Singapore is an expensive place to raise a child. Yet, many people will gasp at the idea when you say that you want to reduce the spending on your children.
“Huh? Save money? How can! Your children are your future you know, cannot be stingy”
Relax… expensive does not equals good. There are things that you can save on without compromising quality.
To the parents out there, we understand your pains. It isn’t easy to pay for everything while saving for your children’s university fees.
At the Smart Singaporean, we also believe that the BEST GIFT you can give your children is to secure your own retirement without having to rely on your children to provide for your own survival.
Therefore, it is imperative that we spend our hard earned money prudently and invest wisely. Here are some ways you can do that.
1. Choose Schools With Subsidy
Many of the other Kiasu parents might praise private childcare centers for being different and of a much higher quality. But before you rush to queue up and apply for a branded childcare center or kindergarten, why not consider sending your children to a government-linked or church kindergarten.
Even if your children aren't at an atas and expensive preschool, they are still going to be running around playing with friends, learning the basic stuff and having a lot of fun.
When they leave preschool, enroll your children into the public school system. The public school system is so heavily subsidised that you’ll save so much as compared to a private school.
And if you’re worried about the quality of education, there is absolutely nothing to worry about when sending your children to public schools in Singapore. With an education system that ranks highly internationally (2nd internationally in the 2018 PISA assessment done by the Organisations for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD) , you can rest assured knowing that the public schools can provide a high-quality education that truly develops your children holistically.
2. Teaching Your Children Yourself (and avoiding tuition if possible)
Every Singaporean child seems to have tuition now, but in reality, not every child needs it.
Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a tuition teacher for every subject possible, why not first take some time out and teach the children on your own?
By teaching them yourself, you’ll be able to spend quality time with your children and ensure that you are up to date with your children’s progress in school.
If your child has older siblings, you can get them to help as well. This helps the older siblings consolidate their knowledge while also helping encourage interaction between the siblings.
And for those cases where tuition is absolutely necessary (say, you aren’t able to help with a certain subject or your children really need the extra help), choose a tuition center close by and try to find a group of friends to join together.
That way, you might be able to get discounted rates while allowing your children to look forward to tuition (since all their friends are there as well)
3. Finding the Correct Property
By choosing a good location near schools and amenities, your children wouldn’t have to travel far daily just to attend school. This saves you money as you wouldn’t have to sign your children up for the school bus service.
Some properties are also nearer to libraries and community center study areas. These would provide good (and free!) spaces for your children to concentrate on their studies when they are mugging for their all-important national exams.
At the same time, having a property that is livable (not under direct sun, enough space for everyone, etc) and far away from highways or noisy areas in general makes your houses more conducive for your children to study at home as well.
No need to spend $7 on a cup of coffee to study at a cafe or travel all the way to Changi Airport to study because it’s too hot.
Furthermore, with hidden issues such as negative cash sales and slow property appreciation, you might be paying much more than you believe on your property. That’s why it is important to find the correct property to save your money.
Unsure if your property is suitable for you? Speak to us today to see which property would suit your needs the best.
4. Reduce Spending On Unnecessary Enrichment Classes
Singaporean parents have taken Kiasu to the next level and sign their children up for everything.
Piano classes, singing lessons, baking courses, soccer Sundays and drawing groups. The list goes on.
Unless their children have already mastered 3 instruments, paint a Picasso blindfolded and play basketball like Michael Jordan, Kiasu parents always seem to think that their children need more enrichment classes.
Truth be told, hobbies shouldn’t have to cost so much. Instead of spending money to send them for enrichment classes, why not let them play and enjoy these activities with friends and family at home? With so many videos teaching various skills on YouTube, you could take the opportunity to turn these little enrichments into family oriented activities and do them with your children in the comfort of your home.
What’s important is that the children (especially at a preschool level) enjoy themselves while engaging in the hobbies.
And if your property is in a good location, parks and empty spaces near your houses provide for good spaces for children to run about and play some sports.
For classes like piano lessons that require a trained teacher (unless you already can play the piano), look for other parents to share a referral bonus with.
5. Save by Going on Holidays Nearby or in Singapore
Instead of spending money to travel to Europe or America, why not save some money and explore nearby areas and cities that are closer to home.
These locations aren’t lacking in good local cuisines and provide an equally amazing holiday experience. There are also historical places to explore and expand your children’s interest in history and cheap shopping areas to buy local goods. All these come at a huge discount.
“Sharing experiences is important for bonding and helps your child learn about the world around them,” says Dr. Elward. “While they might not remember a specific visit to the zoo, they will remember things like what a zoo is and the names of the animals.”
What’s important in your holidays isn’t the location that you bring your children to. Instead, being able to experience different situations with close family members are what makes a difference when bringing children abroad.
In fact, to save even more money, why not explore Singapore.
Singapore is full of tourist locations and museums that you can visit and there are many free public spaces and activities that a family can enjoy together. We even have an UNESCO World Heritage Site on our shores.
6. Reduce Your Shopping Expenditure
Raising a child requires a lot of different expenditures. Clothes need to be changed frequently and things like strollers and baby cribs quickly become useless as your child grows up.
That’s why instead of buying branded clothes and strollers, save some money by choosing less expensive versions of these. They will achieve and solve the same needs while saving you money that can be spent on things that actually matter (baby powder etc.)
With online shopping, it is also easier for you to find discounted prices when you need to buy certain items. At the same time, do not be afraid to use hand-me downs. Second hand baby items are often cheaper and in many cases, can often be found in nearly-new conditions.
After using the items, you can also sell them on sites like Carousell. This reduces the amount of useless stuff you have at home while also providing you with a small source of revenue that can be saved.
7. Encourage Your Family to Help
When gifting gifts for birthdays and Christmas, encourage your family members to gift items that can contribute to your children’s growth (remember to do the same for them too!).
Things like storybooks and puzzles instead of soft toys would bring as much joy to the children while helping them in their development.
Instead of hiring a nanny all the time, allow your children to spend some time with other family members as well. If your parents are able to, you can leave your children with them for an afternoon every once in a while. This little bit of grandparent-grandchildren interaction will definitely bring them joy while saving you some money.
All these little efforts will add together and save you quite a fortune.
Yet, at the same time, your children continue to enjoy a fulfilling childhood while bonding more with family over shared activities.
Yes, some things cannot be skimped on when it comes to children (say food and education necessities like uniforms and stationery). But there are many areas where spending is simply not needed.
And with all the money you saved, you’ll be able to keep them for the future when your children enter university, when they start a business or simply for you to retire without depending on them.
Even better, you can also invest the money wisely and be able to have a larger fund in the future to tap into when needed. Why not schedule a free consultation with a seasoned investor to see how you can effectively invest the money for a better future for you and your children.