Reflect on your spending

You always have a choice.

We always have a choice when it comes to how we spend our money. Continue reading to find out how you can use your spending diary to help you choose to spend less and save more every day!

Decide if 'Need' or 'Want'

At the end of every week, decide for each expense, if it’s a ‘need’ or a ‘want’ and fill in the Needs (N) or Wants (W) column as we’ve done in the example diary below.

Decide if 'Need' or 'Want'

At the end of every week, decide for each expense, if it’s a ‘need’ or a ‘want’ and fill in the Needs (N) or Wants (W) column as we’ve done in the example diary below.

How do I know if an expense is a ‘Need’ or a ‘Want’?

A ‘need’ is essential to maintaining a basic standard of living:

e.g. EZ link top up, remittance

A ‘want’ is something nice to have but it’s not essential:

e.g. a new bag, lunch at the mall

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It’s not always easy to decide whether an expense is a ‘need’ or a ‘want’ though. A ‘want’ can definitely sometimes feel like a ‘need’! If you’re not sure, ask yourself this simple question:

Can I ( and/or my family) live and work without it?

→ If you answer YES, then the expense is a ‘want’.
→ If you answer NO, and you and/your family really can’t survive without the item, then it’s a ‘need’. 

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Remember: We should always pay for our NEEDS first. If we have money left over, we can then choose to spend money on ‘wants’.  

It’s not always easy to decide whether an expense is a ‘need’ or a ‘want’ though. A ‘want’ can definitely sometimes feel like a ‘need’! If you’re not sure, ask yourself this simple question:

Can I ( and/or my family) live and work without it?

→ If you answer YES, then the expense is a ‘want’.
→ If you answer NO, and you and/your family really can’t survive without the item, then it’s a ‘need’. 

Let’s try it out with a quick quiz!

Are the following expenses a ‘Need’ or a ‘Want’…? Click to see the answers! 

Choose ways to spend less…

Use the questions below to help you reflect on your spending over the week. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll learn about your spending habits from your diary! 

Choose ways to spend less…

Use the questions below to help you reflect on your spending over the week. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll learn about your spending habits from your diary! 

Ask yourself:

1. Can I reduce my spending on ‘wants’ to help me save more?

e.g. EZ link top up, remittance

2. Can I plan my spending on ‘wants’ better?

e.g. buy the ‘wants’ that are most important to me and my family first

3. Can I spend less on my needs?

e.g. find a cheaper phone contract or walk short distances instead of taking the bus?

Here’s Indah’s reflections:

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A I probably didn’t need that top? Must think before buying!

B It was fun to meet up but maybe next time we could spend less  on lunch!

C I’ve heard Nur has a cheaper phone plan, will check that out… 

Remember: It’s ok to treat yourself sometimes but just be extra mindful when you’re spending your money on ‘wants’. Try and prioritise the ‘wants’ that are most important to you. Remember, the more you spend on ‘wants’, the less you’ll have for your savings.

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Next steps

1. Keep a regular spending diary!

Make this your new spending habit!

2. Share it with other MDWs!

Why not share what you’ve learnt about your spending habits with other MDWs?

3. Check out Ulfa’s story!

Ulfa is our #SuperStarSaver – Check out her top savings tips here:

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