If you’re poor because life dealt you a lousy hand of cards, you deserve all the help in the world. But many Singaporeans land themselves in financial trouble simply because of bad habits. Perhaps you just can’t break your shopping addiction or are too disorganised to pay your credit card bills.
Whatever it is, getting into financial trouble because of an annoying habit is like getting gangrene because you bit your nails too many times. Here are some bad habits that can become financially destructive.
Eating out every day
Most of us in Singapore lead busy lives, and sure, occasionally things happen and we don’t have the time to eat at home. But some people eat out every single day at every single meal. That’s not busy-ness, that’s just bad planning.
Most of the time, we eat out not because we really don’t have the time, but because we’re used to being lazy. And let’s face it, we often just tell ourselves that hawker centres or food courts are cheap anyway, so why bother cooking?
But guess what, eating out every day is not only bad for your health, it’s also bad for your wallet. Once you cultivate the habit of never bothering to make your own meals, eating out becomes a necessity, not a choice.
aybe that’s why Singapore spends the most on dining out out of all the Asia-Pacific countries. Those who say that hawker food is cheap should ask themselves if they really and truly eat at the hawker centre each time. For most of us, the answer is no (and if it isn’t, regular medical checkups are in order).
Strolling through shopping malls
Singapore is a land of shopping malls, and that could explain why to many people here, admitting you have a tendency to shop on impulse can be like showing off a badge of honour. When Singaporeans don’t know what to do over the weekend or after work, they simply join the other herds in the shopping malls, wandering idly from shop to shop, with no particular goal in mind.
It’s not hard to get the impulse to spend in Singapore, since there are retail options everywhere you turn. From the minute you get off the MRT, your ears are assaulted by Mandopop tunes blasted by DVD shops and the Nicki Minaj of fast fashion brands.
Even if you never planned on buying anything, the odds are against you, as every corporation in Singapore plots to get you to take out your wallet. The solution is to stop spending all your spare time at shopping malls. Go out and get some fresh air instead (once the haze clears of course).
Being addicted to 4D and Toto
Many countries have their own form of the lottery, but in Singapore our very own home grown 4D and Toto are something of a legend. People are willing to stop traffic just so they can take down licence plate numbers at a nearby accident. It’s considered socially acceptable to ask someone for their IC number or flat’s unit number so you can buy 4D.
And at the annual River Hongbao draw over Chinese New Year, in a rare show of solidarity, employees all over the country gather the forces to pitch in and spend hundreds of dollars on Toto tickets which later land in the bin—but not before planning what colour to buy their Ferraris in, of course.
While 4D and Toto are just bit of fun to those who only go all out on special occasions like Chinese New Year, to many it is actually a way of life. One of my friends even has a monthly budget for 4D and Toto. If you find yourself regularly queuing up behind all the uncles and aunties at Singapore Pools, know that if you haven’t struck gold after all this time, it’s probably never going to happen.
Oh wait. Now there’s MBS and RWS…
Do you have any silly habits that cost lots of money? Tell us about them in the comments!
Choo Yut Shing