While having lunch with the Gf one day, I brought up Budget Babe’s recent post on how she managed to save 50% more than the previous record she set for herself. Amazed by her money-saving superpowers, we discussed the topic extensively and we started asking ourselves how we can save money in Singapore , the smart way, without living like a monk. Coming up with solutions and ideas proved to be challenging as we find that many of our suggestions don’t really tackle the big costs of living in Singapore. However, we believe that every little bit helps and we have decided to compile a list on how one can save money in our costly city.
We plan to add more ideas to this list and grow it over time. We invite YOU to chip in your ideas in the comments section. If we think that your idea is awesome, we will add it to the list and reference it to you. Let’s help one another out, fellow Singaporeans!
So you want to save more money, build up a CPF warchest like AK, and retire like a King? Let’s start with these money-saving habits!
1. Create Two Bank Accounts
Creating 2 bank accounts is one of the advice often given to fresh grads who have just started working. As a a fresh grad receiving paltry allowance or working part-time for most of your life, getting those $3k pay checks from your first job makes you feel like you hit jackpot. Very soon, you will find yourself withdrawing money from ATMs constantly or chalking up debt on your credit card with little heed to your overall cash outflow.
To put a leash on your spending, create 2 bank accounts. One for saving, and one for expenditure. So when you get your pay check, you deposit X% of your salary into your savings account before putting the remainder into your expenditure account. This will not only force you to budget your spending, but it also helps to increase your awareness on what you are spending on.
Preferably, your account for savings must be one that is rather inconvenient to access. Make it difficult for yourself to draw money out that account. Hint: choose a bank that doesn’t have that many ATMs lying around Singapore.
This method probably requires some queuing at banks and submitting paperwork at the start but it will be all worthwhile in the long run. Try it out!
2. Don’t buy a car. Seriously.
Singapore is ranked the world’s most expensive city by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The biggest contributing factor is, surprise surprise, none other than the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) that comes along with a car purchase. Data shows that COE prices are now between $45-55K per car purchase. If you really want to save money in Singapore, not buying a car could be the best decision ever.
To put things in perspective, the price of a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 (Classic) in Singapore is the same as a Porche 911 in North America, same as a Maserati in America or a Mercedes Benz SLK in Canada. (See this article.) I don’t know about you, but I find that insane. And we haven’t even started counting in maintenance, parking, insurance…
So if you are stretching your salary by buying a car, you probably have no business buying one in the first place. We live in a small city with well-connected public transport like buses and trains. Modern cab hailing apps like GrabTaxi or Uber also makes traveling a breeze. BTW, have you seen our MRT map of the future? Perhaps it’s wiser to think twice before committing a large part of your fortune to a depreciating asset.
3. Enjoy Free Parks and Walks – (Stay away from shopping malls!)
We live in an urbanised environment – buildings, flats, offices… and shopping malls. Couples on dates are likely to find themselves ending up in shopping malls, shopping for designer clothes, bags or drinking expensive coffee or eating in an upscale restaurant. Shopping centre or Town-related activities can deal a hefty blow to your wallet! Watch out!
Instead, couples, or friends looking to head out of the house can turn to nature-related activities. It’s mostly free! And it’s probably more healthy as well!
Singapore has quite a selection of parks, walks and nature reserves for you to enjoy. So instead of spending your time loiterring in shopping malls, head on out to the great outdoors! Have a jog! Have a walk! And soak in some vitamin D!
Here’s a List of Parks, Walks and Nature Reserves you can enjoy:
( Feel free to comment below to add on to this list!)
4. Best Time to Watch Movies and Saving Tips
Remember a time when movie tickets used to cost $5 a piece? Yeah… I don’t either…LOL! But with the latest blockbuster hits showing up at theaters every fortnightly, anyone who’s ever tried booking movie tickets on a weekend know hows watching movies is a popular past-time here.
With so many couples spending their time watching movies, The Gf and I would like to share these simple methods to save money in Singapore while catching your favourite movie:
- Watch your movie on a weekday before 6pm for cheaper rates. Buy straight over the counter to save $$$ on booking fees.
- If you want to watch on a Sunday – make use of M1 Movie Sunday Rewards. 1 for 1 tickets for first 450 customers!
- NS Men, use your Safra cards to get Movie Perks Everyday or a Weekend 1 for 1 Promotion.
