While “free gift” is like a clarion call to Singaporean aunties islandwide to assemble outside their favourite FairPrice branch, we don’t actually have too many opportunities for a free lunch here, thanks to the government’s political ideology yada yada. The irony is that when the government actually does give out freebies, even with no income ceiling, Singaporeans tend to be a little slow on the uptake.
Here are four freebies the government gives out to each and every Singaporean, and that you qualify for regardless of whether you live in a cardboard box or some gigantic house on prime land.
Upset by Singaporean employees’ reputation for being inflexible, unenthused and generally miserable, the government is now offering every Singaporean aged 25 and above $500 worth of SkillsFuture credits, which can be used on skills-upgrading courses that can boost career progress.
However, nobody is stopping you from using your SkillsFuture credit on a photography course or to learn how to become a DJ. Check out this article on MoneySmart for some skills you can pick up that are actually rather cool.
Try this: Kickstart a new hobby by sneakily using your SkillsFuture credits to pay for a course. Some of the courses you can pay for with your credit include basic Japanese classes at Inlingua School of Languages, photography classes at NAFA and LASALLE, and an online graphic design course at UDEMY.
Once again, the government realised there was something wrong with Singaporeans and decided to give them money to rectify the problem. This time, it was the fact that we’re basically a nation of couch potatoes, with shopping as our main form of exercise.
After sitting down before a desk for 12 hours at the office, too many Singaporeans veg out in front of a Korean drama or spend their evenings posting vitriolic comments on Facebook or their favourite forums like Hardwarezone and Sammyboy.
That’s why we now have $100 of ActiveSG credit which we can use to gain access to public swimming pools, book tennis or badminton courts, or snag a 30% discount on exercise classes and learn-to-play workshops.
Try this: Some of the facilities you can book using your credit include volleyball, squash, badminton, tennis and netball courts. If you played a sport back at school, round up your old teammates for a game on the government’s dime. Otherwise, get in shape by working at the ClubFITT gyms or swimming in the many public pools around Singapore.
Water saving kits
Water Wally, the raindrop-shaped mascot of PUB’s water saving kits, is probably the world’s most ignored cartoon character.
Even if you don’t give a crap about the environment, installing water saving thimbles on your taps will result in a lowered utilities bill. PUB’s water saving kits bestow upon you a set of thimbles that will let you regulate the flow rates of your taps and showerheads.
Try this: PUB gives out free water saving kits to anybody who asks. Fill in your details on PUB’s online form here and they’ll send a water saving kit your way.
National Library Board services and events
The National Library branches in Singapore are an invaluable resource to anybody who reads for pleasure or needs information of any sort. Singaporeans and PRs get a free basic membership, which enables them to borrow 8 items, including up to three music scores or AV materials.
Using the library is super easy now that everything is on the Internet. Just get on NLB’s website and search for the books or materials you want to borrow. You can then see which branch they’re available at. Place a reservation for $1.50 and the library will notify you when you can pick up your items.
Try this: Even if you (gasp) don’t like reading, you can borrow DVDs, music CDs, trashy magazines and even music scores. There are also tons of free events and workshops at the various branches imparting skills like leather crafting, ventriloquism and tie dying, just to name a few.
Have you used any of the above? Tell us in the comments!