3 areas Singaporeans should cut back on first when saving money

3 areas Singaporeans should cut back on first when saving money

I have a friend who decided he needed to save more money. Instead of enjoying gambling sessions at Marina Bay Sands less frequently, not opening so many bottles while partying or selling his car, he decided to rent out half of his bedroom to a student from China. Every day he woke up only to stare into the eyes of the Chinese guy sleeping two metres away.

Sharing your bedroom with a stranger is a pretty harsh way to save money. The good news is that there are far easier and far more sensible ways to spend less, such as the following.

Entertainment

After working so hard during the day (and often night), Singaporeans tend to take entertainment very seriously. There's a real obsession with "pampering" oneself, going on frequent overseas holidays and documenting everything on Facebook, indulging in high end restaurants and bars and paying for novel experiences like yacht parties and trips to Universal Studios.

While not everybody spends like there's no tomorrow, it's becoming increasingly common for young professionals fresh out of university to regularly spend over $50 on meals or drinks at one go, shell out over $5,000 on annual vacations and regularly enjoy spa treatments and facials at $150 to $200+ a pop.

In fact, a 2014 report showed that Singaporeans were spending more and more over the years, and that this increased spending wasn't just due to rising costs but because we're becoming more willing to spend on higher quality goods and services.

One of the easiest ways to cut your spending is to scale back on entertainment, especially if you're the sort of person who can return from a club on Friday night $500 poorer.

You won't have to go hungry, share your home with dodgy people or face a longer commute by cutting back on entertainment spending, but you might still end up feeling like you're depriving yourself or living a life of drudgery.

The trick is not to go cold turkey on leisure and entertainment, but to find cheaper alternatives. Your time is limited, and so long as you can fill up your schedule with things you enjoy and social interaction, you'll still feel happy and fulfilled. Trust us, one less bottle of Martell a week isn't going to make you any more miserable.

Shopping

Buying things they don't need and will no longer like 6 months from now is a Singaporean specialty. I guess you can't really blame us since the entire country is basically a big shopping mall.

But the way some people buy stuff without a second thought is quite astounding. Changing smartphones almost every year, spending all day at work/uni shopping online, never being able to pass an afternoon in town without buying something new, maxing out credit cards on overseas holidays ("it's cheaper than in Singapore") and aspiring to amass a massive collection of shoes are scarily common in Singapore and not just the domain of one or two friends.

While it is true that there are some people who probably need to see a psychologist to cure their shopping addictions, for the rest of us, just not buying so much junk is a lot easier than it seems.

You might feel deprived or get panic attacks at the thought of your friends spotting you in an outfit they've seen before, but once you get over yourself you'll realise that cutting your shopping habit really doesn't make much of a difference, so long as you don't deprive yourself of necessities (and no, keeping your wardrobe updated every 10 days is not a necessity).

5 things young Singaporeans waste money on without realising it

Dining in restaurants

People often complain there's nothing to do in Singapore except shop and eat. Be that as it may, if you're spending all your money at restaurants, getting rid of the habit of eating out at every meal will stop you from flushing all your cash down the toilet.

Singaporeans are some of the biggest spenders on eating out in the Asia Pacific, but we often justify our laziness to cook by saying that hawker food is cheap. Well, it's not just hawker food Singaporeans are spending on, and the dining scene is now dominated by mid-range and high-end restaurants.

Almost every Singaporean you'll meet identifies as a foodie, and for many middle-income locals dining out is a serious past-time, at least based on their frequent photos on Facebook featuring themselves posing with their plates at high end restaurants and bars.

While eating out is great from time to time, when it becomes a habit because you have no idea how to feed yourself otherwise or prefer to spend hours at home scrolling through social media feeds rather than step into the kitchen, it becomes a problem.

With the average Singaporean spending $248 a month on dining out per month according to this survey, there's quite a bit of breathing room that enables people to cut their spending without starving to death.

6 items S'poreans who want to save money shouldn't buy in S'pore

This article was originally on MoneySmart's 3 Areas Singaporeans Should Cut Back on First When Trying to Save Money


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