Remove these Habits to save $10k a year easily

In episode #57, we give you the ultimate hack to save $10k this year! We all cognitively know about the magical formula of savings, investing, compounding, and Walah happy retirement, BUT day-to-day there are just so many exciting things to participate in that hinders that formula from blossoming. Tune in to get a better understanding of why you practice some of these killer habits that are impeding your growth and how you can work around them to inch you closer to “Financial Freedom”


podcast Transcript

Okay. Recently, we’ve been doing a lot of topics around investing, investing, investing. REITs, ETFs, you know, how to pick stocks and what not. I’m sure all you investment buffs have been very fulfilled and very happy with all of these different content and I thought let’s switch it up a bit and go into another very big topic, which is how to save.

Fundamentally everybody understands the concept of saving, like, you know, getting more excess cash sitting around blah, blah, blah. But how do we save without infringing on our quality of life, especially during this period where a lot of people are going to, you know, essentially suffer financially, you know, taking a pay cut, you know, underemployment, blah, blah, blah. It is inevitable and it’s going to pass but it’s going to be here. And so how do we save some money easily? And so today we can talk about this.

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Good morning, everyone. I welcome you to another day with the financial coconut, in our podcast we will be dubunking financial myths, discovering best financial practices and discussing financial strategies that fits our unique lives. You get it. Ultimately empowering us to create a life we love while managing our finances well. Today we are going to talk about removing these three common habits to essentially help you save up very easily. I would think 10k a year shouldn’t be a problem if you remove these 3 habits.

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Okay out there today, 101 savings strategies, all sorts of budget cutting strategies, cash back, you know, blah, blah, blah, et cetera, et cetera. Everybody’s telling you how to save. And some people, interestingly, they tell you how to save off spending, right? So the assumption is that you’re going to continue to get the value of what you intend to do by buying something but you get the cash back. So you saved that money, you know, interesting lah, fundamentally, you still spend a certain amount of money and you spend a very serious amount of money in actual fact, okay. Cashback how many percent? Right? 7%. 10%. 15%. But you still spend 85%. I’m not saying you cannot spend, I think you should spend your spend smart. I’m sure we did some episodes earlier. I mean, we are at like 50 something episodes. I like lost track already. Like which episode did we talk about what, but some of the early episodes about how to spend smart and how to save, you know, I talk a little bit about these kinds of stuff. Which is not spending is not a great way of spending. Right? You got to learn to spend with the central idea of, you know, getting the most satisfaction out of it. And that’s the concept of, you know, frugality being a smart spender, you know, it’s not, you know, it’s not about not spending. Right. And so that’s that, uh, pretty interesting viewpoints.

And those are big ideologies, big arcs, you know, um, good things to learn, but what are some real practical steps? Right? So today we’re going to share with you three habits that I’ve observed, a lot of people do these three things. And I safely say, if you do these three things you can easily save $10,000 a year, shouldn’t be that difficult. Okay. After I tell you, you probably get an idea. Okay. 


  So the very first habit that I feel you can remove, all of us can consider removing is to stop rewarding ourselves for hard work. All right. Recognize your work as work. Okay. Like you got to do what you need to do, but you reward your success, right? That means you reward yourself for achieving that goal you set out for, and not for the process of working hard. Don’t be like those bankers, after work, “Hey, today is a very hard day, work very very hard. Let’s go get a drink! Reward ourselves!”  What kind of rubbish is that, that is part of your work. Okay. A beer a day keeps you poor a long way. Yeah. I’m, I’m pretty sure about that. And I have a lot of friends in the banking field because you know, NUS business, or most of my friends are around this sector, like finance and um, all like enterprise, blah, blah, blah. Okay. So, the financial guys really have this habit. I mean, you just walk around Shenton way. You see tons of people just like drinking and gossiping and you know, it’s, it’s. It’s a part of their routine after work, to go and reward themselves for working, whether or not they have succeeded on their trading desk today, or whether or not they’ve clinched a client or whether or not they’ve completed a project.

They just feel like they need to reward themselves because they worked very, very hard. And to me, that is fundamentally very questionable. But of course it is not about the beer, not the buffet, not the handbags, blah, blah, blah. It is about the concept of rewarding yourself for hard work, meaning that, you know, you don’t recognize that hard work is about a process to achieving what you want to achieve. Right. And it becomes sensationalized. “I worked very, very hard!” It feels like a thing that you should reward, you know, which to me it’s just an inevitable part of progress for the things you’re trying to achieve. Anything that is worth building takes time. Right? Every project takes time. Every, you know, creative process takes time. Anything. They all take time. They all take hard work. And I feel like the day when I decided, okay, hard work is actually just what it is, you just need to grow, you just need to do what you need to do. Like how the farmers just everyday they go and sow the seeds, they go and fertilize their soil. Everyday as an accountant, you go in and look at the accounts. Every day as a banker, you go and you say hi to your clients every day as a creative, you go in sit down and, you know, go crazy about trying to create the next thing and it is what it is. So. I don’t think you should really reward yourself for that hard work, because it is part of the process.

