spend money

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How much and how far will two hundred dollars get you? For some it’s a lunch, for others it’s a bag they have to budget for. While 200 might seem like an arbitrary number (icentennial not), we thought it’d be interesting to find out from modern women what value they placed on two hundred dollars and which spend has meant the most to them.

Xin Hui Helder-Eng, 37, Founder of SugarQuoted (Social Media Agency)

xin hui

Best $200 I ever spent was for a 10-class pass to my first yoga class 15 years ago.

I was on my first job, so $200 was like 10 per cent of my pay, okay! I had twisted my knee wakeboarding, and the doc recommended I rest, and only do low impact activities like yoga. So I just went to the nearest studio, I didn’t care if I liked it or had a rapport with the instructors; I didn’t even ask for a free trial class. I just signed up for 10 classes, knowing that once it’s paid for, it’ll translate to commitment. Fast forward to today, and I now practise daily and am a yoga teacher at Yoga Lab Singapore.

Shannon Kalayanamitr, 41, Partner at Gobi Partners


It was the decision to streak my hair platinum like Rogue from X-men, or even Cruella de Vil. I started getting white hair early when I was young, and now into my early 40s, it’s coming out more than ever. I’m always on the go, travelling internationally, and I cannot stand to be in a hair salon to dye my hair every month or every other month. This allows me to dye/streak/highlight my hair every six months since white blends into platinum locks. And with it, I actually can pass for being fashionable! It’s really a lazy tactic to maintain long hair, and now I’m more confident going into my silver-white years. Also, I’ve now found my hairstyle until I go 100 per cent grey.

Aly Ang, 29, Head of Creative at a PR agency


The best $200 I’ve ever spent was on return flight tickets to the Maldives, courtesy of the now defunct Tigerair. A complete steal for a getaway that includes deep-sea diving in crystal clear waters, snorkelling alongside friendly sea turtles and soaking up the salty breeze on white sand beaches.

Cheryl Ho, 38, Director, Articulate ConsultingcherylThe best $200 I’ve ever spent was during the “acqua alta” in Venice when I was living in Italy.

I needed rubber waders due to the city’s unique position as an island crisscrossed with canals and rising water levels. As it happened, I left my home one freezing winter morning, waddled through shallow puddles, and returned that afternoon to what looked like the largest and iciest outdoor swimming pool in St. Mark’s Square. No joke, it was well above 130 cm in some areas. Shelling out for the highest rubber boots and fishing waders I could find was well worth it.

Lish Lau (“around 30”), Account Director


The best $200 I spent was on my GHD hair straightener. Yes, GHD Hair Straighteners cost way more than $200. But I was 18, it was my birthday, and my parents offered to pander to my wilful, undergraduate desires and subsidise half its cost. Almost a decade later, it is still my almost-daily companion; the best part is that I’ve also discovered it can be used as a hair curler. 

Jessica Chan, 28, Freelance Writer/PR


Definitely the lunch tasting menu at ESORA. Dropping such an amount on lunch seems OTT, but I would give anything to have another meal there again. The word ‘amazing’ barely encapsulated what chef Shigeru Koizumi presented. He used the crème de la crème of ingredients for his series of swoon-worthy dishes that’ll evoke images of a traditional ryokan in the Japanese countryside. There is also a farewell gift of chef’s wasabon, his precious fine-grained Japanese sugar.

Bibi Chia, 37, Chief Dietician at a Hospital


Here’s my best $200 spent just because it’s still fresh. I was at the Gold Coast, and my morning started in Hunter Valley—at the cellar doors of Usher Tinkler, the rockstar winery. I picked up an intricate rose and their hospitable storytelling for free. I drove towards Port Macquarie and along the way had fresh cherry pies and a bag of cherries for $15. 

Further down, we stopped by Ricardo Tomatoes orchard, and the main activity was strawberry picking; you pay for what you picked—we got a huge box for $17. Then at Billabong Zoo the $34 for entry included an up-close encounter with the koalas. My day ended at Opal Cove Resort in a beachfront resort for $125. Total $191.

(I didn’t mention that I had a speeding fine of $400, but hey, it doesn’t count, right? The police were courteous, though, so do respect the speed limits when driving in Australia.)