With the cost of living always increasing in Singapore, it’s common to find Singaporeans looking for all sorts of ways to stretch their money.
Sometimes though, their plans backfire.
Here are five things that we commonly do in order to save money, only for us to end up needlessly spending more.
#1 Driving To Malaysia To Buy Cheaper Goods
Those who frequently drive to Malaysia will know the usual SOP. Sneak through the Causeway with as little fuel as possible without getting caught, enjoy a sumptuous seafood dinner, buy as much groceries as we can fit in our car, before heading back to Singapore with a full fuel tank.
The idea here is to save as much money as possible by spending as much as posible on cheaper goods in Malaysia, thanks to our favorable RM3 to S$1 exchange rate.
In a previous article written, we estimated that it’s only worth travelling to Malaysia if you intend to spend RM500 (S$167) or more. Otherwise, you are better off getting your goods in Singapore given the additional costs of travelling to Malaysia that is incurred such as toll charges and fuel required.
The problem with this way of “saving” money is that it actually encourages you to spend more than you intend to. In the attempt to cover up overheads spent on a long and costly trip to Malaysia, we end up buying things we don’t need, just for the sake of extracting more value for our Singapore Dollar.
#2 Credit Card Deals At F&B Outlets
Credit cards companies love offering great F&B deals. It could be a one-for-one deal at a fancy restaurant, or a sizeable discount off at your favorite café.
Whatever the deal may look like, their intentions are clear. F&B outlets want you to wine and dine with them while credit card companies want you to spend using their credit cards. Nobody actually wants you to save money.
For some reason though, Singaporeans still think they are saving money whenever they get these deals. They are not.
The fact here is simple, each time you use your credit card to get what you think is a great deal, you are spending, not saving.
#3 Home Cooked Meals
There is a myth that home cooked meals are cheaper and helps you save money, but that’s not always true.
In Singapore, affordable hawker meals are readily available in food centres or coffeeshops. Meals can be bought from as low as $3, depending on what it is that you buy. If there were the two of you eating out, that would cost $6.
In contrast, cooking for two at home isn’t going to be as cheap as you think. Anyone who ever tried cooking would know that buying one meat and a vegetable from the supermarket could easily cost you $4. If you add in eggs, premade sauce, some garnish and rice, the cost of your home cooked meal would have exceeded $6.
Don’t get us wrong. Cooking at home is great. If you plan in advance and cook often, you may get a little cost saving while enjoying healthier meals. But for those of us who rarely cook, there is a good chance we may end up spending more.
#4 50% Discount
If you are ever attracted to a deal because of the sizeable discount that the shop is offering, don’t be.
Think about the logic surrounding this. If you were looking at something just because it is on a discount, that means you weren’t even thinking about it in the first place.
Spending $50 on something that used to be $100 doesn’t save you $50, it simply makes you spend $50 more than what you originally intended to.
#5 Buying Any Kind Of Package
Buying a package almost never helps you to save money.
Businesses are not stupid. The only time a package is offered is when a business thinks that by selling you the package, they will get you to spend more with them than you actually would.
This isn’t to say that packages aren’t always good deals. On a cost-per-visit basis, you may indeed be saving money if you use up your package before it expires. Overall though, you will end up spending more, not less.
And last we check, spending more does not equate into saving.
What are some other ways that Singaporeans try to save money on only to end up spending more? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.
Listen to our podcast, where we have in-depth discussions on finance topics that matter to you.