7 Costly Mistakes Singaporeans Make When Trying to Be Cheapskate

Jeff Cuellar



Singapore is expensive. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) recent ranking of Singapore being the world’s most expensive city only reinforces that.

Of course, there are some who say that Singapore is only “expensive” for expats – but you know the hard truth, don’t you?

Honestly, I can’t blame you for wanting to go “cheap” because of the ridiculous cost of living in Singapore.

However, there are times when being a cheapskate actually costs you more money in the long run.

Here are 7 purchases you should never go “cheap” on:


1. Foregoing Regular Car Maintenance

Next to your home, your car is probably your second most expensive asset (well, more of a liability really).

The more frequently you drive your car, the more often you’ll need to conduct regular maintenance more frequently to replace the engine oil, transmission fluid, oil filter, air filter, tire balancing weights, etc.

I get it. Maintenance at the car dealership is expensive.

Do you know what’s even more expensive? The repair bill you’ll have to pay when your car breaks down in the middle of traffic, due to poor maintenance.


2. Buying Cheap Quality Clothing

There’s nothing wrong with cheap clothing. You can find some great for clothing online or at your favorite retailers whenever they hold sales.

I’m talking about buying cheap quality clothing. You don’t need to be a master tailor to tell apart a quality shirt from a piece of crap shirt that’s a few wash cycles away from disintegration.

For example, that $5 shirt you say in Geylang might seem like a better deal than the $50 shirt from Marks & Spencer – but that M&S shirt will still be wearable years from now when you’re using that $5 shirt as a cleaning rag.


3. Buying Cheap Quality Shoes

I know, some of you are thinking to yourselves, “all shoes are made in China, so what’s the difference in buying cheap shoes?”

Well, you’re right. Most shoes are probably made in Chinese cities that are filled with millions of factory workers.

So what’s the difference?

“Expensive” shoes are made with better quality materials and the manufacturer has better quality control when it comes to the manufacturing process (brands have their reputations to uphold after all).

A cheap, no-name pair of shoes on the other hand, may last you a few weeks or a few months. But you’ll get a least a year’s use (or more) with a quality pair of shoes.


4. Buying Cheap Quality Furnishings/Furniture

Am I going to bring up IKEA in this segment? You bet your ass I will! Look, I know IKEA is a great place to kill time and the furnishings look hip and trendy – but snap out of it!

You do know that most of the furnishings and furniture at IKEA requires assembly right?

Plus, the furnishings/furniture is cheaper because the materials are cheaper! Just look at the “wood” it’s made out of – it’s like the home furnishing equivalent of “mystery meat.”

So instead of paying for “mystery wood,” it’s worth paying a little extra for real wood furnishings and furniture that’ll last a lifetime.


5. Buying Cheap Quality Kitchen Appliances

Chances are you’ve seen cheap quality kitchen appliances at your local Giant or NTUC Fairprice. I’ll tell you from experience – DON’T!

I’ll even tell you about a particular brand you should stay away from – Morries. It’s utter crap. But Morries isn’t the only “cheap” brand you should avoid like H1N1.

In fact, you should be skeptical about every cheap kitchen appliance brand you see at your local grocery retailer. It’s cheap for a reason (*hint* it’s always cheaper quality materials).

Honestly, it’s OK to spend a little more on a water heater, blender, toaster, or microwave. Better to get something you’ll replace in five years instead of one.


6. Buying a Cheap Quality Bed

In Iraq, I slept on a bed that was entirely made of foam. I had to flip it over every month because the foam would sink in – leaving the outline of my body in the mattress.

I can understand why the U.S. Government supplied us with that crap. Soldiers don’t need Sealy.

But what I can’t understand is why a normal person would go cheap on a bed. A bed isn’t something you buy because it’s cheap.

A bed is something you buy because you like it and it gives you comfort – and it’s OK to spend on a bed that’ll give you 10 years of comfortable sleep!


7. Buying Cheap Food

Buying cheap groceries is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make in the long run. Why? Well for starters, when you go grocery shopping, what is usually cheaper?

Are the artery-clogging, blood-pressure raising, sugar/sodium-filled foods cheaper? Or are the organic, green, healthy foods cheaper?

The answer: it depends, but usually, all of the junk that’s most likely to shorten your lifespan is cheaper.

Even when it comes to fast food, you’ll see an immediate difference between the price of a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s and a wrap at SaladStop. The crap is usually cheaper.

Look, I’m not a health expert, but what I do know is this – if you keep on buying cheap, unhealthy junk to eat, it’ll cost you 30 years down the road in the form of ridiculously high medical bills.


What other purchases would you add to this list? Tell us what you think here.

Image Credits:
Alejandro Lavin, Jr.


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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.