Discussion: 4 ways to make fullest of my NSF allowances and time?

Hello all!

As per topic and you would have guessed, my enlistment date is just less than two months away! While counting down towards the day I will be stepping on Pulau Tekong, I am feeling a mix of excitement and concerned on how I can maximize the two years of service.

Having did some research and thanks to various bloggers for their share regarding this topic, I came out with a list of things I can do during my NSF in order to make the fullest of them.
Serving as a consolidation as well as a discussion post, I would like you to share a tip or two on top of these with me and future pre-enlistee readers!

1. Suit up and Save up

As our dear poet la papillion said, “If you’re not saving when you’re earning peanuts, you also won’t save when you’re earning big bucks”.

Although the savings accumulated out of the whole two years might not even buy you enough peanuts to last, it is a matter of fact that practicing to save when you’re young builds up a healthy and priceless habit that you will pat yourself on the back in future.

Therefore it is recommended to save an appropriate portion of your NS allowances since most necessities in most days of the month are already provided. However all that being said, it’s your choice so is your life. 🙂

2. Networking Vantage Point

Whether you’re full of entrepreneurial spirit or not, you can expand your current social circle by accepting new people into your life, that is the people you meet during your two years of National Service. Or if you’re a risk taker, you could even ramp it up by stepping out of your current social circle and tapping into someone else’s.
This, I can guarantee, will be a HELL of an experience! You will never know enough people because ‘enough’ is non-existent in networking relationships.

Networking is often too underestimated. Networking could help you acquire information and advice regarding your industry when you are hunting for a job, could directly affect your pay raises and promotions, or could even lead you into a part of a business venture! The possibilities are endless.

However knowing too much people might bring you problems and similar sorts, it is good to learn to focus on the good and filter out the bad ones. If you don’t learn this skill now, you would also be exposed to it when you step into work society anyway.

If you haven’t start working on your networking skills, don’t let me know the reasons. Because the reasons are probably something like ‘I’ve just swam out from a reservoir filled with blue Chartreux cats.’. Just odd.

3. Acquire Eminent Skillsets

Up to recently, an advisory council comprising leaders from different business sectors is looking at ways to better recognise the skills workers use during National Service (NS) so I suppose they are listen to Blogger Mr Wang’s suggestions to improve the sentiments of NS as written in SG Young Investment’s post, The hot topic of National Service (NS) – Why cannot monetize NS?.

If that is the case, there might be a possibility that local companies will gradually recognise NS as a form work experience.

4. Utilizing Perks

Teenage Investor has put up a good guide on how to How to Survive Financially during National Service (NS) and most of his list of survival tips is to maximize the benefits provided with being a soldier. This includes free Medical and Dental treatment, free food and lodging and transport concession passes. Knowing what you can claim and utilize will definitely save you some bucks (and feel smarter on the way)!

In addition to the guide, I would also add a tip that enlistees are able to make a spectacle claim of up to $40 for their first claim. Subsequent claims are only up to $20. And it is recommended to make the spectacles 2 weeks before enlistment date to keep the receipt valid.

Share your personal tip!

Share your personal tip on how you maximize your NSF time and the mere allowance in the comments section below!
I am definitely be interested to hear what your part before I visit the barber opposite my block! 🙁
The Independent Abecedarian



8 thoughts on “Discussion: 4 ways to make fullest of my NSF allowances and time?

  1. Here’s a few more 🙂

    1. Learn a new course outside . Learn driving. Whether you can take a full course or self study depends on the vocation you’re assigned to. Even if there’s no time to take a course, you can always read. There’s plenty of waiting time in army that you can utilise. Don’t just spend time on fb, whatsapp etc.

    2. Make friends with everyone. Don’t eliminate bad or good people at this point in time. You never know who’s going to be that missing link to connect you in the future. Actually don’t be so mercenary lah, just make friends and be friendly 🙂

    3. Regarding savings…if I can transfer a bulk of my pay to my parents, and don’t take allowance from them and still save up, I’m sure you can too. Just don’t eat so often on canteen trips. Just eat the cookhouse food, which isn’t all that bad.