And if you reward yourself for this process, then you are on an endless point of pursuit for these rewards, because everyday you’re doing hard work, every time you feel like, you know, you’re stretching yourself a little bit, then you need to spend more. All right. And it’s a weird habit that I think people can really revisit. And it’s not about not spending it. It’s not about not rewarding yourself because by, you know, holding yourself back on not spending, it’s just going to create more problems, but it’s really going deeper to question your narrative of work, your concept of work, understanding that work is just work. It is not something to be raved about. And I’m not saying that you cannot reward yourself, right? I think it is important to reward yourself for your achievements, for your successes, right? Like you set out to do a certain project and you complete that a project. Okay, guys, let’s go like, get a buffet or go in, you know, have some sort of splurge, enjoy the thing. Because you’ve achieved it. So I think that is, that is beautiful and that’s fine. And that is human, you know? 

Um, you look at. The farmers in the past. They also, every year during the harvest they have a huge celebration. Everybody comes together, they dance, dance, dance, right? And they, you know, do whatever they need to do la. I’m not saying you need to dance, dance, dance together. The idea is they reward themselves for the success, but they recognize their hard work. Of course, you need to recognize your hard work. Hey, good job guys. Good job. You know, do simple affirmation that, Hey, we’re all pursuing this thing. And it is, it is an important process.

But only reward yourself for the achievement. 

And if we want to bring it a little bit deeper, right. In understanding the human psyche, I think it is perfectly fine to buy yourself that Tea or the scented candle, you know, to build a very nice working environment for yourself. Right. I think that is beautiful because when you have a nice working environment, you know, the extra earpiece, if you can afford, right.

Some people you know, the audiophiles, super expensive pieces, but if you can afford and you know, it helps you in terms of raising your productivity, it helps you in terms of being calm in your personal workspace. And I think that is beautiful because that is setting up your workspace to help you to work. Right. And that is very different from rewarding yourself for work. You’re not rewarding yourself for work, you’re just investing in your work environment. Right. So I think that is fine. I think rewarding yourself for hard work is questionable and a lot of people do this. And if you think about it every day, do we $20-$30, you know, for a good meal after work $20-$30 for like a beer after work, that accounts for like what? $12,000 a year, at least. Right. And. Why not take a $100, $200, you know, and built a nicer work environment so that you feel comfortable working and you don’t need to take additional, you know, kind of stimulus, you know, to make yourself feel like, Hey, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve survived today and  if that is where you are at, that means you are feeling like you have survived today. Then fundamentally, you’ve got a question, like, what are you doing right? Uh, there are definitely some issues here. 

So, yeah, that’s my number one. I think start rewarding yourself for hard work, hard work is but a process to achieving something bigger that is just inevitable and recognize that you have worked hard. Okay. It’s fair. Right? We all recognize that we’ve worked hard, but only celebrate your successes. And if you abide by this habit, rather than, you know, everyday go and splurge, splurge, splurge, and celebrate yourself because you’ve worked hard. It’s very easy for you to save up. Let’s just put it that way. 

And point number two. Okay. Very common. I don’t know why this is so common, but it’s very common, is that you buy things just in case, just in case. Buying just in case something happens just in case I need this, you know, so I don’t know, is it because a lot of aunties propagate these ideas but yes, we will talk about buying just in case after word from our sponsors.

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Okay. So buying just in case, right. It’s very synonymous with this auntie thing, like, just in case la, just in case and every time when I hear it, I just associate with the auntie downstairs. Okay. Buying just in case, it’s a very interesting concept because it stems from this desire to be better prepared, right. To be better prepared for a situation or an unforeseen circumstance. Right. Which is, um, it happens in your buying of insurance, also, not just about random things on daiso. You see people go daiso machaim free ah and it’s $2, okay, not free, but buying just in case stems a lot on the psychological level, rather than just the habit. Objectively, you can never predict what is going to happen. Right. And from time to time, there are random issues that happen, random scenarios that happen and anything that’s systemic, right? Anything that’s systemic. That means it is predictable. That means we can offset some of these things like, um, you know, that. Singaporeans have a very high chance. We’ll have, let’s say colon cancer, right? Because realistically, we eat a lot of oily food and statistically, it shows one of the biggest killers , right? It’s colon cancer. And you know, that it’s a systemic thing. It happens. I think when I was younger, I never talk about these kind of things when I’m older and I look at them a lot, health ah, blah, blah, blah.

