TheSmartLocal – Singapore’s Leading Travel and Lifestyle Portal

Skip to content
Singapore Hacks Cover Image

9 Biggest Singaporean Cheat Codes To Employ Gathered From Kiasu Locals

Hacks to use in Singapore

Let’s face it: Singaporeans are probably some of the savviest people out there when it comes to making their lives easier and more importantly, cheaper. Tips for affordable flights? Doesn’t hurt to save hundreds of dollars per holiday. Supermarket hacks? You now then know meh?

Bottom line is, there’s a whole host of “cheat codes” that we can employ when we’re going about our lives in The Little Red Dot; you just don’t know they exist. Don’t you worry, we’ve rounded up the best of the bunch – here are some of the most shrewd hacks to use in Singapore.

1. You can use CPF to invest


The world of investing is tricky, especially if one does not have a stockpile of money set aside to dip their toes into growing their wealth. Thankfully, we’ve already got a cash reserve that we can access once we’re 55.

We’re talking about our CPF savings, and yes, you’re able to tap into it to make investments. However, there are certain requirements that need to be met in order to invest with the CPF Investment Scheme. You’ll need to have more than $20,000 in your OA and/or more than $40,000 in your SA amongst other stipulations; learn more on CPF’s website.

2. Access tons of free ebooks & audio books on your phone

Browsing Books At A Library

If you’ve resolved to pick up reading as a relaxing pastime but find the trip to the library all too daunting, there’s a solution. Simply download NLB’s Mobile App; it’s essentially a portable library on your phone, where you can borrow eBooks and audiobooks for free, as well as read eNewspapers and eMagazines.

Reading An eBook

To further enhance your reading experience, pair the app with Libby, a third-party application which unlocks a larger bank of reads for you to choose from. With tens of thousands of titles to choose from, you’ll never have to leave the comfort of your homemade reading nook to borrow physical books.

Apart from being able to access eBooks offline, Libby is also compatible with eBook reading devices like Kindle and Kobo, if you prefer a dedicated gadget to store all your titles.

3. Use booking sites to score cheaper but random hotel rooms

Hotel Room Interior

We all know booking hotel rooms can get a lil’ pricey, more so when you’re looking at the palatial 5-star abodes like Marina Bay Sands and the Ritz-Carlton. However, there are ways to bump these prices down to affordable levels. If you’re already familiar with these hotel booking hacks, here’s one to add to your arsenal.

Hotwire PricesThese sites will also give you details of the rooms you’re booking, so it’s not completely random.
Image adapted from: Hotwire

Sites like Hotwire and Priceline allow users to book hotel rooms at cheaper rates, but the caveat is that they’ll only reveal exactly which hotel you’ll be checking into once you book them. Opaque pricing is the reason behind the discounted but random rooms.

It’s when high-end hotels release their vacant rooms for cheap to draw in potential visitors, but still want to upkeep their image of being a classy and luxurious brand. That’s why they mask their names when they contract these booking sites to list their rooms. So, as long as you’re not too picky with which hotel you’re staying at, expect to cop a decent room with discounts of around 25%.

4. Access airport lounges without booking a business flight

Plaza Premium LoungeImage credit: Plaza Premium Lounge

In case you didn’t know, you don’t have to be a business or first-class flight ticket holder in order to access certain airport lounges in Changi Airport. These include the Plaza Premium Lounge (from $55 for 3-hour access) that comes with amenities such as shower rooms, private resting suites, and even swimming pool access.

Another one that you can consider is the Ambassador Transit Lounge, and rates also start at $55 for 3-hour access to this lounge in Terminal 3. It’s fitted with a gymnasium, nap suites, and a business centre where you can rent workstations AKA desktops to stay on the grind when you’ve got an imminent flight to catch.

5. Do your dental procedures in NS to save up to $2k

Those who are still serving NS, listen up. Although you’ll be serving the nation for 2 years, it’s prime time to get any chronic ailments treated as your green IC, colloquially known as your 11B, grants you a slew of medical benefits.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom tooth removal can cost up to $2,000 in Singapore.
Image credit: @oceandentalgrp via Instagram

For starters, a common medical procedure that NSFs often opt to undergo is wisdom tooth extraction. Even if your chompers are not bothering you right now, you might wanna still get them extracted because it’s entirely paid for under the SAF Dental Subsidy Scheme. It even comes bundled with 5-8 days of MC so you get ample time to rest up, if you catch my drift.

