7 Devious Money Traps Lying in Wait On a Typical Day at Work

money traps at work

Joanne Poh



The main purpose of going to work is to earn money, at least for most of us who aren’t out saving the world or curing cancer.

Yet it can often seem like going on MC makes life a lot cheaper, especially with the many money traps lying in wait to ensnare the innocent office worker who just wants to do his job and then get the hell out of there.

On a typical day at the office, the hapless employee encounters so many money traps he might as well be on a shopping spree. Let’s have a look at the perilous journey from home to work and back.

7:30am – Taking a cab

When the alarm goes off, as usual you feel like dying. Shouldn’t have spent the entire night watching videos on YouTube or playing Candy Crush, eh?

You lie in bed contemplating whether you should deliberately show up at work half an hour late just to get a bit more sleep, but decide against it since your boss hasn’t been in a good mood lately.

You should be able to get a cab if you call for one now, since it’s only 7:30. Calling for a cab will not only buy you an extra 45 minutes of sleep but also save you from the bloodbath that is the rush hour MRT ride.

Cost: $20

9am – Takeaway coffee

If you managed to make it to work without succumbing to the temptation of taking a cab, you’re so sleepy you’re about to fall flat on your face.

You bump into your colleagues in the queue at Starbucks and decide to join in, forking out $6 for a coffee that makes you feel like a Hollywood celebrity on a tabloid cover clutching their Starbucks cup for about two seconds before the reality of being back at the office sets in.

Cost: $6+

1pm – Overpriced lunch

At 11:30am, you’re already staring at the clock, willing your boss to shut up and leave so you can sneak out for an early lunch.

By the time you actually get to leave it’s 1pm, and trying to take the lift downstairs is like trying to get on the MRT at 8:30am—after a bunch of false starts, you finally manage to squeeze in as the door shuts inches from your face.

By the time you get to the hawker centre, it’s already 1:15pm, which is the time at which competition for seats at hawker centres gets really cut-throat.

Your colleagues are all going for lunch at some new hidden café owned by a radio DJ that’s so exclusive you need a map and a metal detector to find it, so you tag along because you don’t want to eat alone.

The Japanese fusion bento lunch you are served with is Instagram-worthy, and also five times the price of a plate of economy rice.

Cost: $18

1:45pm – Lunchtime shopping

As you trudge back to your office, you get sucked into the underground warren surrounding Raffles Place MRT.

You spy in the window a work-ish dress or crisp looking shirt that would look right at home at the office, on your body that is. Besides, your boss has been complaining that you’ve been turning up at work looking sloppy.

Ten minutes later, you emerge with a new work outfit, which you have spent one third of your day’s pay on.

Cost: $60

3pm – Online shopping

As your stomach tries desperately to digest your lunch, your brain switches off and you know you’ve lost all hope of getting any more work done the rest of the day.

So you long on to Zalora or Amazon and start browsing away, and before you know it you’ve bought a new pair of jeans.

Cost: $60

7pm – Gym

Your friend takes you with him to the gym for a steamy workout session and at the end of it that dashing personal trainer with the glistening muscles advances on you with a Colgate smile and gives you an offer he can’t refuse.

You end up subscribing for the gym at the very special price of $150 a month.

Cost: $150

8.30pm – Dinner and drinks

Since you’ve lost so much weight during your workout, your body, if not your wallet, can probably afford a good meal.

It’s already 8, so rushing home to cook is out of the question. However, the thought of sweating it out at the hawker centre is too much for you at this time of night. Besides, you just took a shower at the gym and don’t want to go home smelling of char kuay teow.

After staring at grey cubicle walls for 8 hours you prefer to gaze at the soothing vista of Marina Bay, bespoke cocktail in hand. Now, that’s a view paying for.

Cost: $35

Have you ever succumbed to any of the above money traps or do you know of any more that we’ve missed out? Let us know 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.