Okay. But anyway, When systemically, you know, that this is a thing you can build systems to try to mitigate the possibility of, or mitigate the risk, eat healthy, uh, you know, eat less fried food. Not buying more insurance, Okay. Buying more insurance does not solve the fundamental problem. And we’ll talk about this in another episode. I put together another episode about, you know, some, you know, weird things I see people do when it comes to buying insurance, but there’ll be another day. 

So back on this idea of buying just in case. If something is systemic. Okay. If something is systemic, you can build systems to work with it, right. To mitigate its risk or to reduce its risk or reduce this possibility of it happening. 

But if something is random, right, then it makes it very difficult to build things around right. To, to kind of mitigate it from happening because it’s called random. Any weird shit can happen. Right. And it is what it is, la and that’s this idea of random error. And I think a lot of people struggled with accepting the idea of things being random. That you cannot fully prepare for everything. And when, when people cannot handle the idea that, Oh, actually there are a lot of things that you cannot control, that many things are random.

A lot people fall into this idea of buying just in case. They believe that by buying a little bit more, by being a little bit more prepared, they can mitigate some of this, uh, things from happening, which is if it’s systemic. Yes, if it is random, impossible. So if we put the big purchases aside, like your house, your car, your insurance, those kinds of big purchases aside. Now those are more complex in itself. 

And we just look at small little purchases that we do day to day, right? You go to Watson’s and you buy that extra, you know, moisturizer because it is on promo. And then you give yourself this idea just in case I meet la or you buy the extra sunscreen because it’s on promo. And just in case I need la. But the hell you never ever go out to the beach, you don’t use sunscreen ever. You don’t use moisturizer ever. Then you buy for what? And some people, they go to the supermarket, they do the same thing, right? You walk by the supermarket aisle, eh there is this like, Manuka Honey is on discount, just in case, you know, not feeling well, then I want to drink some honey then ill buy this. But realistically, all these things you don’t need, you don’t use them day to day. It is just because there’s a promo, just because there’s some sort of discount. There’s some sort of. Attractive urge at the moment in time, you buy it, thinking that you need it in the near future, you don’t, it was never part of your life. It will probably never be part of your life and all these things. They amount, right? A little bit, they do amount, you know, few hundred dollars a month. If you think about it, these are what a lot of people call rash purchases, like emotional purchases, right. You go in and suddenly you feel like, Hey, I want this, I want that, you buy, buy, buy all these extra things like you go to Ikea, right? Ikea is amazing at doing this thing. There’s actually a research that shows why Ikea charges so cheap for their chicken wings and for the, you know, meatballs and cone you know, all this kind of stuff, it  is to attract you there with the assumption that everything in Ikea is cheap.

And then you walk around the whole furniture area because they force you to walk around the furniture, before you can exit and you start buying all sorts of random shit. I bought the roller, you know, the fur roller that I have never ever used. But very cheap ma, maybe i need, just in case. That’s something that a lot of people fall into and you probably should have removed this habit just in case it’s going to help you save a lot of money.

So what I do is over time, I recognize that I do get this kind of emotional urge, also but I always ask myself, are these things, what I always use and  if I always use them. Okay, I’ll buy it without thinking. If I don’t always use them, then there is a very good chance those are emotional, you know, urges and I’ll just take a break and come back and I’ll think about it.

And the last habit, right? I see a lot of people do this and I feel you should remove it as I think you should stop going to holidays to distress. You know, work on what is actually causing the stress? I think inevitably we have to agree that, you know, going to holidays is a pricey pursuit. Right. And. After awhile you get bored, right? Like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, no longer exciting and you want to go further and further and further. You want to go to Turkey. You want to go to London, you want to go to Japan. You want to go to whatever you want to go to. Right? Yeah. It just keeps escalating.

Right. And, um, I think it’s very normal because I also like to do that. Right. I start with traveling around Southeast Asia and I’d go further and go further and go further. So that’s very normal. But every time I travel, I learn a lot. I experienced a lot. I see the way of life, the people, you know, like how do people live their life there? I am always trying to understand their culture, understand their food, understand the way they work. I’ll talk to the locals and spend a lot of time there really observing the cultural dynamics and the nuances that the people have. Right. If you asked me where I’ve been to, I can always tell you very, very interesting things that most tourists will never pick up because most people are there to “distress”.

