Whether you’ll be living in Singapore for a couple of months or years, or will be visiting for a short period of time - Singapore is not cheap. Prices in Singapore are rising and if you’re looking to stay in Singapore on a budget, you’re going to have to stay in hostels and scrimp on several things. Fret not, because here we’ll give you some tips to save some money during your stay here!
If you’re going to be living in Singapore for a while, let us introduce to you some tips to surviving on your budget.
1. Cook your own meals
Groceries in Singapore are affordable. Not every food is cheap, of course, but most vegetables and meat at the wet markets and the supermarkets are fairly cheap. If there’s a wet market near your area, buy your food there - most of the time, it’s cheaper and fresher than the supermarkets. Otherwise, head to NTUC, Giant or Sheng Siong Supermarket to get your daily necessities. These supermarkets tend to be cheaper and have offers from time to time, especially during festive seasons. Chinese new year just passed, so you would have seen lots of discounts and festive goodies to satisfy your tummy. Shiok!
2. If you want to eat out… eat at the hawker centres
Avoid the cafés and the restaurants if you want to eat cheap. But cheap food doesn’t mean bad food. There are lots of hawker centres in Singapore that offer a large variety of delicious food in different cuisines that will leave you salivating and coming back for more. The Old Airport Road Food Centre, Chomp Chomp Food Centre and Maxwell Road Hawker Centre are some of the famous great ones you’ll find, just to name a few. Give them a shot and you may be surprised at some of the quality food you’ll be able to sniff out.
3. Don’t shop at Orchard Road
Sure, Orchard Road is Singapore’s famous shopping belt in town. That’s true, but along with its name comes the high cost. Many branded stores line its roads, rent is high, and thus clothes are expensive. Orchard Road does offer a lot of stores for you to enjoy, but if you want really cheap clothes, let us introduce you to online shopping - and in particular, an online platform called Taobao. There, you can find almost anything but for a fraction of the price. If you see a gorgeous skirt in store, chances are, you’ll find a similar or the exact same one on Taobao! I once bought a shirt for S$2. Yes, it’s possible. Everything is manufactured in China, so expect some waiting time and some products that may have low quality. There are many websites online that provide you with information on which store in Taobao to purchase from, so check them out and rock your stylish outfits!
If you prefer buying in stores, visit the cheaper stores within neighbourhoods, Bugis Street and Chinatown.
4. Don’t buy bottled water
Tap water in Singapore is safe to drink. Bring a water bottle with you and fill it up with tap water. You’ll do fine.
5. Buy an EZ-Link Card to travel around
The EZ-Link Card stores cash value in it and enables you to take public transport anywhere, be it the train or the bus. You can top up any amount you want, depending on the length of your stay. Instead of using taxis, use the card and travel around on our fairly efficient public transport system. Singapore’s not that big so you’re likely to be able to get to your destinations using just the trains the buses.
Alcohol is expensive in Singapore. I’m in Europe right now and alcohol in Singapore costs more than most parts of Europe and the US due to the high taxes imposed on it. Drinking at a bar or a club will cost you quite a bit of money and you will have to drink in moderation if you want to save.
What Singaporeans like to do is to buy drinks from the convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, then hang out with their friends to drink together. That’s a cheaper alternative you can do. Just note - no buying of alcohol or drinking in public areas after 10.30pm.
7. Go for all the Freebies
Singaporeans absolutely love freebies. Free food, free drinks, free anything - many kiasu Singaporeans will almost certainly go for all the freebies they can find. If there’s free entrance to museums, use the chance and visit them. If entry to Sentosa through the boardwalk is free - and it IS free till end 2017 - take the chance and visit Sentosa’s beaches and whatever nature it has to offer. Skip the Universal Studios because the entrance fee is expensive. But use the chance to explore Singapore and all its free parks for you to enjoy.
So there, you can survive in Singapore on a budget and yet still soak in all the charms it has to offer. Good food, city life and beautiful parks - you can be sure to have the chance to experience it all without breaking your bank. You’ll be able to experience many parts of Singapore’s culture in your everyday life and have the time of your life enjoying festivities and having fun in a safe environment.