared her own views on how, as a youth and student, she manages her expenditure.

  • Make every dollar count in your budget. I track my expenses and find areas that I can cut down on by using cheaper alternatives. Take for example, my expenditure on meals. I have discovered that economic rice, or commonly known as cai fan in Mandarin, i.e. a one-meat two-vegetable meal, offers an affordable and healthy dietary option. I have become a huge fan of cai fan.

  • Hone your bargain-hunting skills and look for cheaper deals instead of paying the full price for an item. I take advantage of promotional campaigns such as one-for-one deals and student meals with my family and friends. This way, we get to spend a little less to enjoy a little more!

  • Another tip is to tap on companies' reward system benefits. My family will spend together and accumulate points to exchange these points for discounts and rewards! One example is our accumulation of Healthpoints on the Healthy 365 app which we redeemed them for NTUC FairPrice vouchers. It is also good to ensure that if we have a credit card, we choose one that has the best cash back rewards and rebates. But of course, that doesn’t give us the excuse to spend more.

  • Here’s my best kept budget secret. My budgeting proportion changes every few months. For example, during the holiday season, I allocate a greater proportion of my allowance on spending, because of possible meetups with friends over meals or anticipated additional expenditure on shopping. On normal days, a greater proportion will be allocated to savings and investments.

There are positive benefits of living a thriftier lifestyle. Exercising thriftiness can help you save more money, improve your financial stability and lead to a lower level of financial stress and greater freedom.

We hope the H.E.A.R.T series has helped you outline areas that can ready your co-operatives and yourselves for a world of changing needs. Catch up the full series below:

Health – Your Health is Your Wealth
Empathy – The Power of Empathy
Adaptability – Adaptability – Our Best Asset
Resilience – Resilience for the Long Haul
Thrift – Putting A High Value on Thrift

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