Singapore on a budget!


– 08 May 2014

Singapore is now the most expensive city in the world. Here are some useful tips on how to cut costs.


According to a 2013 study done by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Singapore is now the most expensive city in the world. How can you possibly save some money in these circumstances? Here is a collection of specially curated tips on easy way to cut costs & budget properly.

1. Share a ride or take public transport

Buying a car in Singapore is more expensive than anywhere else in the world. If you can even manage to buy a car at a decent price, petrol prices are steep and can eat away at your monthly budget.  Looking for a solution? If you’re only in need of a car for a couple of hours at a time, car-sharing schemes—such as iCarsclub or Suntec City—are a logical alternative. These schemes are membership-based, trusted communities for peer-to-peer car sharing, where you can book online or with your smartphone.  Hourly fees generally range between $7 and $10.  Another way to get around is car-pooling.  It is very common among friends and colleagues in Singapore and can be particularly useful for getting to work—you can enjoy a comfortable ride while being in good company.

If you would rather avoid using cars altogether, the public transit system in Singapore will not disappoint and it is cheaper than many world-renound metropolitan regions.  With an intricate multi-modal system of mass rapid transit (MRT), light rail transit, monorail, and buses, you will be able to get virtually anywhere in the city quickly and relatively cheaply (for more info on rates & routes check out  You can purchase a smart card called the EZ-Link that can be used for bus and MRT fares. It can be topped up to $500.

Taxis are readily available throughout the city but worth avoiding—they are extremely expensive and quite useless for getting around during rush hour!


2. Shop online

The best way to find the best deals is to shop for your clothes and other items online! Online shopping is steadily growing in popularity around the world.  You can now find practically anything online, and many e-shops offer extra discounts and special private sales online.  You can use discount codes available at, which are valid for many different e-shops in Singapore and worldwide. You may also want to try social group vouchers such as Groupon, which will allow you to buy coupons to use in restaurants, wellness centers and much more. 

3. Shop the local way: wet markets / hawker centre

You can do your weekly grocery shopping at the “wet markets”, which are essentially huge markets that offer fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, meat, seafood, and spices at prices much lower than the supermarkets.  These markets—whose floors become wet from the melting ice— are scattered throughout the city.  They are generally very crowded and perhaps smellier than what you might be used to, but the experience is worth it for the cheap, fresh, and local produce.  You can try to haggle with the merchants, but it may not be received very well, as the goods sold in the markets are already priced quite low.

4. Avoid restaurants

Dining in “hawker centres” is a great way to dine out while avoiding the high costs of eating in a restaurant.  These cooked-food centres are massive open-air complexes with a plethora of stalls, offering you a wide range of local and exotic dishes.  If you’re looking to have a meal with a drink and a dessert, you’ll pay on average around $6. The vendors are strictly monitored by the government for health and hygiene, meaning that it’s very unlikely to get sick from any of the food prepared for you.
Food courts can also be a sound alternative to hawker centres.  They are located at almost every shopping centre (with air-conditioning!), but are generally more expensive than hawkers.  They serve local food as well as international (or European) food. We recommend Golden Mile Complex which is in Singapore’s Little Thailand, a spot where you can find all things Thai.

Kopi tiams (literally: coffee shop”) are worth checking out for simpler, cheap meals.  Menus usually include eggs, toast, kaya (coconut jam popular in Southeast Asia), coffee, tea and Milo (a very popular malted chocolate drink worth trying).

In general, you can’t really go wrong with food in Singapore–it is incredibly diverse, cheap and easy.

5. Freebies

Singapore offers many free products and initiatives. Several websites have free samples or products of different kinds. You can try for many free samples of products, or and, which are used by members to get rid of unwanted stuff, often for free.

It is also possible to enjoy a nice night at the museum or an exhibition for free. In fact, many galleries offer special nights and events that do not require an entrance fee. To eat out (almost) for free, you can check out which offers vouchers to buy food for free or at incredibly discounted rates.

Even though Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to live in, having a few tricks up your sleeve will make it all seem a bit more manageable.


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