    4. Most imptly, you’re now prey to a host of insurance agents. Just don’t commit more than what you can bite.

    Have fun and be happy you’ll be building a bunch of army buddies that can last you your whole life!

    1. Hello LP!

      Good to see you here!
      Tip Number 1 is a good one. Making use of the two years to learn some new skills and gain some new experiences is definitely good. I myself passed my driving test a couple of months ago so I might need to find something new to learn. I am considering taking up some sports since I would most probably be an officeboy during my service (medical reason).

      2. Haha, I am exceptionally friendly and open-minded to people I meet and I don’t usually eliminate people out of my life but there are always a few whom generalists call ‘toxic people’. These people are people who leave you feeling stressed and unhappy more often than not. By negatively affecting your other relationships, invade your space, and take up a heck of your time, they are just not worth it.
      So what I do is I will set a line for them and if they crossed it, I honestly tell them that I have better things to do with my time doing this. It’s a little harsh but based on my experience, the real eliminated is roughly 5% of the people I know. And in return, I freed up more than 80% of my time from doing this. I am sure this 5% will most likely not change and always be in search of people to depend and manipulate on.

      3. I had read your post regarding this and I think you are a great example for me 🙂
      As a guideline, I usually allocate 20% of my pay to my parents and leave myself with 60% (another 20% for CPF). So saving above 50% is not as easy with my pay scale below $2,000 (based on my past job).
      Either way, I guess I will see how I cope the first few months before gradually improve my savings.

      4. Insurance! Dang! I should really start reading up on it. I have always move on posts relating to insurance as I thought I was still young and I can pick up on them later, but I guess it is time… 🙁

      Lastly, Thanks LP for your valuable input. I surely hope so too! 🙂

      The IA

  2. Hmm…

    Are u combat fit? Pes? Combat fit soldiers don’t have a good life u know? At least for the first year…

    I know my PES C friend who is a clerk took on a part time job doing night shift at NYDC, when it is not possible for me because my first 1.5 years are full of night training, out field, exercises, and ops orders.

    I also though the best part about reservist and Ns days is we can just switch off and not think so much. I save, but I dun plan until the cow come home. Toward the end of second year, I have tuition.

    I enjoy the company and the friends made, however, working life has changes me. I do not like their company anymore. Just felt our values are world apart now, I only still meet up with 1 or 2 friends occasionally…

    Just chill and suffer together. Feel the “band of brothers” moment. U might never have a second chance in your whole life to do it again. Not even if I signed on, it is just different.

    Those were the days… I do missed them.

    1. Hello SillyInvestor!

      Thanks for dropping by and your share of your personal thoughts!

      Fortunately or unfortunately, I am not really combat fit. I’m situated for PES C due to medical reason. I did not have any major issues and could run jump fly like any others. I even tried to upgrade the status 🙁

      Recently I was planning for it. If I am asked to work in office 9-5, I could try one of the few activities (Competitive Sports or Art) that I might have interest in. But I am not sure if I can cope since I know working 9-5 is already shag enough based on my past employment 🙁
      Those activities might not have any return value but I felt that study/attend courses on top of office job is surely an insane match!

      Since the allowance is so little, I will start off with spending as how I usually do before slowly tightening my budget. Also since recruit has the lowest pay, it make sense to increase savings at the back of the years instead of trying to save intensively and consistently bursting my budget every month.

      I do not really understand what you mean by ‘working life has changed me. I do not like their company anymore’ but my guess most of them have prefered to follow money and materialistic gains compared to true life values and happiness?

