There’s a reason DOTA players hang out in packs at LAN shops, despite the fact that they can play at home with the same people for free. Being around people who are just as obsessed with your game helps you to become a better player and stay committed to improving.
So why then do Singaporeans who want to stop spending so much keep their mission a deep, dark secret? Often, it can seem like saving money is a dirty word, because if you have to make an effort to do that, it means you’re poor, and poverty is viewed as the worst possible fate here. As a result, people who want to reduce their spending often find it very difficult as they continue feeling compelled to keep up appearances and appear to maintain the same lifestyle they’ve always had.
Big mistake, guys. Having allies in your quest to reduce your spending can actually be a huge contributing factor to your success. Here are a few things that will almost certainly drive down your spending.
Spend less time with your “spendy” friends and more time with your frugal ones
Let’s face it—due to the great wealth inequality here, how much disposable income you have can have an enormous impact on where you hang out and what you spend your spare time doing. A restaurant meal at a Marina Bay Sands restaurant filled with yuppies can be equivalent to several days’ worth of salary for a security guard working in the same building.
That means the amount of money you can save by hanging out with your more simple-livin’ friends rather than your more “spendy” ones is huge.
A lawyer friend of mine complains that his industry friends spend tons of money on post-work dinner and drinks and clubbing, often in the region of $100 to $500 a night. On the other hand, I have friends whose idea of a night out is a couple of buckets of Tiger Beer at a kopitiam.
There are numerous cheap entertainment options in Singapore, and if you spend more time with like-minded friends, you’ll be encouraged to pick those. Spend too much time with people who spend more than you would be comfortable with and you’ll find yourself always trying to find excuses to wriggle your way out of expensive outings.
Take up inexpensive hobbies and look for like-minded communities
While you of course can’t say that about every single person, as a general rule expensive hobbies tend to be enjoyed by wealthier people, while cheaper hobbies may attract a range of people from different income brackets.
Sports like horse riding, golf and sailing are dominated by people with money due to their being so expensive to participate in. Sports like MMA and crossfit tend to attract at least a middle class clientele due to the cost of lessons or gym memberships, while sports like soccer and badminton have a much lower barrier to entry and so attract all types of people.
If you’re looking to spend less and are having trouble finding like-minded people, picking up inexpensive interests and getting involved in communities dedicated to them is a good way to meet all sorts of people, many of whom are not going to be inviting you to join them at Reebonz private sales.
Take the initiative to organise outings
Most of the time, your friends end up hanging out at expensive places isn’t because they want to act all atas, but simply that nobody else has ever suggested otherwise. Believe it or not, a lot of people do not pay $20 for a pint of Heineken at Clarke Quay because they like Heineken that much and think it is worth the pricetag. They do so because they don’t know where else to go.
Stop being so passive and start taking charge of your own social life. If you want to play board games at home instead of spending what’s left of your life savings at a club, you have to open your mouth and organise a session like that instead of passively waiting for other people to invite you.
Be open about the fact you’re trying to save money
If the people in your life have no idea you’re trying to save money, you really can’t blame them for inviting you to do things that are out of your budget.
When you announce to the world you’re trying to save money, you might be surprised to find that most of your friends will be very understanding and many will even try to find cheaper activities when you spend time with them. A number of friends will even chime in and say that they’re trying to save money too.
Sometimes I feel Singapore would be a much nicer place to live in if people could just be honest about wanting to spend less, rather than all pretending to have oodles of cash for fear of losing face.
Do your friends encourage you to save or spend money? Tell us in the comments!