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Financial Tips for Singaporeans During Covid-19

Ten months after the world reported the first Covid-19 case — the virus is still rampaging through the world, disrupting lives and causing mayhem to many industries, leaving tens of thousands of people without a job. We look at financial tips you can learn and practise on your own.

What options are available for Singaporeans who have lost their jobs? And how can the rest of us watch our spending in order to ensure we have sufficient savings to ride through this storm?

In this article, we hope to point Singaporeans to the right financial assistance programme, as well as provide some financial tips on how we can all save more money.

Defer your loans in Singapore

If you have lost your job, one of the first things you will worry about is definitely your loans — e.g. mortgage, car, renovation, study loans, insurance etc.

The Singapore government understands this too and worked with the banks to provide Singaporeans with the options to defer their loans in May 2020. These deferments are not automatic, so you will have to work with your bank directly if you wish to take this up.

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone should just take up this offer. Given that any deferred payment or loans will continue to accrued interests, any individual will need to properly evaluate the pros and cons to make sure it won’t be worse off for themselves when they eventually have to resume payment.

Understanding that the situation is only improving slowly, or not at all for some individuals, MAS has decided to extend this scheme to 2021, as mentioned by MAS in a press release:

“As the economic outlook remains challenging and there continues to be significant uncertainty over the depth and duration of this downturn, the latest package of measures will provide further support to affected individuals”.

Financial support grants for Singaporeans

One other avenue for Singaporeans to get financial support include the 3 grant supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development — Covid 19 Support Grant, Courage Fund, Temporary relief fund.

Each of these grants has different qualifying criteria.

Covid-19 Support Grant is for Singaporeans (aged 16 and above), who have experienced either a job loss or reduced pay for the last 3 months. Eligible Singaporeans can get 500 to 800 in cash for 3 months.

Courage Fund is for lower-income households in Singapore, and eligible households will get a one-time payment of $1,000.

Last of all, the Temporary Relief Fund will support lower- and middle-income households, where eligible individuals will receive a one-time payment of $500.

For the full criteria list, please visit: https://www.msf.gov.sg/assistance/Pages/covid19relief.aspx#TCF

Make small changes to your lifestyle

None of us know when this Covid-19 nightmare will end, so the best way to protect yourself during this period is to make sure you have enough savings to ride through this storm.

Multiple small changes to your lifestyle can help make a huge difference in the long run.

Cancel subscriptions that you don’t need

Look at any recurring charges on your credit card bill. If you are like most Singaporeans, you are likely to be paying for Netflix, Spotify and maybe a food delivery subscription on a monthly basis.

Now might be a good time to evaluate which ones you really need, and which ones you would like to cut. This doesn’t have to be permanent — when the situation gets better, you can always subscribe to them again.

Save on electricity

If you have been working from home since the start of Covid-19, you might have seen your electricity bill shot up, especially if you switched on the air con throughout the day.

From now till March next year is Singapore’s monsoon season, so you can expect more rainfall and cooler weather. Instead of relying on aircon, now might be a good time to invest in a good fan to save more money, and the environment too! Practise the financial tips we mention today.

These are just some of the changes you can make, and besides these, you can also review your transportation, dining and exercise options. Find out if there are more cost effective options or alternatives.