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How to Save Money and Be Green At the Same Time: 3 Key Trends in Singapore

urban farming singapore green how to save money

Joanne Poh

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Singapore is the last country on earth where you would expect anyone to care about the environment. People obsessively replace their phones, their cars and their wardrobes. Luxury condos leave their lights on and fancy water features pumping all night long. Nobody knows how to use those recycling bins you occasionally see in public places.

But the country is improving. For a start, the government is trying to turn Singapore into a cycling-friendly city. Not only does this initiative help Singapore become greener, commuting by bike means that we can spend less on transport.

When the country adopts practices that are better for the environment, we can save more (even if most local companies still don’t give a toss).

Here are 3 ways this is happening in Singapore right now.

 

Bike-sharing and cycling are becoming a legit mode of transport

Personally, I cannot wait for the day when the entire island is connected by cycling paths, hot weather notwithstanding.

This is already starting to be the case in certain areas. Bencoolen Street has been redesigned its roads to include wider foothpaths and dedicated cycling paths. Ang Mo Kio will soon follow suit. An underground bicycle parking system that can hold up to 500 bikes will be built in Kampung Admiralty. Talk about high-tech and eco-friendly!

For those who can’t afford cars, it’s nice to know there are alternatives that are virtually free. Cycling at least part of the way can seriously reduce your overall travelling time (hands up all of those long-suffering people who need to rely on feeder buses to get to the MRT station).

After the initial bicycle purchase, cycling is free. Bike-sharing is also relatively inexpensive. Plus, it keeps you fit too – so you can potentially cancel that expensive gym membership and save more!

 

Urban farming lets you eat (some veggies) for free

While Singapore is the last place you’d think of gardening in, the activity has surprisingly taken off in recent years. Vertical urban gardening is becoming a viable solution for those who want to buy organic or homegrown vegetables.

But even more evident is the surge in interest amongst citizens in replacing some of their supermarket-bought vegetable consumption with greens and herbs grown in their HDB flats.

There have been numerous news reports about people growing vegetables on their balconies and flats. More and more new condo developments feature community gardens where people can exercise their green thumbs. Resources and workshops catered to HDB gardeners are popping up all over the island.

With farm-to-table restaurants like Open Farm Community gaining popularity, it’s now rather chi-chi to say that you have a little herb garden at home.

If you actually manage to raise your plants without them dying on you, you’ll have a food source than can help you save on your grocery bill or keep your family alive in a zombie apocalypse.

 

Online shopping saves you money and has a smaller carbon footprint

It’s official— nobody likes Orchard Road anymore. But that’s not because Singaporeans have given up shopping, oh no. It’s just that they’re now doing most of their shopping online.

When people think about groceries, they think Redmart. When people think about tech gadgets, they turn to Lazada. And while mall landlords might be crying themselves to sleep at night, studies have shown that in many circumstances, buying stuff online instead of patronising brick-and-mortar stores can lighten your carbon footprint.

Shopping online helps you compare prices, and you aren’t paying for the share of ridiculous retail rental cost in Singapore. So even if you don’t give a hoot about the environment, a big plus for you is savings.

You also don’t have to deal with the cost of transport, parking and an emergency meal because your shopping kaki is getting hangry.

Do you do any of the above? Tell us in the comments!

 

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.