Budgeting

6 Freebies You Need to Know About (in Singapore)

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Ryan Ong

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There’s lots of free things in Singapore. For example, flu. Or the fact that if you can’t afford dinner, you’re free to go without. And then there’s…oh here we go. Everyone’s giving me dirty looks; like I’m a Telco rep discussing data plans. Okay, settle down people; I swear, Singaporeans get so ugly when it comes to freebies. Learn from my example: I never pocket more than 70 chilli packets from McDonald’s. At a time.

1. Singapore Really Really Free Market

The Singapore Really Really Free Market (SRRFM) is organized by Post-Museum. Don’t know what the RRFM is? Imagine the sort of people who drink Coronas and hang out at Balaclava. Then picture their exact opposite (i.e. generous, unpretentious, and not losers).

The SRRFM is sort of a communal swap meet. It’s like a flea market, except everything’s free. You can find books, household cleaners, software, old hand phones, baby clothes…the list is as huge as it is random. Of course, it’d be nice if you give some of your own stuff. That way everyone benefits, and I won’t have to nail this to your forehead.

To be informed of upcoming events, join the community and stay in touch.

 

RRFM mission statement
Look in the discards. You might find your property agent’s ethics.

 

2. Free Tuition

On low income and need tutors for your children? Try Loving Heart. If you’re a Singaporean resident, and have an income under $2500, they provide tuition for free. Currently, they cover the Primary 1 to Secondary 2 syllabus. Be sure to contact them early though; it’s a rush to get in.

Speaking of free tuition, University students need to start browsing iTunes. Former lecturer Jeannie Aun has tip for them:

Most people don’t even know about the free open University lectures on iTunes. If you have an iPod or an iPhone, you can download lectures from very reputable institutions. Assuming it touches on something relevant to you, you’re getting a lot of good quotes, references, and leads. You can actually eavesdrop on a Harvard lecture on the trip home.

 

Laughing student
I like to show students my old report cards. That may sound like giggling, but it’s really inspiration.

 

3. Free Furniture

If your house has a one of those versatile modern designs, free furniture is easy to find. Otherwise it’s…well it’s still easy to get free furniture; just don’t be surprised when your living room’s the feature of Bad Taste Monthly.

Locanto has been a favourite site for free stuff for years now. While a lot of freebies are things like baby strollers and whatnot, Locanto is the first stop for furniture hunters. Most of the freebie coffee tables and stuff come from ex-pats on the way home. The rest is from funny friends who list your entire living room without you knowing. (Come on Sam, it was hilarious!)

Either way, browse here before heading to IKEA.

 

Cabinet with broken door
For my apartment? That’s going to BE my apartment. Seen HDB prices lately?

 

4. Free Accommodations and Meals for Children

If you’re travelling as a family, always look for this freebie. There’s usually a hotel providing free lodging and meals for children.

At Singapore’s Holiday Inn, for example, children up to the age of 19 can share their parents’ room. And up to four children (aged 12 and under) can eat at their restaurant free. If you’re staying for more than three days, that’s a significant cost savings.

When you’re with a tour company, they’ve already negotiated this with the hotel. I hope. But let’s say you don’t want your holiday to resemble military training under a half-competent tour guide (i.e. 90% of all group tours). Don’t forget to find or negotiate this deal on your own then.

 

Kids in a hotel room
Kids + Magic Marker + Bed in Hotel Room. Ready that credit card.

 

5. Free Analogue Gaming

Analogue gaming, in case you didn’t know, refers to board and card games. You’ve probably noticed the rise of places like Mind Cafe and Settlers. Hanging around there is like being a gamer, except your Mage doesn’t have more hit points than you have actual friends.

But if you don’t want to rent games, or want to sample them free, head to the source. Paradigm Infinitum is usually packed with gamers. Whatever analogue game you want to buy, someone there has tried it or knows about it. And you can usually find a game to join, without having to buy a table.

 

Eurogames
Pictured: Strained attempts to not crack phallic jokes.

 

6. Free Haircut

There’s a nasty rumour that the MoneySmart editor is so kiam, he once severed his left ear trying to give himself a free haircut. This is entirely untrue. It was my right ear.

Anyway, you can get a free haircut in Singapore. This comes from student or trainee hair-stylists; and in my experience, they seldom go wrong. You think you’re nervous, think about the guy cutting your hair. He’s probably practised six zillion hours or something.

ITE students are always in need of practice dummies models; call or e-mail on the student boards and you might get a freebie. And if you stick to the same hair salon, mention you’re willing to get hair-cuts from students. You’ll be surprised how often you get a $50 cut for free.

And Follow us on Facebook for more tips on freeloading!

 

Student hair stylists
“Relax Ma’am, I’ve done this a lot. See, I used to be a gardener, and…”

 

Image Credits:
Funky Tee, stevendepolo, tsuihin, MarViniz, Chrispitality, Will Merydith, Dekcuf

Do you know any freebies? Comment and tell us about it!

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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.