4 Occasions That Make Us Overspend, and Tips to Avoid Splurging

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4 Occasions That Make Us Overspend, and Tips to Avoid Splurging copy@2x

It is overwhelming! From birthday offers to Christmas discounts, the pressure to spend and make the most of the so called ‘never-again’ offers is sometimes too much to take. While most days you scrimp and save money, there come along a few days in the year when you just cannot resist spending. You only succumb and repent later.

Well, the good news is that you aren’t the only one. Almost everyone falls prey to all the glitz, glam and pressure to spend on some specific days. The bad news is, that to resist this, you will need to bring in a whole lot of financial discipline into your life.

Here are the occasions that make you forget your money resolutions and go berserk! But we have help with ideas to resist the charm.

1. Birthdays

Whether it is spending on your child’s or spouse’s big day or yours, birthdays have the capacity to leave a deep dent in your pocket. From throwing a flashy party to gifting your loved ones, birthdays do come with huge bills attached to them. Those who come from a big family know the pain of gifting more than the others. And let’s not forget the peer pressure that it brings along!

Your key to saving on birthdays (yours and others!):

  • Go unique and special, not consumerist: Calculate how much you spent on birthday gifts and parties last year and we are sure you will see a scary number. It is only human to feel that a S$150 gift carries a lot more importance than a S$30 gift. First, get that myth out of your mind. When you are gifting someone, make sure you put in effort and get creative! So, create a DIY bracelet or wind chime, or prepare a special video using a phone app instead of buying an expensive gift. These things show that you have put in time and effort and not just money.
  • Find a cause: Birthday discount in eateries and pubs make you want to throw that special party. Don’t! Instead, pick a cause such as donating money to an orphanage or sponsoring education for a child. This expenditure will bring you a lot more satisfaction than a party ever will. Better still, make it a family tradition!

2. Annual event sales: Christmas, CNY, Black Friday, Cyber Monday

According to Business Insider Singapore, Singaporeans fork out an average of about S$300 on Christmas gifts each year. Yes, you can pick up your jaw from the floor now! Christmas or the Chinese New Year are the occasions when everyone is highly emotional. It is easy to fall prey to overspending. Plus, yearly sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday add to the pressure to spend.

These are the toughest days for your wallet. And they come every year!

Your key to saving around annual events:

  • Setting a budget for every family member’s gift is the easiest way to avoid overspending.
  • Make sure you don’t wait a week before CNY or Christmas to buy all the gifts as the marked-up prices will only result in a bulk expense for you. Instead, stick to the budget and keep buying them as and when you have the money and time to.
  • Go Secret Santa or limit ang bao expenditure for the extended family too. Change the culture and move more towards meaningful relationships than materialistic pursuits as a family. Be different and proud about it!

Wondering what you will do with all the money you saved? Here are some handy investment tips that will help your money grow.

Related: 5 Tools to Track Your Investment Portfolio so That You Aren’t a Clueless Investor

3. Valentine’s Day

On this day, although your heart goes all ‘awww’, your pocket screams only ‘ouch’! According to The MasterCard Love Index (2016), consumers in Singapore set an average budget of S$263 for Valentine’s Day in 2016, the third highest in the Asia-Pacific region. From buying gifts to paying for candle-lit dinners, nothing comes cheap on Valentine’s Day. Companies don’t think twice before doubling the rates of flowers and food on this day, banking on the fact that people will try their best to prove the extent of their love.

Your key to saving on Valentine’s Day:

  • Give flashy, impersonal restaurants a miss and try cooking a delicious meal for your loved one at home.
  • If being at home on Valentine’s is not your thing, arrange for a cosy picnic for two and head to MacRitchie Reservoir Park or the Chinese Gardens.
  • Declare your love and celebrate on your special days (dating anniversary, etc.!), instead of spending on this one.
  • Skip expensive, superficial gifts and rather invest in an experience. How about taking a couple’s cooking or pottery class? Singapore might be an expensive place but you have plenty of fun, free things to do on the island. Explore them. It’s time for some cheap thrills!

4. Sales

Here is the list of sales that can completely bamboozle you when you least expect them to!

  • Great Singapore Sale
  • National Day offers
  • Hari Raya/Diwali discounts (location specific)
  • Singles Day
  • Feel-like-throwing-a-promotion-code your way sale

Sale – a four letter word that makes the toughest misers go weak in their knees. There was a time when retailers held sales twice a year only. However, with the emergence and progression of online shopping, sales have become as common as sunrises. Whether it is the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), Singles Day or National Day sale, they all aim to do just one thing – break your bank. While you may feel happy by getting a dress at 30% off, you don’t realise that you have spent the remaining 70% on something that you did not really need.

Your key to saving on frequent sales: First things first. Retailers lure you into buying unnecessary things by tempting you with the apparent marked down prices. More often than not, they do this through their glitzy newsletters. So, the next time a retail newsletter pops into your inbox, delete it without opening it.

Bonus tips to keep that money right where it belongs:

  1. Keep quarterly targets regarding buying clothes and electronics and do not exceed them.
  2. Compare prices at a few places/websites before making a big purchase.
  3. Avoid impromptu shopping sprees.
  4. Rent out clothes, books and even bags for any special occasion instead of buying them. You could also buy many used items to save money.
  5. Don’t become a hoarder. When you buy new things, discard old ones. Decluttering is not good just for your house but also for your mind.
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