5 tips that will help you save money in Singapore
There’s no doubt that Singapore should be on every traveler’s destination hit-list. The island nation boasts with some pretty amazing green spaces, skyscraper-studded skylines and a unique blend of cultures and traditions. Not to mention, culinary treats, world-class attractions and many UNESCO World Heritage sites. But that said, Singapore is also very expensive. Which is why budgeting is extremely important when planning to spend a few days in the Lion City. Whether you are a backpacker or just like saving a penny here and there, we set out 5 handy Singapore budget tips that will help you save money in the city below.
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Top Singapore Budget Tips
#1 Plan ahead
There are tons of amazing things to do in Singapore. And even though some of the attractions are free, Singapore can be heavy on your pocket. Especially when it comes to food and accommodation. Which is why planning your trip and doing proper research is crucial.
Whenever I plan a trip, the first thing I do is invest in a guide book – Lonely Planet is my fav, and I hardly ever travel anywhere without one. Not only does it give awesome travel tips on what to do and see, it’s packed with insights on culture and history.
Using a guide book is not only a great way to plan your whole itinerary in just a few hours, it also gives you a very good idea of what things cost – ultimately allowing you to budget more effectively.
#2 Avoid hefty transfer fees
If you’re flying with a budget airline from within Asia, chances are you’ll most probably arrive at Changi Airport at some ungodly hour. Naturally, you could just wing it and pay SG$60 for a taxi ride to your hotel. Alternatively, you could use public transport or book a transfer from the airport at a fraction of the cost.
On my recent trip to Singapore, I arrived at the airport just after 2am. Luckily I booked a shared shuttle transfer ahead of time which saved me a pretty penny. Although it took slightly longer that a standard taxi ride, the ride was smooth and comfortable. Added bonus, the shuttle bus had AC and free WiFi!
#3 Save $ on internet connection
As with most destination hit-list countries, you won’t have any trouble staying connected in Singapore. Whether you’re connecting to hotspots or investing in a SIM, staying connected in the city is child’s play. If you are really on a tight budget and don’t want to fork out extra cash for a SIM card, I highly recommend downloading the Wireless@SG app beforehand. The app will automatically find and connect to the nearest WiFi hotspots around you.
However, if you are like me and prefer to have access on the go, investing in a SIM card is a must. Usually, I just pick up a pre-ordered 4G SIM card or Portable WiFi router at the airport, but because I arrived in the early morning hours this was not an option for me. I ended up buying a SIM at one of the Currency Exchange counters for a hefty SG$18. Not pocket friendly at all.
SIM cards are also available at most convenience stores. So, if you don’t mind waiting until you are in town, you can pick up a SIM at any 7-11 for as little as SG$12.
#4 Cut transport costs
Getting around in Singapore couldn’t be simpler. The city has one of the best transportation systems in Asia linking buses and an extensive MRT system to all major attractions. Although any ride on the bus or MRT will hardly ever cost you more than a few SG dollars, using the public transport does have one slightly annoying downfall; you need small change. So, arguably one of the best Singapore budget tips I can give you is to invest in an EZ-Link card. This little card made my life a lot easier. For starters, I never had to worry about finding the exact change for the bus. Nor did I have to buy a MRT token every time I wanted to get from A to B.
How to get an Easy-Link Card
You can buy an EZ-link card at the airport, most MRT stations and even at convenience stores throughout Singapore. I got my EZ-link card at 7-11 for SG$10. Even though SG$5 was unusable and non-refundable, the ability to just tap-and-go is totally worth it! The EZ-link card works on both buses and the MRT system as long as you have enough funds (>SG$2). Topping up is very easy, too. Just look out for the top-up machines which are at all major MRT stations. The smallest top-up fee is SG$10.
- Download the gothere.sg app (here’s the link to download it on your iPhone) to find your way around Singapore easily. The app is user-friendly and makes getting around so much easier. Not only does it give directions, but you can also compare fares between transportation modes (bus vs MRT) and even check when buses or trains leave.
- Taxis in Singapore are considerably cheaper than other Asian cities such as Bangkok or Hong Kong. That said, there is always room for saving money. If you don’t feel like taking public transport, you can easily get around with Grab. It’s slightly cheaper than a normal taxi ride and the app’s easy navigation and real-time info make it super user-friendly.
Looking for great things to do in Singapore? Check out these awesome tourist attractions.
#5 Eat at hawker stalls
If there is one thing Singaporeans know how to do, it’s food! With influences from Malaysia, India, Indonesia and other parts of Asia, finding delicious food within walking distance from anywhere in the city is literally a piece of cake.
Although there are many great restaurants, coffee shops and hipster hangouts, the cost of getting your foodie fix in Singapore can impact your budget dearly. Luckily, there is a solution – hawker stalls. Not only can you enjoy lip-smacking local favourites such as chicken rice or satay, but you’ll soon notice that the hawker food costs a fraction of the price! For instance, a filling meal of chicken rice could cost you as little as SG$2-5 in Chinatown.
In fact you could even get your foodie fix at a Michelin star hawker stall. Whereas splurging on a nice Sunday brunch at Gordan Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen will set you back between SG$18-45. So, if you love food as much as I do, I suggest trying to find a balance between feasting at posh spots and hawker stalls. That way, you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds!
Do you have any other suggestions to save money in Singapore? We’d love to hear about your Singapore budget tips! Drop your comments below.
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