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06 Sep 2022
4 mins
Learning How to Stretch Your Dollar

It is very easy to spend more than you can afford. A good savings habit, along with good budgeting, allows for people to develop discipline and through reinforcement, a habit. By practising it over time, will it help to last a lifetime.

With the ongoing concerns of the inflation and rising cost of living, Young SMOU (YSMOU) organised the “Stretching Your Dollar” financial talk on 29 July, for the youths to better manage their finances, recognise the importance of saving and what to look out for when buying on instalment.

Speaker Mr Edmund Leong from the Institute for Financial Literacy

Edmund who has many years of experience working in the various sectors, shared many practical tips and ways to save more, such as being prudent on the items we choose to purchase. At the beginning of the talk, he noted that majority of the youth do not have the habit of tracking the expenses, hence he highlighted the importance of it which can help prevent the bad habit of overspending. Apart from this, the youth were guided to distinguish needs and wants.

One of the practical tips shared by Edmund, for example choosing a less fanciful drink, one could actually save more money in a year!

During the session, the youth were made to analyse their needs and wants, and pen down ways on how they could reduce their spending to save money. Edmund also touched on the importance of understanding compounding interest, especially on how credit card debts will be doubled if payment was not made on time.

The youth were also cautioned about interest-free instalment gimmick like the “Buy Now Pay Later” scheme, as this would incur debt should the payment not be paid on time. On top of the Buy Now Pay Later scheme, Edmund elaborated on how instalment plans often look attractive, however when you re-evaluate, one ends up spending more than the actual cost of the item.

The workshop was insightful and beneficial for the youth, as it teaches them the importance of being financially savvy and making better financial decisions in the future. Following the workshop, the youth gathered at Lighthouse Bistro for dinner and took the chance to network with one another.

Interviewee_Nicholas Chio

“I decided to attend this workshop as I felt it would be highly beneficial for a student to be financially literate as every financial decision made would affect my future livelihood. I wanted to learn how I could save more, and how I could make better financial decisions. Through the session, Edmund shared with us on how tracking our spending is helpful and shared the benefits of compounding interest. Through the life lessons that he shared, the advice he gave us was certainly valuable. With inflation, things are getting more expensive. It’s important to understand how the dollar can work for us, and find ways to maximise it.”

– Nicholas Chio, newly joined SMOU member

“I thought to sign up for this workshop to see if there are any tips that might guide me into being more financially savvy. The session was interesting and what stuck with me was the ‘buy now, pay later’ scheme. I think many people would be enticed by these types of offers and we might tend to overlook the hidden costs that come along with these types of paying schemes. The speaker was informative, and his sharing of experiences helped me better relate.”

– Tan Chin Woo, SMOU member of 3 years

Interviewee_Tan Chin Woo

“As a seafarer, I was interested to learn how to stretch my dollar. The session helped me understand the benefits of compound interest and how ‘zero-free interest’ can work against you. The speaker was engaging and one of the quote from the workshop that struck me was ‘It is not how much you earn, but how much you spend’.”

– Muhammad Tashriq, SMOU Member of 2 years