If you’re a young Singaporean looking to get a better handle on your finances, you might want to give TikTok a chance. While it’s true that the platform is often associated with viral dances and memes, there is actually a wealth of valuable advice and tips to be found there, especially when it comes to personal finance.
In fact, many savvy TikTok users are using the platform to share their own money-saving hacks, investment strategies, and budgeting tips. So if you want to learn how to stretch your dollar further, build up your savings, or make smart financial decisions, TikTok might just be the place for you.
And the best part is, you don’t have to sift through hours of pointless content to find the good stuff – we’ve done the work for you and gathered some of the best advice right here.
Eating on a Budget Singapore
This Korean man explores the budget options in Singapore and unlike a lot of other TikToks with their skewed sense of what is “cheap”, Eric’s picks definitely fit the bill!
Not only does he feature individual dishes, but he has aesthetically curated TikToks on the best, truly budget-friendly options.
Tracking your expenses using free to use apps
While you can certainly get by with using good ol’ pen and paper or spreadsheets to plan your budget, why not use one of the plethora of budgeting apps? Planner Bee comes with an option to link your card to track your expenses automatically, as well as the option to key it in manually. It allows you to clearly visualise your progress towards your goals.
Try out the app now: https://plannerbee.co
Ideas for cutting expenses and saving money
Small habits cumulatively add up. When it comes to the daunting task of saving more money, we recommend that you start small. This TikTok provides a short and sweet list of little things that save money around the house:
- Get a reusable water bottle
- Get a reusable k-cup (coffee capsules)
- Get soap bags – makes your soaps last much longer
On the other hand, we can consider the necessity of some of the purchases that we make. In a TikTok titled ‘5 Things I No Longer Buy as a 28 years old’, …
- The latest iPhone
- Getting nails done
- Plastic Water Bottles
- Physical books, as digital books as readily available and cheaper if not free
- More makeup. Her rule is to only buy it if it’s finished and can fit in her makeup bag.
Actually, we wouldn’t recommend getting all your investment advice from TikTok, as investing is not a topic that can be concisely explained in a 30-second clip. However, some tried and true concepts can be succinctly summarised by TikToks, which we’ve sieved out.
Tips for investing in the stock market
If you’re young, the best and most consistent advice can be summarised with the advice that this TikTok gives: invest in your skillset. Rather than recklessly attempting to invest in the next big thing, the surest way to earn more money is to upskill yourself and earn a higher income, which you can then use to invest. In short, don’t be impatient and invest in your skills.
Importance of starting early
Despite the fact that starting early has been touted as one of the most underrated and important concepts when it comes to investing, it is not uncommon for people to be unable to overcome their barriers and prioritise short term happiness over getting a head-start on their long term finances. This TikTok helps us visualise the different outcomes between someone who started small and early, versus someone who keeps putting it off. A person who started 10 years earlier, investing 500$ a month, has a whopping US$2 million by retirement, versus the US$900,000 accrued by someone who only started investing at 32 years old.
As the caption aptly summarises: Invest early and consistently!
Savings, Credit and Debt
Finance Coach Sumita gives up a quick and simple way to use the POSB Auto Savings function to automate each month’s savings! So if you find yourself unable to consistently save or find it a hassle to remember to set aside money, why not just use this function and save yourself time?
Getting your Credit Report
If you’re planning to get a housing loan or want to get a credit card, this is important information for you.
Simply head to Creditbureau.com.sg and apply for a free report if you’ve made loans in the past 6 months. Else, you have to wait a bit longer to apply for a free report, or you can pay roughly S$7 to get a report immediately.
Missing Credit Card Bill
In the event that you miss a payment by a couple of days, you should email customer service explaining your situation. They are willing to waive the late payment fees, of course if this happens only occasionally.
Not only that, the creator suggests that we should set up monthly GIRO payment to automate payments so you avoid this in the first place. You just have to download their application form and send it back to them for processing.
The importance of setting financial goals
If you’re interested, you can engage in challenges like this 30-day money challenge to take control of your money!
Day 1 involves setting financial goals, and the TikTok provides a framework of setting targets based on an intention: whether you’re trying to grow your money, or save your money.
If you’re into hustle-culture, this style of TikTok probably serves as your morning breakfast. Sometimes a reminder or two can help you stay on track, but remember, actions speak louder than words, so make sure to actually be productive and not just watch these TikToks and not do anything!
Setting goals as a couple:
Why does this information have to be paired with a video of a couple dancing? Who knows, but it’s definitely something we come to regard as normal on this app. The TikTok “5 steps to improve financial health as a couple” lays down five ways you can have an adult conversation about money, which is helpful for couples who might be anxious about such matters.
- Communicate about money status. Share your financial goals, unpaid debts, and how much you’ve saved.
- Create a money system together. Plan how to manage your finances
- Set financial expectations and create a monthly budget together if necessary
- Align your shared financial goals to keep yourselves accountable and stay focused on your goals
- Create a financial plan together and consult a financial expert to get professional advice
How to overcome financial anxiety and stress
Meggie, a 25 year old American expat in Singapore who has worked since she was 16, discusses her own thoughts about a healthy financial mindset in response to someone who seemed concerned over her system of finance. She responds that she has 6 month’s worth of expenses saved up as emergency funding. She also talks about how she broke the paycheck to paycheck cycle by first getting ahead with fixed costs (loans etc) and then slowly adding variable costs, and paying this month’s expenses with at least last month’s paycheck. She also enjoys being in a DINK (dual-income no kids) household with multiple income streams, which allows her to have more free cash to dedicate to her spending.
The same creator brings up an important point that minimalism and frugal living may not be for everyone in one of her TikToks. The popularity of frugal living and the Financial-Independence-Retire-Early (FIRE) movement undoubtedly contributes to a scarcity mindset of skimping and saving rather than an abundance mindset that’s centred around earning more, which Meggie embraces.
She emphasises the importance of having multiple streams of income to lead a life that is actually enjoyable. Of course, you should still hit your minimum savings rate so you can retire.
Unexpected or Funny Advice
Budgeting using a physical budgeting wallet
A fun (but not entirely realistic for those who get paid directly into our bank accounts) way to budget is to literally separate our earnings into a separate notebook folder. Not only does she include essentials first like downpayment for “house” and repaying back “debt”, but she also allocated funds for celebrations like “birthday fund” and “christmas fund”. The same idea could be replicated with different accounts for different purposes, such as one for fixed costs like debt payments and another for fun expenditures.
How to save money in Singapore (light hearted).
A local TikToker who does comedic illustrated videos discusses ways to save money in Singapore. Some of my favourites include:
- Shower together (save water)
- Don’t divorce wife (it’s going to be expensive)
- Make more babies (baby bonus)
Interviews in Singapore
There’s a channel of a Singaporean that interviews ‘rich people’ in their expensive cars, asking them what they do for a living, and for money advice for young people. Most of the interviewees turn out to be businessmen, while some appear to have inherited that money, and yet some are simply loaning the cars.
In conclusion, don’t underestimate the power of TikTok when it comes to learning about personal finance. With the right tips and advice, you can start taking control of your money and make smarter decisions for your future.
Remember to always do your own research and consult with a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.