Adapting to a sudden decrease in your income is no easy task, but you’ll emerge stronger by staying determined and consistent. If you’re one of those whose work and finances have recently been affected, here are some suggestions on how you can stay on top of your finances.
Switch up your savings strategy by trimming expenses
Before you embark on your job search, take a look at your current budget. During this period, you may have to adopt a bare-bones spending style to make your savings last longer. As a start, list down all sources of income and savings (such as your emergency savings and payouts from government support measures) and expenses (such as food, utilities and loan repayments).
This gives a clear picture of your cash flow and helps highlight the unnecessary expenses to cut out.
A tip to stretch your budget further is by limiting costly food deliveries. Instead, you can purchase raw ingredients that are on sale, and plan your home-cooked meals around them.
As a rule of thumb, it’s advisable to save at least 10% of any income you may have, so that you can build your emergency funds.
If you need a helping hand to meet your daily expenses, you can check if you are eligible for the COVID-19 Support Grant, which provides a monthly cash grant of up to $800 for three months. To ease your utilities expenses, a one-off $100 Solidarity Utilities Credit will be credited in July or August 2020 for all households with at least one Singaporean member, regardless of property type.
To find out which other support schemes you’re eligible for, click here.
Think creatively about alternative sources of income
If you’re looking for more out-of-the-box ideas to generate some extra income while you continue your job search, here are some suggestions! If you stumble across unused items in your house that are in good condition, list them on online marketplaces to make some extra cash.
Another area to look into is freelance work. Market your skills on freelance sites or reach out to your contacts such as previous employers or via networking sites. This may even turn into a full-time role in the future.
Get ahead of the competition with subsidised online courses
Stay productive and at the same time, improve your career prospects by picking up a new skill through one of the 8,000 courses offered by Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and NTUC LearningHub on SkillsFuture.
If you’re aged 25 and above as at 31 December 2020, you can enjoy a one-off $500 SkillsFuture Credit top-up*, as part of the Singapore Budget 2020 measures to support the professional development of workers. On top of that, if you’re a mid-career worker aged between 40 and 60, you’ll receive an additional $500 SkillsFuture Credit top-up*!
To further help boost your employability, the Hiring Incentive was recently expanded to encourage employers to hire local workers aged 40 and above through eligible reskilling programmes.
If you’re a recent graduate, there are measures you can tap on as well — one option is to join the SGUnited Traineeships Programme to gain industry-relevant experience and receive a training allowance during the programme. Its counterpart for mid-career individuals is the Mid-Career Traineeships Programme, which provides more support to Singaporeans in their 40s and 50s.
Keep your health in check with MediSave
You can continue to use your MediSave to defray costs for other healthcare needs such as insurance premiums for MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans, health screenings, vaccinations and wisdom tooth extractions (within limits).
Welcoming a baby? Lighten the expenses by utilising the MediSave Maternity Package to offset pre-delivery and delivery costs. In addition, after your baby is born, you can use his or her MediSave (a $4,000 grant will be deposited) to pay for childhood vaccinations!
Learn 9 ways to tap on your MediSave.
Being in between jobs can feel stressful at times, so don’t hesitate to give yourself a break once in a while. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some time to enjoy the things you love such as reading, exercising or spending time with your family, before getting back into the job hunt grind — you’ve got this.
*Top-up credits will expire on 31 Dec 2025.
Information accurate as at 12/6/2020