With a looming extension of poor economic times, it seems that budgeting has become more of a necessity these days. Gone are the days when one would go onto Groupon and lap up the umpteen number of buffet deals – you can easily track your expenditure via Seedly which crunches the analytics of your expenditure into neat figures and graphs.
Moreover, being one of the most expensive cities in the world, it is of no wonder that we are beginning to feel the pinch in our pockets when it comes to dining-out, shopping and hanging out with friends in Singapore
Here are three suggested tips that you could do on a shoestring budget (some are even free!):
#1 Watch Concerts for Free at the Esplanade & Botanic Gardens
The arts scene has been growing, albeit at a modest pace, with the iconic Esplanade taking the lead in the promotion of local musicians as well as playing host to the region’s and the world’s finest musicians.
There are two main venues within the compound of the Esplanade where you can catch free performances – the indoor open space which can seat about 50 people and the scenic outdoor theatre facing the waterfront. What’s often overlooked is the commendable acoustics, possibly the strongest signal of what quality investment in sound equipment means, at these venues.
Moreover, if one prefers to head for a free concert after shopping in the midday heat of Orchard Road, there is the Botanic Gardens which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
Despite the ample lush space in front of the symbolic symphony stage, do go early to avoid being disappointed – it has proven to be a popular place, especially for families and couples going for a picnic! The schedule for concerts held at the Botanic Gardens can be found in this link.
#2 Engage in a cultural trip at Chinatown (and don’t forget the dirt-cheap local delicacies!)
Chinatown has long been a cultural precinct, having emerged as the place-to-go not only for festive occasions such as Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival, but also for its array of good and cheap food in the area.
Of notable mention is the humbleness of Liao Fan, a stall that became famous as it emerged as being one of the only two hawker stalls to be awarded a Michelin star. The stall, specialising in Soya Sauce Chicken, commands snaking queues throughout the day while it continues to refuse to increase prices of its dishes even after the publicity generated by the Michelin guide.
According to The Straits Times, Its owner and chef, Mr. Chan Hon Meng, sees no reason to increase prices, although it was recently reported in September 2016 that he is looking for a business partner to expand his business. The estimated price is about SGD$2 million, modelled after the sale of Kay Lee Roast Meat. (On the other hand, Sing Kee chicken rice sold its recipe to two “outsiders” chosen from a list of interested candidates for just $42,800 each!)
Also, take note that the prices of bak kwa (barbequed pork) and mooncakes tend to skyrocket through the roof along with caterpillaring queues during the festive seasons of Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival respectively.
#3 Travel back in time and visit Haw Par Villa
The spacious theme park built by the generous brothers of Aw Boon Par and Aw Boon Haw has seen better days, with dwindling visitorship in the past two decades. Even in its heyday as a ticketed themed park where there was a boat ride going through the 10 Courts of Hell, the place failed to attract visitors to return. (Common complaints about the boat ride back then was how some visitors could not pause to see what the sculptures were depicting.)
Inspired by Chinese legends and mythology, the park is still being maintained and visitors will be surprised to find the sculptures intricately preserved.
The lack of any sort of animatronics together with what once constituted a coffee shop at the top of the hill makes it an ideal venue for anyone looking to absorb themselves in a sleepy, serene atmosphere. Interestingly, organisers of an escape game started an initiative to rejuvenate the place with a large-scale adventure game at night, as reported by The Straits Times in March 2016 to much success.
One also gets a bird eye’s view at the peak of Haw Par Villa, next to a closed open-air auditorium now housing wild flora and fauna on its own majestic stage. Do come hydrated or bring drinks along (there are vending machines at the entrance) as there are no stores in the compound itself.
All in all, with all the talk buzzing on whether a large space is required in the procreation of babies, one definitely does not need a large wallet to live like a king on a budget. With an app like Seedly, look no further for a one-stop avenue to manage your finances.
Seedly is an everyday personal finance assistant that aggregates your financial data across up to 6 local bank and card accounts and gives you a complete personal financial picture. We currently serve over 6,000 users and growing in Singapore and are supported by NUS Enterprise, TOP 9 DBS HOTSPOT startup and East Ventures. We aim to become the #1 personal finance management app in Singapore and the region.