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4 Most Common Ways Singaporeans Indulge in Lifestyle Inflation

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Joanne Poh

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Once upon a time, I went out with my friends to Pizza Hut after the PSLE. The four of us pooled our money to share one pizza with our pocket money, and that was the best pizza we ever had. As that pizza one of the most expensive things we’d ever spent our money on, we were licking up the cheese remains at the end of the meal.

Today, I couldn’t convince any of my friends to go to Pizza Hut if I paid them to. They’d politely try to steer us towards Spizza or Peperoni Pizzeria instead.

The point is, as we advance in our careers and our income starts rising, many of us are prone to some degree of lifestyle inflation, spending more just because we can. Lifestyle inflation isn’t always bad—if you were previously sharing a bed with your five siblings, by all means get one of your own.

But many Singaporeans are all too ready to inflate their lifestyles at every chance they get. Here are four ways Singaporeans are all too ready to inflate their lifestyles the moment they can afford to.

 

Buying a car

They say the five Cs are dead, but cars continue to be a status symbol that many still aspire towards. In addition, the public transport system still gives people lots of headaches and can be excruciatingly slow if you need to commute to and from the MRT station.

That’s why the first big ticket items many Singaporeans aim to spend on, other than their home, is a car. Never mind that the cost of even the cheapest brand new car is more than 1.5 year’s worth of the median salary. The problem is that when you take out a loan, a car suddenly seems a lot more affordable. Paying $1,000 a month for your car certainly feels a lot different than spending close to $100,000 in cash.

 

Signing up for a gym membership

While everyone’s got a few gym rats at their workplace or in their social circle, you might be surprised to find that there are actually many more people who secretly have gym memberships, including some who look like they haven’t exercised since their last PE lesson back at school.

It’s easy to see why someone who’s finally got a good job would be tempted to pay well over $100+ a month in order to get the body they’ve always wanted.

Problem is, paying that gym subscription doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get fit, and many people end up severely under-utilising their memberships.

 

Dining out a lot

As a student, you might have been happy to hang out at LAN Shops, McDonald’s or your friend’s homes. Even the more extravagant students usually go no further than hipster cafes.

But when you’re a working adult drawing a decent salary, outings with friends tend to take place over food and alcohol, often at pricey restaurants and bars where you don’t see any students or blue collar workers. A meal at a mid-range restaurant can now easily cost over $25 or $30.

Some people take dining out to the extreme by doing it every day, whether due to limited cooking skills or a lack of time. Eating out 4 or 5 evenings a week is common, and most also eat out during lunch when they’re working.

It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that in virtually every other country in the world, people do not eat out daily because it’s cheaper and healthier to prepare your own food. If you do want to indulge in the occasional meal outside, then don’t forget there are apps like the Entertainer that can save you a significant amount of money on your meal!

 

Going on frequent overseas holidays

Singaporeans are some of the world’s most frequent travellers, and you can’t really blame us, since travelling for more than one hour in any direction automatically takes you out of this pint-sized country.

But many well-paid Singaporeans take this to the extreme by embarking on holidays so frequently that whenever they’re not at work, they’re overseas. The cost of making numerous short trips throughout the year can really add up, especially when let’s face it most aren’t exactly travelling in budget mode.

It’s fine to enjoy travelling and to allow yourself to go on vacation once in a while. But for some people, it becomes more about the bragging rights and going abroad for the sake of it.

How have you upgraded your life over the years? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.