What first caught Ms 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 one tray is about $3 to $4 now,” says Ms Leong, 43, who is married and has a 15-year-old daughter.
She also noticed that her grocery and utility bills had gradually gone up.
As part of the “sandwich generation” – those who care for both their children and ageing parents – Ms Leong is acutely sensitive to price changes. She lives with her family and her mother in a four-room Housing Board flat.
Higher prices have prompted Ms Leong to be more careful in her spending. But is she representative of the majority?
Figures released by the Department of Statistics on Monday suggest that others, perhaps those younger, may not be so prudent.
Overall, retail sales grew year on year to 13.7 per cent in July. This increased by 0.6 per cent from the month before. People spent more on apparel and footwear (68.3 per cent), food and alcohol (53.1 per cent), and watches and jewellery (41.7 per cent) in July than they did in 2021.
This supports a recent study by DBS, which found that discretionary spending had increased among its customers. The study analysed anonymised data of the bank’s 1.2 million retail customers.
Expenditure on items such as entertainment and travel (56.7 per cent) and food (38.7 per cent) saw some of the largest increases over the past year.
Ms Fiona Chong, 29, a creative strategist, says she spends more on food and alcohol now compared to last year. “I hang out with my friends more, whether it’s dinner at a restaurant or drinks at a bar, since restrictions have eased.”
Financial experts are concerned by the trend at a time when income is lagging behind the rise in prices.