8 EASY Ways To Save Money When You’re Working From Home In Singapore

After factoring in where you might be spending unnecessarily, staying at home during the circuit breaker is a luxury indeed.
23 April 2020

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From that daily takeaway cup of coffee to the I’m-running-late taxi to the office, working from home during Singapore’s circuit breaker may be shedding light on your previous expenditures.

But, now that you’re settling into your new WFH routine, you may realise that you’re spending even more on somethings than you did on the outside.

Suddenly, your thick stash of cab receipts has turned into an inflated electricity bill. Dining out at restaurants has been replaced by pricey deliveries. Oops! Good thing is, there are plenty of ways to cut down the cost of working from home – all without sacrificing much quality of life.

May we suggest the following?

1. Get Cooking

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When you work from home, it is a lot easier to find the time and motivation to make healthy, budget-friendly meals — which both your body and your wallet will thank you for. You can also decide on the portions yourself, and how much you want to eat. (Go ahead and compare and contrast the prices and perks of popular e-grocers, while you’re at it.)

When you make a favourite, double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for another day. That way you can get two meals out of one and use the ingredients more efficiently with less waste.

Avoid getting food delivered if you’re not ordering for a group because not only will the delivery fee adds on to your cost, it’s also not environmentally sustainable to have the rider use up fuel to send you just meal.

2. Make Your Own Coffee

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Now that you are at home, it’s time to be your own barista. Making your own coffee will not only save you money, but also give you a satisfying morning ritual.

You could buy a cheap bag of coffee beans, grind them up, brew them in an automatic dripper and you would have, by most standards, a good cup of coffee. Another option: Use a French press, which is the most basic and easiest brewing method out there.

If you must have a cup of joe from Starbucks every day, you can even recreate the same cuppa with their capsules at a cheaper cost, with a Dolce Gusto machine (if you have one).

The same goes for your mandatory cup of milo or tea in the morning: Make. Your. Own. (However, feel free to dream of the future post-circuit breaker days – and all of the delicious coffee shops and teahouses you can visit.)

3. Get a Snack Subscription

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Thanks to well-stocked pantries, we are always snacking in the office. Things don’t get better when you’re at home because you now have access to a full fridge and your cabinet.

But we’re not too concerned about the potential distraction – after all, some people find snacking to be a good brain stimulant. But being at home means you would need to fork out your own money on snacks. Yes, no more leeching of the free stuff in the pantry.

Keep your snack expenses low with a subscription of healthy snacks from snack subscription services such as Boxgreen or TokyoTreat (or these other tasty options).

4. Order Affordable Tingkat Lunch

(image: KCK Food Catering Pte Ltd)

If you do not want to go through the hassle of preparing your own meals, look to tingkat (in steel tiffin containers) and other lunch and/or dinner subscriptions such as KCK Food Catering that deliver home-cooked meals straight to your place (here are 11 such services to consider).

One of the best things about tingkat meals? They tend to be healthier than eating out. Many prepare meals with less oil and salt than one would find in a restaurant.

Daily lunch expenses can work out to as low as $4 per person (if you get a trial package).

There are also different types of dishes each week, so that you can look forward to a change instead of going to the same coffeeshops, hawker stalls or restaurants near your house or office.

5. Keep Your Room Cool without Air-Con

Most people are used to working in comfy, air-conditioned offices. However, when you are actually working from home, you cannot be having the air-con running from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. — unless you don’t mind a sky-high electricity bill.

If your home office is in your bedroom, try this tactic: After you have woken up, switch off the air-con but do not open your room door or windows. Turn on the fan, and let the cool air circulate in the room as you work.

Alternatively, there is an old school trick: Place a bowl of ice in a place where your stationary fan (if you have one) will blow across it. This creates a cool, misty breeze that feels great on hot days.

6. Make Your Own Cocktails at Home

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Singapore has a list of great cocktail bars that offer takeaway and delivery these days. But you can still enjoy a drink or two at home and there is no need to spend a fortune stocking your home bar, either.

If you have a bottle of rum, some mint and club soda, you’ve got yourself a mojito! Want a Gin Rickey? Just mix your favourite gin with a dose of lime, and fill the glass with club soda. Need drink inspo? Try these easy cocktail recipes or, ditch the booze entirely, and make some yummy mocktails.

7. Unsubscribe from Marketing Emails

It is easy to be distracted when you are working at home, especially when marketing emails keep flowing into your inbox and you are tempted to click on them. The next thing you know, you are browsing through the listings on Amazon or ASOS and doing online shopping instead of working.

Avoid temptation by unsubscribing from marketing emails and texts from the stores where you spend the most money.

8. But Do Score Discounts

Other than cashback credit cards, there are also mobile apps such as ShopBack that offer cash rebates on online shopping, groceries and more. Tip: Link your cashback card on the platform to enjoy rebates from both.

Savvy users say they’ve saved hundreds of dollars through the platform when shopping at major online retailers, including Amazon, Lazada, Alibaba and Booking.com.

Speaking of, check out these 20 popular sites that offer free shipping to SG for, you know, when you’re done working for the day. Wink, wink.

By Sheila Chiang, Text adapted from CLEO, March 2020 / also by Chong Koh Ping, some text adapted from The Straits Times, January 2020 / Additional Reporting: The Singapore Women’s Weekly, April 2020

 

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