5 Kiasu Ways You Won’t Believe Singaporeans Try to Save Money

Ryan Ong



Most days, we teach you typical ways of saving money. This isn’t one of them. Today, we’ll look at some of the most low brow, embarrassing ways that Singaporeans try to scrimp. The following methods are so embarrassing and unclassy, people caught using them aren’t even fined – they’re just rounded up as potential script writers for the next The Lion Men movie:


Method #1: “Free” Movie Tickets

Don’t want to pay for cinema tickets? Great news! Now you can embarrass yourself and your ancestry, by conning a bank into paying for you.

This method involves “free ticket” promotions, which sometimes come with the application of a credit card. But let’s say you don’t qualify for the card, or want more than just two tickets. What do you do?

Some people have resorted to the following:

  • Print out some wrong documents regarding your income (e.g. the wrong CPF statements). Or if you’re too lazy to even do that, just get a bunch of scrap paper to stuff into an envelope.
  • Put everything into an envelope, and humiliate the people who raised you by writing your name and address on it. If the tickets are collected on the spot, you can use a fake name or address to undeservedly protect your reputation.
  • Seal the envelope.
  • Go to the bank and explain that the envelope contains your “credit card application documents”. The guy at the counter won’t open the sealed envelope, so you will either get the movie tickets on the spot, or get them mailed to you.
  • You can reduce yourself to a lower lifeform, by doing this at several branches all within a few days.
  • You have now effectively stolen free tickets. I hope you’re proud of yourself.


Method #2: Free Phone Calls

Do you have free incoming calls? Do you value money more than friendship and dignity? Then make all your calls free, by turning outgoing calls into incoming ones.

The next time you need to call, ring only once and immediately put the phone down. The other party will call back, so they’ll be the ones paying instead.


Method #3: Cashing in on Cashback Cards

This method requires you to check out credit card brochures, for cards that come with free cashback (e.g. $80 cashback on the card, when you sign up).

Once you find a suitable target, you  apply for two to three cards – carefully checking the terms so there’s no penalty for cancelling them. Once the cards arrive, spend all the cashback in the cards, and then cancel them.

Most banks have a clause that prevent you for applying for the card again, for six months after you cancel it. This is the reason.


Method #4: Lie About Your Wedding to Caterers

Some caterers charge more for wedding events. Supposedly, it’s because they’ll put extra effort into preparations. In reality, the “extra effort” often amounts to a plastic rose on each table, and waitstaff with two fewer visible tattoos than normal.

Some Singaporeans have decided they’re not having it.

So they lie when they call the caterer, and insist it’s a family reunion or birthday party. Then they start nagging the caterer for free extras – frilly tablecloth, nicer chairs, etc. All the while negotiating under the guise that it’s definitely not a wedding.

The caterer has no idea, until the bride and groom show up. At which point, they presumably experiment with phlegm as a new form of seasoning.


Method #5: Use Enrichment and Tuition Centres as Free Babysitters

Let’s say you’re the kind of parent with two children, who should rightfully have two fewer children. You want to saddle someone else with them, while you go  do your own thing. Trouble is, babysitters (or professional childcare) can be expensive.

As you ponder your options, your eyes fall on tuition and enrichment centres. You know what? While your children are there, the staff have to look after them right?

True, lessons only last an hour or so, and that’s not much time. But who says you need to drop them there during the class hours?

This is why some parents have started leaving their children at tuition and enrichment centres up to three hours before class starts. In the childcare system, it’s gotten so bad that some organizations now implement strict rules, insisting that parents can bring their kids 30 minutes before class, tops.

Otherwise, some cheapskate parents start treating the centre as free childcare, complete with education and entertainment activities. Pay for one hour, and have your children looked after for four!

Wallet one, graceful Singaporeans nil.

Know any cheapskate tactics? Comment and let us know!

Image Credits:
Aaron G. 

Keep updated with all the news!

Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.