Feeling strapped for cash in Singapore?
That’s not surprising — Singapore is the 8th most expensive city in the world to live in. Read on to find out how you can save $$$ in Singapore in 2023 — without feeling the pinch!
Even in these troubled, post-pandemic times with ChatGPT threatening to take some of our jobs away, we still have opportunities abound on the cosmopolitan Little Red Dot. There are many ways to splash our cash on this fabulous island, whether it be on staycations, spas, shopping or eating. Something is always lurking to tempt us into splurging our hard-earned moola. Fret not — there are ways to stretch your sing dollar without missing out. Whether you’re a Singapore newbie or a seasoned citizen, stay tuned for some great ways to save your cash this year and beyond!
Eat & Drink
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash
1. Ditch that Starbucks — a cup of local tea or coffee at one of the thousands of local Singapore coffee shops can be as cheap as $1. In many coffee shops, you can have toast, eggs, and coffee as a set for only $5 or less. Bargain!
2. Mmmm meat — opt for cheaper cuts of beef such as chuck steak and make stews or pies — a roast joint can set you back at least an eye-watering $100. Select cheaper meats like pork, chicken, fish, or vegetables instead.
3. Visionary vegetables — organic broccoli, parsnips, swede — yes, we love them all, but these lovely veggies come at a premium in Singapore, especially the organic, air-flown variety. Opt for local Asian vegetables such as pak choi, kalian or choi sum and not only will you be enjoying a taste extravaganza, but your dollars will remain safely in your wallet.
4. Lunch — whether it be office or school, it’s always cheaper, healthier, and kinder to the environment to take your own lunch in a reusable container. Just $5 per day spent on lunch equates to a whopping $1310 per year!
5. Meal planning — knowing what you’re going to cook and when enables you to shop exactly for what you need to avoid food wastage. There are thousands of meals plans online you can download for FREE in a matter of seconds. Fabulous!
6. Eat and drink at home — where pandemic rules allow, have friends over for dinner instead of meeting at pricey restaurants where meal prices can soar if you add on the cost of alcoholic drinks.
7. Pristine picnics — pack up whatever you were planning to cook that day into containers, grab a mat and take it to your nearest garden or park. What’s even better is that you don’t need to grab the mop to clean the floor after the kids have finished their home-made feast!
8. Get a thermal cooker — with many sizes, colours, and models to choose from, this is a must-have kitchen gadget for busy people. Any soup, curry, even a whole roast chicken can be slowly cooked for several hours with no electricity usage in sight! Check out websites like Delishably to get started.
9. Heavenly Hawker — whether you love chilli crab, kueh pie ti, popiah, chicken rice or oyster omelette, the local hawker centre has something for everyone — and at an amazingly low price. Many meals can be purchased for the bargain price of $5 or even less.
10. Kids eat free deals — many restaurants offer great deals for families and have free kids’ meals for every adult meal purchased. Check out these awesome deals.
11. Grab food vouchers — if you use the grab food app to order food, always click to check if you have any points or vouchers you can use before you hit the order button.
12. Timing deals — some restaurants offer great deals outside the peak hours. You can even grab a bite at the luxurious LAVO at Marina Bay Sands for only $28++.
13. Fave — our go-to coupon app has some great deals on buffets, set meals and other gourmet options at up to $50 off.
14. Wet markets — without doubt, the numerous wet markets around Singapore are the best places to find fresh produce and much more at reasonable prices.
15. Sheng Siong — this supermarket chain provides excellent value groceries and has an online delivery service.
16.FairPrice — visit the local Fairprice branches and avoid the more expensive Fairprice Express and Fairprice Finest which stock more convenience and imported goods.
17. FairPrice warehouse club — join the club for bulk-buy discounts on snacks, cleaning products, toiletries and much more.
Shopping — Go Local
18. HDB areas — these hidden gems are brimming with bargains on all types of items ranging from clothing, food, household items and much more. Browse your local neighbourhood and you’ll see how some shops make even Daiso look expensive. One favourite has to be ABC — a must-visit store for snacks, toiletries and cleaning items.
19. Thrift Shops — found all over Singapore, thrift shops are an easy way to pick up clothing bargains at a fraction of the store price.
20. Online — check your favourite stores online to look for upcoming sales before you buy. Many offer members signup discounts or free shipping.
21. Buy from abroad — many brands from other countries offer free shipping for online orders and will ship goods to Singapore for free above a certain order value. One example is Next UK.
22. Changing electricity providers is a great way to save around 30% off your monthly bill. All you need to do is select a supplier from this list and they will do the rest. Some suppliers offer juicy bonuses and incentives for setting up payments with certain credit cards. Check with the suppliers directly for current offers.
23. Avoid aircon & clothes dryers — these electricity guzzlers will max out your monthly bill. Use them sparingly and you can easily save tens of dollars per month.
24. Setting up home or refreshing your interior can be pricey but thankfully there are numerous great deals out there:
- Second-hand options — try the Carousell app, Facebook groups and iCondo if you live in a condo.
