You can manage your finances well for two years of serving the nation. Sharing experiences and regrets of fellow NSmen, ‘NS’ for ‘National Service’ has been represented as an acronym for five financial advices!
To any pre-enlistees who have been drawing decent earnings and making a comfortable living, they would have to adapt to the soldier’s lifestyle. Compromises have to be made due to the plausible lower allowances given as compared to what they had made previously. It is strongly advised by many that budgeting has to start now. Most importantly, be wise with the allowance. After all, it’s an allowance, NOT a salary!
Recruit allowance can be low, so splurging has to be cut out. With much of the time spent in camp, leaving only about eight days out per month, there is not much opportunity for expenditure. Aside from mandatory spending on army essentials and daily necessities, allowance would then be mostly sufficient. Surpluses can be deposited for personal savings or utilized for ‘rainy days’ as well.
Proper financial planning is crucial wherein one should narrow down the spectrum of expenditure. To illustrate, narrow hundreds to tens on food per month by cooking, using food vouchers and removing suppers. If one does not curb on the impulsive spending like shopping and café-hopping, monetary complications will arise. Spending on such luxuries need not be completely eliminated but rather cut to a minimum. For example, NSmen should be aware and make use of given privileges such as discounted movie tickets, and much more! You’re never a loser or miser, if you knew which retail establishments offer discounts because of your 11-B! Do your intelligence work.
Make full use of staying in to save money. For the majority of those who are based in camps, please claim your free breakfast, lunch and dinner that the military has already paid for! Pay yourself first. Have two bank accounts – one for expenses, another for savings. Monthly, transfer 10-20% of your allowance to savings. That way, you control your expenses as your disposable income will appear lower. When the number in the expenses bank account is high, you tend to spend more. So this helps to prevent overspending and promote saving.
During your time in NS, there is no need for you to purchase any new apparels. Most of the time, they are stored in the wardrobe while in camp. Furthermore, most NSFs consider revamping their wardrobes after ORD be it for a new phase of life or personal change in preferences. Do not pick up unhealthy habits (i.e. smoking and drinking) or quit them during your service period as well. These are both physically and financially crippling habits!
During NS, you are still at a golden age wherein you can save aggressively to build a financial stable base for your future and generations to come. As cliché as it sounds, work hard and appreciate every moment serving your country. You are in control of how these two years will be a life-changer for your ultimate life goals and ideals. Be positive and have a meaningful journey ahead!
*Content recounted by various individuals who have served the nation in a range of influential positions and standard vocations.*
(James Leong, Daryl Dousey, Joshua Tan, Elvis Wong, Darren Lee, Kelvin Seetoh, Wee Jie Kai)
Jade Lee is the Chief Editor of Giants Learning Technologies. Her life purpose is to help; thus committing to youths like herself through articles regarding early financial planning. Jade graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic where she attained a Diploma with Merit in Early Childhood Education, having dedicated three years in understanding preschool children. Under a scholarship, she reads Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Nanyang Technological University. Jade is also a commercial model and engages in Hip-Hop dance. Find out more about her insights via firstname.lastname@example.org
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