Recently Singapore was named the most expensive city to live in in 2014 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Because I’ve lived here nearly my whole life, I’ve learned a few strategies to survive this costly metropolitan.
1. Public Transportation
Ditch getting a car and use the forms of transportation around you. To rent a car might be convenient, but it’s quite expensive and you’ll have to pay for parking. Taxis can be expensive at times, so go for the alternative of the bus and the MRT. Not only are these cheaper, but they give you a better idea of the city. Yes, they may take longer than a cab ride, but you get a beautiful view of the city from the railways. You can get an EZ link card for $15 and continuously top it up with more money. An EZ link card is a cheap alternative to paying for every ride on the MRT, which at the end of the day isn’t too bad either.
2. Drink Singapore’s water
Some Asian countries’ tap water isn’t safe to drink, but Singapore’s water is beyond safe. Instead of paying $2 for a single bottle of water, just drink from the tap!
3. Eat at the Hawkers
If you’re new to Singapore, the hawker food centre seems a bit daunting, but they serve local Singaporean and Malay food for less than $10. Instead of going out for a fancy and expensive meal, walk to your local food centre for some delicious and reasonably priced food.
4. Go to reservoirs and parks
Looking for something fun and active to do, but lacking in cash? Go to a park with free admissions, such as Botanical Gardens, and have a picnic on the grass or go for a nice jog through the greenery. Want to have bit more of a hike? An alternative free-admission park is MacRitchie Reservoir. There you’ll be able to experience Singapore’s tropical jungles and maybe even come in contact with some monkeys.
5. Try to avoid getting into trouble
Singapore is known as the “Fine City” for the varied reasons they financially penalize their citizens, from not flushing public toilets to selling gum, eating and drinking on the MRT, littering, or even feeding monkeys. Try to stay away from these acts to dodge paying these fees.
6. Buy local brands
Instead of buying from western brands, which are much more expensive, opt for local brands which aren’t nearly as expensive and look the same.
7. On days off, relax
There are so many free things to do in Singapore, but most of the time you have to pay for entertainment. So when you have days off, actually take the day off. Stay home watch movies – avoid paying!
8. Hawker, again!
Not only do the hawker centres provide meals, but they basically have everything you need for a much cheaper price, including flowers, hair salons, places to fix your phone and places to buy house products.
9. Go to the beach
The beaches in Singapore are free. They’re beautiful, even if they are out in Sentosa. If you don’t want to spend much, take the MRT down.
Singapore is filled to the rim with different (free) adventures. Go for a walk down to Chinatown, Arab Street or Little India. You can walk around for hours and hours, immerse yourself in the culture around you and get some local neighborhood foods. Cheap and delicious.