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5 Unexpected Costs People Who Work at Raffles Place Face

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Joanne Poh

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Raffles Place on a weekday morning is filled with people who are there for only one reason—to make money. Employees march to their offices with sombre expressions, ready to dodge arrows and  stay out of trouble till their boss leaves, safe in the knowledge that they’re getting paid for it.

But the problem with working at Raffles Place is that you end up parting with a lot of hard earned cash simply by virtue of where you work. Here are five ways employees at Raffles Place end up spending more than they bargained for.

 

1. Clothes

There is a big difference between the attire of someone who works at Raffles Place and that of someone who works in some industrial park in Ubi. Even if you don’t have to face clients, there is definitely pressure to dress more formally and more stylishly at Raffles Place than in less central areas.

The number of Chanel and Louis Vuitton bags in the area is staggering, and people in some industries have the tendency to judge others by the watch they’re wearing. This can translate into increased spending on clothes and accessories just to look the part of the successful professional.

 

2. Coffee breaks

Raffles Place workers somehow jump at any chance to enjoy a coffee or tea break. Everyone has that one colleague who offers to take orders for Mr Teh Tarik or Jewel Coffee every day after lunch as everyone is heading back to the office.

The cost of all these takeaway coffees and teas really adds up. That Starbucks coffee you buy every morning costs $5, and even a daily $2 cup of Mr Teh Tarik can add up to $40 to $50 at the end of the month.

 

3. Celebratory meals

While food in the Raffles Place area is definitely more expensive than in the heartlands, there are still some hawker centres such as Amoy Street Food Centre and Maxwell Food Centre. And nothing’s stopping you from da baoing your own meals.

But unless everyone at your workplace hates you, from time to time you will be invited to eat lunch at a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion—birthdays, farewells for those who quit, welcome lunches for new additions to the team. And these lunches are likely to cost over $20 given the prices at most nicer restaurants in the Raffles Place area.

 

4. Post-work drinks

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to work at Raffles Place to drown your sorrows in a cold glass of beer after work.

But Raffles Place has the particularity of turning into a nightlife hub when the sun goes down. Boat Quay, Customs House and Club Street get jam packed with workers determined to enjoy the last hours of their day before they have to go to bed and wake up for work the next day. So expect many, many of your post-work engagements to involve drinks.

Too bad alcohol in Singapore is crazy expensive, and at Raffles Place prices tend to get inflated even further because the target customers can afford it. The few cheap places around, like Five Izakaya, get so packed you practically need to crowdsurf your way to the bar. We hope you like paying $20 for your cocktails.

 

5. Shopping during lunchtime

When you’re walking through Raffles Place MRT, you feel like you’re trapped in some underground shopping mall instead of on public transport.

Everywhere you turn, you’re blinded by the lit-up signboard of some shop blasting Mandopop into your ears as you walk by. There are even massive H&M and Uniqlo branches at Raffles Place.

For those who like to amble around during lunchtime, that means there is lots of temptation everywhere. If you’re not careful, a simple trip downstairs to da bao lunch can turn into a shopping spree. And the last thing you need are more iPad covers, second hand designer handbags, office clothes or hipster stationery.

Do you work at Raffles Place? Share the unexpected things you’ve spent money on during the work day!

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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.