By: Zeng Han Jun, CPCG, Singapore

There are countless of financial forecast reports that are being published 24 hours a day. Some of them predict that the coming months are a disaster and some look upon the next few months as an opportunity period. What do all these mean for the average household? No matter how things turn out to be, the average household still has to maintain their cash flow to survive. However, maintaining a consistent cash flow may not be an easy thing to do now, so it will be wise to stock up on some cash and pay attention to some of the financial matters that you have never noticed before.

Credit cards and personal loans

It may be a good idea to consolidate all these debts into one loan. These types of credit facilities are priced at an expensive interest rate and by restructuring them; you will be able to make good use of the low interest rates now. Depending on your spending behavior, you might not need to consolidate your credit cards if you are the type of person who always clears the card debts immediately after you charged. However, if you are chalking up large amount of card debts and always trying to meet your installments, why not consider a consolidation? From an interest rate of 20% for credit cards, you might be able to consolidate it to a 2%. Now that is a lot of savings.

Switch to a smaller house

Maintaining that dream condo might be a little difficult lately, especially when you are not so sure about bonuses anymore. Instead of struggling to meet the monthly installment every month, maybe you can switch to a smaller apartment and shave off the burden of keeping up with that high installment. It might be a tough decision for certain people. Especially if they have decided to stay long term, but hey, if you cannot keep it, perhaps letting it go might be better in the long run. Selling off a house may not be an option for some though. The reason being that in certain areas, the valuation has dropped by so much and sellers might have to top up some cash when selling.

Refinance your housing loan

Your home loan may be the biggest ticket item of your entire life. Being the biggest ticket item, it is therefore logical and sensible to pay extra attention to it. Interest rates attached to housing loans sometimes creep up high on you without you even knowing it. Talk to your advisor if you think your housing loan is getting a bit difficult to manage. Do not wait until the last minute before you do something about it. Refinancing your home loan with the right interest rate, terms and condition is the best method to save a significantly amount of money from your monthly bills. However, just like selling off your house, you might not be able to refinance due to the sharp drop of valuation of your property.

Dump that car

Public transport is not such a bad idea after all. Taxis are actually a convenient source of transport now, and it is even more so when you decide to share the cab with others. Freeing yourself from that car can save you from recurring fees such as road tax, fuel charges and parking charges. Lets think about it. If your job does not require you to travel often, and your family is pretty small, then it does not make much sense to own that car at all. You might as well travel in taxi, bus or mrt and you can save quite a bit from there.

Reduce usage of your hand phone

Use a landline when ever possible. You can save a lot from using a landline and it is safe to your health as well. I heard from one of my clients that in Japan, the trend is that people over there are starting to use more of landline as an alternative to hand phone. It is because of the radiation emitted by a hand phone is thought to be harmful to health. Anyway, the main point here is that, it is cheaper to use land lines compared to hand phone.

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