Spending is a necessary part of living. When we spend, it helps stimulate our economy. At the same time, spending your money the right way can also be meaningful as well.
Spending money the right way means buying what we want (and can afford), instead of buying something just because we see people around us having it, which leads to the vicious cycle of comparing and could make us unhappy.
By spending money on what we truly want, we will be able to enjoy the full value of an item that we appreciate.
For 2019, we are recommending 19 purchases that you can consider putting near the top of your shopping list. If you see something that you always wanted on this list, proceed without feeling the guilt of spending - as long as you can afford it.
Category A: For Office Workers
#1 New Clothes
Like it or not, we are judged by our appearance and this means the clothes we wear matters, whether it's at a job interview, a date with a girl or just taking a random stroll down Orchard Road (do people still do that?).
Even if none of the above are things you are likely to do, wearing nice clothes that fit you well can give you the confidence you need, or at least, get you motivated to wake up early to dress up for work.
And that reason alone is worth shelling out money to buy new clothes.
If you are shopping online, consider installing the RateX browser. It's free and helps you save money on foreign exchange rate when shopping at overseas e-commerce platforms such as Asos, Expedia, eBay and Lazada.
#2 The Right Sports Shoes
We cringe every time we see people working out at the gym without wearing appropriate footwear.
Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to injuries - which is a silly risk for working adults to be taking - just because they refused to spend $80 for the right shoes.
If you are lifting weights regularly, consider buying a weightlifting shoe, rather than using a run-of-the-mill sports shoes that were designed for running. Likewise, if you are playing football regularly with your colleagues, consider buying a football boot.
This will not only help you perform better, but also allows your own running shoes to last a longer period of time, which ironically, would help you save money.
#3 A Gym Membership
Gone are your university days where you had all the time in the world to work out in school or in public gyms, and when you could choose to go during off-peak timings, where there will be lesser people competing with you for the cardio machines and weights.
The sheer volume of people at the public gym during weekday evenings can be discouraging - even among the most motivated office athletes around us.
To ensure you don't miss a scheduled workout, consider paying a monthly subscription for a private commercial gym which is near either your office or your home. This gives you the best chance of sticking to your workout schedule.
#4 A Flu Vaccine
If you are working in an air-conditioned office with many other colleagues, chances of you falling ill when someone else is sick is relatively high.
To protect yourself, consider taking a flu vaccination. This cost only between $20-$30 and it helps in keeping you, your family and colleagues protected against the risk of falling sick frequently (and unnecessarily).
#5 A Good Office Chair
Most Singaporeans spend at least 8 hours a day in the office. This should be enough reason to justify an office chair which is comfortable for you. If HR refuses to buy you a new chair, get it yourself. A few hundred dollars and a bad HR department is not a good enough reason to let your back endure the aches each day.
Category B: To Help You Relax
#6 Your Favourite Video Game
All of us need to find ways to relax and playing video games is one good way you can de-stress.
Contrary to what your parents may have told you growing up, playing video games are not a complete waste of time. It keeps your mind active and allows you to be distracted by something else, as compared to constantly worrying about your work, your boss or other problems you have in life.
Video games also improve your coordination, concentration, memory and even your problem-solving skills. And unlike drinking, smoking, gambling and doing drugs (which is illegal), it's also cheaper and healthier.
#7 A Book You Always Wanted To Read
No one should ever be discouraged from reading. This applies to both children as well as adults.
As we grow older, many of us may find ourselves having less time to read. However, reading is important. It expands our knowledge and gives us new information in areas that we are interested in.
You can form a reading habit in 2019 by first picking up books on topics that you are interested in. This can range from finance, food, travel, history, fitness or even religion.
Choose the right books by checking out reviews from other readers. Most e-commerce companies such as Amazon provide ratings and reviews for the books they sell. Checking this out reduces the chances of you picking up a dud.
#8 Sports Subscription
Sports team can sometimes be seen as an extension of one's self. Though 99.99 per cent of people who watch popular sports such as football, basketball, tennis, boxing and golf have no tangible stake in the outcome of their favourite sports teams or players, they sometimes behave and even prepare as if they are vested in the outcome.
