The 3 Absolute Worst Things You’re Wasting Money On

Jeff Cuellar



You have to work ridiculously hard to earn money in Singapore right? Just think about how hard you have to work for it for a minute. Chances are good that you probably spend enough long nights at the office to make the term “work/life balance” seem comical. And overtime? Forget about it!

Seriously, employers should just give us all slave collars and coloured jumpsuits to indicate our “rank” and be done with it!

The bottom line is that your money is preciousssss (sorry, “Gollum” moment there). You can’t afford to go broke every month because of expenses that you really don’t need. I mean it – you’ll need to save every damn dollar you can get your hands on if you want to survive the 4 Financial Life Phases and enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Here are the 5 absolute worst things you’re probably wasting money on:


#1 Your Car

Buying a car, especially a new car is a HUGE mistake. Unless you can comfortably buy a car without the expense affecting your financial situation (which is almost impossible unless you’re quite wealthy), it’s a purchase that is and will always be a liability.

Oh, and ah, unlike most other purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, this one’s absolutely guaranteed to lose money every year (just read the last bullet below).

Here’s why buying a car is one of the worst purchases you can make:

  • Cost of COE: Expect to pay a ridiculous amount of cash ($60K-$90K for Class A) for the car’s Certificate of Entitlement (COE)
  • Cost of Vehicle: Expect to pay a ridiculous amount of cash for your vehicle due to the Additional Registration Fee (ARF), which can inflate the cost of a Toyota Corolla to Kaiju-like proportions.
  • Huge Down Payment: Expect to pay a 40% down payment on a 5-year car loan if your vehicle’s Open Market Value (OMV) is less than $20,000 and a 50% down payment if the OMV is more.
  • Value Depreciates Greatly: Expect the value of your car to depreciate at a rate of 10% its value every year, that’s because the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has adopted the “straight-line” method of calculating the OMV of cars.
  • Cost of Fuel/Maintenance: Expect to pay $1,000-$3,000 per year on petrol and regular maintenance, depending on the make/model you purchase.

Bottom line, unless you absolutely need a car to get to a VERY well-paying job in Tuas or Jurong Island, avoid buying a car the same way you’d avoid buying an iPad at Sim Lim.


#2 Your Weekly Lottery Tickets

OK, so you already know that you should avoid buying a car simply because it’s a terrible investment of your cash – you’re going to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars on something that will drop in value until you decide to sell or scrap it.

But do you know what a bigger waste of money is?  Lottery tickets – yes, your precious weekly/bi-weekly/daily purchase of lottery tickets is a HUGE waste of money!

I mean, seriously, what benefits do you really get out of buying lottery tickets?  Other than the “high” resulting from the false sense of hope that you’ll win – nothing. And nothing is what you’ll usually end up with for your purchase.

Look, if you want to spend a few bucks on winning the Singapore Sweep jackpot every now and then, that’s fine. But betting spending a substantial sum of cash every week/month on lottery tickets isn’t the odds on favourite route to financial freedom – but investing is a much safer route.


#3 Your Seldom Used Gym Membership

A gym membership can be a money-saver IF you go regularly. That’s because exercise is one of the biggest preventative measures you can take to against various types of diseases, cancers and pretty much any other expensive medical affliction.

Of course, if you don’t go regularly – that expensive gym membership is nothing but a waste of $150-$300 a month!

Seriously, I don’t care how pretty the receptionist/saleswoman you the membership is – if you cannot commit yourself to taking time every other day (at least) to make use of that membership, you’re just throwing money away.

Going to the gym every now and then is certainly better for your health than lying on your sofa like a three-toed sloth. But a gym membership is definitely not cost effective for the casual gym goer.

Instead, check out cheaper gym alternatives that’ll reduce your $150-$300 a month gym membership to only $30-$40 a month (or $5+ a visit if you want to pay per session).


What are some other major money wasters that should be added to this list? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook! For even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today!


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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.