3 Annoying Occurrences That Rob You Of Spare Change

Joanne Poh



You don’t have to lose your entire life savings in a stock market crash to get a little inkling of how crappy it feels to lose money. Even if the amount you’ve lost amounts to little more than spare change, that twinge of annoyance is unavoidable. Here are three annoying occurrences that rob you of a little bit of spare change but make you feel like banging your head against a wall nonetheless.


ERP gantry up ahead when your cash card is out of money

You’re merrily driving along the highway, humming along to the Katy Perry song on the radio when you spot an ERP gantry looming in the distance. You stick your hand into the glove compartment in search of your cash card. Your heart sinks as the IU makes that hateful beeping sound, indicating that your cash card is out of money. This is made even worse if you have $2.90 left in your cash card but the ERP gantry requires you to pay $3.

Parking by the side of the road is not an option, especially if you’re on the highway, and besides, the next ATM machine could be miles away. Basically, there isn’t a single thing you can do to avoid paying the fine. So, you have no choice but to drive through the gantry, teeth gnashing, knowing that you’ve just lost $10 (well, $8 if you pay online) for something that you really couldn’t have prevented.

Solution: With the introduction of the new vCashCard, which is linked to your IU and automatically deducts money from an electronic account that you’ve topped up using your credit card, this scenario may soon be a thing of the past.


People who don’t return your change

The bill arrives, and the ten of you nursing your beers reach for your wallets. The first one to get out his credit card triumphantly hands it to the waiter, who whisks it away with a fluorish. Next thing you know, everyone is digging through the dollar bill compartment in their wallets, asking the guy who paid, “How much do I owe you?”

Assuming you’re out with good people who will actually pay their share instead of sneakily trying to freeload, it’s safe to assume that the guy who uses his credit card to pay for everyone is going to receive more than his fair share of the change. That’s because people tend to overcompensate, especially when they don’t have small change. If everyone is supposed to pay $13, almost everyone will end up paying $15. This also means that if there’s no change, you can expect to lose anything from a few cents to a few dollars, just because someone else whipped out his credit card faster than you did.

Solution: Other than ensuring you always have lots of small change on you, you can download your bank’s mobile app and make an instantaneous transfer to the guy who paid. I have a friend who added me to his payee list and whenever we meet I use my card by default and he just immediately transfers his share to me.


Forgetting to pay your credit card bills

The average person gets a ton of mail each day, and unfortunately, most of it isn’t from pen pals from some exotic land. From brochures for condo showflats to those very annoying and unwanted magazines from the Social Development Unit and the Singapore Armed Forces, the amount of trash that gets carted to the bin each day is astounding. And when you’ve been on vacation for a week or two, the mail really piles up.

So one might be forgiven for forgetting to open or misplacing a credit card bill or two.The very annoying thing is that if you pay a credit card bill just one day late, even if you do pay it in full, you get slapped not only with interest on your balance but also with a hefty fine of about $50, regardless of how little you used. There’s nothing more annoying than having to pay a $50 penalty for paying off a $10 balance a day late.

Solution: Once you notice your oversight, call up the bank to get the late payment charge waived. They will usually oblige if you’ve been good about paying your bills in the past. In future, apply to pay your credit card bills in full each month by Interbank GIRO and you’ll never have to worry about missed bill payments ever again.

Are there any other annoying ways in which you’ve lost money? 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.