Mastering SMART Spend: Making Every Dollar Count August 23, 2023
In the face of rising prices of goods and services, have you had to adjust your spending habits? To deal with escalating costs of living, the most direct way for most of us would be to cut back on non-essential spending and look for cheaper alternatives. However, we could also adopt a more holistic, proactive, and organised method, let’s call it the “SMART Spend” approach, and go beyond maximising the value of each dollar spent to attain specific financial goals.
Let’s explore the SMART-Spend approach!
1) Start by identifying a goal
Whether it’s for establishing an emergency fund, paying for a wedding or a new home, or simply maintaining your current level of spending, it would be prudent to set realistic and attainable financial goals.
2) Monitor and analyse your spending
As the famous saying by Peter Drucker goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” The key to the SMART Spend approach requires vigilant monitoring of expenditures. Monitoring our spending enables allows us to understand our priorities and focus on the specific areas where we can cut back on our expenditure. You could either use tracking apps or a good, old-school notebook to record your daily spending. By knowing where your cash is spent, you will have greater clarity to make better decisions.
3) Allocate your income according to the insights obtained from step 2
Set specific budgets for fixed expenses (such as recurring bills, food, transportation and other necessities), discretionary wants, savings, and so forth.
4) Regularly review your allocations
Make it a good habit to review your budget allocations especially after any significant changes in fixed expenses. It is crucial to remain adaptive to fluctuations in your financial situation. This could be alterations in income, unexpected expenses, or shifts in your long-term financial goals. Regularly reassessing and adjusting your budget in accordance with these changes ensures that your financial strategy remains aligned with your objectives. Keep in mind that being proactive rather than reactive to changes in your financial landscape is key to maintaining control over your finances.
5) Trust the process and remain committed.
Remember that consistency is the key to success! The SMART Spend approach requires commitment even when immediate results may not be visible. It’s about believing in the long-term benefits and persisting through challenges and uncertainties, to build financial security gradually.
In summary, the SMART Spend approach embodies a holistic, proactive, and organised framework for managing your finances using the following strategies:
Start: Define your goals and objectives
Monitor: Keep a close eye on your spending
Allocate: Distribute your income according to insights
Review: Regularly assess your allocations
Trust: Believe in the long-term benefits and remain committed
With SMART Spend, you can build confidence in your financial control. Any reduction in spending could be channelled into your savings. Discipline and prudence are required to ensure that you secure your nest egg and make the most out of it.
Consult your trusted financial adviser to explore opportunities for higher returns from your nest egg, emergency savings or idle cash within your comfortable level of risk and liquidity. Phillip SMART Park, for instance, generates returns and offers flexibility without any lock-in period. PhillipCapital’s current Singapore 58th National Day promotion offers guaranteed returns of 5.8%* per annum on fresh deposits (from as low as S$1,000 to S$50,000) for 30 calendar days. Seize this opportunity and make your deposit before 31 Aug 2023!
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Wong Yueat Tin
Financial Advisory Consultant
Phillip Securities Pte Ltd (A member of PhillipCapital)
-  Household Expenditure Survey by the Singapore Department of Statistics was conducted over a one-year period in 2017/18 to cover households’ festive and seasonal expenditure. The next survey will be completed by end 2023. Reference: Department of Statistics. (2019).Report on the Household Expenditure Survey, 2017/18.
About the author
Wong Yueat Tin
Financial Advisory Consultant
Yueat Tin is a graduate of the NUS Master of Science (Environmental Management) programme and has amassed over a decade of experience in the public sector. With a robust interest in investing, she assesses companies to identify sustainable investment opportunities. Her satisfaction lies in assisting clients in making well-informed investment choices that align with their financial objectives.