Saving Money In Singapore

Have you ever been so broke you couldn’t buy a bottle of water from 7-11 or had to have your friend transfer you five bucks to get money out of your bank account?

While your financial situation might not have been as jialat as ours, you’ve probably asked your friends to “budget a bit” when the squad goes out on more than one occasion.

Besides cutting down on one too many late night suppers and Friday nights at Clarke Quay, there are more than a few lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your monthly expenditure.

If you’re sick of being ‘the broke friend’, we’ve made a list of 16 money-saving hacks you should know if you want to keep your bank statement in the black.

1. Snag dining deals even at closing time

Going out on date night doesn’t mean having to empty your bank account. Use apps which offer dining discounts such as Eatigo and get up to 50% off your food bill.

Alternatively, eat out late and snag closing-time deals as stores try to clear their leftover stock. Sushi lovers will know Cold Storage and selected NTUCs sell sushi for as low as half the price after 8.00pm.

Score similar deals using 11th Hour. The app shows users discounted food items offered by restaurants and eateries right before closing time.

2. Keep your student IDs

If you’re still a student, make use of student deals when you shop.
-ASOS 20% off upon verification
-Apple store deals

But the good thing about being Asian is we often look younger than we actually are.

Even if it’s been years since graduation, take advantage of your baby face and flash your student ID to get discounts at eateries, museums, and movies:

-Topshop 10% off
-Forever 21 10% off
-KFC meals at S$5
-Hot Tomato mains at S$10
-Cathay Cineplexes S$7 for weekday movies before 6.00pm

3. Swap cafe coffee for kopi-c kosong peng

Go local and get your morning cuppa from a kopitiam. Kopi-C kosong peng translates to iced coffee with unsweetened milk without sugar, which is essentially the Singapore version of an iced latte.

Not only is the caffeine kick stronger, it’ll cost you less than S$1.50!

4. Take advantage of free fitness classes

There are free fitness events we compile every month for budget-conscious Singaporeans to get moving.

If yoga is your thing, take advantage of how most yoga studios in Singapore offer free first-time trial sessions. Alternatively, you can try online workout programmes such as Blogilates.

And if you’re a dedicated gym rat, sign up for a gym near your home to increase your chances of going, or use ActiveSG credits to purchase a public gym pass for ‘free’.

5. Use a basket instead of a trolley when grocery shopping

Shop at NTUC and Sheng Shiong for the best grocery deals. Before entering the store, plan your meals in advance and make a grocery list so you’d only put items you need into your basket.

Being aware of how much weight you’re carrying and having limited basket space will prevent you from adding unnecessary items.

If you’re looking for cheaper deals, head to the nearest wet market and flirt with the stall uncles. Maybe you could charm them into selling you fresh produce at a lower price instead!

6. Practice the three-day rule when shopping

The rule’s simple: when you go window-shopping and see something you really want, walk away. If you’re still thinking about it three days later, allow yourself to go and get it.

This way, you make sure you’re buying something you really like instead of accumulating cheap, impulse buys.

But more often than not, if you can buy something from a physical store, you can probably purchase it cheaper online if you’re willing to wait for the delivery.

Take a picture of the item and scan it on Taobao to find a replica, or wait for online sales such as the upcoming Singles’ Day or Black Friday events to score huge discounts.

7. Get the most out of beauty products

When you think you’ve run out of foundation, cut the bottle open to get the very last bit. Double up matte nude lipsticks as blushers, and colourful lip liners as eyeliners, so you get more use out of one product.

Instead of spending a bomb on custom facial masks, DIY your own. Buy ‘blank’ mask sheets from Daiso or Watsons and soak them in your usual toner or natural ingredients.

This way, you get a facial sheet which is best-suited for your skin and avoid breakouts caused by unknown ingredients.

8. Do your brows and eyelashes for free at Browhaus

Save on makeup and get free eyebrow embroidery and eyelash extension services from Browhaus. All you have to do is take a picture of your face and send it to the beautician to see if you qualify for the treatment.

If you do opt for an eyebrow or eyelash session with them, know the beauticians are still in training and are not fully qualified professionals yet. But there are instructors at hand to assist them.

9. Load up on free beauty samples

Ask the consultants at Sephora and Kiehl’s for free beauty advice and product samples. Don’t underestimate the tiny sample packets: they’re usually good for more than one use and you can go to other outlets for more.

You can also get free spoolies from all Sephora makeup counters. If you don’t use makeup often, ask beauty consultants to ‘test’ expensive cult makeup products on you, or do your own makeup using display samples at quieter Sephora stores.

10. Have multiple emails to use promo codes more than once

Many online shopping sites offer discounts for first time users, e.g. iHerb. Make different email accounts so you can use the codes more than once.

To achieve maximum productivity, send all advertorials and newsletters to one email to keep spam away from your main work account.

11. Buy in bulk and meal prep

Though cooking requires more effort than tapao-ing from a hawker centre, it saves you tons of money in the long-run and gives you full control of what’s going into your body.

Get superfoods like quinoa and chia seeds from iHerb at reduced prices and freeze the leftovers for a convenient, healthy meal.

If you’re domestically-challenged in the kitchen, invest in a rice cooker. Besides being able to steam rice and vegetables, you can make soups, curries, and even cakes. Simply put in the ingredients, add water and wait.

12. Learn to DIY your gel manicures

If you’re a fan of doing your nails but can’t afford regular manicures, head to Daiso and buy S$2 plain acrylic fake nails. Coat them with your preferred nail polish colour and secure them on with nail glue.

Alternatively, invest in a mini UV gel nail dryer (~S$12) and gel nail polish (starting from ~S$0.80) for a home manicure job which lasts up to a month.

13. Use an app to keep track of your expenditure

Download Money Manager on your iPhone and key in every purchase you make. With different categories available (i.e. shopping, food, transport), you’ll be able to keep track of exactly where your money’s going.

Even though it might feel like a hassle, it’s a good habit to cultivate as it encourages you to be more aware of your everyday spending.

14. Get the latest promo codes on Picodi

Often, we find ourselves calling for an Uber when we realise we’re late to a dinner appointment with our friends again. Plan for better time management so you can afford to take the MRT and still be on time.

If you simply take too long to get ready, be the first to get promo codes for Uber and Grab. There are limited redemptions though, so fastest fingers first!

15. Take an interest in financial plans

While it’s important to be financially prudent, it’s also vital to learn how to make your money grow.

Besides having a regular savings plan where you automatically transfer a fixed portion of your salary into every month, you can make small financial investments such as money market funds.

Learn about compound interest investments and take interest in the types of insurance you might possibly buy for a more secure financial future.

16. Don’t spend too much on stationery, body soap or the latest fashions

Instead of buying too-pretty-to-use stationery you’d inevitably end up hoarding, grab readily available office supplies or one of the many free pens you’ve received from student welfare packs.

Aside from hand creams, body soap is one of the most common gifts a girl receives on Christmas and her birthday. Save on buying the fancy soap yourself and grab a cheap bottle at the dollar store.

Rather than accumulating clothes you’d only wear for one season, invest in wardrobe staples or use Deja to get cashback for fast fashion stores (Editor’s Market, Topshop, Zara, Forever21, etc).

Saving Is A Lifestyle

While many of these money saving hacks focus on helping you stretch your dollar, it’s important to note none of these tips will immediately save you a whole lot of money.

At the end of the day, being financially savvy is not about restricting and depriving yourself. It’s about making lifestyle changes which encourages you to shop smart!


This post was done in partnership with Picodi.