Ever Wonder How Much We Actually Spend on Entertainment? Let’s Do the Math

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To tell the truth, a typical weekend in Singapore is quite standard. Because eating is our essential national pastime, we’re usually stuffing our faces at a 1-for-1 buffet or at the newest hipster café. Then we’ll go shopping, or get our weekly dose of entertainment be it at the movies or at a KTV venue.

Sometimes, for a change of scene, we’ll go on a short weekend trip, jump aboard a cruise or organise a staycation for our folks.

But have we calculated how much we actually spend during a typical weekend, especially on entertainment alone? Let’s break it down.


Jio people out for KTV

With so many wallet-friendly KTV outlets opening up around Singapore, it’s becoming a popular activity among Singaporeans young and old. Turn up the feels when you belt out an emotional Cantopop ballad with your loved one, or prance about the private room as you croon to Lady Gaga. Plus, there’s something stress-relieving about yelling song lyrics at the top of your lungs, with no one to judge how well (or how poorly) you can hold a tune.

Average price per pax for a KTV session: $15


Catching a concert (sometimes overseas)

It seems like more and more celebrities are flying to Singapore. These include names of yore like the Backstreet Boys, Arashi from Japan, U2, Green Day and even A-ha. Then you have K-pop stars like WINNER, ITZY and 10cm, where opting for a ticket in the standing pit or with meet-and-greet/high five fan service can set you back $400 or more.

In addition to gigs in Singapore, some of us will even fly overseas to catch our favourite acts, myself included. I’ve gone for concerts in Hong Kong and Sydney, and will also be heading to Jakarta with some friends for a music festival.

A #basic concert ticket (without meet-and-greet) costs about $200, and that’s not even counting your plane ticket (about $500, if you’re travelling to South Korea on a budget airline)

Average price per pax for a concert: $200


Go cheong at a club (or chill at a pub)

Berlin’s best trance DJ in town? Or just want to listen to chill tunes and catch the game? It sure feels shiok to let your hair down at the club with your posse or chill with your mates at a pub or sports bar. Whether it’s Marquee or The Penny Black, nothing beats hanging out with your friends to unwind.

Unfortunately, the costs can add up. Say there’s an event at the club, so you start out with a $30 cover charge. Alcohol is not cheap either, at an average of $20 per glass. And finally transport, because drink driving is not cool. So there’s the $20 taxi fare home as well.

Average price per pax for a night out: $70


Watching a musical or play

Heading to the theatre to catch a play or a musical used to be such a lavish affair. But now, judging from the snaking queues to enter the theatres at The Esplanade or Marina Bay Sands, this activity has become part of many Singaporeans’ routines. I mean, how can you pass over the chance to catch Aladdin serenading Princess Jasmine on a flying magic carpet; watch Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, in action; or catch the acclaimed War Horse production?

Average price per ticket for a musical in a swanky place: $150


Going to the cinema

This is the Singaporean’s de facto weekend date: Movie, dinner, pak tor. Because nothing beats going to an IMAX cinema to watch the latest blockbuster — in 3D, no less. Or maybe you absolutely need to see how Grandpa Android is still fulfilling his promise of “I’ll be back” at the ripe old age of 72.

In any case, a weekend trip to the cinema will set you back about $13 per person, more if you are paying for your whole family to watch a family-friendly movie — princess costumes for your excited daughters not included.

Average price per weekend movie ticket: $13


Cost of entertainment per month

Here’s what one would expect to pay each month, on these entertainment options alone:

Entertainment option Frequency Average cost/month/person
KTV Once a month $15
Concert (local) Once every 3 months $200 / 3 = $66.70
Club or pub Twice a month $70 x 2 = $140
Musical or play Once every 3 months $150 / 3 = $50
Cinema Once a week $13 x 4 = $52
TOTAL $323.70

At the end of 1 month, you could be spending $323.70 on entertainment alone.


Get access to unlimited entertainment with HBO Go at just $13.98 a month

Food Lore: Flavours of Love, a HBO Asia Original Series.

Is it possible to still get your entertainment fix but save money? In comparison, a subscription to HBO Go will only set you back $13.98 a month. That’s practically the cost of ONE weekend movie ticket. But you’ll get access to an on-demand, always-on, streaming service.

Let’s see what HBO Go is made of:


HBO Original Series
If you’re an entertainment junkie, an ideal weekend for you could be vegging out on the sofa as you root for the masked vigilantes in Watchmen. Or maybe you are enraptured by the world of daemons and Dust, in His Dark Materials. But if you have a thing for a different kind of fantasy, that a visit to Room 104 would satisfy.

Oh, and these are released the same time as the US. So begone, spoilers!

Late to the whole Game of Thrones party? All 8 seasons (that’s 73 episodes) are waiting to be watched — no spoilers from me, I promise. Or enter the haunting historical drama that is Chernobyl, which won 10 Emmys, by the way.

And there’s also the much-talked-about original series produced by HBO Asia, Food Lore: Flavours of Love. It explores food and connection, spanning Asian cities like Manila, Ho Chi Minh and our sunny Singapore. Speaking of Singapore, the much-anticipated Invisible Stories will be dropping on 5 Jan 2020 — the six-part anthology will explore the underbelly of the Singapore heartlands. You can also catch The Outsider (based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel) which premiers on 13 Jan 2020; as well as the upcoming HBO Asia Original, Invisible Stories, which premiers 5 Jan 2020.

You can’t mention HBO without talking about movies, because that’s what HBO stands for: Home Box Office. You have the big screen blockbusters like Bumblebee, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Fifty Shades Freed, Crazy Rich Asians and even animated movie The Grinch, which is perfect for Christmas.

But as a Japanophile, I find myself gravitating to movies like the Singapore-Japanese-French production Ramen Teh, Neko Atsume House (yes, like the game where you collect cats), as well as The Island of Cats, a feel-good romp that’ll leave you feeling a-meow-zing, purr-mise! Oh, and there’s the kickass 2018 drama series Miss Sherlock, in which the sharp-eyed and sharp-tongued sleuth and her trusty female sidekick Dr Wato-san (love the pun!) solve mysteries.

Other perks that come with HBO Go are the multi-language subtitles, live TV; and you can even download the shows to your device beforehand so you can literally watch on the go without exhausting your data limit. There’s also no need to squint. When the whole crew is over at your house for a binge-watch session, break out the popcorn and cast the show to your 55-inch TV screen for a home theatre experience like no other.

What are you doing this weekend? Why not sign up for HBO Go here!