If You Buy These 4 Things Without Doing Your Research, You are Ripping Yourself Off

Joanne Poh



Having money is no excuse for not using your brain. No matter how much money you throw at your  kid’s tutors, they might never make a genius out of him. No matter how much you spend on the latest iPhone, someday it will become obsolete. Now, we believe most of our readers want to get the biggest bang for their buck. So here are 4 things that you should stop and do some research on before you hand over your heard-earned buckaroos.




By now you probably know that people don’t just waltz into Sim Lim and buy the first iPhone on offer. But buying new electronics, especially mobile phones and computers, isn’t something people should just do on a whim even if they’re not about to get scammed. Other than the need to compare specs and deal with quality issues if you’re buying on the second hand market, there’s also the very pertinent issue of your new buy becoming obsolete before you’ve made it out of the store.

Saving up for 6 months to buy an iPhone is very different from saving up to buy a diamond ring or an apartment, because in a year that item you bought will be old anyway. Despite the fact that everyone keeps bugging me to replace my 2012 smartphone, I refuse to because 12 months from now they’ll be telling me to do it again. That’s something to think about before you join the queue.


Restaurant meals


People may think Singapore is a foodie’s paradise, but the standard of our mid range offerings is actually quite low. The high population density and the fact that so many people rarely cook at home means that many crappy restaurants have somehow managed to survive.

If you step into a mid range restaurant or cafe, there’s a high chance the food you’ll be eating is crap. Not going to name names, but it’s true. If you think spending $25 on a lousy plate of pasta is fine, then be my guest. Otherwise, you would do well to do some research before you step into a restaurant here unless it’s a place you’ve tried and enjoyed.


Tuition teacher


The other day, I was talking to a father of three who mentioned that his son wasn’t doing well at school. His solution was to hire a tutor. When asked if he thought the tutor was doing a good job, he shrugged and said, “As a parent, that’s the best I can do.”

As someone who’s been a tutor myself and have also observed my tuition kids’ progress with their other tutors, I can guarantee that at least half of the tutors out there are doing a crappy job, meaning you’re paying someone to waste 3 hours of your kids’ time each week. I’ve seen primary school homework marked by a tutor who clearly needed to go back to primary school himself, which is worse than having no tutor at all.




Whether it’s a fancy spa, a nail parlour or a yoga studio, there’s a high chance you’ve been approached by an aggressive salesperson to buy some kind of package, locking yourself in for months, a year or even… a lifetime. Shudder. Don’t sign up without being cognisant of the fact that the establishment might go bust any time. Singapore is a place with a relatively high turnover rate when it comes to businesses, due to factors like competition, a small market and high rents.

So the risk of the place going under isn’t as small as you think. Even if the worst doesn’t happen, bear in mind that you might find a better or cheaper place, which will make you kick yourself for committing too early. You might also fall sick, get injured or just be too busy to do yoga/go to the spa/get your nails done. Given all these variables, signing up for a package just to get one free massage, manicure or lesson is really quite silly.

Have you ever bought one of the above items and then regretted it? Tell us about it in the comments!

Image Credits:
Clintalex.ch, Sarah Ackerman, Prime Education, FoundryParkInn

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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.