How to make more money to tide through the economy downturn

All of us know this; we will never have enough money. In this coming year too, the government has also warned about the impending downturn that will be hitting Singapore. Corporates and SMEs alike in Singapore, most are tightening their belt this year, and some are even actively retrenching employees to save cost.

So if you, are looking for ways to make more money, here are some tips for you this year:

1. Take a part time job with sharing economy related companies

One noticeable trend in Singapore over the past 2 years is the rise of sharing economy, and they rely on part timers for their operations. While it is only for part timers, the good news is that they pay pretty well.

Some popular sharing economy companies are like Uber or GrabCar, which lets you earn more money driving people around in Singapore. Drivers report earning S$800 and more if they do it part time, after the various deductions. This is perfect for those of you who owns a car and has a full time job, and has the time at night to spare.

If you do not have a driving license, you can also be a shopper with concierge shopping site HonestBee, which pays you for shopping for someone else. How much can you earn? HonestBee is reported to pay up to S$14 per hour to concierge shoppers, many of whom are working part-time. If you are doing 20 hours per week, that amounts to S$1120 per month.

If you have an empty room, you can also consider renting it out via Airbnb where you can earn additional income.

2. Offer freelance service if you have a strong skill set

If you have a particular skillset such as designing, writing, building a website or even mixing cocktails, you can also offer these service to friends who might need it on an ad hoc basis.

There are several platforms where you can list your service, such as on, or you can simple start a website or Facebook page and list down your service so that it's easier for people to discover you on the Internet.

Skills such as designing and writing can command hourly rates of S$20 and even hundreds of dollars if you are good.

5 things Singaporeans should do in the economic slowdown

  • The gloomy outlook in 2016 is expected to result in higher retrenchment figures, a slowdown in employment and horrible news for a whole bunch of industries.
  • NTUC has spoken: They predict that in the first quarter of 2016, 234 workers in unionised companies could be retrenched, a 31 per cent increase from the first quarter of 2015.
  • No matter how useful you think you are to your company, there's a chance your boss thinks of you, yes you, as an unnecessary cost-especially if he can just dump all your work on the guy in the next cubicle.
  • Job hopping is nothing new in Singapore, and while the employment market is still pretty robust, don't quit without another job lined up unless you're okay with the fact that it's probably going to be harder to find a new one than it was last year.
  • Employers are going to find it harder to justify hiring a new guy, so you definitely don't want to be job hunting desperately at that time.
  • If you're a business owner and haven't bothered correcting certain inefficiencies, this is the time to do it, as you could be in for some tough times.
  • While businesses across the board are likely to feel the pinch, if you're in particularly vulnerable industries like tourism and manufacturing, now is the time to see if there are more efficient, more streamlined and cheaper ways to do what you do.
  • Even if you don't find yourself unceremoniously retrenched, if your company is badly affected you can expect a smaller (or even no) bonus, as many people did during the 2008 recession, or even a pay cut.
  • This is not exactly the best time to start a designer bag collection or plan a lavish shopping trip to the factory outlets in California.
  • Everyone's investment mix is different, but if you're a stock investor who buys and holds for the long-term, this may be a good year to monitor stock prices more closely.
  • At this point, many stocks are quite heavily undervalued, and property prices are still on the decline. It's anyone guess when they'll rebound, but for now, investors should pay attention.

3. Pick up a new skill set

If you do not have any skill sets, perhaps it is time to think of ways to acquire new skill sets which you can benefit from for the rest of your life. There are various courses for lifelong learning, so don't let "no time" be an excuse for you this year.

Starting this year, you can enjoy S$500 in free SkillFuture credits on over 10,000 SkillFuture courses. These approved courses, which can be found on the official website, includes interesting lessons from accounting, finance, basic programming to workplace safety courses et cetera. The earnings that you can get from this would be invaluable.

Additionally, if you are an union member, there is also a UTAP (Union Training Assistance Programme) which further funds your course fee up to S$250 per year.

4. Cut down expenses

Most of us might not be aware that we are spending unnecessary expenses every month, which could come in the form of our phone bills, or missed out promotions because we are not disciplined enough.

If you are a SingTel customer, you can enjoy reduced monthly payment fees if there are multiple registered line under the same billing address.

For personal banking, a popular savings plan is the OCBC 360, which gives you up to 3 per cent annual interest rate if you credit your salary into the account every month and pay up to 3 bills using the account. If you have S$50,000 in savings, that's an additional S$1500 for you per year. The additional interest rate can be used to cut down any other banking expenses that you might have.

The same goes for DBS's multiplier account, if your regular banking with DBS adds up to S$7,500 per month, you're eligible to earn higher interest.

6 items S'poreans who want to save money shouldn't buy in S'pore

  • Many people think it's too "leceh" to drive across the Causeway to buy groceries. But it's probably because they don't know exactly how much money you can save by buying your food and toiletries in Johor Bahru.
  • A few years ago, you could save about 30 per cent on your groceries by buying in JB.
  • Now that the Malaysian Ringgit is lower than ever vis a vis the Singapore dollar, you can save much more, in many cases up to 50 per cent.
  • Unless you're talking about those awful assessment books for kids at Popular Bookstore, most books in Singapore have to be imported.
  • And they're not cheap-you can usually expect to pay about $15 to $20 for a paperback novel.
  • If you are ordering a fairly large shipment and don't mind second hand items, consider buying your books from Amazon's second hand section and then shipping them back using a service like Borderlinx or vPost.
  • For some reason, vitamins and dietary supplements are super expensive in Singapore. If you've ever walked into GNC, the prices are enough to give you a stroke.
  • If you're happy go buy all your furniture from Ikea, more power to you. But if you're the house-proud type who's willing to spend thousands of dollars on a sofa, consider buying your furniture and homeware in Bali or Thailand.
  • It's not just owning a car that's expensive in Singapore. It's also darned difficult to get your car serviced without being ripped off-many mechanics here are more concerned about getting you to replace parts than actually fixing your vehicle's problems.
  • If you know where to go, car and bike servicing in Malaysia can cost almost half the price. Although there are hundreds of popular recommendations, it's best to go with a friend who's familiar with a workshop in JB to be safe.
  • If you work in the sort of place where you actually have to show up looking decent, adding a few crisp tailored shirts or a slick suit to your wardrobe can make you look a bit more presentable.
  • But tailors in Singapore are expensive-you can usually expect to pay at least $1,000 for decent tailored suit.
  • Some people prefer Hoi An in Vietnam or even Shanghai, but Bangkok is the cheapest and easiest place to fly to and the destination Singaporeans are the most familiar with.

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