Maintaining a social life in Singapore isn’t the cheapest thing, which explains why so many people’s only friends are their anime figurines. If you find yourself regularly heading out for drinks, dinners and the occasional Sunday brunch, don’t be surprised if your monthly spending on entertainment alone hits a three figure sum. Meals at restaurants in Singapore can easily go up to $25-$30 per person, and two cocktails can set you back $50.
If you want to avoid the overpriced F&B scene, it can be hard to think of things your friends won’t mind doing, because let’s just say not everyone’s idea of fun is sweating it out in the jungles of MacRitchie. Here are 4 almost free things to do with your friends that are easy to organise and won’t have your friends protesting against them.
Tell your friends to come to your house to watch a movie and three quarters will turn up their noses, preferring to pay to watch it in the cinema rather than travel to your home in the middle of suburban hell. On the other hand, organise a mahjong game and suddenly people are willing to drive halfway across the island.
If you’re going to be playing money, betting 10 cents per “tai” will ensure that you don’t lose that much. Otherwise, have a friendly game where you keep count and perhaps the loser buys supper for the winner. Either way, considering how long a mahjong game can go on if you play through all the rounds in a cycle, it’s a cost-effective way to spend 5-6 hours.
If your friends are boardgame fans, this works just as well if you have a boardgame collector in your midst. Make it a potluck and you might even find yourself saving some money on dinner.
Trying to get your friends to do something active can feel like asking them to have teeth extracted so you can string them around your neck. Complaints about the heat, the sun and perspiration are common. If you’re looking for something to do at night and don’t feel like donating more money to the government’s revenue from alcohol taxes, try night cycling. You won’t have to worry about the sun and, if you go after 10pm, heavy traffic and psychotic drivers.
You don’t need some fancy mountain bike that costs more than cheap car overseas or a hipster fixie. Whatever old bicycle you had as a teenager will do. Just make sure you have lights and, if you’re extra careful, helmets. With the new Park Connector connecting East Coast to Marina Bay, Easties get to ride all the way to the city.
Have an urban picnic
If you’re going to be spending more than 3 hours together, people are going to get hungry, which means there’s the danger of wandering into an overpriced restaurant. The answer is to organise a picnic. The Botanic Gardens is popular on weekend mornings and afternoons, but Gardens by the Bay wins hands down as the best location for evening or night-time picnics. Best of all, it’s near the CBD so you can even have one after work.
Of course, you’ll need something to much on. To make things easy, make the picnic pot luck, but leave it up to your friends to bring whatever they want. Someone might bring a salad, while another might decide to bring a few bottles of beer or a bag of chips. Either way, it’ll probably be cheaper than eating out.
Become beach bums
Recall those days when you still wore a school uniform 5 days out of 7, and a day at the beach was the ultimate post-exam treat? I remember going to Orchard Road with my friends to buy swimsuits and then spending the entire day, from morning to early evening, running around like maniacs until we were completely roasted. If you’re a full-fledged adult, it’s unlikely you’ll have that much energy, but lounging on the sand with a good book and a few bottles of beer still sounds pretty darn appealing.
If you’re heading to Sentosa, bring a volleyball along and you instantly have 2 hours of free entertainment. Just try not to end up at Tanjong Beach Club, or you can kiss your money-saving aspirations goodbye.
What free activities do you and your friends enjoy? Let us know in the comments!