The last time someone told me they paid $700 for a new smartphone, I smirked inwardly at the fact that they paid $700 more than I did for my barely-smart phone, which was free… never mind if it takes 5 seconds to open WhatsApp and has to be restarted at least twice a week. To me, it’s worthwhile to put up with these minor inconveniences in order to save that $700.
But there are some things you should not compromise on in terms of quality. Not saying you need to buy the most expensive version out there, but at least make sure you’re paying enough for a level of quality that’s acceptable to you. Here are four things you should never buy the cheapest, crappiest version of.
I’ll be the first person to tell you you don’t need to buy a $500 tshirt, even if it lasts you the rest of your life. If the main purpose of clothing is to make you look nice, you don’t need to spend a bomb on it. But when it comes to shoes, choosing the crappiest version out there does more than make you look like someone who can’t tell their Chanels from their Pradas.
Buying poor quality shoes might actually put you in physical pain and seriously harm your foot health. We’ve all seen those people with bleeding heels and bunions. If you need high performance shoes, for instance for running, hiking or long distance walking, please spend a little more on something that won’t turn you into a cripple.
No matter what you think of Singapore’s public healthcare system, there’s no denying that medical care, especially for chronic or serious conditions, is a very subjective affair. Going to a doctor you trust and who knows your body can yield vastly different results from visiting the cheapest doctor in town.
Sure, you can rotate between different doctors at the polyclinics for minor ailments like coughs and colds. But the aim of these GPs is usually to help you alleviate your symptoms quickly, rather than to give you long-term solutions for preserving your health. And you can’t blame them, because they might never see you again anyway.
Even amongst doctors, there are differing opinions as to which drugs it is best to use for which conditions. Which doctor to choose is a largely personal choice, and if you’ve got a condition that requires special attention, it’s a good idea to go to a doctor you trust and can gain quick access to, even if he or she is a private doctor.
Anyone who’s backpacked for any amount of time knows what it’s like to sleep on a sagging, insect-filled mattress. In the short-term, it’s okay, but after a few weeks or months you wake up feeling twenty years older than you really are.
Neck and back problems are surprisingly common amongst the 20-something and 30-something set in Singapore thanks to increasing gadget use, and 80% of Singaporeans will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives.
Sleeping on a good, firm mattress is one of the recommended preventative measures. Using a sagging mattress can lead to unnecessary strain on your back while you sleep. So while it might be tempting to get a free mattress on Freecycle to use for the rest of your life, resist the urge and have your mattress replaced whenever it starts to sag.
Your child’s tutor
While I can’t say I approve of the tuition craze gripping the nation, if you are one of those parents contributing to making tuition a $1.1 billion industry here, nothing I say is going to stop you. Since you’re already paying someone to drill your child, make sure that person is someone who can actually benefit the kid in some way.
Tuition is an unregulated industry, and anyone with an O level cert can teach. That means if you are insistent on paying bottom dollar, your risk of getting someone who’s incompetent, bad at teaching or unfamiliar with the syllabus is very high. The problem with getting a lousy tutor is that your child’s grades will not only see no improvement, but might even suffer as precious time that could be used for rest, play or self-study will be spent sitting in a useless tuition session.
If you absolutely insist on hiring a tutor for your kid, it’s a good idea to pay a little more for one that has a good track record—ask for recommendations from other parents and be prepared to try several tutors before sticking with one you and your child like. While MOE-trained teachers are the most costly to hire, they also tend to be more familiar with the school syllabus.
Have you ever skimped on any of the above and then regretted it? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!