Living in Singapore is not easy cheap. Our city-state has been known as one of the most expensive places to live in. It does not help as well when we are constantly feeling the need to signal our success to the people around us through our spending on our homes, cars, entertainment, holidays and food.
With the cost of living already high, we decided to take a candid look at some of the other things that Singaporeans are still paying for, even when they are perfectly great alternatives out there that they can enjoy for free.
1. Signing Up For Gym Membership To Keep Fit
Gym memberships in Singapore do not come cheap. At the higher end of the spectrum, gym membership could easily cost about $150 per month. A user who works out twice a week (which is already pretty impressive) will be spending about $18 per session.
If the main purpose for joining an expensive private gym is for you to keep fit, then perhaps it is worth considering if a gym membership is really a prerequisite for keeping fit. We don’t think it is. Rather, hardwork and discipline is.
Waking up at 6 am each day for a morning jog is free. Doing push-ups at home doesn’t cost anything. The chin up bar near your home (which we hardly ever see anyone using) is free for use. Working on your abs can be done in multiple ways without needing an expensive $2,000 machine.
We are not saying that people shouldn’t subscribe for a gym membership. If you are a serious lifter, you obviously need the weights in the gym. But for the average person, keeping fit can be obtained without the need to go to a gym.
And if you really feel the need to head to a gym, you can first use the free $100 ActiveSG credits instead. At $2.50 per visit per week, these credits can easily last you quite some time. Assuming that you go to the gym twice a week, the $100 credit will last you for 5 months! That means you can save 5 months’ worth of gym membership fee.
2. Signing Up For 10KM Runs
We love 10km runs! (Okay, we don’t). During national service days, we do it all the time around the camp compound. It was boring, void of fun and not something we enjoy.
So imagine our surprise when we found out that many Singaporeans were actually willing to wake up early and pay good money to run that same distance we used to dread. Last we checked, it costs $75 to sign up for the Standard Chartered 10KM run. We sure hope the participants got a discount.
We are not saying that people shouldn’t be running, or pay for runs. What we are saying is that we do not see any good reason why a person would want to pay for a 10km run. To us, it’s like paying to “climb” Bukit Timah Hill.
We are sure there is a perfectly good 10km route that you can find around your neighbourhood.
If you are paying $75 for the runner’s entitlement such as finisher medal, Carousell is selling them at below $20.
3. Buying Books
Before we get accused for trying to discourage people from reading, or for encouraging people to download the illegal e-books, hear us out first.
Reading is great and we firmly believe everyone should make the effort to try read at least one book a month. However, it does not mean you need to start spending money buying books every month. Especially if you know that you are going to read it once only.
We know the feeling of smelling a newly opened book. However, just head to the nearest library around you neighbourhood. Libraries in Singapore are filled with books of all genres that would last most people multiple lifetimes. And even if only 1 in 10 books in the library appeals to you, you would probably still have your hands full deciding which book to spend your time reading.
The best part about these books is that after reading it, you don’t have to worry about where to keep it in your little flat. Simply return it to the library.
After reading once and you think that you will read it repeatedly, buy it.
These books are already paid for by your taxes, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t fully utilize on them first if you want to read books.
In the Internet age that we live in today, it is remarkable that old habits, such as paying for the news, continue to survive. Increasingly, more and more websites from across the globe are vying for the opportunity to bring you news – for free. Heck, many of these websites even pay (Facebook) to be able to bring you their news on your newsfeed.
If you want local Singapore news, ChannelNewsAsia provides tons of free content in both video and article form. If you want independent content, websites like Mothership and The Middle Ground are available for reading at no cost. If you want news from around the world, you can choose from almost every other websites out there in the world. Even for finance or business related news, Bloomberg Business is churning out many quality articles which are absolutely free.
We are not saying that everyone should stop paying for his or her news. There are still top publishers such as Wall Street Journal and Financial Times that are worth reading for those who are interested in the content produced.
But let’s be honest with ourselves, for most of us mere mortal who are consuming the bulk of our content from our Facebook feed, do we really need to be paying anyone for the content that we read? Can we not find cheaper alternatives that would probably be good enough still?
The truth is that even for those of us who consume a lot of news and content on a daily basis, the amount of good quality free content would probably still suffice.
If you are one of those who are still paying for any of these items…
We want to tell you it is okay. Ultimately, we can all decide what we want to spend our money on. But if cash is indeed tight, then it is worth considering if you can use the free alternative available instead.