, Singapore

Here are 5 ways to curb festive season overspending

Around 56% of Singaporeans overspend their money during the season.

Digital wealth platform Syfe, licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, released its research on festive season overspending.

Data revealed 76% want to invest to grow their money in 2022, and 94% of people have personal finance-related resolutions for the new year. On the other hand, 56% of people spend more or a lot more than usual when it comes to the festive season consisting of Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year. Gifts for family and loved ones (66%), festive eating (60%), self-care such as fashion, grooming, and wellness (44%), and travel (32%) came up as the top items people intend to spend on during this period.

"From this survey, we see a stark contrast between people's true intent and their actions in reality. The gap becomes even wider during the festive season because of the number of large-scale sale events starting from Black Friday to Boxing Day encouraging people to spend more. Syfe hopes to usher in the season by reminding people of their larger goals, which is the desire to invest to grow their money in 2022,” said partner Sebastian Sieber,

Here are the tips from Syfe, in partnership with clinical psychologist Annabelle Chow:

Have a value-driven approach to spending

At the very start, identify the values that are important to you at your current life stage. Beyond financial goals such as planning for travels or buying a home, having a clear understanding of your values and living life accordingly can help us gain greater fulfilment. As the festive season commences, it is good to evaluate the motivation for our purchases. Is spending lavishly on gifts aligned with what you value in life? I.e. If what you value is a life of rich experiences with loved ones, how can we allocate our money accordingly?

Resist impulsive purchases

Impulse purchases are common given that we are always surrounded by great deals and discounts, especially during this time of the year. In fact, e-commerce and retail shops utilise psychology principles to lower resistance and are intentionally designed to encourage customers to spend. If you feel like a decision might be impulsive, practice the STOP exercise:

  • S - Stop whatever you are doing
  • T - Take a breath and anchor yourself
  • O - Observe and notice what’s happening inside and around you, notice the urge to purchase and acknowledge it, and 
  • P - Proceed effectively by reminding yourself of your list of priorities, and whether this aligns with your values.

Make considered decisions

Sometimes we might face mental roadblocks when there seem to be many decisions to be made and information to digest. Before making decisions, we should first identify and recognise the decision we feel we want to make i.e. the intuitive or emotional decision. Next, using available information, deliberately and carefully consider the pros and cons of your decision and be as specific as you can. Finally, and taking the emotional decision into
account, weigh up your list of pros and cons and decide which is the better option to take. 

Challenge unhelpful thoughts

Examples of unhelpful thoughts could include the following: “No matter what I do, I’ll never be as rich or successful as my friends, so why try?” or “I’m not financially savvy to be able to make a meaningful difference in my own life”. Such thoughts are unhelpful because they move us away from the direction of our values, and affect our feelings, behaviours and even our physiological sensations. When you are aware of such thoughts, ask yourself - what’s the evidence that supports or contradicts these thoughts? What’s the best/worst thing that can happen if this decision goes one way or another? What would I tell a friend that is going through the same situation?

Getting started on your journey to positive change

Start with very small and achievable steps in the direction of your choice. Once you start to get into the habit of incorporating small steps into your daily routine, you may find that it is easier to work up to something that requires more commitment when you feel ready. Go easy on ourselves and celebrate any progress we make.

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