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070422 Beat Inflation Singapore

5 Practical Budgeting Tips to Help You Beat Inflation in Singapore (April 2022)

profileJoel Koh


Inflation in Singapore April 2022

In Singapore’s context, inflation measures the rate at which the prices levels of goods and services in the economy increase over time. This causes a decrease in purchasing power of the currency as more money is needed to buy the same product now compared to the past.

Here’s how this works. For example, back in the 90s, chicken rice used to only cost $1 per plate, and¬†$10¬†could buy you¬†10¬†plates of chicken rice.

Today, chicken rice now costs about $3.50 per plate, and this means that the same $10 can only buy you slightly less than three plates of chicken rice today.

For reference, overall inflation or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose to 4.3% y-o-y in February 2022 compared to 4.0% y-o-y in January 2022.

Source: SingStat

The CPI measures ‘the cost of a fixed basket of goods and services commonly consumed by resident households’ as seen in the figure below:

Whereas the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Core Inflation in February 2022 fell to 2.2% year on year (y-o-y), down from 2.4% y-o-y in January 2022.

This figure excludes private road transport and accommodation costs, subject to short-term fluctuations.

Aside from these official figures, you would have probably noticed that almost everything around you getting more expensive.

But we got you!

Here are five practical tips to beat inflation in Singapore!

TL;DR: How to Flight Inflation in Singapore (April 2022)

1. Cook More Using Ingredients Purchased From Supermarket Discount Schemes

Generally, cooking at home saves you money in the long run. But, you might have to invest quite a bit into cooking equipment at the start if you want to prepare a simple meal of rice and dishes.

How Much it Costs to Cook at Home in Singapore

  • 1X Mahsuri Oyster Sauce: $1.95
  • 1X Salt (500g): $0.50
  • 1X Ground Pepper (50g): $1.85
  • 1X Lee Kum Kee Light Soy Sauce: $1.50
  • 1X Giant Vegetable Oil (2L): $3.90
  • 1X Meadows Thai Honmali Rice New Crop (5KG): $13
  • 9X Sio Peck Chye (220g): 9 for $6
  • 1X Fresh Chicken Non-Halal (~1.4kg): $7.60
  • 2X Corn and Soya Eggs (10S, 600g): $6.40.

In sum, this is enough food for around three days and will only cost you about $4.30 for about 10 meals or about $4.30 a meal for the first week.

But here’s the thing, it will get cheaper in the long run as the rice and oil can be used for more meals.

As time goes by, you will acquire more equipment and spices most cooks worth their salt would own.

But at the start, you might have to invest quite a bit.

In addition, you can purchase these ingredients and take advantage of the many discount schemes:

That’s not all; Giant has an ongoing Lower Prices That Last campaign (till September 2022) with discounts on about 800 household essentials, fresh food items, and personal care products that stack with the Senior Citizen Discount:

Source: Giant

In addition, NTUC FairPrice also has a 5 per cent discount on 100 daily staples on Fridays till 31 December 2022.

2. Buy Used or Refurbished Items

So here’s the thing.

In 2020, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) reported that about 5.88 million tonnes of solid waste were generated in Singapore, of which 3.04 million tonnes were recycled.

This is enough waste to fill about 11,300 Olympic sized swimming pools, which are 50 metres long, 25 metres wide, and are at least two metres deep!

Source: The New Paper | Singapore Sports Hub Pool

That’s an unimaginable amount of trash being thrown away each day.

So much so that anecdotally, The Stratis Times reported that:

domestic helper Cherryann-Lynn Santos, 36, started working for a family in Singapore nine years ago, she has been “shopping” at the dumpster at her condominium in the east for gifts to send home for Christmas. “We find clothes and shoes that are still brand-new because they still have price tags. Even the toys are in the boxes and untouched,” the Filipino maid says.

Ms Santos, a mother of a four-year-old girl, says that she and her friends, mostly domestic helpers, would help themselves to the “treasure” and send them home.

“Singaporeans and ang-mos (Hokkien for Caucasians) throw out things that are practically new. Even the furniture are better than the ones in our homes back in the Philippines so we dismantle (them) and send them back,” she says.

There’s no need to dumpster dive.

But the next time you want to buy something new, you should look on classified platforms like Carousell, Gumtree or the many Facebook groups for buying and selling used items.

And if you are looking for electronics, you could always look at refurbished products.

For context, refurbished products are products that some other customer has bought and then, for whatever reason, decided to return.

But, just because an item was returned doesn’t necessarily mean it was damaged.

People return products for a myriad of reasons. They might return it because of minor blemishes that affect the product’s exterior, because the packaging might be damaged or when they change their minds about a product after buying it.

For these instances, buying refurbished can get you a product that has been barely used or is almost new for a steal.

