Have you ever walked into a store wanting to purchase an item and end up leaving with two bags bulging full of many items. Or perhaps looked at your bank account balance and wonder: “Where did all my money go?”
Unfortunately, the above is all too common among Singaporeans, and overspending is a big reason why some Singaporeans face financial difficulties despite drawing a decent salary.
Here are the 4 common excuses we give ourselves when overspending and how we can consciously overcome them.
“I’ve had such a tough week at work, I deserve to splurge a little.”
Most Singaporeans love dining out, going for cocktails and having fun especially after an insane week at work. There’s nothing wrong in using our hard-earned money to treat ourselves, it’s just that “working hard” shouldn’t be an excuse for us to overspend.
How to Overcome:
Never let work stress be the reason of you not following your saving goals. Treating yourself with “expensive” rewards shouldn’t be how we fill up our emotional holes.
With peer pressure, it’s hard to say no or simply admit we cannot afford, but well-meaning friends wouldn’t want you to go in debt either. Different people have different financial priorities, so if your budget is tight, suggest alternatives that cost less but still allow for a good time, such as inviting friends over for dinner or coffee.
“It’s a special occasion, so it’s fine to go overboard.”
Stressing over debts after celebrations; weddings, birthdays, job promotions, festive season? Special occasions are joyous, but the desires for decorations, food and gifts make us lose sight of what’s more important – simply celebrating with friends and families.
We’ve come across Christmas buffets which actually aren’t always worth it. For instance, a dinner buffet at Rise at Marina Bay Sands was $118++ during Christmas last year, but what’re the odds of someone eating enough to make the most of the money paid for.
Another huge area of overspending during holiday is on gifts, Singaporeans tend to do last-minute shopping and make all purchases at once. This results in impulsive buying behavior.
How to Overcome:
Pre-plan a budget for each special occasion in the year and stick to it. This allows you to balance out your expenditure over the entire year and not be in the red.
Have a shopping list for gifts with spending limits included and don’t stray from it. Take time to visit different shops to search for the best deal. It’s even better if you’re able to set time aside to make gifts by hand, which are even more meaningful and cost-friendly.
With all of these in mind, you can minimise costs without compromising on fun and festivities during the holiday season.
#3 Conspicuous Consumption
“Well, everyone else is getting it too.”
In our society, its easy to be swept up by social status and needing to constantly keep up with latest trends. We want bigger houses, trendier outfits, newest technology and faster cars. Possessions are being used to create an identity and display wealth.
Many feel the need to upkeep an image of what they think they “should” be. We’re often influence by friends who’re buying branded goods, traveling or living a certain lifestyle, before realising that it’s an excuse for spending when we don’t have to.
How to Overcome:
Remind yourself that what we possess does not define us. Chasing material things give a really fleeting and shallow sense of fulfillment or happiness in life.
The next time you’re considering to purchase a big ticket item, pause and ask yourself what is the true purpose of the purchase. “Do I really need it?” “Will I use it?” Make sure the cost of it is within the budget you have as well.
“But it’s such a great deal!”
Who doesn’t love a good discount? And yes, sales can seem irresistible.
One of the reasons Singaporeans overspend is getting coveted items at discounted rates. Finding something, anything, at a 30% off can make one feel like winning a prize. Also, not purchasing it may even make one feel like he or she is losing money. That’s the type of impact sales has on us.
How to Overcome:
To avoid purchases you’ll regret, it’s good to tell yourself to shop for the things you need, not sales. The next time you go shopping, make a list of desired items you need and stop yourself from any impulse purchase of random stuff on sales.
If you’re really tempted to get an item, wait for at least 20 minutes and reconsider if you’ll actually use it. Also understand that going home with nothing is better than going home with useless clutter.
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