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Useful Financial Survival Tips After Retrenchment

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Retrenchment ! The feared day has finally arrived. You are now 45 years old and suddenly you found yourself without any job. You are faced with hefty monthly condominium installments to be paid. Children schoolings and fees are waiting for you every month. Your imaginations run wild and you see many outstretched hands demanding money here and there. Wait, Don't panic! Get real ! What you need to do now is not to dwell on your misery and start planning ahead. There is not point going around telling the entire world that you are retrenched, looking for sympathy or help. The faster you live with this reality and fact the faster you will bounce back and recover. So, wake up, NOW!!!!

I must apologise for the above style of writing. It is with a good heart that I want that particular person to wake up from his misery or his dwellings in his past achievements and contributions to his company. Please understand that some people never wake up and continue to daydream. The main thing immediately after retrenchment is to live with this fact and reality and then see what adjustments can be made financially while looking for work or alternative arrangements. One can never know if the last job that one is very familiar with will be available in another firm or even exist at all. Sure, it is painful. But this is survival and reality. Get on with it.

Now that you have wake up to reality. I will thus be able to get your serious commitment to our proposal here. Before even starting to consider how to stretch the limited savings you have, you need to re-focus or re-channel your mental frame of mind to that of cost savings mode. Everything you do, you think of cost savings. Where to squeeze that bit of money must be on your mind all the time, till you found a job. One can never know when you will find your desired job with that matching pay you think you deserve. It can range from 3 months to perhaps 1 year or more. We have to prepare for the worse unless you do not object to starting all over again as a very junior staff. You will be surprised how this mental preparation to save and eagerness to save can help you think of creative ways of savings. Your job on financial restrain and savings will thus be a lot easier than others. Some people forget this basic mental preparation.

The very first step towards achieving more savings  is to find out where your money goes or escape to every month. Sure, you said; every self-help book says that. But the question is whether have you sit down an afternoon and write down a list of items or services that your money goes to every month. Not to worry, even if you cannot remember every regular items or services, you still can compile them over the next few weeks till you get a clear idea where the holes are. Don't be tempted to take immediate action to cut down expense when your list is not ready. You may end up cutting the wrong items or even essential items and services.

When your expenditure list is about 90-100% ready, you can now start to evaluate where you can cut down on those expenses and save some money every month. Study it carefully and think about it thoroughly. A useful guide towards paring down expenses is to consider if such an item or service is essential to survival or making more money. Can I survive without this item or service? Is there any alternative means of achieving the same satisfaction? Will less money also create the same effect? Will less allotment of money make do as environment now is slower than before?

Almost forgot, it is very important that the family together willing co-operate and standby together in such a cost cutting measure and exercise. The co-operation must be willing, sacrificial and 100% committed. Anything less will be ineffective and grouses & cheating may occur. A family standing united together will go further than any one else going alone.

We have compile a list below some items and services that one can consider paring down and save some money. This list is by no means exhaustive and is general in nature. It should be used as a guide only and we shall not be responsible for any lesser well-being of any individual or family who makes use of this list.

Consider cutting down non-essential entertainment subscriptions. Eg : Cable TV subscriptions, entertainment magazine subscriptions, entertainment newsletters subscriptions etc. You can also consider newspaper subscription if you can read from internet. We would not recommend not cutting down on internet subscriptions as you might need it to find jobs and get the latest news, unless of course you want to go to the library everyday to make use of their free internet services.


Consider living independently for once without any maid. This idea is an age old idea from not too long ago when maids were a scarce and rare species in Singapore. Funny, how in a few generations Singaporeans have grown to be so accustom to having a maid or be worse off without one. Wonder if our older generations are superior beings that can out compete us and live without maid. Let the children grow up and be more independent for goodness sake. Kick their lazy butts and make them do housework like the good olden days. (Not asking them to walk 3 kms to schools with heavy school bags though!). A little hard work and wake up call will ensure a good healthy young person in the future.


Consider not having any tutors. Again this idea is extracted from our good old times when everybody cannot afford tuition. Don't spoil your kids and spoon feed them. Make them go running around asking friends, school teachers and even researching the library. You will be amaze at the amount of work and knowledge acquired by their running around efforts. They will certainly remember their work as they seriously put in some efforts into acquiring such knowledge. Try it out and see the results, if you never try you will never know. What more, you can also transform any spoilt brat into a very competitive independent hardworking superior person. Cost savings + transformation, pretty good deal, right?


Consider buying less Toto, 4D, or any other forms of betting. You will be surprise how much you can save every month if you cut down on all these forms of betting. Some heavy punters can save couple of thousands while some small punters save few hundreds every month. In most cases, the odds of success are not that high and one tends not to win anything most of the time anyway. This suggestion is purely up to individual. If individual mental health is affected by this suggestion, then maybe it is not appropriate for that person. 


Consider cutting down on transportation costs by taking cheaper means of transport. Eg: Cutting down on taxi rides are a sure proof way of squeezing that extra dollars out. This might meant waking up earlier for some people and better time arrangement for others. Consolidating transportation trips are another means of saving up some funds. Don't think lowly of such measures, it can come up to be quite a bit for a family of four persons.

Consider cutting down on water and electrical bills. Eg : If possible, try not to turn on the air-conditioning and use fans instead. Running air-conditioning all the times are hefty and costly. The cost of electricity is more expensive than water in Singapore. The main target should be driving down those electrical bills. In fact, some people have noticed that once they stop watching TV, their family life and togetherness improve dramatically and they become closer as a result.

Consider cutting down on eating out or dining at less expensive places and buying less expensive food Eg : Monthly food and dining out expenditure for a family can amount to quite a fair bit of total monthly expenditure. Eating less meat and substituting with bean curd protein is more healthier lifestyle nowadays. Not only one can save, one also become healthier as a result. There are also a lot of cheaper alternative dining out places one can consider to enjoy a meal. It is not always the case that the more one pays the better one gets when it comes to food; the chef and the mood on that day matters a lot.

Consider eating more fruits, vegetables and staying healthy. This is an important aspect that some self help books missed out. Medical costs and consultations are getting more expensive. It is very much cheaper that you stay healthy than to see a doctor or go for any operations due to stress, lack of sleep or accidents.

Consider buying valued packs or buying greater quantity or bigger packs for better values, when shopping for groceries. Instead of buying less groceries quantities, you should instead consider buying more or bigger pack as one tend to get more quantity discounts. One should consider buying more of such items when the items are needed and used regularly. Not only will you get more per dollar you will also save on having to make more trips which can altogether add up to a fair bit.

Consider downgrading from a bigger house to smaller house and selling your car and take public transportation. This option of downgrading housing and accommodation is among the last choice in our opinion. It is to be used when debts levels are very high and there is no way out of debt or when savings are too miserable to cover expenditure. Selling of car and taking public transportation is nothing to be ashamed off. Own and servicing a car in Singapore is simply too expensive. One can save roughly about $600/- a month on petrol, road tax and car insurance if one gives up the car. This does not yet include the monthly repayments and depreciation costs of the car. Even if you take taxi rides, S$600/- a month should be more than enough.

I hope with the above list some of you who are unfortunate can now breathe a little easier and seriously work towards a solution to solving your problems. As for you guys that are not affected, maybe you might want to contribute some articles, suggestions & ideas how to save or look for a job. Let us all Singaporeans help each other out and not always rely on the government for help. You can simply email me at [email protected] and I will vet through all suggestions, ideas and contributions. Don't worry, I will put up whoever name up as the Good Contributor for the article, suggestion and ideas. Er, try not to make it very boring or else we will be ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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