10 ways to survive in the most expensive country in the world

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.

Singapore MRT station
Singapore MRT station. Photos contributed by Creative Commons.

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!

Tap water. Photos contributed by Creative Commons.
Tap water. Photos contributed by Creative Commons.

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.

Singapore Hawker Centre. Photos contributed by Creative Commons.
Singapore Hawker Centre. Photos contributed by Creative Commons.

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.

Singapore Botanic Gardens. Photo contributed by Creative Commons.
Singapore Botanic Gardens. Photo contributed by Creative Commons.

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.

Sentosa Beach in Singapore. Photos contributed by Creative Commons.
Sentosa Beach in Singapore. Photos contributed by Creative Commons.

10. Explore!

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.

Singapores Chinatown. Photo from Creative Commons.
Singapore’s Chinatown. Photo from Creative Commons.

Author: Rosie Hogan

Rosie Hogan is a senior and one of the co editors of The Eye. Rosie has lived in Singapore for the majority of her life but goes back home to the states for her summers. When she’s not busy writing you can find her eating grilled cheese sandwiches, jamming out to Taylor Swift and watching Criminal Minds. She can be contacted at hogan33482@sas.edu.sg.

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