There are many ways to save money in Singapore without missing out on fun. Try these out over the weekend!
There’s nothing like treating yourself to a few drinks and a delicious meal after a long week of hard work. But if you keep throwing caution to the wind, weekends can be a major drain on the wallet.
Assuming that you go drinking on both Friday and Saturday, and have multiple meals out, your weekend tab can add up very quickly. Here’s how a typical weekend cost breakdown might look like:
- Two drinks on a Friday night: S$20 – S$40
- Saturday night dinner with a drink or dessert: S$40 – S$60
- Two drinks on a Saturday night: S$25 – S$60
- Sunday brunch: S$20 – S$50
- One Uber/cab round trip: S$20 – S$35
This adds up to S$125 – S$245, and that doesn’t even factor in the costs of takeaway coffee, post-drinking snacks, or multiple cab rides. Yet it never feels excessive when your friends spend just as much. Do it often enough and it feels almost normal to spend hundreds in just two days.
But there are also many ways to cut costs while indulging yourself. This weekend, try using these creative tricks to save money.
1. Uninstall Your Ride-Hailing Apps
Singapore’s public transport system may not be perfect, but it gets you from Point A to Point B with minimal effort and at little cost. Take the bus or MRT to and from your weekend haunts, and uninstall Uber, Grab, and other ride-hailing apps to avoid the temptation of a cushy ride.
Instead of using the excuse that bars close later than the MRT, use this as motivation to leave early. Not only do you save on transport costs; you spend less on drinks too!
2. Brew Your Own Artisan Coffee
When you’re trying to cure a hangover, spending S$5 on fancy coffee seems like a necessary expense. But you can save a lot of money by investing in good coffee beans and making your own artisinal brew.
Supermarket coffee can be decent enough if coffee is just coffee for you. Those with more refined tastes can get the world’s best coffee beans delivered to their homes via services like Perk Coffee and Hook.
A 250g bag of beans from Perk costs about S$18 and makes 12 to 18 cups of coffee. Compare this to similar offerings from your local hipster cafe, which costs around S$6 per cup. At S$1 – S$1.5 a cup, the home-delivered beans are a total steal.
3. Use a Dining Credit Card
If good food is necessary for your sanity and well-being, you’ll thank yourself later for getting the right dining credit card. These credit cards are specifically designed to give cash back or discounts at restaurants, saving you a lot of money in the process.
Try the UOB YOLO Card, which gives you 8% cashback on weekend dining, plus discounts at restaurants like Naughty Nuri’s, Kite, and Fat Cow. There’s also the OCBC 365 Card, which offers 6% cashback on weekend dining and a variety of restaurant deals.
4. Limit Yourself to One Drink a Night
With drinks costing anywhere from S$12 – S$30, limiting your alcohol consumption is an easy way to save money.
Order only one drink, and spend the rest of the night drinking a glass of seltzer or cola. As long as you’re holding a Coke, everyone will assume you’re drinking a cuba libre, thus sparing you from having to defend your choice to spend less.
You can stretch that one drink to two if your credit card has 1-for-1 deals at your favourite watering holes. Try the American Platinum Express Card, which gives you complimentary drinks at The Secret Mermaid, Maison Ikkoku, and other trendy bars in Singapore.
5. Leave Your Debit and Credit Cards at Home
There’s no better way to spend within your limits than to cut off access to cash or credit. As an extreme measure, leave all your cards at home to limit your spending. Step out with just S$40 in your wallet, or whatever amount you can comfortably spend that day.
6. See If It’s Cheaper to Cook It Yourself
Some restaurant dishes like pasta, eggs, and steak are not worth ordering. They’re easy to prepare and the ingredients are incredibly cheap compared to what restaurants charge in Singapore. Even if you bought premium ingredients from Cold Storage and a gourmet butcher, you’d still spend far less if you make them yourself (or ask your mum nicely to cook them for you).
7. Hang Out With Thriftier Friends
The friends you keep influence your spending habits more than you know. If they don’t think twice about spending S$250 in one weekend, you’ll end up doing so too – especially when the places they prefer have high price tags.
You don’t have to ditch your extravagant friends completely. But if you really want to save money this weekend, do a rain check when they invite you out. Then make plans with friends who enjoy an afternoon at a museum, takeout over a TV show marathon, and other cheap thrills. You’ll have just as much fun, and your wallet will thank you for it.
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By Lauren Dado
Lauren has been a content strategist and digital marketer since 2007. As SingSaver.com.sg’s Content Manager, Lauren edits and publishes personal finance stories to help Singaporeans save money. Her work has appeared in publications like Her World, Asia One, and Women’s Weekly.