Singapore’s high salaries, world-leading living standards, excellent social safety nets, and cosmopolitan culture attract millions of workers each year. While many of these individuals will apply for the coveted Permanent Resident (PR) status for career stability and additional access to the country’s public services, very few will be granted the privilege.
And once you’ve earned PR status, your ordeal isn’t necessarily over. Apart from the time and money needed to facilitate your status, Singapore is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in. Even if you end up in a profession with a decent median salary, if you’re not careful, you can easily blow through thousands of dollars without realizing it.
Given this, even permanent residents often need to be somewhat frugal when it comes to their day-to-day expenses. Here are some of the more popular saving hacks that you can take into consideration as a permanent resident of Singapore.
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Own an Unlocked Phone
Many people save money on their mobile plans by purchasing an unlocked phone instead of a subsidized one tied to any one of the popular domestic carriers. This allows them to switch between different telco and choose the cheapest data plan Singapore’s different providers have to offer.
Shop at Wet Markets
More adventurous permanent residents will visit the wet markets instead of supermarkets for fresh produce, meat, and seafood. You’ll find a wider variety of products to buy at lower prices, ensuring you get the best value for your money.
Cook at Home
As fantastic as Singapore’s culinary options are, eating out gets old, not to mention expensive. Combined with the nostalgia some permanent residents feel for their home countries, quite a few make it a habit to cook at home. Cooking at home is also considered by many to be therapeutic and a way to reimagine old recipes from home with locally available ingredients.
Embrace Hawker Centers
If Singapore residents do eat out, most will avoid fancy restaurants in favor of hawker centers. While dining out is still more expensive than cooking at home, hawker centers remain relatively affordable while still offering top-tier culinary delights.
Tap into Free Community Events
Event tickets are sometimes unreasonably expensive in Singapore. Fortunately, there is no shortage of free community events, including cultural festivals, pop and rock concerts, and cutting-edge art exhibitions. These events are often organized by the government or local communities and offer great opportunities for entertainment without breaking the bank.
Use Public Transportation
Singapore’s public transportation system is incredibly efficient. As a resident, you can use the reasonably priced MRT and bus services to get around the city, and you’ll save tens of thousands of dollars each year than if you got your own vehicle instead. In fact, just forget about car ownership. Unless you need a car for business or have a particularly huge family, there’s little reason to get one.
Utilize Discount Apps
Singapore’s coupon craze of years past may have subsided a bit, but discount apps are still a good way to save. Download apps like Chop, Eating, or Fave to discover promotions, discounts, and cashback deals on dining, entertainment, and everyday necessities.
Use Cashback Credit Cards
Choose credit cards that offer cashback rewards on your everyday purchases, such as groceries, dining, or transportation. These rewards can accumulate over time, providing you with additional savings and offsetting your card fees.
opt for Generic Brands
When shopping for groceries, consider generic or store brands instead of well-known labels. They often offer similar qualities at lower prices, helping you save on your monthly grocery bill.
Go for Secondhand Items
Singapore is full of flea markets and thrift stores, and savvy permanent residents depend on these to find unique clothing, accessories, and household items at affordable prices. Give these places a visit to score some great deals, particularly on furniture and similar big-ticket items.
Take Advantage of Public Healthcare
Singapore has a robust public healthcare system and permanent residents are entitled to several privileges within it. Make use of government healthcare facilities for routine medical consultations and treatments at lower costs.
Compare Insurance Policies
When it comes to health insurance, permanent residents are covered by the SG government’s healthcare system — which is a major reason why many seek PR status in the first place. However, insuring anything else can be a minefield, with financial repercussions that can last decades. This makes it especially important to compare policies from different providers to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Conserve Water and Electricity
Conserving water and energy isn’t just good for your bank account, it’s also great for the environment. Adopt simple habits like taking shorter showers, turning off lights when not in use, and using energy-efficient appliances to reduce your utility bills.
Seek Out Free Fitness Activities
Instead of signing up for expensive gym memberships, take advantage of Singapore’s plentiful parks and gardens. There’s at least one in almost every neighborhood, so be sure to find one near you and engage in outdoor activities like jogging, cycling, or yoga for free.
With these hacks, you can maximize your lifestyle as a permanent resident in the Lion City while keeping your finances in check. By making a few small adjustments to your daily routine, you can enjoy all that Singapore has to offer without wasting your hard-earned dollars.