Finances

8 Things Singaporeans Will Always Love, Even Though Inflation Costs Make Us Want To Cry

Singapore’s must-buys


If you’ve lived through at least 2 Earth orbits around the Sun, you would’ve probably experienced a rise in costs of everyday things. Gone are the days when we could easily live off $5 a day without having to break open our piggy banks for extra cash. 

But we are loyal creatures, with our undying love for things that’ve been deemed essential, like bubble tea or shopping at daiso, and can never give up. Take a ride on the nostalgia train and reminisce the 8 things that we will die die always buy, despite their change in price over the years. 


1. McDonald’s McFlurry – $2 vs $3.30



Image credit: Eatbook

A sweltering hot day calls for a much-needed icy dessert like the ultimate #treatyoself item – McDonald’s McFlurry. While there’s been a tonne of variations including the Ovaltine McFlurry and the Thai Milk Tea McFlurry, nothing beats the OG classic blend of vanilla and Oreo chunks. 

While this sweet treat used to cost $2 back in 2012, prices have since increased to $3.30 a cup. Also, menu prices vary between each McDonald’s outlet as shared on Mcdonald’s Customer Care page – so be sure to double check the price before making your purchase.


Image credit:
@mcdonaldsbrampton

But for those days when we feel less of a baller, there’s also the trusty Vanilla Cone that will satisfy our cravings. While it’s still affordable at $1 per cone, we can’t help but heart pain over the fact that it used to cost only $0.50 back in the day. 


2. Traditional waffles – $1.30 vs $1.50



Waffle prices back in 2014.
Image credit: Selena T.

Hands up if waffles unlock a prime childhood memory for you – be it a yummy reward after tuition classes, or a mid-day refuel after running around in the playground. But as we grow older, the prices of waffles also grow with us. Costing only $1.30 a couple years ago, a plain waffle now sets us back at $1.50. 


3. Ice Milo – $1.30 vs $2



Image credit:
PaPa & Son Coffee Shop

A quintessential coffee shop drink would be the ice Milo, best paired with a spicy bowl of bak chor mee or an egg prata. This malt delight not only satisfies our sweet tooth, but also provides a respite from Singapore’s heat. A Milo peng used to only cost $1.30, but present day prices range from $1.60-$2 at air-conditioned food courts. 


4. Chicken rice – $2 vs $3.50



Currently, a plate of chicken thigh rice can cost up to $5. 

Ask anyone about our classic local dishes and they’ll probably mention chicken rice. It’s not only a substantial dish packed with protein and carbs, it’s also easily available at places including the famous $2 MRT chicken rice stalls. You would’ve been able to score a plate for $2 back in the day, but prices have since increased and you’ll have to fork out at least ~$3.50 now.


5. Daiso – $2 vs $2.14


Ah, Daiso – our very own mini-Japan that’s fondly known as the “2 dollar store”. It’s also everyone’s favourite place to pick up affordable everyday essentials such as kitchenware, stationary, and Japanese snacks. 

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would’ve heard the devastating news of the store charging GST – and in its place a new pricing system. But even with its prices ranging from $2.14-$25.47, we’ll continue returning for its money-saving deals


6. Bread from neighbourhood bakeries – $1 vs $2.30



Image credit:
Vincent Lee

Buns – no, not that buns – are a popular breakfast option for many. They’re a great grab-and-go snack too, for when you’re rushing to places and need some grub to fill the tummy. You could get fresh bread at neighbourhood bakeries from $1 in the past, but now prices go from $2.30 and up.


7. Toilet paper – $3.04 vs $4.52


Hoarding Purchasing toilet paper has since become a must-do for every household, no thanks to Miss Rona. While prices differ between brands and the number of ply, the average 10 pack roll used to cost around $4.20 in 2018, and have since increased to $4.60 in 2022. The 4 pack roll also increased from ~$3.04 to ~$4.52 from March to April this year. 


8. Bubble tea – $2.40 vs $3.50



Image credit:
Foodie FC

We might have a national flower and mascot, but as far as national beverages go – it’s safe to say that bubble tea is a strong contender. With new bubble tea shops popping up around Singapore, you’d expect the prices to be in us customers’ favour due to the competition. But alas, the cost of a milk tea went from $2.40 in 2010 to at least $3.50 in 2022. 


Favourite things that cost more than they originally did


There’s no denying that the cost of living is getting more expensive, with prices of things such as bread and toilet paper going up. And we’ve all heard of the ongoing joke about needing to sell a leg and a kidney just to afford a house, but how much of that is actually true? 

If you’re finance illiterate like me, don’t panic just yet. It’s best to first understand why on earth  a cup of Milo is getting costlier – and it’s no thanks to inflation, among other things. For those who are lost, inflation is the increase of price in products and services over time. 

There are a couple of causes for inflation, but here are the main ones you’ll need to know: 

  • Demand-pull inflation: Demand for product/service is greater than the supply, resulting in a limited number of products/services available, pushing the price up.
  • Cost-push inflation: Increase in price of materials or cost of wages of the product/service, which results in suppliers pushing the price up so customers can bear some of the financial burden.
  • Devaluation: Downward adaptation of the country’s exchange rate, causing the country’s currency to drop.
  • Government policies and regulations: Certain policies affect the economy and indirectly cause inflation. For example, if a tax subsidy for coffee is introduced, it can cause a sudden increase in demand – leading to the demand-pull inflation.

These might sound like scary industry jargon to you, but what’s important to note is how you can better prep yourself to cope with inflation while adulting. Companies like AIA have conducted surveys, and these are some of the ways you can consider adopting:  

  • Control your expenditure: This means no more frantic retail therapy, or carting out $2,000 worth of gaming equipment.
  • Increase the amount of savings: “Save your money for a rainy day” is something our parents would always say to us – and they’re not wrong. If you’re unsure on where to start, there are several Savings Insurance Plans you can check out.
  • Review your financial health: It’s time to open that unread message from your financial advisor – be aware of the current policies and plans you have, and how you can better use them to your advantage.
  • Increase in investments: Investments are a good way to build up your savings, and it’s encouraged to keep a long-term view of 10 years or more – these are some Investment Insurance Plans you can consider.

At the end of the day, there’s no hard and fast rule on how to best handle your finances, just like how it’s impossible to prevent monetary phenomenons such as inflation. Preventative measures including the ones mentioned above can help cushion the impact, and allow us to continue enjoying the lil’ pleasures in life. 

Find out more about AIA’s offerings


This post was brought to you by AIA.
Cover image adapted from: Eatbook

Joycelyn Yeow

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