5 useful ways to utilise your S$600 Solidarity Payment

The Soliarity Payment was announced by the Singapore government on 6 April 2020 to support adult Singaporeans with direct cash payouts during this challenging period.

If you haven’t already spent your $600 cash payout issued to Singaporeans, here are 5 useful ways you can spend it without wasting it away.

#1: Build up or replenish your emergency funds

Piggy bank money, vector icon.

A few months ago, nobody would have imagined the world economy shutting down and everyone is forced to stay home.

Today, with a gloomy employment outlook and bills that don’t stop, saving towards an emergency fund of 6 to 12 months of expenses is no longer a theoretical idea but an important one.

In fact, six months of emergency funds might not be enough if you are at a higher risk of losing your job, especially so for workers working in affected industries where demand has fallen off the cliff.

You can contribute the $600 into a high-yield savings account, cash management account or Singapore Savings Bonds, whichever you feel comfortable in, as long as you can easily retrieve the cash when you need them. The last thing you want to do is invest into the stock market and cash out at a loss. Focus on building your liquid emergency funds first before investing for the long-term.

#2: Invest it in the stock market and let it grow

Alright, what if you already have your emergency funds fully laid out and you don’t have to worry about money? You can also invest it for the long-term into stock markets that are now on sale.

With stock prices crashing to multi-year lows, the best time to invest for the long term might be now, when nobody is willing to invest amidst to all the uncertainty.

$600 invested in a broadly diversified portfolio at 6% annual returns can return close to $3500 in 30 years. That’s almost a 600% return on your invested capital! If you’re young and willing to take advantage of compound interest, then investing the money and watching it grow might be a smart move too.

#3: Invest in yourself and learn a new skill

Online education is growing faster than ever and with this ongoing stay home notices and lockdown, more students and teachers alike are resorting to online classroom trainings and virtual classes.

This might be a great opportunity for those with spare time to learn a new skill from online education portals like Coursera, edX, Ted-Ed and Stanford Online.

You can subsidise the costs of training from SkillsFuture, or ask your company to send you for training at a subsidised rate of up to 90% of course fees through the Enhanced Training Support Package or Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP).

You are literally paid to study, while staying relevant in this rapidly changing times. Not sure what to study? How about programming skills (e.g Python), web design, digital marketing, cloud computing or even e-commerce for a start?

Alternatively, you can also use the money to buy books to read. I usually shop and buy my books at Book Depository because they are dirt cheap compared to local bookstores. Shipping takes about 3 weeks.

#4: Start a business or side hustle

I actually like this one because it’s seldom an obvious choice. To be honest, Betterspider itself is my side hustle and through blogging on this site I’ve gained numerous skills like digital marketing, content copywriting, branding, web development, in addition to the business aspects like partnerships and accounting.

You can use the initial grant of $600 as a one-time injection of capital by the government, to co-fund your side hustle. You can do a lot of things with $600!

You can buy a domain name from a popular service like NameCheap or GoDaddy (starting from $1 a month), then start a website hosting plan on WordPress or Wix ($10 a month), churn out some content or products and start selling them online. Then, launch a digital marketing campaign on Facebook or Instagram or share it with your friends and family.

If you want to go even further, you can also head over to Fiverr, which is a freelance services marketplace that I absolutely love to get affordable freelance services from logo, graphics and web design to copywriting services, video production and website development, starting from $5.

I use Fiverr to get an initial prototype for my name card and for some of my brand assets so I wholeheartedly recommend them (of course it also depends on whose services you engage as they are just a platform for both buyers and sellers).

#5: Donate it to those in need

Finally, if you have no need for the money, then you can also do your part for the community by donating it to the less fortunate or for a worthy cause.

There are avenues like Giving.sg, Give.Asia and the Community Chest that aggregate a list of charitable organisations and campaigns that are looking for donations. Your donation will go a long way in helping those that are in greater need for those funds, especially if the circuit breaker measures have put financial strain on their families or resulted in job losses that have affected their livelihoods as they struggle to put food on their plates.

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