SG Budget Babe
Asked on 03 Dec 2019
How do i budget without compromising on the welfare of those around me, so i'm not considered stingy?
I learnt this 6 jar system earlier this year, and I felt that it's very reasonable as it covers all aspects of your life.
Of course, its only a guideline and you are free to adjust it to suit your lifestyle :)
10 Dec 2019
I can totally feel you. I love my mom a lot, but wasn't earning much when I started work.
So I ate exactly one meal a day (a very heavy lunch), walk 1 km every day to my bus stop to save a few cents on my bus fare, and pretty much stayed at home on weekends in order to prevent myself from spending money via temptations.
All that, to give my mom a decent ang bao on her birthday.
Even today, I'm just eating $2 chicken rice on a regular basis, but I'm willing to spend on my loved ones, by buying a good meal or bringing them on holidays. Of course, that can't come at the expense of some things, such as my health.
Who you hang out with ultimately defines who you will become. If you have friends who are not understanding, you can either change their minds or change your friends. There are no two ways around this.
It's more tricky when it comes to family, but family is just another "relationship bond", similar to friendship.
Budget is what you do, stingy is what people perceive you as.
When you're on your own, you can always opt for budget options such as going for your $2.50 chicken rice or $3 wanton mee for your lunch fix.
When you have company or when spending as a group, you may wish to consider splurging a bit more than spending on your own simply because more people get to enjoy the value dervied from the spending and usually when you spend more in a group setting, you enjoy more value in terms of:
Overall satisfaction rate(5 happy humans beat 1 satisfied human)
Bulk purchase discount(more bang for buck when purchasing in larger quantities).
So a rule of thumb can be when spending in larger groups, you can afford to have more leeway when it comes to budgeting since you will enjoy more benefits as mentioned in (1) and (2).
Bonus: People also do not perceive you as stingy when you spend more as a group but this should be the last reason. You are spending your own money, therefore, you make the choice. How others perceive you should not affect your decision.
Unfortunately when I was still studying, I had "friends" who called me stingy because I wasn't willing to spend at a restaurant. Hey $15 is a lot for a student who gets $50 a month.
So, the best thing is to cut them off if you're uncomfortable with it. It's your money, and no one else should dictate how you should spend it.
Actually budget and stingy are two different perspectives.
Budget means spending wisely. Stingy means being selfish.
As long as the item that you are spending on you feel that is not worth it, then dont spend and you are not being stingy.
But if is really a constraint to you then no point spending money just to be acceptable to others.
I write cool stuff about personal finance and money-saving hacks here.
Stingy is subjective too! And I guess, stingy is what is perceived by others.
So, if I were to really budget, I would be stingy on myself but still treat loved ones to good meals.
Great question! I have also asked myself this question.
For me, I kinda budget on myself - like I will not splurge on anything, even simple things like should I buy a drink during lunch or just drink water, should I order 2 vege or 2 vege 1 meat instead.. These kind of things!
And towards other entertainment expenses (with friends, family I am actually okay to splurge a little), sometimes I'll just tell my friends that I'm trying to save more money because of so and so, so they understand what I am trying to achieve. At the end of the day, it's about both parties understanding the point of views of each other. And if you have a friend who questions like "why you so stingy, just eat only, don't so cheap leh", then I think maybe it's time to reduce time spent with fellow friend.
I think the word should be thrifty and I think there is nothing wrong in being thrifty. In fact, there is beauty in being thrifty. Of course, that doesnt mean that it will make you stingy.
For example, buying gifts especially in this festive season need not be extravagant or need to be very large in size. There are many options to consider when getting a gift. You can DIY yourself, visit value dollar shop or Japan Home. They have many good gifts ideas there and it does not cost you much. Thus, you achieve being thrifty but not stingy.
To add on some sincerity, you can write a perosnal letter to thank or appreciate them too!
Hi Gabriel, I take into context you are referring to spending within the family, and I am happy to share my experience.
At the moment, I think abt 15% of my annual income is spent on family. There have been times I struggle with why my peers give only 300/mth to family (and no one calls them stingy), but as a single, I contribute 15% and my family still say not enough. Sometimes there are different issues at play and in spite of all this, deal with the issue and not take on the "stingy" remarks on your character personally.
I adopt a very principled budget approach, even in family, and here's my ways:
set a % that you think is fair and try to apply against your income, so that in good times or bad, adhere to the % so all budgets take the right share (not overly penalizing any particular budget).
instead of giving all the cash / money to the one managing household budget, take over a portion of those bills and pay them directly. Since you assumed the share of bills, you have the "right" to manage those bills. Look for areas that you can trim without compromising on overall welfare. Eg when I took over the starhub cable bills, I adjusted the internet plan, cut some channels (mainly sports which no one watched after my sibling moved out), and cut the extra cable terminal rent. This was just sensibly reducing wastage according to our needs and wants.
