COVID-19: How are Singaporeans managing costs | Finder SG
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What have you given up due to COVID-19?

Shopping is on the chopping block for over a third of Singaporean adults. 

People have been asked to give up a lot in 2020 because of COVID-19, from going into the office to travel to even being able to go out to dinner freely. This may explain why 68% of Singaporean adults have made some cutbacks on spending in the last 12 months, with 37% having specifically reeled in their discretionary spending, including buying clothes or dining out, according to an analysis by Finder.com of data collected by Milieu Insight.

And with the holiday period just around the corner, those hoping to get a decent haul of gifts may want to reset their expectations, with about a quarter of Singaporeans adults (24%) cutting back on buying gifts for family and friends.

And quite dangerously, routine medical check-ups and services such as dental check-ups or mammograms are coming in as the third most likely thing that Singaporeans are cutting back on because of COVID-19. However, it’s worth noting this might be due to the lockdown measures themselves, rather than financial pressure to cut back on spending.

What people are cutting back onSingaporean adults
Discretionary spending like buying clothes or dining out37%
Buying gifts for family and friends24%
Routine medical check-ups/services (dentist, mammograms, etc)19%
Other spending18%
Gym memberships17%
Saving money17%
Investing16%
Subscription TV streaming services9%
Health insurance7%
Making repayments on debts, e.g. mortgages, credit cards, personal loans6%
Home insurance5%
Home Internet5%
Pet insurance4%

Men are more likely to be tightening the purse strings

Singaporean men are more likely to say they’ve cut back on spending than women, with 71% of men saying they’ve made some changes to their spending habits as a result of COVID-19 compared to 64% of women.

Both men and women listed discretionary spending as the number one outgoing on the chopping block, with 37% of men and 36% of women saying they’ve cut back in this area. Men and women both listed buying gifts for family and friends as their number two area of saving, with 24% of men and 23% of women cutting back here.

While both men and women listed routine medical check-ups as their third most likely area to cut back on, men were far more likely to do so with 22% of men saying they were finding savings here versus just 16% of women. Tied as the third most likely area for Singaporean women to look for sayings was scrapping gym memberships (also 16%).

What people are cutting back onMenWomen
Discretionary spending like buying clothes or dining out37%36%
Buying gifts for family and friends24%23%
Routine medical check-ups/services (dentist, mammograms, etc)22%16%
Investing21%12%
Saving money19%15%
Gym memberships18%16%
Health insurance10%5%
Subscription TV streaming services10%7%
Making repayments on debts, e.g. mortgages, credit cards, personal loans9%4%
Home Internet8%2%
Home insurance7%2%
Pet insurance6%3%
Other spending20%17%
I have not given up any spending as a result of COVID-1929%36%

Younger adults most likely to be cutting back on spending

Almost three-quarters (73%) of those between the ages of 25 and 34 said that they’d cut back on spending in some areas, with those aged 35 to 44 the next most likely group to be spending less at 70%.

Those aged 16 to 24, 45 to 54 and 55 and older had 65% saying they’d made some changes to their spending habits.

Once more, discretionary spending was the number one area where people were looking to save some cash. All age groups (except for those aged 45 to 54) listed buying gifts for family and friends as their second most common area of savings, with 45 to 54 years olds listing cutting back on medical checks as their next biggest area to save money.

What people are cutting back on16-2425-3435-4445-5455+
Discretionary spending like buying clothes or dining out38%37%39%32%39%
Buying gifts for family and friends25%24%27%20%21%
Gym memberships20%21%18%15%10%
Saving money19%15%20%17%14%
Routine medical check-ups/services (dentist, mammograms, etc)16%22%21%21%14%
Investing12%18%16%19%14%
Making repayments on debts, e.g. mortgages, credit cards, personal loans8%5%7%7%6%
Subscription TV streaming services8%8%9%10%9%
Health insurance7%7%9%7%7%
Pet insurance7%3%5%4%3%
Home Internet6%5%6%3%2%
Home insurance5%5%6%4%4%
Other spending19%19%19%18%15%
I have not given up any spending as a result of COVID-1935%27%30%35%35%

Surprisingly, employment doesn’t have a major impact on your financial decisions

In what may be one of the more interesting findings, whether or not you’re currently employed doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on how you’re planning to cut back on spending, with the majority of those both with and without jobs planning to save on costs in line with the population at large.

The one area that stood out was cutting back on check-ups, as those with jobs (21%) were more likely to say they were making savings in this area than those without jobs (12%).

What people are cutting back onEmployedUnemployed
Discretionary spending like buying clothes or dining out37%34%
Buying gifts for family and friends24%22%
Routine medical check-ups/services (dentist, mammograms, etc)21%12%
Gym memberships18%15%
Investing17%13%
Saving money16%18%
Subscription TV streaming services9%8%
Health insurance8%6%
Making repayments on debts, e.g. mortgages, credit cards, personal loans7%6%
Home insurance5%3%
Home Internet5%3%
Pet insurance4%4%
Other spending19%15%
I have not given up any spending as a result of COVID-1931%37%

Other interesting trends

Of all the demographic groups with a large enough sample size (over n=30), those who’d had children in the last 12 months were the most likely to be cutting costs, with 48% saying they’d either cut back on discretionary spending or buying gifts for family and friends, and 45% saying they’d skipped a medical check-up.

Image: Getty

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