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  • Writer's pictureAlice Mia Joo

Financial Housekeeping – personal or business?



Have you taken care of your household affairs? Are all the members at home managing the duties and chores together, or are you in control? How much money have you allocated for the running of your household matters? Is a clean house a sign of good Housekeeping?


If the above sounds familiar to you, then you are in the right place. Financial Housekeeping works hand in hand with good Housekeeping habits. Good habits will make it easier for you to be good with your finances, and healthier financials will set you towards achieving your future goals with greater financial resilience.

Here are some tips on how to achieve good financial Housekeeping in your household.


Make a schedule.


Keeping your financials in shape will enable you not to resort to expensive bank or personal loans when you face financial situations like retrenchment, or an unexpected diagnosis of a medical condition which requires a sudden increase in cash flow to support the treatment.


Think of this as embarking on a fitness programme. To achieve financial fitness, you need to be disciplined and determined to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Schedule a day in a week to look at your budgets, review your goals, reconcile your bank statements, and make adjustments if you have, to stay on track.

Financial fitness means you feel good and confident about where you stand financially. It means the ability to manage your money in order to meet your current long-term needs for you and your family.


Identify the right model for your household.


Gone are the days where the ‘man must provide’. Increasingly, more women are taking on or sharing the responsibility to provide financially for the household, and more men are taking the running of household affairs instead – who do you think cooks in Gordon Ramsey’s household?

Just like being a chef is not just cool, but a ticket to celebrity status, the new era household requires a new way of management. Some households do better when 1 person is in-charge, while some others prefer teamwork with different roles and responsibilities. Take this as an opportunity to get to know every member in the house, and share everyone’s strengths and behaviour towards financial management, set a date on your calendar to start, organise a family meeting, and make this a family commitment to achieve. Take all the time you need, and make sure everyone is involved. The more involvement, the greater the success at implementation.


‘Making a difference’ – in your decision making.


With so many decisions to make a day (some sources suggest that we make 35,000 choices a day), we need to be a lot more efficient in making decisions for the household, i.e. you need to spend less time to create double the value for your family. This way, you will have more time to do quality things together, or even get more productive at your work to make your boss happier.


Instead of trying to make every decision, focus on the ones that will make a difference to you, your family, and the people around you. As author John C. Maxwell famously put it—“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.”

Create a unique shopping list.


We all love shopping, especially online!

Statista.com data shows that Singaporeans spent almost US$8 billion online in 2018. This is not surprising, since the Lion City has been ranked among the most prepared economies to participate and benefit from the e-commerce boom (https://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/tn_unctad_ict4d14_en.PDF).


With all these online options pushing into our smart phones every moment, we are going to succumb to temptation 1 day, whether we need it or not. So how do we prevent this and stay disciplined?


Start writing down all the items you need to run your household on a regular basis, i.e. laundry needs, cooking needs, cleaning needs, DIY needs, etc. Track the items for 1 month, and you will start to see a list of common items your household requires on a regular basis. Make that your family’s shopping list, that is unique to your family. Make use of the ‘list’ options most online grocery sites have to help you keep track of the necessary items you need. Share that list with your family members and make it a meaningful activity to do. Now you know what your spouse enjoys, and your children’s are going to learn and appreciate more.


Ok, we know that life is going to be so restrictive and boring if we stop shopping for everything else! So occasionally, if you want to add a few items to celebrate that happy moment or reward yourself, you can, but the good news is that now you have a list of essentials that you can refer to and ask yourself, ‘will buying this extra item make a difference to my life?’.


Go with the flow.


We all speak about good habits, but it can be tough to create one.

Instead of trying to start something totally new and trying to force it into your schedule, think of ways to integrate that good habit into areas where you are closest to achieving success.

You can include making a good financial habit together with the rest of your new year resolutions every new year, or carry out a financial spring clean when you spring clean for the new year, or create that shopping list during your weekly grocery shopping day with the family.


The more you are aware of your daily habits, the easier it would be for your to start good ones.


Home improvements is the trend.


Property has been one of the longest hot topic, and it will be for a long time in a nation with very limited real estate. With more houses and homes being built, and as the economy advances, it is not surprising that home improvements are getting more popular each day. Who doesn’t want to build a home of our dreams, that is insta-worthy too?


Start thinking about the renovation you intend to carry out in the future, or the house you wish to purchase many years later towards your dream home goal – think about it now. Plan out the exact amounts of downpayment and cash you need. Do the research now, so that you have the runway to make it happen. With a realistic plan now, you are giving yourself ample time to save up the Budget you need, or pick up some new skills that will get you closer to where you want to be in the future. Your dream home can become a reality.


“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin


Passion for travel.


Singaporeans love to travel. Some travel for leisure, while others travel for work.


One lucrative business is the foreign currency exchange.

A typical habit is to go to a money changer at The Arcade or Lucky Plaza, few days or weeks before our trip. What happens is, we tend to ‘lose out’ in the exchange rates because they don’t usually ‘become better’ in a couple of days or weeks.

So if you are making that family trip every year, and you know which countries are on your bucket list in the upcoming years, or the most frequently travelled to, make a note to keep track of how these currencies are doing, and when the time is right, you can make that exchange first to reduce your currency risks.


Reward yourself with a nice family meal during the trip from the gains!





Entrepreneurs


Becoming your own boss is becoming so common here in Singapore. More and more people are chasing the ‘Jack Ma’ dream.


Todayonline.com reports that nearly three quarters of millennials here plan to be entrepreneurs within 10 years, based on research by website-hosting company GoDaddy.

We would add on to say that other than figuring everything right to start the business, good financial housekeeping is critical, especially if you are managing both home and business.


Many business owners procrastinate on their upkeep of administrative matters, only to realise that a few minutes a day to look at the bank reconciliation, is the antidote against getting drowned by loads of catching up at the end of the month!

Good financial housekeeping also means you are tracking your business progress closely, and knows clearly how your business is performing.


Good financial housekeeping – a legacy.


Have you looked at your child’s behaviour and think this, ‘she/he must have learned this from me.’, or have you heard a comment before like, ‘your son/daughter truly follows your footsteps.’?


Experts say that children learn by observation and imitation. When we are good at our financial housekeeping and we engage our family in the process, we are leaving behind a lifetime of good financial habits for our children. They will be able to do the same with their family in the future, and the story continues.

Lead by example today.


Disclaimer 

Thomas Aw & Associates and all the content shared here are purely our personal opinions and not to be quoted or misunderstood as professional or legal advice. 

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