Do note that only wisdom teeth extraction that require surgery to carry out will be claimable. Also, be sure to take full advantage of the SAF Dental Subsidy Scheme. You’re entitled to an 85% reimbursement of dental treatment expenses incurred at hospitals, polyclinics, and even private dental clinics, with a cap of $120 per calendar year.

6. Take advantage of free membership sign ups

When it comes to free things, who don’t want sia? Free memberships that promise lucrative benefits are pretty hard to come by, but they are indeed out there.

IKEA - Singapore Hacks

The IKEA family membership is a nifty one to have when you’re visiting the Scandinavian haven. You’ll get to use points to offset your purchases, receive member discounts, and sign up for free workshops and events. Best part? You can redeem a free cup of coffee or tea at the on-site restaurant on each visit.

The UNIQLO Membership is a godsend if you’re an AIRism fan; you get to shop exclusive sizes only found online like XS and 3XL. You can also opt to collect your online orders at your nearest UNIQLO outlet, completely FOC.

Beach Club At Sentosa - Singapore Hacks

Should you frequent the sands of Sentosa often, then the Sentosa Islander membership will do you good. Apart from receiving a couple of welcome vouchers to use right off the bat, rack up enough points and you’ll be eligible for waived parking fees and even 365 days of free entry into the tropical paradise.

7. Let SIA know of special occasions in advance for freebies

Jetting off for your holidays is always a treat, but what do you get when occasions like birthdays and anniversaries coincide with flights aboard Singapore’s beloved SIA? Why, an extra special celebration 40,000 feet up in the sky, of course.

In-Flight Birthday Cake From SIA - Singapore Hacks
Image credit: @singaporeair via Instagram

For the uninitiated, you can make special requests with SIA to surprise your beloved with a cake and champagne for an unforgettable airborne experience. Do call in at least a week in advance to give them enough time to prep, and yes, they extend this service even to passengers travelling economy.

On the ground, it doesn’t hurt to let restaurants know that you’re celebrating your birthday, especially for the fancier eateries. Omakases in particular often whip up complimentary extra dishes if you give them a heads up. For example, Hana-hana dishes out Salmon cakes if the head chef catches wind that it’s your big day.

8. Try to get seats for popular restaurants 1-3 days before

As far as the hottest restaurants go, it’s always a mad dash to their reservation website to book their highly coveted seats. However, even when they’re often fully booked, you might be able to land yourself a table if you know the right strings to pull.

Esora Interior - Singapore Hacks
Image credit: The Lo & Behold Group

First off, do some research to find out exactly at which hour the restaurants release their booking schedules. For example, the Michelin-starred Esora’s bookings open at 12pm on the 1st and 15th of every month, 2 months ahead of time. After that, it’s all about setting alarms accordingly and frantically keying in your dates.

Should that still fail you, you can try calling the restaurants 1-3 days in advance to ask if they have any empty tables that need filling. Last-minute cancellations are a thing, so just cross your fingers and make that phone call.

9. Get antihistamines much cheaper from the polyclinic

Allergies Acting Up - Singapore Hacks

This one’s for those unlucky enough to be afflicted with allergies that flare up on a whim. Instead of gunning for antihistamines over the counter at popular pharmacies which can cost upwards of $15 a pack, try visiting your neighbourhood polyclinic instead.

Simply schedule an appointment with your GP and let them know about your ailments. They’ll be more than happy to prescribe you the appropriate remedy in bulk. Savings vary depending on your prescriptions, but you’d be surprised at how much money you’ll be saving as the medicine from polyclinics is subsidised by the government.

Try these hacks to use in Singapore for yourself

We’re not too sure why Singaporeans are experts at gaming the system, but we’re all for it. Hey, anything to alleviate the stress the dreaded 9% GST has brought us.

If you’re on the prowl for even more “cheat codes”, take a look at these lesser-known travel hacks to use for the upcoming June holidays. These MRT hacks can also come in handy on your daily commute, but if you’re looking to take to the roads, then here are some of the cheapest ways to own a car in Singapore.

Cover image adapted from: @singaporeair via Instagram