Monday Musings #7: Luxury on a Budget

When it comes to spending, there are two extremes:

A. Penny-pinchers who deprive themselves of all of life’s little luxuries and save as much as they can. They’ll have enough saved up for retirement, but before they retire, I imagine that it would be a good 50 years of misery living in a constant state of deprivation.

B. Spendthrifts who have barely anything saved up in the bank, and spend their pay as soon as it comes in. They’ll have nothing saved up for retirement, having spent everything they had on instant gratification, so they’ll live out the rest of their lives in misery.

I don’t think either extreme is healthy – wouldn’t life be meaningless if you had to spend half of it in misery just because of money woes?

Mr M and myself both believe in spending in moderation, and getting more bang for our buck when we do spend. Here are some of the ways we do that!

1. Movies

You could be a pirate and download movies for free, but nothing beats the experience of surround sound in a cinema and a giant screen.

If you have a HSBC credit card, you can buy a prepaid movie card from Golden Village and save when you watch movies. There are also plenty of other credit card discounts that you can utilise with other cinemas as well… just remember to pay your credit card bills in full and on time so you don’t end up paying more!

If you don’t want to sign up for credit cards, you can opt to watch movies only on Mondays to Thursdays before 4pm (which is the lowest rate at $8.50). If you can, schedule your days off or take leave on a weekday, and you can enjoy a great day out without having to push through crowds, plus you enjoy cheaper movie prices!

2. Meals

A lot of nice restaurants have lunch specials. For instance, restaurants in Clarke Quay have sets priced at $15, $25 and $35, with some of the options on offer being quite fancy! So, if you choose to dine at the right time, you can have a very nice meal without burning a hole in your pocket. Mr M and I have resolved to spend my weekly day off trying out the lunch specials at different restaurants. The rest of the time, we eat mostly at coffee shops, hawker centres, fast food restaurants, or food courts.

Sometimes, you can dine at a nice restaurant for dinner too, if you can get a booking during Restaurant Week – lunch is only $25 and dinner is $35.

I don’t really believe in cooking because when you cook for just two people, you don’t save at all, plus you have to spend all that time and effort. At the nearby coffee shop, we can easily get our dinner, including drinks, for under $10 in total.

3. Shopping

I almost never buy anything at full price. I usually wait for a sale before I whip out my wallet. I also buy things online when I know it’s cheaper to do so.

For toiletries, I always stock up when something I use is on sale. I love buying in bulk to score a bargain. Of course, this only works if you actually end up using and finishing all the items you buy in bulk. Otherwise, it would be such a waste of money.

I don’t believe in buying brands for the sake of carrying/wearing branded goods. I just don’t think it’s right for me to spend so much when I’m not a millionaire businesswoman/heir to a fabulous fortune/married to a rich man. Buying branded goods would mean having to make sacrifices in other aspects of my life and I’m not prepared to do that. Not worth it!

4. Travel

Mr M and I have stopped staying in hotels when we travel. We now rent apartments to enjoy not just low rental rates, but also more space, cooking/laundry facilities, good location, and the authenticity of living like a local.

Also, now that we have our own businesses and have pretty flexible schedules, we can score great travel deals by flying during off-peak periods. Mr M has a particular credit card with points that can be converted to air miles, so we like to charge our purchases to that card (and I’ll pay him back in cash if I use it) so that we can get free air tickets.

Do you have any other money-maximising tips to share? Please leave a comment if you do!

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