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3 Things Most Singaporeans Are Glad They Spent Money On

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Joanne Poh

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We’re always talking about things it’s stupid to spend money on, like any cellphone with the word “Vertu” on it and any fashion item that costs more than a month’s salary. But there are some things few people regret spending on.

We quizzed a bunch of Singaporeans on the things they’re glad they’ve spent good money on and found that there are certain things almost no one has regrets about. It looks like it is true, after all, that spending on experiences and fostering meaningful relationships brings more satisfaction then spending on stuff.

 

1. Travelling the world

Singaporeans travel a lot, but it seems it’s all good, as most consider money spent on travel money well spent. Most of the avid travellers we quizzed have no regrets about their sojourns all over the globe.

Marissa, a 30-year-old bank executive who travels for pleasure more than ten times a year, cites her trips as one of the things that make life worth living, and one of the reasons she is motivated to continue working in a demanding job.

“No matter how stressful it is at work, I always have a trip to look forward to, whether I’ll be scuba diving in Malaysia or shopping in Japan,” she says.

For other Singaporeans, travel has been a life-changing experience. For Janice, a 29-year-old editor based in London, numerous backpacking trips when she was a university student in the UK led to broadened horizons and a desire to live and work overseas.

“There are many silly things I threw my money away on when I was younger, like clothes that went out of fashion in a few months. But I have no regrets about travelling extensively. It helped me gain a perspective I didn’t have in Singapore and realise that it was okay to live your life differently.”

 

2. A favourite hobby

Singaporeans spend on a lot of things that they later admit they regret a few years down the road—from flashy cars and designer goods to extravagant home renovations and lavish weddings.

 Singaporeans spend on a lot of things that they later admit they regret a few years down the road—from flashy cars and designer goods to extravagant home renovations and lavish weddings.

Singaporeans spend on a lot of things that they later admit they regret a few years down the road—from flashy cars and designer goods to extravagant home renovations and lavish weddings.

But few Singaporeans regret spending on an enduring hobby, especially if it’s one that enables them to interact with others.

Wayne, a 32-year-old editor, is motorcycle-crazy and has spent thousands of dollars on motorcycle gear, spare parts and maintenance of his two motorcycles, as well as rides up to Malaysia and Thailand with his biker friends.

“I don’t earn much, and I don’t really spend much on anything else other than biking,” he says. “But I have no regrets as motorbikes are my passion. I’ve met so many people through biking, whether at bike shops or on road trips.”

Mastery of a hobby not only offers avenues for social interaction but also gives people the satisfaction of working at and getting good at something.

That’s why Veronica, a 29-year-old journalist, is hooked on crossfit. Although she spends $300 a month at her crossfit gym, she’s become addicted to the sport. “I used to be quite unfit, but I’m amazed how far I’ve gone in just a year. I’m getting stronger and more flexible every day and I love how I can feel the difference with each passing week. I would say the sense of constant learning, progress and improvement is one reason I’m hooked,” she says.

 

3. Their parents

Almost all the people we spoke with declared that they give a cut of their salary to their parents each month. Despite the fact that Singaporeans are generally quite pessimistic about their financial future, it appears that most see their contributions to their parents’ households in a positive light.

Nigel, a 29-year-old lawyer, gives his parents at least $1,000 a month. “My parents and I have been through a lot together, through good times and bad, and we’re very close. They are probably the most important people in the world to me, and I do feel satisfaction that I get to contribute to the household now.”

Even those who say they don’t have particularly close relationships with their parents are generally happy they can ease their financial burdens.

Take Bernard, for instance, a 34-year-old lawyer. While he professes that he doesn’t have a close relationship with his parents, he’s also a huge proponent of filial piety. “I’m not someone with big dreams,” he says. “So I guess taking care of my parents financially gives me some meaning in life.”

What are you happy to have spent good money on? 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.