These tiny lifestyle tweaks can add up to big savings.
“How to save money?” is the million dollar question, especially in expensive Singapore – but it can be done.
When it comes to your financial well-being, it’s not just how much you earn but also how much you spend that matters. Although Singapore is often considered one of the most expensive cities in the world, you can still save money here. It’s all about making small lifestyle tweaks so that you can achieve the financial future you desire.
When it comes to saving money, small purchases can add up to big amounts. So people often tell you to cut back on takeaway cappuccinos and dinners out to save money. But if these indulgences bring you real pleasure, you’ll soon be tempted to spend again. So instead, here are some easy every day ways you can save – and still enjoy life.
Practical ways to cut down on monthly expenses
1. Look at changing your electricity provider
Singapore households are free to pick an electricity provider on the Open Electricity Market, rather than stick with government-owned provider SP Group. With 13 electricity vendors competing to attract customers, there are some great deals to be had. The transition is seamless and won’t interrupt your electricity supply.
You can easily compare electricity plans for your size of home here.
2. Switch to a pure data mobile plan
There’s a good chance you use mobile data to make calls and send messages when you’re away from a Wi-Fi connection. This means your mobile plan’s talk-time and SMS allowance will be under-utilised. So, there’s no reason not to switch to a data-only mobile plan to save money on services you don’t need. As a bonus, you’re almost certain to get more data, which helps you avoid paying excess charges or having to top up your data.
3. Quit paying fees to transfer money overseas
If you are a foreigner based in Singapore, international money transfers are a fact of life. If you’re still paying to send money abroad, stop! Most Singapore banks offer free, same-day transfers to banks in a number of countries. Just one example: DBS Bank offers free transfers to Australia, Canada, the Eurozone, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mainland China, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand.
4. Share subscription services
Spending a huge chunk of your life on Netflix or Spotify? So is everyone. Save money by sharing group accounts with family or friends. A Netflix group account costs $19.98 a month and can be shared by up to four users, while an individual account, for one person costs $11.98. Meanwhile, Spotify’s family plan costs $16.98 a month and can be shared by up to six people, which is way cheaper per person than its individual plan, which costs $9.90 a month.
5. Reassess your life insurance policies
Paying life insurance premiums year after year without batting an eyelid? Next time, spend a bit of time going through your plan’s benefits, and ask yourself if it still adequately satisfies your needs, which might have changed over the years. Singapore’s insurance market is competitive, and you might be eligible for new benefits if you upgrade your plan or sign up for a new one.
6. Take loan interest rates down a notch
If your loans never seem to disappear no matter how long you’ve been repaying them, it might be time to reduce your interest rates. One simple way to do this is to use a balance transfer to pay off your credit card debt once and for all. You could also take out a personal loan with a competitive interest rate to pay off your higher-interest debt.
7. Use discount codes and travel cards
Discount codes are the coupons of the 21st century. When shopping online, always look out for promo codes before paying. Google “[brand] discount code [month/year]” to try your luck. Also smart: Receive cashback on your online purchases via Shopback.sg, which works with a diverse range of stores, including Qoo10, Lazada, Agoda, Microsoft, Cold Storage and FoodPanda.
While we’re talking about discount cards, your travel card for MRT and buses is also valid for water taxi routes in Singapore. Fares cost $5 – so next time you have visitors, instead of paying “tourist price” to take them on a tour along the Singapore river, just flash your MRT pass.
Singapore water taxis currently cover five stops: Robertson Quay, Clemenceau, Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, and the Esplanade. So they can take you to the major tourist spots like Asian Civilisations Museum, Raffles’ Landing Site, Merlion Park, Esplanade Theatre, Singapore Flyer and Clarke Quay.
8. Shop outlet and pre-loved stores
IMM at Jurong East is home to factory outlet stores carrying designer, fashion and sportswear brands like Calvin Klein, Cotton On and Adidas. At Changi City Point, you’ll find discounted sportswear, casual wear and office wear brands like Lacoste, Fossil and G2000.
You can also find eco-friendly pre-loved bargains on expat chatgroups on Facebook, and good-condition pre-loved furniture at Praisehaven Mega Family Store. This warehouse full of pre-loved furniture, toys and clothes is operated by the Salvation Army, and profits go to charity. Items are clean and well-organized and profits go to charity. The only down side is that you can’t guarantee what you will find.
9. Shop online with image search for price comparison!
With so many retailers both online and off selling the same items, comparison shopping can save you a pretty penny, especially on big-ticket items. Don’t forget to factor in shipping costs.
TIP: if you find an item you like you can search for similar images, and compare prices. You can often find the exact item, for cheaper. If you use Chrome or Firefox, here’s how you do it: