Are you also guilty of wasting $114 a month for nothing?

3 min read

One of the biggest challenges in personal finance is not how to save your money, but how to spend it.

There are lists everywhere for those looking to save, but in your attempt to save, you might just also be wasting money

But wait, what do you mean by WASTING MONEY?

Have you ever caught yourself in a situation where your head tells you to go for a bundle deal because it is “more worth the money”(or so you think), but you know clearly deep down that this is going to set you back by an extra portion of money that could have otherwise been saved?

TL;DR: Spending more to save more is not a thing.

Warren Buffet quote

ActivityPossible Savings/ week
Stop upsizing your drink$3
Picking a less fancy gym membership$7.50
What if you "dabao" food less often$1
Avoiding 'atas' brands for groceries$0.95
Switching from cafe coffee to kopitiam Kopi$6.10
Getting groceries online$6.40
Save on bus if it is only 1-2 stops away$1.54
Stop paying in cash$2
Total savings: $28.49/week, $113.96/month

♦ – Indicates an estimated amount wasted on opting for a more expensive option per week

1. Upsizing your drink because it’s ‘more worth it’

Your brain is often the devil’s advocate.

You think ‘The large size is just a dollar more…’ and each time the bubble tea lady asks “Would you like to upsize your drink?”, your legs go weak.

Let’s say you drink an artisanal drink such as bubble tea 3 times a week. (Some people, more, but we won’t judge.)

Possible savings: $1 x 3 = $3.00

2. Getting a fancy gym membership

There are all sorts of gym memberships in the market covering high-intensity fitness to aerial yoga. It’s cool, right? To be the one who knocks off work and changes into activewear, ready for your after-work spin class.

(Psst..! Before committing to any gym membership, try going for several free trials first to see if your fitness enthusiasm is… sustainable)

We’ve compiled a table of the major gym membership details:

Gym NamePrice/monthLocationHoursFacilities
Anytime FitnessFrom $7855 islandwide24/7Treadmills, elliptical, spin bikes, strength equipment, circuit, free weights etc.
Fitness First$150 - $17520 outlets, mostly in central Singapore Swimming pool and sauna at some branches; workout clothes etc.
MyActiveGYM™ (ActiveSG)$25-30 for adults19 islandwideGym-dependent. Open as early as 7am and close as late as 10pm.Basic equipment, free weights, stacked weights, cardiovascular machines etc.
Gold's Gym SingaporePrices vary depending on training regime enrolled into12By appointment onlyEquipped for a wide range of training programmes, including fat loss, rehabilitative, pre/post natal, and strength training.
True FitnessFrom $898 locationsOpens as early as 6am and closes as late as 11pmSteam rooms, lounge, sprint track
GymmBoxxFrom $70 - $85 per month for youth, adults and seniors7 locations24/7 (except Bukit Batok outlet)Customised personal training, cardiovascular equipment, power racks etc.
Safra EnergyOne$374.50 to begin membership, subsequently, $128.40 per quarter (Most people get a better deal due to ongoing promotions)6 locations6.30am - 10.30pm on weekdays, open from 7am or 9am on weekends and Public Holidays to 7pm or 8pm.Cardio machines, free weights, plate-loaded machines etc.
Virgin ActiveFrom $232 - $2605 locations6.30am to 10.30pm on Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm on weekends and public holidaysUnique facilities, steam room, ice room, sleep pods, foot baths and more
Dennis Gym$78 a month, 1 year contract5 locationsJurong and Tai Seng branches are open 24-hours. Other outlets open from 7am to 10pm on weekdays, and 8am to 8pm on weekends.Comprehensive suite of fitness equipment, used by competitive bodybuilders and recreational clients
Pure FitnessFrom $150 - $2003 locations6am to midnight from Mondays to Saturdays. 8am to 10pm on Sundays and Public Holidays.Sauna, indoor running track, swimming pool, juice bar, complimentary workout gear etc.

Read also: Cheapest Gym Memberships For The Everyday Singaporean

Say you pick a mid-range gym such as Gymboxx because it’s in the vicinity of your home and opens 24/7. That’s $720 a year, $60 a month. On the contrary, the less glamorous option of a membership at ActiveSG’s MyActiveGYM™  goes for just $30 a month.

With a price difference of $30 between the two gyms, that is $7.50 saved each week by not going to the more expensive option.

Possible savings: $30 ÷ 4 = $7.50

3. Dabao food and paying for the convenience

It’s lunchtime. You walk to your nearest Kopitiam from school or work, and it’s packed with people. You opt to dabao your food instead.

Assuming this happens for 5 meals out of the average 12 that you eat out. Here’s the extra that you spend:

Possible savings: $0.20 x 5 = $1.00

4. Buying ‘atas’ brands

In supermarkets, there are usually a range of brands offering the same product. Let’s take bread as an example.

  • Sunshine Wholemeal Bread, 400g: $2.70
  • Fairprice Wholemeal Bread, 420g+80g: $1.75

Perhaps due to preference, you choose to go for your usual mid-range Sunshine brand selection instead of the 95-cent cheaper house brand bread.

Possible savings: $2.70 – $1.75 = $0.95

5. Picking cafe coffee over kopitiam Kopi

In the same vein, coffee from cafes are always tempting, and the taste is something you cannot find in kopitiam Kopi. We choose to believe it’s more of a lifestyle choice that you can definitely forego, especially if you are serious about making a change in your spending habits.

  • An average Starbucks drink: $7.00
  • Kopitiam Kopi (hot): $0.90

Possible savings: $7.00 – $0.90 = $6.10

With this cost in mind, you can have way more cups of kopitiam kopis than indulge in expensive cafe coffees per week!

Not only that, here’s how much MORE Singaporeans are paying for our coffee than some other parts of the world:

Starbucks price around the world comparison

6. Buying in-store instead of online

With the recent craze of poke bowls and a growing interest to eat healthy, I was curious how much a 1KG pack of Quinoa would cost.

Possible savings: $19.90 – $13.50 = $6.40


7. Taking a bus just 1-2 stops away

We’ve all done it – taking a bus 1 or 2 stops away just to hide from the sun or give in to your laziness, when you could have easily walked that distance. That’s 77 cents. Do it just twice a week, and this is what you spend.

Possible savings: $0.77 x 2 = $1.54

8. Paying in cash

Singapore has been hit by a wave of cashless payment methods, and its successes have proven to be pretty promising. There are however times when we’re just so used to whipping out cash to make purchases.

“Aiya, leychey lah.”

“Don’t want lah, my phone takes so long to load!”

Instead of paying $5.70 for a breakfast set at Toast Box, you could enjoy it for cheaper at $3.70 through the GrabPay app, saving you $2.

Why shortchange yourself when you could have gotten a 35% off? There are deals on offer by the various e-payment systems that can help you save more. 

The moment of truth; are you ready to add up all the extra expenses?

Total savings: $3 + $7.50 + $1 + $0.95 + $6.10 + $6.40 + $1.54 + $2 = $28.49/week

$28.49 x 4 = $113.96/month

Just in case this isn’t clear enough, that’s $114 dropping out of your pocket each month due to frivolous spending decisions, which could easily be avoided by making minor tweaks in your daily life choices.

Good luck, folks!

We hope this inspires you to lead a more frugal life if your goals are to save for the future, bit by bit!

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