Avoid the awkwardness of dining out with friends in Singapore on a small budget.
We’ve all been there: dinner with friends can take a turn for the awkward when the bill arrives. How do you split it? Should you pay for the wine you didn’t drink? You skipped dessert. You didn’t pick this expensive restaurant to begin with.
Here are tips on how to avoid any awkwardness or, the maître’d forbids, lose the friendships:
Inform your friends that you’re on a budget, and can only spend a certain amount on dinner. Then offer to pick a place that suits everyone’s wallet.
This requires only a little bit of work, but most restaurants have updated menus on their website. And fortunately, Singapore has no shortage of bloggers and writers who have candid opinions on whether or not a place is worth your money.
Use Restaurant Reservation Services
While you’re choosing where to go, you may as well offer to make the reservation. But instead of calling the restaurant directly, make your reservation through dining discount apps like Eatigo, Chope, and Quandoo.
Each time you make and fulfill a reservation on Chope or Quandoo, you earn points, which you can redeem for vouchers and use to offset your next meal out. Meanwhile, Eatigo gives discounts up front, depending on what time slot your reservation falls in. During off-peak hours, you can save as much as 50% off your bill!
Take Advantage of Credit Card Privileges
Discounts and dining privileges benefit everyone – you get more food for less money.
Some restaurants offer dining privileges with banks and a straight-up discount, while others offer rebates. Either way, a good dining credit card lets you keep up with your friends without spending a fortune.
The UOB YOLO card does both: 10 per cent off restaurants like Naughty Nuri’s, &Made Burger Bistro and Creatures (all good spots for a gathering), and gives rebates of up to 8 per cent on dining and entertainment expenses on weekends.
Unfortunately, most restaurants in Singapore don’t split bills into individual checks (that’s an American concept), so you’ll have to offer to pay on your card first – which is a generous gesture, and takes us to the next tip…
Make Use of Bill-Splitting Apps
Technology is also making it easier to split the bill and chase for it. Free apps like Splitwise and billy (available on both Android and iOS) can do the calculations and chasing for you.
Both apps allow different calculation permutations (you can split by shares on Splitwise; and by items on billy) and alert via phone notifications. billy has the technology to scan the receipts so you won’t have to input the amounts yourself.
If you prefer doing the calculations the pen and paper way, you can still do the money transfer via banking apps: OCBC has the Pay Anyone app, and DBS has the Paylah app. Try not to use third-party money transfer apps as they often have hidden fees.
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Celine Asril is a former Food & Drink Editor who writes about food, travel and lifestyle with a sustainable angle. This includes sharing sound financial tips for good future planning.