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 was 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 even if I paid them to. They’d politely try to steer us towards one of the many trendy New York-inspired pizza spots that have popped up about town of late.
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. Not only that, living in a global pandemic, no one wants to rub shoulders with strangers. Germs, ugh!
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 less painful 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. You know the theory, if you’re paying for it, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll be more inclined to drag your heavy feet to a workout session.
Problem is, that doesn’t always end up being the case 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 easily costs 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 credit cards that can can help you get the most out of 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. With the VTLs opening up, Singaporeans can barely contain their travel itch any longer.
Despite the increased cost of post-pandemic travel, the cumbersome ART tests one would be subjected to and the potential of a stay-at-home order upon return, nothing can stop Singaporeans from escaping the borders.
After 2 years of not being able to travel, you might just be tempted to splurge on multiple holidays in the coming year. We’ll all for treating yo’ self but hey, that bank balance could use some TLC (tender loving care) too.
How have you upgraded your life over the years? Tell us in the comments!