Singapore is a fascinating city to visit and home to beautiful green spaces, funky Instagram spots, 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 to explore.
That said, Singapore is an expensive place to visit, and if you don’t budget properly, you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Thankfully, a few simple budget hacks can help you save money while traveling in Singapore. In this guide, I’ll cover five easy (and doable) Singapore budget tips to help you stretch your dollars in the city!
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Singapore Budget Tips – How to save money in Singapore
Whether you are spending 4 days in Singapore or staying a bit longer, it’s a good idea to set aside a travel budget for your trip. Make sure to leave a bit of wiggle room in it, though, as there are so many amazing things to do.
Ready to find out how to save money in Singapore? Read along to get my handy Singapore budget tips for a stress-free trip.
1. Do Proper Planning
Planning is a crucial part of any trip, and in Singapore, proper planning can go a long way into making your trip more enjoyable.
Since Singapore is a multifaceted city with many amazing things to do, seeing all of its top sights can get expensive. One of the easiest ways to get a good idea of what things cost and better plan your Singapore travel budget is to buy a good guide book, like this one. I never travel anywhere without one as it is filled with travel tips, places to see, and insights into the culture and history.
With that said, though, there are heaps of outdoorsy places in Singapore where you won’t need to spend a penny to enjoy the city’s greener side.
Deciding where to stay in Singapore is another important factor to consider. Make sure to book accommodation at least 2-3 months in advance for the best prices.
2. Book an Airport Transfer
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 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 2 am. Luckily I booked a shared shuttle transfer ahead of time, which saved me a pretty penny. Although it took slightly longer than a regular taxi ride, the ride was smooth and comfortable. Bonus, the shuttle bus had AC and free WiFi!
3. Get a Local SIM card
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 Singapore is extremely easy. 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 [email protected] 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 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. 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. Get an EZ Link Card
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 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 an MRT token every time I wanted to get from A to B.
Singapore Budget Tips – How to get an Easy-Link Card
You can buy an EZ-link card at the airport, 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 made it a worthwhile investment.
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—look out for the top-up machines at all major MRT stations. The smallest top-up fee is SG$10.
Useful Singapore navigation tips
- Download the gothere. Sg app (here’s the link to download it on your iPhone) to easily find your way around Singapore. 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 in 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 quickly get around with Grab. It’s slightly cheaper than a regular 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 a piece of cake.
Although there are many great restaurants, coffee shops, and hipster hangouts, eating out in Singapore is quite pricey and can impact your budget dearly. Luckily, there is a solution – hawker stands.
Not only can you enjoy lip-smacking Singaporean hawker dishes, such as chicken rice or satay, but you’ll soon notice that the hawker food costs a fraction of the price! For instance, a 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 lovely 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!
Some great hawkers centers to check out on your trip are Maxwell Food Centre, Lau Pa Sat Market, and Chinatown Food Street.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to save money in Singapore? Feel free to drop your Singapore budget tips below.
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Great tips. Singapore is definitely on our list and we’ve heard it can be more expensive than most of the places we’re used to visiting in SE Asia. Depending on how long we stay in country, we do like to get sim cards – sometimes we’ll get them at the airport to minimize hassle but we’ve found that they’re often even cheaper if you pick them up at a local convenience store in town.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. So true, the difference in price can sometimes be quite astonishing. Singapore is definetely a lot more expensive than other countries in SE Asia, but it is truly amazing. Hope you get a chance to explore it soon.
Henry Collins says
Great ways to save money. My friend went last year and he loved it! It is definitely a great tourist destination.
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Henry. Singapore is amazing and should definitely be on everyone’s travel list.
Yes, yes, YES! Thank you so much, Tanya! What an excellent tip and definitely a great way to save a few extra dollars in Singapore!
Hey! Thank you so much for your valuable information, I am planning my first international trip to Singapore in coming last week of October this year…. thanks
Glad it helps! 🙂 Have a terrific trip, and thanks for stopping by.