With the Christmas shopping season nearing (and with Orchard Road already being donned with festive lights to suit the occasion), Singaporeans will find a reason to spend their money despite slow economic times.
Amidst this spending, are there some things that we can save on?
Premium Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yoghurt, like many other fads including Churros and the current cheese tarts, used to be “in fashion”, with snaking queues by the bright green storefronts of Llao Llao, a Spanish frozen yoghurt franchise which has since expanded to 33 countries.
Though an impressive feat, the prices of their offerings do not come cheap and can easily buy you a meaty plate of Cai fan (mixed rice) and a refreshing drink. For instance, ordering yoghurt with just one topping will put you back by a whopping $5. Even the cheapest item on the menu, a miserable cup of plain yoghurt, costs $2.50.
Despite this, Llao Llao still managed to gain quite a following. While other stores like Sogurt and Yoguru struggled to stay afloat, Llao Llao’s snaking queues lasted longer, a sign of their dominance.
In comparison, if you drop by the IKEA Megastore at Queenstown, you can get a small cup of frozen yoghurt for only $1 from their cafeteria.
Ordering Vegetables at a Chinese Restaurant
If you look carefully at the menus of Chinese restaurants like Soup Restaurant, you’ll be surprised to find that the prices of their vegetable dishes are comparable to that of their meat-based offerings.
It certainly does not make economic sense given the low costs of vegetables and stir-frying – the price is probably to deter people from ordering these vegetables, in the author’s humble opinion.
Unless the restaurant is known for its vegetarian or vegetable dishes, then it’s probably wise to forego the greens and dive straight into the signature dishes.
Overbuying at Supermarkets then Throwing them after they have expired
There has been some buzz being generated recently about the amount of food wastage, with a study done from 2014 to 2015 by the National Environmental Agency of Singapore (NEA) “to better understand the main reasons behind food wastage in households and identify triggers for change”.
The concluding finding was that “saving money is the biggest motivation that will drive Singapore consumers to reduce food wastage”, following by the concern of saving the environment.
With an array of products and household items offered at supermarkets like Giant and NTUC Fairprice, it is not difficult to find items on heavy price promotions at these enormous hypermarkets and hence making it tempting for customers to pick them off the shelf.
Recently, there have been efforts to reduce this food waste, especially with regards to food in good condition but close to expiry date. The Straits Times reported in April 2016 that The Food Bank Singapore is setting up a shop, called The Food Pantry, where such items are sold for just $1 each. The amount raised will “cover manpower, utilities, rental and other packaging expenses”.
It also has to be stated that the safety of a food product is not dependent solely on its expiry date, according to a spokesman for the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) as reported in the article.
So I guess these are first steps to reducing the amount of food waste while saving the environment and your bank from depleting too quickly.
Possibly, the goal to achieve would be to follow in the footsteps of France, where according to an article published by The Guardian, “where French supermarkets will be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food and must instead donate it to charities or for animal feed, under a law set to crack down on food waste”.
With slow economic times not looking likely to improve in the coming year (especially with Trump as POTUS 😬), it will do our piggy banks less harm by saving on the little indulgences in life in what seems to be a rainy day coming. Remember to track your expenses on the Seedly app and start cutting out all those wasteful spendings!
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