So don’t get me wrong. I think traveling is great as a way of, you know, opening up your mind, opening up your worldview, seeing what is possible and experiencing in a multi-facets to life. So I think all those are great, right? It’s a, it’s not a bad thing, but for a lot of people that go out there to distress or “distress”, they are not actually traveling. Right. More often than not. They’re just trying to fulfill this imaginary idea or this imaginary lala land  in their head. And there is a whole ecosystem built around this called resorts. Right?

If you think about it, I mean, I have been to resorts and if you have been to resorts, you know that you go to the resort in bali, you go to the resort at phuket/krabi/langkawi, whatever resort that you go to, they all look the same. They all got this Balinese vibe, but they’re not from Bali. 

But they all have this same similar vibe and they’re all trying to fit into this idea in your head that, you know, the beach is a comfortable, beautiful place that I can go there and distress and, you know, chill and get over all my problems. So it becomes a market in itself. It becomes a, you know, “Bad Habit” that I think a lot of people have, which is when they travel, they are not really trying to explore, they are trying to run away from the life that they have. And this is a once again an endless pursuit. You always need to run away from the life that you have. If you’re constantly holding onto this idea and it is a costly pursuit. It’s going to cost you a lot. 

So my view is if you feel uncomfortable with your life, if you feel very, very stressed, you know, and you feel like, Hey, this is not what I want. Then you want to work on little, little tweaks, you know, like, Hey, okay, can I, you know, tell my boss that hey I don’t want to take on this project or can I tell my boss, Hey, I need help. Or can I, uh, try to reject things that are not originally on my plate, or can I actually make some new friends out there or try a new thing like go for yoga class, or, you know, play boardgames, you know, like, ah, I love playing board games. We all love playing board games, there is a small little group of us that I always play board games together.

So if you’re listening and you’re a board game fan, come to our telegram group, tell us your board game fan, where we will jio you out to play board games. And. Yeah. So you try to add little, little things to your life or remove some things from your life to then find that comfortable pace called a comfortable balance to find that life that you love and not bottle up all this shit. Right. 

And keep telling yourself, okay. It’s okay. It’s December. I’m going on holiday in December. I’m going on holiday. And you keep absorbing all these rubbish. At one time, you go on a holiday and you splurge every shit. Everything comes up. You empty that bottle. You come back and you continue to absorb that shit again.

You never actually solved the fundamental root. You spend a lot of money trying to escape your problems, but you come back with the same problems and if not worse, because you come back with the dread of going back to your original way of life, which is your life. So yeah, definitely a very complex problem, but really got to question the idea of going on a holiday to “distress”. I feel if you want to distress, you’ve got to first recognize what it’s causing the stress and build habits and systems around that stress, remove something or add something to cope and manage with the situation that is the way to carving a life that you can love and not spending $10,000 to go to London. And I don’t know, man. Yeah. So you get an idea, right? 

So I’m going to sum up today and these are the three habits that I observed that a lot of people do. And if you remove these three things, you can definitely save like $10,000 a year. Number one is to stop rewarding yourself for hard work. Okay. Hard work is an inevitable part of the process towards achieving what you want to achieve? Reward your success, recognize your work. Number two is stop buying just in case. In actuality, these days, convenience is everywhere, you can buy all sorts of things everywhere and you know, NTUC is downstairs, Watsons is behind and you know, all sorts of stuff that you can deliver, you can online offline purchase, whatever. There’s no need to buy, just in case you don’t even buy unnecessarily, you don’t even need to buy extra. Number three is to stop going on holiday to “distress”, work on what is causing the stress? Because all these holidays will amount to like easily $10,000 a year. Right. And I hope you learn something useful today, see ya.

Hey I hope you learnt something useful today and truly appreciate that you took time off to better your life with the Financial Coconut. Knowledge is that much more powerful and interesting when shared, debated and discussed. I hope you would share what you have gained with people you love and I want to hear from you !!! Give me some questions and help me along with building our community of financially savvy coconuts, I hope together we can fulfill our curious minds and our desire for clarity. Join our community telegram group, reach out to us on facebook n instagram, sign up for our weekly newsletter everything in the description below, If you enjoy the podcast and  feel you wanna help us keep growing and stay independent, do buy us kopi at

With that, Have a Great day ahead, stay tuned next week and always remember, Personal Finance can be Chill, Clear and Sustainable for all!

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