- Take note of any credit card + movie tickets promotional offers as such promotions change from time to time.
5. Stock up your clothes during GSS
A simple way to save money in Singapore is to take advantage of the sales period. And in this case, the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), which lasts for the month of June. (Some stores may start earlier in May!)
Although there’s plenty of criticism that the GSS is just a marketing ploy to get us consumers to spend more, we have to admit that it does bring some benefits to us bargain hunters. An experience bargain hunter would know where to sniff out the REAL DEALS from a sea of gimmicks.
Another criticism about the GSS is that most brands would simply dig out old warehouse stocks to clear them in a sale. These goods are usually out-of-date or not fashionable anymore. But if you aren’t a fashionista… and that blouse or pants looks good on you… Who cares, right? Let the fashion-conscious follow the trends and fork out extra $$$ to keep-up-to-date. Bargain hunters like us dress in ‘classic’ styles so we can take advantage of such sales.
Stock up your wardrobe during the GSS. That requires some longer-term thinking: Is that pair of jeans you are wearing getting tattered? Are the soles of your shoes getting worn out? If they are, you may want to consider buying your apparel replacements during this period as standby. Then when your old clothes are worn out beyond saving, you can take out your standby stash and wear.
You won’t have to succumb to any last-minute emergency shopping – which can be quite expensive.
6. Buy Toiletries from Swanston
Singaporean ladies should know this place by now. Swanston is where you can go to stock up on all your body-care necessities like sanitary pads, soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc. This place is heaven for bargain hunters. Products sold at Swanson are almost 40-50% cheaper than those same products sold at NTUC, Giant or other bigger commercial outlets.
Drop by there on a weekend or after work, and you will see throngs of ladies. They will be carrying baskets loaded with a year’s supply of sanitary pads and other toiletries. As for the guys who plan to go there, there’s toiletries for you as well; So don’t worry!
**Swanston is located at 32 New Market Rd, Singapore 050032. It’s located above People’s Park Complex Food Centre. Level 2.**
(Swanston photo taken from cavinteo.blogspot.com)
7. Warehouse Sales
Here’s a tip: When you read the papers, keep an eye out for adverts regarding warehouse sales. Every now and then there will be one that may be relevant to you.
Use the warehouse sales opportunity to load up on products you need. For example, if you are going on a backpacking trip at the end of the year and foresee that you will have to buy some winter gear or some backpacking gear, look out for a warehouse sale that will give you the chance to pick up such items cheaply.
Here are some pages you can follow to keep an eye out for bargains:
Warehouse Sales Singapore ( Facebook Page )
8. Buy Used Textbooks from Carousel
Students, listen up! Instead of buying textbooks from the school bookshop, check Carousel first to see if there’s anyone selling used textbooks. It doesn’t matter that it is a second hand book… You probably won’t be using it after the next semester anyway!
( Actually… I have bought textbooks but never really used them in my tertiary years… The most useful textbook for me is one that I have been using to prop up my desktop monitor for about 10 years…)
Of course, after your semester, you can simply sell those books over Carousel again!
9. Pack leftover dinner for office lunch
Do you work in the Central Business District (CBD) area? If you do, (like most Singaporeans), you might find trying to save money for lunch a big challenge. A simple meal in the CBD areas could go up to about $10 on average.
Try packing your leftover dinner for lunch. This tip is most suitable for working class adults whose families tend to cook too much food for dinner.
Don’t let the food go to waste! Pack it up and bring it for office lunch the next day. Eat in the comfort of your office instead of rushing and squeezing with all the other workers out there.
(Photo taken from AromaCookery.com)
10. Just go to Johor Bahru ( JB )
I know this post is about saving money in Singapore but heck… let’s face it… our city is darn expensive! Just visit our neighbours in JB over the weekend. Eat some seafood. Pump some petrol. Buy some goodies. After all, we must take advantage of the stronger Sing dollar. Sorry Malaysians!!!
Money No Enough – A funny Singaporean movie with a theme about money woes and our materialistic culture.
Final Words on How to Save Money In Singapore
Trying to save money in Singapore , the most costly city in the world, can be quite the challenge. But nothing is impossible. All you need to do is take small actions every day. Cultivate this actions into a habit… and soon, you will find yourself living way below your means.
Saving is a crucial step to building wealth. Start this habit early!
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