Maintaining a social life can be expensive in Singapore. There is often little to no concern about costs when it comes to spending time with friends, and only in the rarest of occasions will somebody bother to ask the group if the cost of dining at whatever pricey restaurant they’ve chosen is fine with everyone.
Here are three social situations that have the potential to get very expensive. If you’re invited to one of these activities, avoid like the plague unless invited by your boss.
Cafe or bar hopping
We should meet up! your friend texts you on WhatsApp.
Sure! When are you free? Let’s get coffee, you reply enthusiastically.
Why don’t we go cafe hopping with me this weekend? she replies.
Uh oh. Alarm bells should be going off in your head, because the costs involved in a “cafe hopping” outing are far higher than simply grabbing a coffee at a single cafe.
Instead of nursing a single coffee as you and your friend catch up on each other’s lives, you’re going to be running from cafe to cafe, spending anywhere from $5 to $20 at each establishment. Unless you limit yourself to espressos, a single drink at each of these places is going to cost you around $5.
If there’s anything worse than cafe hopping, it’s bar hopping, given the prices of alcohol in Singapore. If you order a cocktail at just three bars, you’re going to end up spending more than $50. And if the bars happen to be of the fancy, bespoke cocktail variety, be prepared to pay over $100 for just three drinks.
You’ve saved up your precious annual leave just so you could spend it on a kickass overseas holiday at the end of the year.
So when your friend tells you he’s organising a week-long ski trip to Niseko with a few other pals and you’re invited, you jump at the chance.
You’ve been warned: unless these are close friends with whom you’ve travelled before, and who are used to your spending habits and travel preferences, you’re at risk of spending a ton of money.
As we get older and our incomes diverge more and more, our travel budgets become wildly different. While all of you might have been happy to stay in hostels or share a cheap Airbnb apartment when you were at uni, five years after graduation some of you will be staying in five star hotels and dining at Michelin-starred restaurants, while some of you will, well, still be staying in hostels and sharing cheap Airbnbs.
Because you’re likely to be with your travel companions 24/7 for an extended period, you could end up spending a lot more than you’re comfortable with if they’re used to a much higher level of luxury than you.
Bachelor / bachelorette parties
It’s totally possible to party on a budget—limiting your alcohol intake or pre-gaming at home if you must drink excessively, putting yourself on guestlists online so you can enjoy free entry to clubs, and using Night Rider buses, GrabShare or UberPool to get home.
But all restraint flies out the window when it comes to stag and hens’ nights. Your friend is only getting married once (well, presumably), so everyone wants to go all out to make it the wildest (or most luxurious) night they’ll ever have.
That also means it’s usually thought of as poor form to pull out of one of the activities because you’re broke.
But it becomes a drain on your finances if you’re at the age where all your friends are getting married (usually somewhere between your late-twenties and early-thirties) and you have a bachelor/bachelorette party to attend every month.
Whether you’re having one final wild party at a lupsup KTV lounge or going for high tea followed by an evening at a luxury spa, be aware that it’s going to cost you, and you’ll still have to cough up the cash for an ang bao at the wedding afterwards.
Which are the most expensive social activities you regularly participate in? Tell us in the comments!