For example, refurbished MacBooks can cost up to 18 per cent less than their similarly specced but brand new counterparts.

Not to mention that these products go through a generally rigorous refurbishment process that ensures that the refurbished product works just well as new products. You can even purchase those products with limited warranties to ease your mind.

3. Reduce Taxis/Private Hire Vehicles Use and Take Public Transport More

This one is a bit more obvious, but it is still worth mentioning.

If you find yourself going everywhere in a private hire vehicle (PHV) or taxi, you might want to dial it back and take public transport.

This habit can get crazy expensive. Let’s assume you take two rides a day that cost about $15 each, which will cost you about:

$30 a day.

$210 a week

$$10,920 a year.

If you really need to use a vehicle for transport, you could always look at car sharing providers like BlueSG, Car Club, Car Lite, GetGo, Shariot, TribeCar and WhizzCar:

Depending on your usage, you should be able to save a decent amount.

4. If Feasible, Consider Buying a Bicycle For Your Daily Commute

The next tip is good for your health and fitness.

Barring health problems or a personal situation that would make it hard for you to cycle, you can consider cycling instead of public transport.

The folks over at the Victoria State Government have done the research about the health benefits of cycling:

  • ‘Cycling can help protect you from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.
  • Riding a bike is healthy, fun and a low-impact form of exercise for all ages.
  • Cycling is easy to fit into your daily routine by riding to the shops, park, school or work.’

If you can cycle everywhere, you can save quite a bit.

Let’s say you spend about $50 a month on public transport since most of us might still be on hybrid work schemes and need not travel to the office every day.

But before you get a bicycle, you need to ask yourself these questions as highlighted in our Bicycle Rental vs Buying a Bicycle article:

  • How Often Will You Be Using The Bicycle?
  • What Sort of Bicycle Should You Get?
  • What Accessories Do You Need?

Once you have carefully considered that, and you are committed to commuting almost everywhere on a bicycle, you can look at getting an affordable folding bike in Singapore:


The second cheapest Tilt 500 XS 14 Inch Folding Bike will set you back by $330.

A decent helmet, lock, and lights will set you back another $60 or so.

This means you will have to invest about $390 in total to get started on your cycling journey.

If you significantly reduce your use of public transport, you might save about $40 a month.

This means that the bicycle will pay for itself after 10 months.

5. Cut Out Subscriptions or Look For More Affordable Alternatives

Do an honest review of your subscriptions and focus on your needs, not wants.

You can cut out stuff like:

  • Online gaming services
  • Gym memberships that you hardly use
  • Multiple video streaming subscriptions (choose the one that you use most and resubscribe only when your favourite show is on)
  • Food delivery subscriptions
  • Online magazine subscriptions (can find most on the National Library Board NLB mobile app #notsponsored):

And many more.

If there are subscriptions that you cannot cut, you can look for more value for money alternatives.

Let’s take the ubiquitous mobile phone plan, for example.

If you are still on a telco plan with a two-year contract with a financial penalty for breaking it, here’s a Public Service Announcement (PSA) ‚ÄĒ switch to a SIM-Only plan as you will likely be paying less!

To compare SIM-only and telco plans, we will use the Apple store price paired with the cheapest SIM-Only plans and compare them to the two-year telco plans.

To illustrate the total cost of this approach, we will be buying an¬†iPhone 13 mini (128GB)¬†and subscribing to¬†giga! ‘s SIM-Only 40GB Plan¬†for¬†24 months since most telco contracts are about this long.

We are using the iPhone 13 mini (128GB) as it is is the most affordable iPhone 13 lineup phone.

  • Monthly giga! 40GB Plan Subscription Cost (24 Months):¬†$480
  • iPhone 13 mini (128GB) Upfront Cost:¬†$1,149
  • Total Cost of Buying Directly From Apple and SIM-Only Plan:¬†$1,629.

Now let’s compare it to getting an iPhone 13 mini with a two-year telco contract.

When you compare the giga! + buying the iPhone 13 mini directly from Apple approach to the M1 plans; you’ll find that you will have to pay more, with the difference in price expanding when you move up to the more expensive phone plans.

For example, let’s look at the iPhone 13 mini 128 GB.

For the giga! approach, you will have to pay $1,629 over 24 months.

However, if you opt for the M1 base plan, you will have to pay ~$1,923 over 24 months.

In total, you will be paying $294 more than the giga! mobile + buy directly from Apple approach for less than half the data, minutes and SMS.

But on balance, you will be getting free 5G for three months if you go with M1.

That’s all well and good, but what if you are already on a SIM-Only plan?

We got you.

Check out our latest comparison of SIM-Only plans to find the most affordable one for your needs and help you save more!

About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. I hope to help people make better financial decisions and not let money control them.
You can contribute your thoughts like Joel Koh here.

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