Spending less than S$10 at a restaurant per person, snagging S$15 buffets and hacking your way into getting cheaper food in Singapore is possible with this guide.
Everyone needs food — it is a basic necessity. But let’s face it, many Singaporeans feel the pinch when it comes to paying for their meals, especially when dining out and buying groceries. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your costs so you do not bust your budget.
One thing about living in Singapore, despite the high cost of living, is the abundance of promotions, and it is almost always possible not to pay full price for anything, including your meals — all you need is to put in some effort to search for the promotions!
That being said, there are more ways to cut down on food expenditure without relying on promotions.
Plan ahead before eating out
If you want to save more money, picking out the restaurant in advance does the trick. Check apps such as Eatigo, Chope and Burpple, as well as the Facebook pages of restaurants for the latest promotions.
I personally love Eatigo because there are discounts of up to 60%, which makes your total bill really affordable — under S$10 per person if you eat at selected restaurants at selected timings.
Deals on these apps always change, so make sure to check in (usually on the day of your outing) before you go. It’s okay if you make changes to your plans because you can cancel up to one minute before your reservation.
Some restaurants also give you return vouchers when you pay with certain credit cards on top of your discount, so that’s double the win!
Pro tip: Going out with a group of friends? Charge everything to your credit card for miles/rewards/cashback. And then have your friend Google Pay you for even more cashback.
Choose pick-up over delivery
If possible, do away with expensive food delivery. Opt for pick-up instead, as GrabFood, Deliveroo and Foodpanda offer meals that sometimes can be cheaper than buying directly from the restaurant itself.
For example, you can save 40% when you order from Toast Box on Foodpanda and collect it yourself. The curry chicken with rice, laksa and ham and cheese sandwich bundle set costs only S$14.16, and it comes with two drinks. The usual price? S$23.60. You save almost S$10.
Use your student card to get discounts
It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or not — as long as you still have your student card and can pass off as one, feel free to milk as many student promos as you can get out of it. If you ask us, possessing a student card triumphs over all other cards, because this powerful tool unlocks discounts so steep that credit cards will probably never see.
Take for example Pepper Lunch. Their regular weekday lunch set starts from S$11.90, while the student lunch set starts from S$7.90. On the other hand, Big Fish Small Fish all-day student meal (including a drink and a side) starts from S$5. Their signature fish and chips will have you forking out S$15 to S$20, and a combo upgrade will cost an extra $4.20 for a drink and a side.
Buy ready-to-eat food at a discount when you visit various bakeries and supermarkets near closing time
The best time to snag cheap cooked food is around 9pm daily, where shops give out massive discounts to get rid of food that cannot be kept for the next day. Keep a lookout for the cooked food sections at Don Don Donki, NTUC, Cold Storage as well as BBQ Express.
Towards closing time, they’ll sell roasted meats such as honey glazed wings, char siew, duck and chicken at up to 80% off. One of the best things I’ve personally snagged was an entire BBQ chicken at Cold Storage for only S$3, which was enough to feed me for a couple of days.
Take freebies from restaurants that provide them, and give it back when they charge you for it
Popular hotpot chain Haidilao has all the ziplock bags, tissues, hair bands, sweets and snacks, which the staff will very gladly give for free if you ask for them. Heck, you can even take-away your soup, and they’ll pack it in a big durable plastic container that you can wash and reuse for other purposes.
However, most restaurants aren’t as generous — some would even secretly slip the charge for wet tissue into your bill, which is usually S$0.30
and should be illegal. The trick to avoid paying such fraudulent charges is to ask the waitress when you’re being led to your table. If it’s chargeable, gather all the tissues and keep it aside so that no one in your group accidentally uses it.
That being said, bring your own sanitary products like wet tissue, dry tissue and hand sanitisers. We’re in a pandemic, after all. If you want to take it a step further, bring along a small bottle of water so that you don’t end up paying S$0.50 for non-refillable tap water.
SingSaver has a tonne of food deals and promo articles that are regularly updated, so do check those out for more cost-saving deals!
Read these next:
Best Steamboat Buffets: Cost and Promotions
Dim Sum Promotions And Deals (April 2021)
High Tea Promotions In Singapore (April 2021)
1-for-1 Buffet Dining Promotions In Singapore (April 2021)
Best Value Meals Under $10 At Fast Food Restaurants In Singapore
By Kendra Tan
Avid promo code hunter and haggler. Kendra doesn’t like paying full price for anything. She’s the best person to bring along if you’re travelling on a budget. Have an interesting story to tell? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org