Real stories about money from real people. Money Confessions, a SingSaver series, will excite you, inspire you, and leave you wishing to get financially woke.
We reveal the most Singaporean (read: embarrassing and ridiculous) things we’ve done in a bid to manage our personal finances.
There’s no doubt that Singaporeans love their money.
From investing and side hustling to buying a tonne of insurance policies, many Singaporeans have done at least something to get rich. Frugal Singaporeans, on the other hand, take saving money so seriously that they're willing to go to extreme lengths to save money, if they ever do spend at all. But exactly how far would you go?
From taking a long walk from Bugis to Orchard Road to save on transportation fares and eating all you can while waiting in line at Haidilao, read on for some of the most, um, creative ways these Singaporeans have done to save/make money.
#1: “I would split and shift my emergency funds around like musical chairs just to make sure I always earn high interest (e.g. DBS Multiplier + Singlife + Singtel Dash).”
Troublesome but understandable. Who doesn’t like higher interest rates?
#2: “I jump through hoops to save just a few cents. I would opt for self-pick-up when ordering my meals via food delivery apps (you can save A LOT, actually). I also don’t pay for plastic bags at IKEA — but then I’d struggle to carry everything home after that. Who cares? I saved S$0.20.”
It is indeed a crime to charge for plastic bags. Bring a reusable one next time?
#3: “I would walk from Bugis to Dhoby Ghaut to Somerset and Orchard so that I can save on public transport.”
Yes. MRT and bus fares are constantly rising. And adult fares are not cheap.
Speaking of which, below is another unethical hack another Singaporean has used.
#4: “When my grandmother passed away, I used her EZ-Link card for cheaper public transport rates.”
Said Singaporean claims that she has stopped her antics after getting caught — and realising that the senior citizen card has a different gantry sound and colour light-up upon tapping in.
#5: “I’d use Google Pay to transfer money so I can get cashback rewards.”
It’s true, you can get rewards ranging from ‘better luck next time’ to a cool S$10.
#6: “Applying for many credit cards just to take advantage of freebies.”
SingSaver has all kinds of freebies when you sign up for a credit card, ranging from Dyson products, Apple Airpods to S$300 cash.
Did you know? If you cancel your card after receiving the gift, you will be considered a “new member” the following year. Do what you want with that information.
#7: “I’d always keep my student card with me despite being in my mid-20s so that I can still enjoy student discounts.”
There are tonnes of student promotions in Singapore that can help you save a lot of money, including S$6 student movie tickets and meals.
#8: “I would tell restaurants and hotels that my boyfriend and I are celebrating a special occasion/birthday for freebies and/or free upgrades.”
Birthdays can be risky, because they can always check your IC. However, if you use the ‘anniversary’ excuse, there’s no way they can actually tell.
#9: “We’d eat everything while waiting for our seat at Hai Di Lao so that we would feel full and not order so much. I would also bring my own instant noodles, eggs and drinks to save money.”
You can also:
- Ask them to bring in the free cup drinks from outside so that you don’t have to pay.
- If you order their signature hand-pulled noodles, request to try it out — you’ll get two portions for the price of one.
- Takeaway the soup, beancurd, wet tissue, dessert, free toys and sweets after your meal.
- Tell them that it’s your birthday for a free gift, fruit platter and cake (subject to restaurant’s availability)
#10: “Team up with complete strangers to buy clothes at a discount.”
Being a little thick-skinned can save your wallet.
#11: “I use apps such as Eatigo and Entertainer all the time for 50% off my meals.”
Pretty smart, if you ask us. Why pay full price for anything when you can get discounts?
#12: “Shopee group buys are my go-to.”
This is the best money-hack, especially if you often cook at home. You can buy quality food and ingredients such as cod fish and salmon for 30% to 50% off at a group buy.
#13: “I’d sign up for an account with moomoo and Tiger Brokers for free shares and sell them immediately.”
The quickest couple of hundred dollars you’ll ever make.
#14: “Top up my CPF for tax relief and also for the risk-free 4% in CPF SA.”
This Singaporean is on her way to 1M65, all thanks to the magic of compound interest. Do take note that you can’t touch the money in your CPF SA account until you reach your retirement though.
#15: “Applying for BTO when we were in university because we’d get more grants.”
What if your relationship doesn’t work out though?
#16: “I’d bring along a water bottle and refill it for free at breastfeeding rooms in shopping malls. If I don’t have a bottle, I would go to Umi Sushi where they sell a bottle of water for only S$0.10. Other than that, McDonald’s also has free water.”
It should be a crime for restaurants to charge for (tap) water.
#17: “I would wait until 3pm to have my meal because many restaurants offer mid-day deals and Grab has free tea-time delivery.”
This person can consider buying economic rice , which costs only S$3 to S$4 at all hours of the day. Speaking of economic rice…
#18: “I have a system when ordering economic rice. First, I will ask for less rice (more space for ingredients), point to a meat dish to show that I’m balling and point at it longer for a bigger portion.”
Ah, typical. I’m sure every Singaporean has tried out a hack or two when it comes to buying economic rice.
Want more ways to save money? Simple: use a cashback credit card.
Don’t have one yet? Then use our credit card comparison tool to find the best credit card within minutes, and you could even get rewarded with cash and prizes*.
*Rewards may change at any time. Terms and conditions apply.
Read these next:
5 Habits of Super Frugal People You Should Follow If You Want To Save Money
Money Confessions: I Bought More Than S$700,000 In Critical Illness Coverage While In My 30s—Here’s Why
Money Confessions: The Best Of Dads’ Money Hacks Since The 1970s (and Dad Jokes)
I Am An Artist/e — Here’s How I Make Money From The Arts: Chen Yixi
I Was Retrenched At 26 Years Old And I Have No Savings