Opinion

4 Super Common Money Wasters in Singapore

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Joanne Poh

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Scrutinise the spending habits of any man on the streets and you’re sure to find items that make you snigger. But hey, just as you might judge somebody for spending 40% of their income on Warhammer figurines, somebody else is judging you for spending $25 on poached eggs just for the Instagram bragging rights. To each his own.

But there are some things people spend on that are an unarguable waste of money. These purchases don’t make them any happier or their lives any better, yet they persist.

 

4D / Toto tickets

The ritual of queuing up at Singapore Pools just so they can diligently fill in that Toto or 4D ticket is the only reason some people (uncles and aunties are overrepresented here) spend money betting on 4D and Toto each week.

Some punters even keep entire notebooks full of “analyses” as they try to figure out a winning “system” As a kid, I remember visiting the home of this auntie who would gaze at the luo han fish she kept in her Bukit Batok apartment every day and then keep a record of the 4D numbers that would come out on the days it laid eggs.

Despite the miniscule odds you have of winning even a small prize which we’ll not go into, many punters think of Toto and 4D betting as an almost spiritual experience, trying to figure out when then one accident or “fated” event will result in their winning millions.

 

Office clothes

This doesn’t apply to you if you can show up at work in Haivaianas without getting fired, or wear the same outfits you’d wear to Zouk to the office just by throwing on a blazer.

But for those who work in a super corporate environment where everyone looks like they stepped out of a G2000 catalogue, it’s totally pointless spending tons of money on an extensive work wardrobe when to the rest of the work your outfits look identical every freaking day.

Many rookie PMETs who’ve just discovered the “glamour” of working at Marina Bay/Raffles Place, and imagine that they’re channeling the characters on Suits, can go a little crazy with their first few years’ worth of paychecks by building ridiculously large corporate wardrobes.

I’ve worked with people who would tailor new shirts and buy designer ties every single month after payday, when to the naked eye all their outfits looked exactly the same.

 

Attending weddings of random people

Attending a wedding of two people you love can be a tear-jerking experience. And, if the alcohol is flowing, it can also be an awesome party that’s (almost) worth the $100+ pricetag of the ang bao.

But it makes no sense to show up at the weddings of people you barely know, or folks you’ve not bothered to keep in touch with for the past 15 years. What are you trying to get out of it? The 12-course dinner? Deep conversation with the aunties and uncles at the reserve table you’ve been relegated to?

 

In-game purchases for smartphone games

If you’re a hardcore gamer whose main hobby-related expenses are your gaming set-ups and games on Steam, then great if that really makes you happy.

But in-game purchases for casual mobile games don’t bring the same kind of satisfaction. Basically, these games are designed to be extremely unrewarding and frustrating for those who don’t make in-game purchases in order to manipulate you into paying.

For instance, in Pokemon Go, when you’re down to one incubator you need to walk at least 2km to hatch a single egg. Gameplay is designed to be slow and frustrating so you cave in and spend your money on those incubators.

Watch this video on how free mobile games make money and you’ll understand better what this means.

It makes more sense to pay for quality games that are designed to be excellent gaming experiences, than those that try to manipulate players into spending money.

Do you spend money on any of the above? Tell us why or why not 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.