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Here's how to get first dibs on the latest It Bag in Singapore without buying secondhand or giving up lattes for life.
With extravagant price tags often higher than your monthly salary, buying your first designer bag is a major commitment. Typical advice on saving for your first luxury purchase include not dining out and staying in on weekends.
But what if you're a serious fashion girl who needs to have this season's It Bag straight from the runways, every year? If you follow the same advice, doing so means giving up lattes, cooking your own lunch, and not having other nice things for life.
Saving for a pricey purchase doesn't have to be painful. While you'll certainly get there faster without coffee and pedicures, you can have your designer bag and your latte too, if you're clever.
So here's how you can afford every year's It Bag without skipping Starbucks, going into debt, or buying secondhand.
1. Decide What You Want and How Soon You Want It
Before building your Bag Fund, you must decide which bag you want. Knowing what you want helps you lock in your savings goal, and how much you can reasonably set aside for it each month.
Let's say you've got your heart set on the Prada Saffiano Tote, which retails for about S$4,317 with GST. And you want it soon - like, in 3 months. This means you need to save S$1,437 per month.
It's easy to do this if you live with your parents and are willing to scrimp on a bit of fun. But if you're earning less than S$4,000 each month and paying for your living expenses, saving S$1,437 is going to be tough. In this case, you need more time to build your Bag Fund.
So if you save for a period of 6 months instead of three, you only need to set aside S$720 each month. And if you give yourself a year, you can save S$360 a month.
2. Automate Your Savings
It's tough saving on willpower alone. Don't spend your paycheque and expect to have a few hundred dollars at the end of the month for your Bag Fund.
Instead, you must automate your savings and get the money out of sight as soon as possible.
As soon as you've determined how much to save each month, open a second savings account for your Bag Fund. Then set up a GIRO system to funnel cash into it every month. Schedule the transfer the day after payday so you don't get tempted to use the money for something else.
Don't even think about the money in your Bag Fund until you're actually ready to make the purchase.
3. Get a Side Hustle
To fast-track your savings, get a side income job and place every single dollar you earn into your Bag Fund.
If you want to make money fast, avoid being too picky about the job. Many side income opportunities will be unglamorous and unrelated to your main skills. For instance, you may be a certified public accountant, but if your auntie will pay you to help out with your cousins' math tuition, do it.
4. Sell Your Stuff
Make space for the new by selling off the old! If you're upgrading to a new bag, now could be the time to auction off last season's satchels. Or if barely-used clothes are taking up precious closet place, there's bound to be someone else who wants them. Carousell awaits.
5. Use a Credit Card's 0 per cent Instalment Plan…
If you really can't wait until you've saved the full cash amount, you can use a credit card's 0 per cent instalment plan to start paying for your bag.
The LuxePay Plan from UOB Lady's Platinum Card is designed exactly for this purpose. Any shoe or bag purchase worth at least S$500 can be split into a 6- or 12-month instalment plan, with no interest or processing fees.
However, you need to make sure you are able to pay your bill in full and on time each month. Credit cards have compounding interest rates as high as 28 per cent. This means any unpaid balance grows everyday and becomes increasingly difficult to pay off the longer you leave it untouched.
This is why it's important to develop budgeting skills, impulse control, and other basic money habits before getting a credit card. Skip this option if you can't trust yourself to use plastic responsibly.
6. …But Save an Emergency Fund First
Before using your credit card, make sure you've saved at least 3 months' worth of instalment payments first. This lets you keep up with the monthly payments in case you lose your job or some other financial disaster gets thrown your way.
Besides avoiding debt, an emergency fund ensures that you won't have to sell your beloved purse in case the worst happens.
Must I Really Save Money?
No one can succeed financially without learning to manage their money and delay gratification. So even if you've got credit at your disposal, make the effort to build your Bag Fund first.
The fact is that you'll need to pay for what you buy; either you pay now in cash, or pay later on credit. Both approaches require basic money management, especially if you choose the latter.
By being clever with your money, you can easily come up with cash for luxury purchases without downgrading your lifestyle or being forced to resell your hard-earned It Bag shortly after buying it.