      Yea, I’m sure this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity that we will never experience again when we are back here in our ever-competitive urban lifestyle. 🙁

      The IA

  3. Well my NS days were pretty long ago (> 10 yrs) so I don’t know if its all still relevant but here goes:

    1) Don’t siam USMS when you are in unit. Back then one was paid $5 per submission (not sure about now) & you could submit up to 2-3. Regulars hated writing them, so I offered to do it for them in exchange for the payment. They were more than happy to pay me cash on the spot. WITS projects were the bomb. $200 per project write up. I did one all by myself.

    2) Be great friends with the clerk (if you won’t be one yourself) esp the ones familiar with the GOM (General Orders of Mindef). He will be able to tell you all the perks / entitlements of an NSF.

    3) By your 2nd year when unit life is more stable, request for a dental check to see if there’s any wisdom tooth extraction needed. This will really save you ALOT of $$$.

    4) If you stay far from your unit & you are a stay-out personnel, see if you can request to stay-in. I was a stay-out soldier but it took 2.5 hrs to get to camp (1-way) and transport cost was about $6.50 everyday. My RSM permitted me to stay in instead. Plus the perks of dinner, 2 night snacks & sleeping 2.5 hrs more everyday.

    5) Be great friends with everyone (both regulars & NSF). The good, the bad & the ugly. BUT don’t let them step over you. People will remember to include you for great lobangs. The regulars (officers & specs) treated me very well during my 2.5 yrs. Or perhaps I was just lucky to be from a fantastic unit.

    1. Hello Philip!

      I am glad to have you here to discuss this topic! Appreciate your feedback.

      1. Hmm, Sound good. I have not heard of USMS nor WITS projects! But doing a little Google did give me some results but I couldn’t find a consistent meaning for WITS though. If USMS is still available, I will definitely take them. I love improvising processes and giving feedbacks ideas.

      2. I do have a friend working admin work in MINDEF HQ currently. Not sure if he is familiar with the GOM though. 😮

      3. I too hear about this regarding wisdom tooth extraction often haha. I am not sure how much it actually costs since I had never done it before, but I presume it’s in the 4digits range yea?

      4. This is a good tip. I live in an area that is not easy to get to and far from most common camps I have heard about… I hope I will be sent to somewhere near if I’m going to be a 9-5 worker, otherwise I could only hope my plea to be heard. 🙁

      5. I suppose I am a very friendly and optimistic guy so there shouldn’t be any problem. A couple of years ago, I was too friendly and prone to get stepped all over and do nothing. But I have changed, for the better I hope, to be more direct and stand for myself when the time’s right. 🙂

      Lastly thanks for your feedback once again, it’s the first time I see your name around so I appreciate your time and effort in provide such great tips! I am thinking of opening a discussion post every Monday for people to learn from one another. Your take? Will be posting a more detailed post regarding this soon! 🙂

      The IA

  4. Oh Im a regular reader of a few local financial blogs since 2010 (but I don’t write anymore); just stumbled onto your’s recently along with the teenage investor. Its very comforting to see young folks like you all venturing and working hard to understand & appreciate financial investing and delayed gratification. I wish the internet had such a wealth of information back when I was your age. With regards to wisdom tooth extraction, yes it can cost in the range of late 1ks to earn 2ks depending on how many teeth and the complexity of the surgery. Get it done in NS !!!!

    Yes, weekly discussion post sounds like a good idea since different folks with different experiences can chip in & we can all learn from it 🙂

    1. Hey Philip,

      I see! We have all these wealth of information all thanks to seniors like yourself! I am sure every experience, every analysis, and every reflection you guys posted and shared has definitely shaped someone’s thinking. I know because one of them is me. With these amount of information, how can I neglect and not try it out myself for once? The worst being failing in investment, but I might end up making some new friends!
      Okay man! I’ll be sure to try my best to get my teeth taken out! 😛

      Thanks for the feedback! Great! I’ll be testing it to see the feedback for the next couple of weeks. If it’s good, I will keep it up even during my enlistment! 🙂
      Hope to see you around soon, Philip!

      The IA

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