I was 7-years-old when my family moved halfway around the world to a sunny little island called Singapore, and while I have a lot of great memories of spending afternoons in the pool, riding through the bicycle obstacle courses my dad made for me on our ridiculously long driveway, and eating at Milano’s Pizza on weekends during the first few months we were there, I missed my grandparents and friends so badly that I was convinced I would never be able to call Singapore “home”.
Eleven years later, while I was taping pictures of my high school buddies to the wall of my college dorm room, I was overcome with a feeling of homesickness for the city-state that once seemed so foreign and weird to me, and I knew in that moment that Singapore had not only become my home, but that it had also shaped the person I had become.
And I missed it terribly.
Thankfully, those feelings of sadness diminished as I settled into my new routine, and while I have grown to love the life I have made for myself here in Canada, there are moments when I wish I could share parts of my childhood with my husband and daughter so they can understand why a part of me will always consider Singapore to be my home. So when I heard my high school will be hosting a 70th anniversary in 2026, complete with campus tours, football games, class activities, a formal dinner reception, and a myriad of other events around Singapore, I decided it would be the perfect way to introduce them to Singapore and all it has to offer.
Of course, this all sounds great in theory, but I am notorious for losing focus and terrible at saving money, so decided I had to put together an action plan if I really want to make this happen.
I call it DANI’S SUNNY DAY PLAN, and by making a few small tweaks to my spending habits, I have already saved hundreds of dollars.
I’m not kidding!
1. PUT YOUR LOSE CHANGE INTO A JAR
For as long as I can remember, my husband has emptied the change from his pockets into a basket at the end of the day, and every few months he wraps the coins and deposits them into our savings account. I am always amazed at how much money he accumulates with this saving method of his (we have one-dollar and two-dollar coins in Canada, which really helps!), and I’ve started doing the same.
2. PLAN MEALS AHEAD OF TIME
I am terrible when it comes to meal planning, and after tallying our food costs for February, I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY at how much I spend at the grocery store on a monthly basis. So at the beginning of this month, I started not only planning our meals on a weekly basis, but also STICKING TO MY GROCERY LIST each time I go to the grocery store, and I have already cut our food budget in half!!!
3. MAKE YOUR OWN COFFEE
I recently started drinking coffee again, and while I thoroughly enjoy treating myself to a Venti Decaf Americano after I drop my daughter off at preschool each morning, and again while we’re running errands in the afternoon, the cost really adds up. In fact, I spent almost $200 on coffee in February! So now I make my caffeine at home, and only reward myself with a store-bought coffee once in a while.
4. WRITE DOWN YOUR EXPENDITURES
I never considered myself an over-spender, but after writing down everything I spent my money on for 2 weeks, I was shocked to find out how many unnecessary purchases I make on a daily basis, most of which are toys my daughter doesn’t need. So from now on I’m trying to keep a tally of all of my expenditures as I find writing them down not only forces me to take ownership for my purchases, but also makes me less likely to splurge on things I don’t need.
5. START LIVING FOR A SUNNY DAY
We always talk about saving for a rainy day, but when our goals are either hard to achieve or too far in the distance to get excited about, it’s hard to stay focused. So rather than concentrating on my goal of saving enough funds to buy my family first-class tickets to Singapore, I try to imagine taking a picture of my daughter in front of the Singapore Merlion instead. I find that LIVING for my sunny day is much more effective in keeping me motivated, especially when the weather is miserable and snowy!
Of course, while all of these tips are fabulous ways to save money and stay motivated in your goals when saving for a rainy day, it’s also important to get the right financial advice.
And that’s why I love SunTrust.
They offer a bi-monthly newsletter that is filled with money inspiration and motivation to help me achieve my goals and live for my sunny day, and they also have a fabulous resource center that is loaded with helpful articles, videos, podcasts and infographics.
I have already learned so much from them and I am so pumped that I am on my way to making my dream of taking my family to Singapore come true!
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Are YOU saving for a rainy day? What steps are you taking to achieve your goals? And what does your SUNNY day look like?
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.