Budgeting

5 Things Young Singaporeans Waste Lots of Money On Without Realising It

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Joanne Poh

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We’re young and we’re hot and we just wanna have fun… goes just about every Ke$ha song. Every morning, hordes of young Singaporean professionals click-clack through Raffles Place MRT and up to their cubicles where they get to work on making their fortunes—only to spend it on stuff that is really a bit of a waste. If you’re in your 40s, 50s or older, congratulations, for you didn’t go through your 20s in a world filled with as many ridiculous ways to spend your money, like these 5 things:

 

1. Gym membership that never gets used

Out of the Top 10 most common Facebook messages that pops up on my timeline is the exhortation to please buy the remaining 6 months of someone’s gym membership since they never use it/they are leaving the country/their significant other has quit the gym.

But seriously, the real reason people are always trying to offload their memberships is that most of them signed up due to predatory sales tactics of gym salespeople, only to later discover that they just didn’t have the time/energy/will to drag themselves to a work out. I even know someone who purchased a lifetime membership for, well, more than what some Singaporeans earn in a year. He hardly goes.

 

2. Ill-fitting clothing from online stores

If you’re an avid online shopper, you already know for a fact that when you buy clothes online, you can expect at least 10% to 20% of your buys to look significantly worse than you thought they would. If you regularly patronise local blogshops or Taobao, the misfire rate rises to 50% or even higher.

A friend of mine who spent the whole of last year addicted to Taobao has reportedly thrown away every single one of her buys, including two Prada bags she paid $500 for that turned out to be fakes when the handle got ripped off of one of them.

Despite the relatively low price of some online clothing stores, be aware that you might end up spending a lot more in the long run due to clothes that look way worse than you predicted. Sure, you might technically be able to wear that piece without looking like Halloween came early, but chances are you’ll end up burying it in a corner of your closet never again to see the light of day.

 

3. Over-ordering at restaurants

“Shall we share some appetizers?” That’s how it always starts. Before you know it, you’re discretely  loosening your belt by a few notches, and trying to keep the food down when you set eyes on the bill.

Dining as a group can be tricky. When someone wants to share a few appetizers, nobody wants to be a wet blanket by saying they’ll stick to their mains. And most of the time, if the bill is shared equally amongst you, you’ll end up paying for their share even if you didn’t eat or explicitly agree to adding additional items.

 

4. Manicures

This one is for the ladies (mostly). In most of my office jobs, I couldn’t help but notice how so many of the ladies—interns included, had perfectly manicured nails. And not just normal manicures either, but the more expensive “gelish” manicures, or kitschy nail art.

Okay, I can understand how examining your nails throughout the MRT ride to work can help to take your mind off the crowds, I guess. But the main thing is that manicures are actually insanely expensive when you consider the fact that they only last 2-3 weeks max and are a rather non-essential embellishment that you can easily DIY.

 

5. Fancy workday lunches

The average Singaporean is really rather conservative when it comes to spending on food when they’re alone. On the way home from work, most just buy something from the hawker centre downstairs and make a meal of it.

But somehow, when these people are together in a group, especially if it’s a group of upwardly mobile young professionals, they flock towards fancy restaurants, where they spend all of 40 minutes Instagramming their food and looking for a clean spot to place their designer wallets before being forced to walk back to the office.

Bringing lunch to work just doesn’t happen anymore, and with the CBD area becoming more and more of a nightlife and entertainment district these days, lunchtime can feel like a high-stakes social game. People actually care about where they’re seen and whom they’re seen with. Well, whatever you like really, but just be prepared to pay the price.

What other luxuries do young PMETs in Singapore enjoy? Share your thoughts 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.