Keep discretionary spending under control: Experts advise as prices rise

What first caught Mrs. Yvonne Leong’s attention was the price of eggs.

“I used to buy a tray of 10 eggs for less than $3, but the average price for a tray is around $3-4 now,” says Ms. Leong, 43, married with one daughter. 15 years old.

She also noticed that her grocery and utility bills had gradually increased.

Part of the ‘sandwich generation’ – those caring for both their children and their aging parents – Ms Leong is extremely sensitive to price changes. She lives with her family and her mother in a four-room flat in the Housing Office.

Rising prices prompted Ms. Leong to be more careful with her spending. But is it representative of the majority?

Figures released by the Statistics Department on Monday suggest others, perhaps younger people, may not be so cautious.

Overall retail sales rose year over year to 13.7% in July. This increased by 0.6% from the previous month. People spent more on clothes and shoes (68.3%), food and alcohol (53.1%) and watches and jewelry (41.7%) in July than in 2021.

This confirms a recent study by DBS, which found that discretionary spending had increased among its customers. The study analyzed anonymized data from the bank’s 1.2 million individual customers.

Spending on items such as entertainment and travel (56.7%) and food (38.7%) saw some of the biggest increases over the past year.

Ms Fiona Chong, 29, a creative strategist, says she is spending more on food and alcohol now than a year ago. “I’ve been spending more time with my friends, whether it’s dinner at a restaurant or a drink at a bar, since the restrictions eased.”

Financial experts worry about this trend at a time when revenues are lagging behind rising prices.