In recent years, you hear many people complaining about the rising cost of living.
With Singapore ranked among the costliest cities to live in the world, surely there are grounds for such sentiments.
Instead of focusing on our shrinking dollar, a more empowering stance would be to re-examine our expenditure so that we can channel our money to things that are really important to us.
Some of the things we spend money on are quite insidious… we might not be even aware how much these add up to on an annual basis.
Here are 4 things which people waste money on, accompanied by pocket-friendly alternatives to them.
Wasteful Item 1: Expensive Drinks
We may want a cuppa or bubble tea to perk up our day. Granted, there are some who feel that such treats are a form of reward, energizer or motivator that keeps their day going.
However, is it really worth it to pay $6 for a cup of gourmet coffee from a coffee joint, or $3 for a cup of bubble tea? The satisfaction which one derives from these drinks is usually short-lived, and over the course of a year, this could easily add up to over a thousand dollars.
Instead, why not go for drinks from the neighbourhood coffee shop, make your own drinks, or better still, opt for the healthier option of drinking plain water?
Wasteful Item 2: Bottled Water
Yes, in hot and humid Singapore, it is very important to stay hydrated.
However, instead of buying bottled water which costs more per litre compared to petrol, why not bring your own water bottle – or even drink straight from the tap?
After all, Singapore’s tap water standards surpasses the World Health Organisation’s drinking water guidelines. Our government also maintains that tap water is suitable for drinking without any further filtration.
On top of saving money, this move to avoid bottled water goes a long way in saving the environment.
Wasteful Item 3: Buying Unnecessary Things (Because They Are Cheap)
Some Singaporeans succumb to merchandisers’ trap of purchasing items simply because they appear cheap.
These traps await you at sales events, where you see merchandise getting marked down. Sometimes it gets even the best of us as they seem to call out to shoppers with to their sheer overwhelming variety of products at low prices.
Some readers may relate to the latter at a particular Japanese chain store that sells all their items for a mere $2.
While this can cause the undiscerning shopper to part with their hard-earned money in exchange for items which might not be used for the longest time, these shops actually offer very good value for money deals in an ironic twist.
The key is to be very sure of what you need.
From my experience at the above-mentioned Japanese chain store, one way of not succumbing to impulse purchases is to do some research on their Facebook fan page.
By browsing beforehand, you’ll have better ideas of what you really need before heading down. That will save you from buying out the store because they are selling stuff at $2 each.
Before heading for discounted sales events, do a preliminary search by combing through the catalogues to see what you need so you don’t empty your wallet to the merchandisers.
These simple steps could save you money and time.
Wasteful Item 4: Books
I might just be part of the reason why Borders, Page One and other book stores find it difficult to survive in this competitive retail environment.
While I am a voracious reader, I can count the number of books I bought in my lifetime. Even then, I bought the books using vouchers given as book prizes from my school days.
We Singaporeans are very fortunate to have the National Library Board providing the latest collection for most titles. Even if the title proves to be very popular, members can still get hold of them by paying a reservation fee of $1.55.
With that in mind, do you still see a reason to buy books?
Furthermore, after reading the book, the life-cycle of the book is complete. I see no point in storing them which takes up valuable space and collects dust.
Better to keep them circulating and make use of the free service of NLB.
The National Library – visit it to enjoy a huge collection of books for free instead of buying them.
It might seem a daunting task to monitor one’s expenditure and these moves could even seem to be miserly. However, the key to creating wealth is to minimise one’s expenditure and increasing one’s income.
With viable or even better alternatives which are less costly or even free, it does not make one more miserable in Singapore by choosing the more prudent option.