Investing | Article

Millennials in Singapore on Budgeting: How Long It Took to Save My First $1,000

by Sophia | 23 Jan 2019 | 4 mins read

We all talk about saving up, splitting that paycheck, and rolling in cash by the end of a handful of months. But that’s all talk and no walk – and if you’re internally crying at not being able to afford that sweet new phone for reasons (budgeting hell), then you’re in the right place.

Saving up is tougher than it sounds.

Earlier this month, we spoke to a bunch of millennials and asked them one very simple question: “How long did it take before you saved your first $1,000?” (Ahem, all amounts stated here are in SGD.)

Here’s what each millennial had to say!

Pris, Librarian, 28


“I was working at a multinational corporation (MNC) as a temp staff during my poly days. Took me about two to three months to save that amount of money.”

On how long that balance was maintained in the bank: “Took me 6 months, until I found a full-time job.”

Ilene, Video Journalism, 23

I was on my poly internship at Scripps Network that paid me $500 a month. I mostly spent on food and transport, so it took me three to four months to save up my first $1,000.”

On how long that balance was maintained in the bank: “Unless there’s huge expenditure suddenly, after you’ve saved a certain amount it doesn’t dip below $1,000. The first time, I saved that $1,000 for three months.”

Angele, Marketing, 23

I’m quite conservative with money, so when I got through my first month as a marketing executive I saved that money right away. It took a month.”

On how long that balance was maintained in the bank: “I still have that safety net, especially after signing up for the DBS Multiplier account. Live frugally; don’t spend more than $10 on food a day, and don’t give in to consumerism!”

Ashe, Marketing, 21

It was my first coaching gig for debate at St. Patrick’s. All the hours accumulated gave me $1,000, which I never touched because I accidentally transferred it all into my POSB Trust account. Took one month.”

On how long that balance was maintained in the bank: “I’ve managed to maintain it consistently till now. My next $1,000 came from my poly internship, and I’ve been saving and working ever since.”

Yiyun, Digital Marketing, 24

“I was raised to view money as something incredibly important. Growing up poor will do that to you – my friends regularly made fun of my lunchboxes as I didn’t have pocket money to buy food in the canteen with, and this continued until I graduated from primary school. So it was liberating at first to have money in your pocket, but the fear of going back to not having it stays with you. It took me a while to learn to spend on the things that pleased me even if they were of little consequence, and not to be so ham-fisted.

I came out to work while waiting for my diploma course to start after secondary school and savoured every damn cent that came my way. I picked up anyone’s spare shifts and worked weekends and public holidays. Pretty much worked four or five out of seven days for my first job for $5.50/hour. I didn’t join my coworkers to grab meals after our shifts, and walked to and fro between my job and home. When I saw that 1K I felt like I’d finally not have to worry for a while. It took me around two to three months.”

On how long that balance was maintained in the bank: “Three to six months.”

How are you saving your money today? Drop us comments on our social media posts and tell us about your best money-saving tips.