Within family, explore the assignment of tax reliefs that can be shared (eg caretaker relief of parents / siblings / children). The person with the highest tax rate should enjoy the relief, but use the tax savings to fund household expenses.
Don't look at keeping to budget always means compromising on welfare. Rather it is assigning budget $$ to areas that matter, that's why we look at reducing waste, better utilization, and then keeping any savings as a reserve for future needs (I keep it in reserve for buying furniture or equipment).
I also tried to adjust the way I give my family allowances more like a company, a monthly amount (about 70%) I try not to touch, and then about 30% in variable (thru CNY, father / mother day, xmas, birthday angpows). In times of crisis (eg if I am unemployed), I trim the variable festive angpows, and restore it accordingly after the crisis ends.
One other aspect is also maintaining communication and expressing views. Both parties need to be heard. Eg it can be quite senseless for my family to call me stingy, but they use the money I put in family bank account for thousands in church / temple building donations, while I live miserably on a reduced allowance eating instant noodles for meals.
Sometimes it can be that they dont see the pain you go through. Sharing helps to lighten the load.
Over the years, I have increased my annual contribution by about 300%, and while doing that I probably achieved more than 3k in annual cost savings by right sizing plans, cutting unnecessary subscriptions, choosing better value mobile / internet plans, as well as a small portion from changing frequency of insurance premium payments.
3k a year over say 10 years is 30k. I dont pocket the difference, I just absorb more bills, do more cost right sizing, then distribute the excess savings to them as angpows.
I was frugal, managed the budget, and cut cost, but I did not compromise their welfare, because they receive a portion of it in angpows, while paying less bills.
Hope my sharing helps you. Take it easy on yourself. =)
I try to save when it comes to my own leisure (with 1 or 2 allowances now and then to pamper myself, this is after all a marathon, not a 100m race)
but when it comes to my family, i try not to save.
When i was not having much money, i go for value for money for my family.
when i am doing much better, i go for the luxury part for my family.
For myself, I am fine with simple stuff in life.
Friends are the tricky part. Sometimes your friends will ask you out to go for expensive dinners and drinks.
I find the best, and easy way is to be direct. Tell them you are on a strict yearly budget and prefer something easy on the wallet. If these friends are really important to you, of course you can meet them more regularly and pamper yourself a little
If they are not important, doesn't matter if they refuse to go down on their budget, just skip the meeting. ;)
I understand where you're coming from. I too have gone through a time when I try to save as much as I could and start counting every dollar i'm spending. and I realised I ended up being quite calculative/stingy. I guess we can take a step back when we're out with our family as we love them and want to treat them to a nice meal once in awhile. :) on our own, we can save more by packing our own meals to work/school :)
It can be difficult to fall entirely in either of the "on budget" or "being stingy" category when judged by others. To some, you may seem to be a scrooge, but to others, your same action might seem to be prudent.
Most importantly would be to answer to yourself, and be happy with how you're allocating your assets!
I find joy in finding the best deals, and even more joy when I share these savings with my loved ones. I think going to lengths to search for deals is worth it because I get to spend the savings on other things that potentially would bring me happiness as well, while at the same time sticking to a viable budget
During gatherings its alright to spend a bit more - set aside a budget for it. If you normally go Dutch with friends - then u can just choose the cheaper options
I find it useful to plan for how much you would like to spend on birthdays and special occasions! So if it's like your family, I guess bringing them out for a meal, buying a birthday present, would probably set you back $100-$200. For a close friend, you might get by with under $100. So saving up for this, will help you to budget better.
I also set aside $200 a month for family meals where we will go eat at better restaurants and have a family meal once or twice a month. :) Definitely depends on your family and what they love to eat/do in their free time. I think 'stingy' is a consideration only when your money management affects someone else's decisions and emotions.
One method that worked really well for me is that I set aside a budget to treat people. So when I spend, I don't feel guilt or stingy because I know it has already been budgeted. Then I won't feel so hard pressed to pay a meal :)
You could set aside an amount you are comfortable with to spend on your loved ones.. Or if you don't want to be so exact about it, whenever you see something they might like or if you go out to eat with them, you might want to foot the bill sometimes. For our loved ones, most of the time they won't expect you to be spending all your money on them. Doing a kind deed or showing them appreciation and that you care could make them happy and be FOC as well!
Welfare is a difficult work to accurately categorise. Some peoples' wants affects their welfare but is not a neccessary expense.
For me being stingy is defined by being scrimp on "Needs". My advise is to just continue your own budgetting by planning for things you need to buy. Once in a while, do treat your friends a meal or two as appreciation