Surviving the Most Expensive Place in the World

SingaporeSingapore was trending on twitter the other day for a bit of surprising news. Apparently Singapore was crowned the most expensive place in the world by BBC. Reading about it, I immediately wished for an increase in salary. It’s only right for it to be so, I justified. Alas, the world does not always work fairly and I am left to fend for myself.

So, should visitors be turned off by this? Nah, this should challenge you instead for cheaper alternatives in Singapore such as these ones.

Eat like a local.

Eating out everyday is costly. Eating out at restaurants everyday is even more costlier. Instead, try food at a hawker centre. There won’t be any air-conditioning but you can easily get a meal for $5 or below.

Eat like the locals do - durians anyone?

Eat like the locals do – durians anyone?

If you have an option to cook, drop by any of the major supermarkets in Singapore such as NTUC, Giant or Cold Storage. Cold Storage carries the widest range of imported food whereas both NTUC and Giant carries affordable food and household products. Keep a look out for sale items or you can look up their daily sale adverts in the local paper.

Otherwise, look out for lunch specials, or daily deals. Holland Village is a popular hangout at night but you can usually eat good meals in the afternoon for half the dinner cost. If you happen to spot Gelare, it offers a one-for-one deal on Tuesdays for its waffles.

Shop smartly.

Shopping in Singapore may not always be cheap. Instead, look to shop at places where the price range is more affordable. Far East Plaza Shopping Centre at Orchard Road is one of my go to places for affordable t-shirts and shoes. If looking for sports-related items, Queensway Shopping Centre is a local favourite shopping spot. Mustafa Centre in Little India is a popular shopping area too, most especially for its late night shopping option since it’s open 24 hours.

Explore by public transport.

I try to avoid taking taxis unless necessary as it can be pretty costly. If traveling by one, do be aware of extra charges during certain periods of the day. Instead, Singapore has an extensive public transport system that can easily get you around. It’s usually pretty reliable – well, at least, most of the time.

Visit during sale periods.

Shops go crazy here during sale periods such as Great Singapore Sale (GSS) during June – July. In return, my pocket weeps copiously. It is ridiculously hard to walk past a shop screaming 85% off sale, especially when you could never have afforded it on a normal retail price. Gals, you get me don’t you?

We also hold out for sale periods and fairs such as the IT fair, travel fair, book fair or even the library book fair. I’m sure you get the point. Discounts during fairs definitely make it worth the wait.

Alternative arts performances.

There are cheaper alternatives to spending money on performances at the Esplanade or Marina Bay Sands. One of my favorites are to attend “Ballet under the Stars” where you are allowed to bring your own picnic to the big lawn at Fort Canning Hill for a night of entertainment.

There are also student performances such as NUS Arts Festival or SMU U+ARTS which offer cheap tickets for quality performances.

The Singapore Symphonic Orchestra also conducts regular free performances at the Botanic Gardens.

Free SSO concert at Botanic Gardens (Photo: Singapore VR)

Free SSO concert at Botanic Gardens (Photo: Singapore VR)

So there you have it. Alternatives to surviving the most expensive place in the world like the locals do. While it may not be the cheapest place to visit, it will still be worthwhile to drop by Singapore for a short visit.

If you have any other thoughts or requests on Singapore, please also do let me know. I would love to hear from my readers. 🙂

15 thoughts on “Surviving the Most Expensive Place in the World

      • oohh, ok…that’s a long time away but I agree, sometimes I crave good singaporean food when I have been away for some time only I get to have them when I return.

        A bit harder for you, I reckon, but your cooking looks pretty good too!! I was salivating over the chicken….haha…my mum cooks it using an instant so you did good by doing it from scratch!! 🙂


      • aww, thank you but don’t drool! Get to your local hawker centre..make me jealous!! Haha! Yeah so whenever we do go back to visit family in Singapore, my husband and I go a bit mental with all the yummy food like rojak!! now I’m drooling!


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