- Buying new — online-only options such as Hipvan and fortytwo.sg have some great deals as they have no physical store to maintain, items often with free delivery when spending a certain amount.
25. Fave — this awesome app offers cashback when you pay at certain outlets and can be conveniently linked to your Grab Pay.
26. Shopback — similar to Fave, this savvy site offers you discount coupons, promo codes and vouchers for online shopping, plus cashback.
27. Credit Cards — check if your bank is levying an annual fee, these can cost over a hundred dollars. Many banks will waive this fee if you call them directly and ask them to reverse it.
28.PAssion Card — (as if we weren’t passionate enough about saving money already!). Receive discounts, perks and much more; visit here for more details.
Stuff for FREE (yes you read it right!)
29. Parks — Singapore is home to an amazing network of Park Connectors, perfect for cycling, jogging, skating, scootering or just walking between Singapore’s amazing parks.
30. Gardens by the Bay — despite it being known as a tourist destination, the gorgeous gardens outside are free to walk around and contain many hidden gems, such as the Chinese garden and the giant baby sculpture. The giant fish tank and children’s garden are not to be missed if you have little ones! Check out this map to find these fascinating floral features. This urban nature park spans 110 hectares and comprises 3 parks in total.
31. Botanic Gardens — this beautiful tropical garden is located at the fringe of Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping district. It is the only tropical garden to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a star attraction for the sophisticated traveller and the local resident alike and is free to enter.
32. Henderson Waves — do not miss this incredible structure which forms part of the Southern Ridges Park and connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park. This bridge stands 36 metres above Henderson Road, and is the tallest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. It’s unique curved timber structure makes it a popular place for walkers and Instagrammers alike.
33. Coney Island — nestled to the north of Punggol, Coney Island is a haven to birds, monkeys, insects and other creatures. Accessible by a bridge, you can walk through the park connector to neighbouring Pasir Ris Park.
34. Free waterplay — this fabulous list of free waterplay places is sure to keep the little ones happy for hours.
36. DIY— the fabulous little red dot has celebrations and festivals all year round, whether it be Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Diwali or Christmas — there is something for everyone. Part of the fun is decorating your home, but the costs can mount up. Make your own decorations from recycled materials and save cash and the planet at the same time. Pinterest and YouTube are brimming with great ideas for you to make your own festive decorations.
37. Annual Passes — If you are a regular visitor to certain attractions or have a family, it pays to have an annual membership so you can enjoy the fun year-round. Always check online for discounts on sites such as Headout before purchasing tickets and receive cashback. Here are some of the best membership deals in Singapore:
37. Want to stay in shape? — Forget that expensive gym membership that you only sometimes go to. Use your condo gym or pool, HDB exercise areas, catch up with friends for a walk rather than a coffee, use YouTube exercise videos — free exercise opportunities are everywhere!
38.Online & app subscriptions — check you aren’t signed up to any apps, online software or other subscriptions you don’t use and cancel them right away — before they take their next credit card payment.
39. Agent fees — if you are looking to rent a property in Singapore, be aware that you will need to pay your property agent a finder’s fee (commission) for identifying a property for you should you choose to work with one. A finder’s fee is applicable if you select an apartment with a one year lease (you need to pay 0.5 month’s rent to your agent) or for rental of between $3500–4000 per month for a 2-year lease — in this case, you need to pay the agent one month’s rent. Instead, you can go on property guru, find properties you’d like to view and contact the Landlord agents directly on the property guru website. You don’t need to pay any agent’s fees. It is worth having a professional to do the property condition reporting with photos for you when you move in. For around $200, this saves a lot of headaches with your Landlord in the case of dispute when you move out.
40. Property Rental Budget — if you’re about to rent an apartment and you’re not too sure how much rent you should be paying. Check out the past transaction data on the URA website and plan your rental budget carefully to be sure you don’t overspend on your dream apartment.
41. Negotiate hard — property rental prices in Singapore are negotiable. Don’t be afraid to haggle hard to secure the best price. The fewer requests you have for the Landlord (e.g. painting walls, new fridge etc.), the better chance you have of securing a good price.
42. Domestic helpers — with salaries starting at $700 per month and a $300 per month levy (if you are a foreigner), it is not cheap to employ domestic help. Add to this the cost of bonuses, food, medical insurance and flights home, it all adds up each month. Instead, consider how you can juggle household tasks and childcare as a family and share the workload.
43. Domestic Helper Agencies — if you do hire a helper, consider a direct-hire instead via one of the many Facebook Groups or word of mouth. The Work Pass can be processed by you online via the MOM website in a few easy steps — this can save you hundreds, if not over a thousand dollars compared to the cost of using an agency.
52. Language learning — there’s no doubt that learning languages have enormous benefits, not just being able to communicate well with others, make new friends, broaden your horizons and much more. It takes time and dedication to learn another language well. However, classes can come at a cost. In-person classes with expert teachers are great but they come at a price. Before subscribing to an expensive series of classes, test your tenacity and commitment by trying courses via Fluent U or Udemy for example. If you prefer to have a face to face tutor, literally thousands of tutors can be found online at very reasonable prices through sites such as Preply or Italky. Classes to suit all levels of ability and children or adults can be found on these sites.