Few things in life can be worse than fervently supporting your favourite team and/or player, only to be at the mercy of the speed of the illegal website you are steaming the game from.
Do yourself a favour and pay for a legal subscription, your time (and support) is worth far more than the subscription which you are paying for.
#9 Learning A New Skill
Remember that awesome feeling of accomplishment you used to have when you are young and learned something new? If you, like us, can no longer recall that feeling, then it is time to get back to learning (and trying) new things in life and to rekindle the spirit of constant learning.
It can be anything. You can learn how to swim, scuba dive, cycle, get your driving license or even pick up a new language (Mark Zuckerberg learnt Mandarin). The point is to get started on learning and to stop procrastinating.
#10 A Comfortable Bed
If you are spending 1/3 of your life in bed, there is no reason why you shouldn't be getting one that is up to your satisfaction. A comfortable bed allows you to recharge your energy at the end of each day so that you will start the next day refreshed.
#11 New Pillows
A good bed can only do so much on its own. To further improve the quality of your valuable sleep, consider getting new (and better) pillows.
Think of it this way, if you are already starved for time each day trying to get as much sleep as possible, would you really want to cheap out on spending on your pillow?
Category C: Better Financial Decisions
#12 Clear Debt
If there are debts that you currently owe (e.g. credit card debts, personal loan debts), clearing them as quickly as possible would give you a peace of mind in 2019.
This not only allows you to live life debt-free but would also help you to save more money in the long run (due to reduced interest).
#13 Invest In A Good Company
When we talk about splurging on a good company, what we are referring to is buying its stock and becoming a shareholder of the company.
Most people's primary reason for buying a stock is to see its stock prices increase. Aside from that, however, there are other good reasons to purchase the stock of a good company. Some companies provide consistent dividends on their shares so you can enjoy passive income on a regular basis.
#14 Health Insurance
Health insurance is one of the most important things a person needs. When you buy the right health insurance policies, it protects you and your family against the unexpected cost of falling ill or getting into an accident, and a peace of mind knowing that your bills will be covered if it happens.
Category D: For Families
#15 A Family Holiday
A holiday is going to cost you but it also gives you fresh perspectives in life. It makes you realise how fortunate you are to have a job, education and clean water in Singapore, among many other things.
For younger members of the family, an overseas trip also allows them to immerse themselves to the culture of people in different countries. It allows them to understand and appreciate the different values and traditions that people all around the world have, and reminds them on just how big and diverse the world really is.
#16 Friends Of Wildlife Membership
Another great way to learn is to take frequent trips to popular wildlife parks in Singapore such as the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and the Jurong Bird Park.
These are exceptionally great places to visit if you have little ones who are curious to meet the animals, beyond just reading them in books or on television.
While the per entry cost to these popular destinations can be quite expensive, you can opt for a family package that gives you and your family unlimited visits to all four wildlife parks. This starts at $125 per adult and $85 per child. However, if you get the family package, this would just be $275 for two adults and one child, with each subsequent child membership only costing an additional $10.
It's a great way to spend quality time with your child while at the same time, giving them a fun and enriching experience which they can learn from.
#17 A Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
If you are the person who is tasked with vacuuming the home, the thought of getting a robotic vacuum cleaner (also known as a robovac) to help you with this routine task must have gone through your mind several times before.
The latest robovac have intelligent programming and can be a huge asset to any proud homeowner in the never-ending quest to maintain the cleanliness of one's home.
#18 Taxi/Private Hire Car Rides
Even with the fare hikes in recent years and the absence of promo codes, taking a cab in Singapore can still be considered relatively inexpensive for a developed nation, especially when compared against the costs (and problems) of driving in Singapore.
Taking a cab saves you time and if you are sharing it with a friend or a loved one - the cost can also be split as well.
#19 Air Miles For A Business Class Experience
Most of us regular folks would be unwilling to spend anything beyond economy fare for our overseas travels. However, it's possible that you can still enjoy business class, first class or even suite class experience by using the air miles that you have accumulated through your credit card.
Go for it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience so you may as well get it (for free) by redeeming all the miles that you have earned for that dream vacation.
This article was first published in Dollars and Sense.