How Social Distancing Can Benefit Our Health and Our Wallets
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How Social Distancing Can Benefit Our Health and Our Wallets

Dion Lim
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When I was writing about how I turned my hobby into a side hustle, I really wished there was a job that could allow me to be a couch potato.

Given how fast-paced life is in Singapore, it’s a dream of mine to be able to do nothing all day.

Fast forward to today, everyone is urging each other to stay home and avoid going out.

It seems like my dream has miraculously come true…

But seriously, it’s important that we stay home (whether or not we do nothing is optional) and practice Social Distancing!

What Exactly Is Social Distancing?

Social Distancing refers to the practice of reducing contact with people or objects in public places to minimise exposure and the risk of transmission.

Ever since the onset of COVID-19, the Singapore Government has actively encouraged Social Distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

In other words, #FlattenTheCurve!

Seedly Calmond Flattening the Curve
Source: Wired

Common Myths About Social Distancing

As much as the Government has been trying to encourage the practice of Social Distancing.

Many people still ignore it and continue their usual lifestyles.

Some might even take advantage of the current situation for their own personal benefit.

In fact, you might even have heard some of these myths about Social Distancing floating around:

  • “Social distancing is only for the elderly and those with high-risk conditions. I am young, hence I won’t get it”
  • “Only people who have tested positive for COVID-19 need to stay home and isolate themselves.”
  • Aiya, I one person go out won’t make much difference lah!”
  • “Now, everywhere is empty or cheap! Best time to take advantage of the situation!”

These are NOT TRUE!

And sadly, most of us underestimate the power of Social Distancing and how much of an impact it can have when it is properly practised.

The Power of Social Distancing

To better illustrate the power of Social Distancing, let me show you the math behind it.

The COVID-19 coronavirus follows an exponential growth trajectory.

Where each infected person can potentially infect another 2.5 people.

These people will go on to infect another 2.5 people each.

As the cycle repeats, more and more people will get infected if nothing is done about it.

The way the virus spreads (and how Social Distancing can stop it) is based on the power of 2.

Meaning 1 person spreads it to 2, 2 spreads to 4, 4 spreads to 8, and so on and so forth.

The problem here is that most people don’t understand how fast the coronavirus can spread through this exponential increase.

In fact, if we saw an exponential increase of 24 times, that would result in over 16 million infected people!

But if we can break the chain through Social Distancing, we can protect each other and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

This is why we need to practice social responsibility, institute Social Distancing, and slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

So even though you are just one person, you can make a HUGE difference!

The Benefits of Social Distancing

To further convince you to stay home and only leave when absolutely necessary, I have compiled a list of reasons why Social Distancing can be beneficial for us.

And by that, I mean why it is good for our wallets.

1. Increased Value of Subscription Fees

With more time spent at home, most of us have more time to relax and watch Netflix.

This way, we are actually making full use of the subscription fees we paid, thereby decreasing the cost per watch.

Of course, if you don’t subscribe to any streaming services, you’d save more…

2. Less Money Spent on Meals Outside

On average, you would probably (realistically) spend about $5 to $10 a meal if you eat out in Singapore.

With Social Distancing, you’ll probably be staying in and eating at home a lot more.

Which means that you’ll save money that would otherwise be spent on meals outside.

If you’re living with your parents, you’ll be able to savour your favourite home-cooked dishes prepared with love by your mom (or dad or grandparents).

And they’re definitely healthier and more nutritious.

The best part? These meals are free of charge!

This way, you can achieve your goal of spending less money and eating healthier.

There’s no excuse to not complete your new year resolutions to save money and lose weight now!

Pro-tip: if you’re working from home today and have to get back into the office the next day, you can dabao the leftovers from dinner and zhng it up a bit as tomorrow’s lunch!

3. Reduced Expenses on Entertainment Outside

Most of us have busy lifestyles which are sandwiched by social activities.

Whether it’s hanging out at a cafe or a KTV, entertainment outside will always cost money.

With the need for Social Distancing, it has created a good opportunity for us to spend more time with our loved ones.

Rather than going out with our friends and hanging out in public spaces.

We find ourselves (saving money and) spending more time with family doing in-house activities like enjoying a game of Overcooked or having a go at The Singaporean Dream.

Some of you might even go old-school and just sit around reminiscing about the past while flipping through photo albums.

Personally, Social Distancing is also a poignant reminder of the importance of family and friends amidst my hectic university life.

4. Tracking Your Location (and Your Expenses)

With the implementation of TraceTogether, a contact tracing application created by the Government, we will be more aware of the places we visit.

Person Using Trace Together App
Source: TraceTogether

And since you’re already actively looking at your phone and tracking your movement, why not download an expense tracker to complement this habit?

So not only do you pay attention to where you’ve been and who you come into contact with.

You can also track your expenses in the Seedly app in order to strategise your financial planning and cut back on any unnecessary spending.

Find yourself visiting the bubble tea shop too many times a day?

You’re probably spending too much on bubble tea too and can afford to cut down.

Every little bit helps as you prepare for the possibility of a recession.

The Cons of Social Distancing

While there’s a lot of good in Social Distancing, there might be some cons too.

1. More Money Spent on Food Delivery

Being the lazy people we are, we often rather find snacks around the house to fill our stomach than head out for a proper meal.

And if we’re really hungry, some of us would turn to food delivery instead. #nualife

Inevitably, this results in more money spent on food through delivery fees.

And it doesn’t help that delivery prices are already more expensive, to begin with.

But if you really can’t resist all of your cravings and you don’t want to leave home, you should make full use of food delivery promo codes to minimise your expenses.

Tip: Consider signing up for a food subscription services to enjoy perks like free delivery if you’re going to order food delivery for every meal!

2. More Money Spent on Online Shopping

Of course, for those doing online shopping, I haven’t forgotten about you.

While you can’t head out to physically window shop, you’ll probably be doing your window shopping in online shops.

So… remember to budget accordingly, don’t overspend, and always use promo codes to at least save a bit while shopping!

Or just don’t shop for now?

You can’t wear your new outfit out anyways since we’re all staying at home…

So… Should We Practice Social Distancing?

Overall, Social Distancing is still highly beneficial to us as individuals and for the country as a whole.

Even though it might seem like one person staying at home isn’t going to be of much impact…

But I hope that I’ve explained through my illustration that every action counts.

Ultimately, we all play a part in protecting our loved ones, especially those who are slightly older or are at higher risk of falling sick.

While we hope that scientists find a cure as soon as possible.

The truth is, the most immediate cure begins with ourselves.

If we proactively practise Social Distancing and convince everyone else around us to follow suit.

Every one person who stays away means that we can stop the spread of COVID-19 faster and more lives can be saved.


So, come on Singaporeans!

Let’s do better than this and practice Social Distancing for all those we care about.

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About Dion Lim
Busy undergrad by day, an aspiring entrepreneur by night. Fuelled by floorball and doodling, I chomp on bite-size pieces of finance to prep for an adventure that won’t make me yawn.
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