Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Switch and changing spending habits.

One of the best things about the Internet is that now its possible to buy e-books the moment they are freshly available at Amazon. Using some tech savvy, I was able to read Switch by Chip and Dan Heath before it even arrives in local bookshops ( and at a ridiculously low $15 SGD ).

Switch is an immensely useful book, an equal to the authors' previous bestseller Made to Stick. It has a chockful of advice on implementing changes in behavior and in organizations.

Here are some ideas ported over to personal finance in the local context.

a) Saving money is a rational decision but somehow the saver must absolutely have an emotional need to want to save money. For me, I recast the meaning of money as personal freedom and see financial independence as an act of defiance against shoddy Singaporean management and the authoritarian regime that wants Singaporeans chained to their home payments.

b) Savings require an infrastructure or system to make it happen. I have recommended a separate DBS savings plus account to sock away money the moment payday arrives to create a savings commitment immediately even before a single cent can be spent.

c) You will need to hang out with frugal friends so that peer pressure will prevent you from putting your money aside for a rainy day.

d) You need to formulate simple concrete rules to reduce your expenses such as "take taxis only after 12 midnight." or "buy soupy lunches with liquid content to save on buying softdrinks"

e) Breaking down payday into weekly paychecks and insisting on a weekly budget may be easier than working on a monthly budget.

f) Find out what a frugal and happy person does and emulate his/her success.

Anyway, you'll probably find better ideas from Switch as its principles can be universally applied to any domain.

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