As 2016 draws to an end, it is time to reflect on our finances and how we have fared this year. What were some money mistakes that we made, and what can we do better next year?
One mistake that we all make is overspending, often on things we don’t even need in the first place. It’s incredibly easy to overspend, especially in this day and age of e-commerce, where we often find ourselves spoiled for choices amid thousands of online shopping sites. And we are so used to buying things, we tend to forget that these expenses are optional.
Here are 10 most common things Singaporeans have been unintentionally wasting money on in 2016:
1. Under-utilised shopping deals
Hey, remember that facial deal you bought for 88% off from that start-up place all the way across town and actually used up the full amount of your credit within the specified time limit?
Neither do we.
2. Clothes that look nothing like they do online
Online shoppers usually pay less when they buy clothes from local blogshops or Taobao. But you already know to expect that at least 10% to 20% of your online purchases will look significantly worse than advertised.
Sure, no one’s stopping you from wearing that piece without looking like a hobo, but chances are you’ll end up burying it in a corner of your closet and it’ll never see the light again.
3. Credit card interest
Here’s the thing, if you can’t afford to buy something, then it’s probably not the smartest idea to buy it at 26% interest per annum.
While credit card users enjoy various discounts and benefits, when you don’t pay your bills on time, you end up having to fork out a huge amount in interest and your credit score takes a hit too.
4. The lottery
Truth hurts, but you might have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning than actually winning the lottery. In Singapore, the odds of winning the first prize jackpot are one in 13,983,816.
So, playing big to win big might not exactly be a sound strategy. But limiting yourself to a few dollars might be enough to satisfy your cheap thrills without causing a permanent dent to your finances.
5. Expensive coffee
Any caffeine addict would tell you that life begins with coffee, but life shouldn’t begin after EXPENSIVE coffee. But with so many hipster cafes and coffee places at every turn, it has become a norm for Singaporeans to pay up to $5 for a cuppa.
Coffee is a daily expense that can quietly escalate without even you noticing. That daily flat white that costs $5 on work days can climb up to $100 a month, and $1,200 a year – all that for coffee!
6. Lunch deliveries
Those of us who are hard pressed for time or healthy food options often find ourselves turning to lunch delivery services.
But dining from these pretty takeout boxes can turn lunch into an extremely pricey affair, considering that most of these healthy meal options average at about $13. And that’s before you even factor in delivery fees, which can come up to $5 to $7.
7. After-work drinks
We all love a drink or two after work, but doing so regularly in Singapore can burn a huge hole in your wallet. According to GoEuro’s latest Beer Price index, Singapore is the second most expensive city in Asia to drink, just after Hong Kong.
Plus, you can no longer grab a drink at retail stores or be seen drinking in public places after 10.30pm these days, which means you have no choice but to splurge at licensed premises like bars and clubs if you ever get thirsty after working overtime.
You might have been one of the many Singaporeans who were queuing up to get hold of the new iPhone 7 last September. Keeping up with the latest technology comes with a price and in reality, not many of us can actually pay that price.
In Singapore, prices of an iPhone 7 range from S$1,047 to nearly S$1,600! Meanwhile, the average post-tax salary here sits at roughly S$4,230.83. If keeping up with technology is racking up thousands of dollars of debt on your credit card, it’s time to look for a new pastime.
9. Gym memberships you never use
How is it that so many people sign up for gyms around the New Year’s Day resolving to lose weight only to completely forget about it by February?
Unfortunately, unlike the commitment, the monthly dues don’t stop. And such is life that irregular visits to the gym simply will not give you the results that you want, so you end up wasting your hard-earned money on a gym membership you hardly even use, or just simply do not have time for.
While there will definitely be times when you’re stranded and really need a safe, if expensive ride home, such occasions are rare. Blue moon rare.
Most of the time, it’s just a question of laziness, convenience or drunkenness (or a financially-damaging combination of all three). And there’s no feeling worse than getting out of a cab and realising that you’ve just paid several times more than what you would have if you took the train.
What else did you waste money on this year? Let us know in the comments section below!