How to Stretch Your Dollar

How to Stretch Your Dollar

So, the Budget for 2014 is officially out. While there will be a frown on most Singaporean’s faces due to the hike in liquor and tobacco prices, many are just glad to hear that other daily expenditure will not be following suit. 

Already faced with impending transport fare hikes, the cost of living in the cosmopolitan hub of Singapore seems to be ballooning by the second. According to a study by Expatistan, Singapore was ranked seventh in a study of “The 20 Most Expensive Cities Cities in the World 2014”! Leaving traditional high cost cities like Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong in the dust, it would seem that your Sing dollar will not go as far as before.

Tokyo and Paris have fallen behind Singapore as a costlier place to live in 
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So, what can you do to stretch your hard-earned dollar you ask? Well, that’s where we come in. In light of the ever-growing expenditure cost, we share with you some tips and tricks on how to minimize and be efficient in your spending!

Going with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, American psychologist Abraham Maslow theorised that humans need several basic physical requirements such as food, drink, water, shelter and clothes. Hence, let’s see how we can satisfy your physiological needs in a cost efficient manner! 

Physiological needs are the basics of survival!
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1. Cheap and good food

Famed for our affordable hawker fare, food prices have steadily been on the rise annually. With a decent meal priced between S$3 to S$6 (depending on location), a complete meal with drink and dessert will set you back about S$10. 

However if you want half that amount, we suggest keeping your eye out by scouting out the economical mixed dishes rice stores within your friendly neighbourhood food centre. There is always one such budget store nearby that’s compassionate enough to offer a plate of rice complete with a meat and vegetable dish at just S$2.20. Make it a point to bring your own water (besides it is the only zero calories drink around) and cut fruits, and you wouldn’t be forking out for that pricey drink and dessert. And once in a while, you can spoil yourself by indulging in pay-as-you-please karma prices eateries such as Annalakshmi.

It’s economy rice or Annalakshmi for local budget-conscious eaters
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Finally if you can afford the time on the weekends, it is best to bulk cook your meals for the week. Save a bundle by doing your marketing at your neighbourhood wet market and don’t be afraid to haggle over prices. Simply pack your daily lunch in easy to heat packaging and zap them in your office pantry. Not only will this reduce your food bill, it enables you to have a better control of your diet as well.  

2. Fun without the cover charge 

Whether be it a night out at the movies or dancing your feet silly at a club, having fun in Singapore usually comes with a hefty price tag. So, how can one starve off boredom and still have a great time? Well for one thing, try hopping online to check out for free events. It can be a free weekend concert at the Esplanade outdoor theatre or a free film movie screenings at the museum, all you need to do is to hop on to online resources like Timeout Singapore magazine or City Nomads!

Alternatively, you can occupy your spare time by enriching your worldly knowledge. For example, did you know that all Singaporeans are entitled to free admission to national museums island wide?  On top of that, you can also visit the vast literary collections of your neighbourhood library. With lending privileges of up to eight titles, you will never suffer another idle moment again.

It’s off to the museums or the libraries for a no-frills day of fun 
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Lastly, pick up that low-cost hobby that you have been sitting on for a while. Take up knitting, gardening or even volunteering work and spread a little joy to others, all at no heavy cost to yourself!

3. Shop and save

Retail therapy can burn quite a hole in your wallet, but does it have to really? Sure being on a budget means avoiding the high end labels, but the mid level boutiques like Topman and Zara frequently hold exclusive sales which offer up to 80% discount. Simply sign up for their online mailing list to get a heads up on these sweet deals. Otherwise, Uniqlo is the only way to go!

However if that is still too much to bear, then online shopping is your best bet! Keep your eyes out on coupon sites like our very own SAFRA Deals. Furthermore, online retail boutiques like ASOS and Zalora frequently send out exclusive coupons to their valued customers! And, you do get 12% off storewide at Zalora with your SAFRA membership to boot. 

Do your hunting online for cheap deals!
Photos sourced from and

4. Zip around without burning funds

Modes of transport in Singapore
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With taxi rates riddled with all sorts of levies and surcharges, your best bet is to go with the buses and MRTs. With free MRT rides before 7.30am, it adds to the truth that the early bird does get the free worm! 
Furthermore, take advantage of the fare subsidies when switching between MRT and bus. Don’t drag your feet and make sure you transit within 45 minutes to make your fare go the extra mile. Plus with a new monthly transport pass coming into effect, you might want to consider getting that if you are a heavy commuter.

Stretch your transport dollar on buses and trains!
Photos sourced from and

Lastly if you still crave the comforts of private transport, why not try out the new rideshare app called Lompang? With a flat fee island wide, you can share a scooter ride with a rider heading in the same direction. Though costlier than trains and buses, at least it will not eat through your cash as quickly as cab fares!

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