Budgeting

Forget About Delayed Gratification and Spend Money ASAP on These 4 Things

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Joanne Poh

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Are you the sort of person who would contemplate calling an ah long just to save yourself from missing out on that shirt the sales assistant claimed was the last piece? Do you call your friends and try to blackmail them into lending you a thousand dollars to have ah beng flames sprayed into the side of your car? Then, you, my friend, are a train wreck and need to learn how to delay gratification.

But it’s not always a good idea to wait till the cows come home before you grudgingly shell out five cents. While there is certainly merit in knowing when to wait before you decide to spend money, there are some things you should spend on without delay, as waiting may end up being even worse for you. Here are four situations where you should throw the concept of delayed gratification out the window.

 

Healthcare

If you’re a hypochondriac who runs to the doctor at the slightest hint of trouble, don’t read this.  There’s no avoiding the fact that private healthcare in Singapore is expensive, and often there are no other options if you need medical attention on a weekend or late at night. I found this out the hard way when I had a serious infection and had to pay $120 for a single visit to the GP on a Sunday morning.

Not seeking medical attention when you need it can lead to more serious health problems and end up costing you a whole lot more in the long run. Let that be a warning if you’re the kind of person who prefers to wait till you’re ill enough to book yourself in for a (insurance claimable) hospital stay than visit a GP. You don’t have to go to the doctor for every little thing, but if you detect a worsening condition despite your best efforts to rest and recover, see a health professional immediately.

 

Repairs

If there’s a vehicle or appliance that you use regularly and can’t afford to stop using, when repairs or maintenance are required, these should be attended to immediately as trying to continue using a faulty machine could lead to bigger problems that might result in your having to spend a ton of money replacing it.

The most obvious example is vehicle maintenance. For instance, motorbike owners typically pay around $100+ a year to get their vehicles serviced, which can seem like a waste of money. But if you neglect to service your bike, you might end up having to overhaul the entire engine for over $1,000.

Similarly with cars, delaying on a regular check up can result in costly replacements of different car parts that have been worn out from lack of servicing, and trust me, these add up to a lot of money.

 

Time savers

Time is money, and the less free time you have as your disposal, the more precious your remaining hours become. If a purchase can free up tons of time and that’s time you’ll need to be more productive or lead a more enriching life, that can be a good argument for spending money on it as soon as you can. Of course, you have to perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine if it’s a purchase you can afford—a car saves time, but not many people can justify the $100,000+ pricetag.

Some examples of affordable items or services that help you free up time for more important endeavours include a tablet or netbook so you can leave the office earlier and work on your commute home or a crock pot so you can make meals without having to remain in the kitchen. For many dual-income households with kids, a maid is a necessary expense in order to free up enough time to allow both adults to work.

 

Something that saves you money

Sometimes, you need to spend money to save money, and if something will save you money in the long run, the sooner you pay for it the sooner you can start saving.

For instance, if giving up coffee is out of the question and the free coffee in your office pantry tastes like sewage, spending a bit of money on a moka pot or Nespresso machine can end up saving you money in the long run. Investing in basic cooking utensils and appliances can save you from having to eat out every day, which can save your money and your health.

Do you often delay gratification and postpone a purchase or do you just buy whatever you want whenever you want it? Tell us 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.