WTFinance?! No Regrets!

Does thinking about money make your head hurt? And what is money management, anyway? Trying to figure out money management can raise all kinds of anxiety, nerves and feelings of helplessness because often, we don’t know where to start. It all feels too hard, too tricky, too much. We may be all adults here, but “proper money management” sometimes feels a little too adult and a bit too much responsibility.

Friends or family talk about investments, starting a side hustle and the share markets, and you’re like “WTFinance?! What does that even mean? What’s involved? Is it something I should be doing too?”

It’s daunting to get started, we get it. There are tons of Reddit threads, Investopedia articles, Telegram channels, even YouTube ads and TikTok streams on “10 things you need to do now to retire early”. And after reading it all, you’re still left wondering exactly what it is you need to do… or if what you’ve done was actually the right thing.

Over the next couple of months, we’ll be helping you navigate the F word – Finance – with the help of our favourite influencers, and your input, too.

We work so hard for our money (all those late nights and weekends at the office…), so we should learn all we can about it.

We’ll catch up on everything from debt traps to splurging like an adult(ish), side hustles to financial FOMO, and a whole lot more. But first…

Let’s talk regret

It’s 2am. You’re on your phone. You need to sleep but you can’t stop thinking about the huge credit card bill that just landed in your inbox. Was that upgrade to the iPhone 13 or that pair of Nike Air Jordan 1 really worth it?

We’ve all been there.

Everyone has some financial regret; your friends, your family, even your favourite influencer whose life seems so picture-perfect including Brenda Tan (@wordweed)

Some of us have small regrets, like @esh_wari who has a tendency for retail therapy.

“I have this habit of spending impulsively. Sometimes, when I’m feeling down, I buy something to make myself feel better. I kind of regret it because I’m not really buying something I need, just something that I want in that moment.”

Eswari Gunasagar (@esh_wari)

And for others, like @thechillmom, they’re a lot bigger.

“I invested $45,000 into the whole setup and interior of a café. Within a month, we knew we weren’t going to make enough money. I had to move into a food court, losing all that money, and swallow my pride.”

Michelle Hon (@thechillmom)

But, as @thechillmom says, we can learn from our regrets and turn things around. 

“It wasn’t going to be the nice café I’d envisioned, but it worked! I listened to how other people followed a system and learnt from them. We started making money from day one.”

Michelle Hon (@thechillmom) 

So we’re going to find out all about peoples’ money regrets to share the pain, remind you you’re not alone and help you avoid their mistakes.

So what are your regrets?

Money regrets, like all regrets, tend to fall into one of two categories: what you did, and what you didn’t. For @Xinlinn it’s the latter…

The regrets of things we did are the purchases we probably shouldn’t have made, like a pair of to-die-for Louboutins that look amazing but are so uncomfortable they’re gathering dust. These regrets are the things we don’t use, the things we don’t like, the things cluttering our cupboards.

The regrets of things we didn’t do are a little more complex. They’re missing out on our friend’s destination wedding because we couldn’t afford the flights. They’re skipping celebrating happy news because fancy dinners seem too expensive. They’re the once in a lifetime sales we didn’t turn up to because we were trying to be smart with our money. And they’re the regrets about not taking control of our money earlier, budgeting sooner and building savings. As Keiji says …

No matter which category your regrets fall into, ten years down the road, you’re still thinking “what if?”

Regrets can happen in the tap of a screen

If you’re a tap or scan and pay kind of guy or girl, it’s easy to lose track of where and what you’re spending on. Like Snapchat, once you’ve clicked, it’s gone.

Our tip? Learn to say NO! It can be tough at first but learning to cut back can help set you up right financially. For Cavell Lim aka @wafflecreamies, that’s something he wishes he started sooner…

Let’s help curb future regrets

If the word ‘budget’ (we’re whispering it, we promise!) makes you break out in a cold sweat, you’re not alone. It sounds scary, it sounds controlling and it sounds like a lot of effort. 

But in reality, budgeting is making a plan for how you spend your money. It’s ensuring you have enough money to do the things you want to do by allowing you to see and prioritise your spending. So if you’ve never budgeted, you’ve missed out on a valuable tool that helps you achieve money-related goals.

“My friend gave me an Excel sheet where I just put in my numbers. If I want to splurge, I offset for the next few days.”

Cavell Lim (@wafflecreamies)

The good news is that it’s never too late to start, and it doesn’t have to be scary. Download a budgeting app or go old-school like @wafflecreamies and create a simple spreadsheet on your phone and update it with all your expenses at the end of each day. Yep, even that sneaky bubble tea you slurped up before lunch.

Keep track of the what (the thing you buy or pay for), money coming in, and money you spend. Then add it all up at the end of the month to see how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on, and compare that with how much you’re earning.

If you want to go all fancy and create graphs to see where the money’s going, do it!

The spreadsheet is useful in calculating how much you need to save, and where those savings will come from (hint: from reducing your expenses!).

It’s a great way to create a monthly budget too. If you’re the competitive sort, challenge yourself to beat your last month’s spending each month (and by beat, we mean spend less).

Do you have a Plan E?

Have you ever faced unforeseen events that came with huge bills? Maybe you struggled to pay it all off or had to quietly borrow some cash from friends?

An emergency fund comes in useful for life’s unexpected events.

It’s money you’re setting aside every month for unanticipated events – like hospitalisations, emergency travel or if you lose your job. You can choose the amount based on your lifestyle even if you’re living at home.

It’s important to keep topping up the balance if you’ve used it. It’s generally a good idea to build an emergency fund that covers three months of expenses, maybe even six months (if you’re really good!). 

Knowing you have cash set aside to pay for emergencies is a huge relief. Set aside an amount from your monthly salary in a separate bank account – one that rewards you for saving – with no card (so you’re not tempted to spend it).

You’ll be surprised at how much the small amounts add up. Once you have enough cash to cover three months of expenses, it’s time to celebrate (but, umm… without spending it). You’ve got your emergency fund sorted. So get started saving with small amounts today. That’s what @esh_wari regrets not doing sooner…

So what’s up next? 

Next time, we’ll be talking all about that dastardly D word, “debt”. We’ll share traps to avoid and tricks to get it all in order. 

Before we do, let’s talk about you! Answer our poll questions and we’ll share the results in our next instalment, so stay tuned! 

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GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

Komsan Chiyadis

GrabFood delivery-partner, Thailand

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