Updated: 04/05/2011 00:00

The Inflation Battle

Talk about inflation often goes over your head with the amount of facts and figures thrown into conv...

Talk about inflation often goes over your head with the amount of facts and figures thrown into conversation. Simply, nobody likes it when the same item today costs more tomorrow! We like our money to go as far as it can, but inflation means that that is becoming increasingly difficult.

Forget the facts and figures, all you need to know is that the inflation rate is the highest it’s been in two years. Thus, everyone is starting to feel the monetary pinch, especially members of low-income households. The Government’s latest budget measures are meant to help families earning low wages fight inflation with extra cash, rebates and subsidies mounting up to nearly seven times the expected increase in prices.

However, what are low-income households to do to help themselves fight inflation? Here are some easy tips to combat rising prices.

1. Buy Wise
Try to cut food spending by buying cheaper alternatives. This may mean buying house brands, as they are usually have far smaller prices than others. Sometimes every cent counts. You can also be frugal by cutting down on eating out, as you pay more for cooked food than you do raw from the supermarkets.

2. Get Stricter
Due to rising costs you will have to reconsider what you perceive to be necessities in life. Going to the movies or taking taxis might be things you like to do, but with great public transport and TV channels to watch at home, why not invite your friends over for a movie night rather than spending money on going out of an evening.

3. Be Realistic
Set yourself a budget that you can follow realistically. Limit credit card use to a minimum, and all other luxuries too. It’s all about discipline.

4. Got a Car?
Those lucky enough to own a car, might want to consider selling it if times get really hard. However, otherwise switch to a cheaper type of petrol, and try to use public transport wherever possible. By doing this, you’re also saving the environment!

What do you do, if, even after following all these tips, money is still tight? You may want to consider finding a secondary source of income. Take up a second part-time job in the evenings or at weekends, or rent out any available rooms in your condo or HDB home.

Though lessons on dealing with inflation is mostly aimed at those with lower incomes, those with comfortable salaries should not just sit back and relax. The tendancy is still to spend spend spend and save little. Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr You Varghese, an adviser at iPac Financial Planning (a financial consultancy), advised that even those earning the upper median income - $6,000 plus – “should put about 15 to 25% of their income into savings, which they can then invest”. This will then enable you to provide for your future.

Keywords: Singapore property, home, homes, property in Singapore, condo, HDB.

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