You probably regretted buying that crazy expensive bag/watch/wallet/pair of shoes that cost hundreds of dollars with your very first paycheque. Look on the bright side, that moment of splurge is now in the past and it will likely be a long while before you spend your money in the same way again.
However, there are certain lifestyle choices we make where the spending never stops. Especially in Singapore, we may not think about it on a day to day basis, but in the long run it all adds up to a huge chunk of money. Money that could be better spent on better stuff like investments, or buying a large hunk of gold to trade with in the event of a zombie apocalypse and no one is using cash anymore.
Here are 4 lifestyle choices that are way too costly when living in Singapore.
1. Owning a car
When it comes to driving a car in Singapore, unless you're a taxi, Grab or Uber driver, there's no way in hell that the car is an asset in your life. That’s just the way the system is in this country. We're such a tiny island, everything that has to do with owning a car - from COE, to fuel, to parking, to ERP - has to be hideously inflated to discourage the vast majority of Singaporeans from driving on the roads.
Want to know how hideously expensive compared to other countries? Here are the cast of The Fast and Furious film series with their jaws on the floor when they heard of our car prices.
For most Singaporeans, because the car itself already costs so much, even if you cab everyday for a year, it will still cost less than owning a vehicle.
2. Owning a pet
One of the worst things to do when you walk into a pet shop/animal shelter (all the while telling yourself that you're only browsing) is to make eye contact with the animals. Once those limpid eyes gaze into your soul, that's it. You can't say no to Whiskers / Max / Genie. What the heck, you tell yourself. You're doing a good deed by giving that furry friend a forever home.
But a pet can be a significant expense that just keeps adding up over the lifespan of the animal. First off, there are the vaccinations and annual checkups. Followed by all the toys and pet merchandise you wish to shower on your fur baby. Pet food on its own might not cost that much, but if your pet develops health problems later on in its life, it’s likely that you'll have to upgrade to more expensive specific food, as well as foot the medical bills for your beloved pet.
Dogs can live up to 15 years, while cats can have a lifespan of up to 20 years. Ask yourself if you are prepared to spend constantly within that timeframe.
Smokers get a lot of grief in Singapore. Cigarettes have been getting more expensive every year, while the number of places where you can light up has been steadily decreasing. There's a higher risk of health complications that come with being a regular smoker, which also means higher chance of spending on medical bills.
Even if we set aside the health issues, in terms of cost, Singapore is an expensive country to be a smoker. The cost of a pack of Marlboro cigarettes is about $13. If you add that up, smoking a pack-a-day can cost you upwards of $400 a month. That's $4,800 a year of pure lighting up and puffing.
4. Having children
While there are many other reasons the birth rate in Singapore is pretty much rock bottom, the cost of raising children cannot be ignored. It can cost upwards of $200,000 to almost 1 mil to raise a child in Singapore! On average, a family will spend close to $350,000 within the child's first 8 years.
Of course, the financial reason will never outweigh the joys of having a child to call your own. But the truth is that starting a family will have a lifelong financial and emotional impact. With a child or two under your care, it will be your responsibility to keep them afloat no matter what happens. This means basic healthcare, a roof over their head, a solid education, their wants, their needs, their hobbies and interests, etc.
In future, only think about having kids when you're sure it's what you and your spouse wants. Not because you are sick of your parents or in-laws pressuring you for grandkids every time Chinese New Year rolls around.