53. Trying it out — if you’re interested in trying out a class in any discipline or subject, before committing to classes, try it out first. Check out some YouTube videos, or cheap Udemy courses to gauge your interest first. Udemy also has a load of free courses available through their website — try them out before you buy anything to avoid wasting money in case you decide not to commit.
54. Martial arts — whether you are a budding martial artist or a seasoned black belt, sparring gear can be some of the most expensive kit you’ll need. Search Facebook groups and Carousell to find a second handset as the chances are you won’t have enough use from a brand new set which can easily cost around $500.
55. Community Centres — Singapore’s multiple community centres provide not only a place for bonding with your neighbours but a great way to take classes very cheaply. Whether you are interested in Yoga, art or material art, there is bound to be a course for you.
56. Library — Singapore’s amazing libraries not only house an incredible array of books, but they provide classes too. Check out your local library for classes near you.
57. Home insurance — if you rent a property, your landlord will most likely have buildings insurance, but most of the time, this will not cover personal belongings. Home insurance is surprisingly cheap in Singapore compared with other countries, but be sure to check out a price comparison website such as Valuechampion before you purchase.
58. Maid insurance — if you use an agency to hire a helper, they will suggest you use their provider, but do your homework before you sign on the dotted line. A price comparison website such as Moneysmart can save you a hundred dollars or more.
59. Health insurance — medical bills can be very expensive in Singapore. Before purchasing any insurance, check if your company provides you with any coverage before you spend on an expensive policy. Also, check your coverage has no caps — you may wish to top up. Using a broker or an online price comparison tool such as Moneysmart can literally save you a thousand dollars or more.
60. Get crafty — we love a good party, whether it’s your little one’s second birthday, your bestie’s 40th, Christmas, or another event — there is always something to celebrate 🥳. With ever-mounting wonders found on Pinterest and online stores, the pressure is on to create a dazzling bash. Decorations and other party items can come at a high price and often end up in the bin, so before you buy it all up, check out a few cut-price options. Pinterest has some amazing DIY party ideas, Carousell or Facebook group often has posts selling entire sets of party deco and stores like SKP which are found in local neighborhood areas have great deals on party items and bulk-buys. We won’t tell anyone you didn’t bust the budget — shhhh! 🤫
Sell your stuff
61. Facebook — anything can be bought and sold in the myriad of Facebook groups from the comfort of your own home. Out of courtesy for your buyers, find one that’s close to home so your buyers don’t need to travel far to collect their purchases.
62. Your condo — check if your condo uses the iCondo app or has a dedicated Facebook group. The chances are you will have a quick sale as people don’t need to travel far to pick up their items.
63. Carousell — upload within seconds and sell to your heart’s content on this convenient app.
64. Don’t own a car — Singapore is one of the costliest places on earth to own a car. With sky-high car prices and the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) to consider, it can cost you an arm and a leg to own your own wheels. Car rental is another option to consider instead of buying. If you have a large family and multiple school bus fees to pay for, a car can be a cheaper option — do your sums before you commit.
65. Taxis — Toggle your apps. Grab, Gojek, Comfort — there are so many apps to select from. It pays to toggle when the weather is bad or peak hour surcharges are being applied.
66. Public Transport — Singapore’s amazing public transport system is world-class, cool and comfortable. Top up your ezlink card and go anywhere cheaply. Pssst — the Punggol LRT is worth a trip just for fun due to its futuristic journey through the urban architecture in the area.
67. Kids stay free — due to COVID-19, relaxing holidays have become a distant dream, but the stress of city life can be alleviated by a nice staycation. This can be expensive, but check websites directly with the hotels, as well as major booking websites. Great deals such as kids staying free are widely available. Guilty admission🤫: I have also been known to take an inflatable mattress to the hotel if they ask us to book another room — at the ages of 7 & 9, my kids don’t really need or want another room to themselves which doubles the cost of our staycay.
68. Budget hotels — it’s nice to have a bit of luxury, but budget hotels also offer some great options in interesting parts of town you may not normally visit.
69. Preschools — these are plentiful across Singapore but vary in cost and only citizens or PRs can access cheaper government preschools. Preschools usually cost around $1000 per month upwards, but there are other options available. Many are half-day only or may be religious institution-affiliated. Read here for examples of lower-cost preschools.
70. International school fees — many foreigners in Singapore only have the option to send their children to international schools. There are limited places for foreign children in local schools, but there are some cost-effective international school options if you plan to be in Singapore for any length of time.
These seventy sensational tips offer a comprehensive guide to help you save money while experiencing the best of Singapore in 2023. By following these practical suggestions, you can enjoy this vibrant city without breaking the bank. Remember, smart budgeting and informed choices can make a significant difference in your overall spending. So, as you enjoy everything Singapore has to offer, keep these tips in mind, and let them guide you toward an affordable experience in this world-class metropolis. Happy saving and enjoy the Lion City!