Singaporean life hacks
Life is hard enough as it is… and with CNY coming up, we’ve yet to face to an army of extended family members probing us on what we’ve got planned for the next 10 years of our lives. I don’t know auntie, I barely have tomorrow planned out!
With those crowded MRTs, long working hours, and the seemingly increasing humid weather, we could all do with some help. However, us lot at The Smart Local have teamed up to give you a well-deserved break. We’ve found out Singapore’s top unofficial hacks, and boy; are they good. Don’t say I bojio ah, cause we’re finally sharing them with you!
From getting more mixed rice for your money, to easily blocking all those pesky marketing calls – we’ve found the best hacks that’ll have you feeling like the smartest local alive.
1. DIY your KFC cheese fries and pay less
This is quite a cheeky one, so don’t let too many people know! Instead of topping up extra for those sinful yet delicious KFC cheese fries, just keep your regular fries that came with your meal and order a tub of cheese separately. That way, you get a whole more cheese for your fries, and even have some leftover dipping sauce for your chicken.
Unless of course, you really like the mayo and spring onions that come with the cheese fries.
2. Skip the ATM queue and withdraw cash at any 7/11
Have you ever found yourself short of cash when trying to buy your fave chicken rice from the Kopitiam? You’ve ran to the ATM, but there’s a huge queue. Forget about the ATM and head towards the nearest 7/11, where you can withdraw up to $80 with a NETS purchase if you have a DBS or a POSB card. This means you can skip the ATM queue, get your chicken rice and eat it.
3. If you find a lost wallet, post it back to the owner FOC
Sometimes it’s hard being the good Samaritan when you find a lost wallet. You wanna give it back to them, but according to the details on the IC, they live 10 MRT stations away – they might as well live in JB.
Don’t worry liao. Just go to the nearest post box and simply pop the wallet in – the good people at Singpost will return it to the rightful owner!
4. Portable chargers at ION mall!
Phones are getting bigger and bigger, but the battery life smaller and smaller. Although most people carry a portable charger with them nowadays, there are still times when we find ourselves stranded with a dead phone.
However, if you’re in Orchard: you’re in luck. ION Orchard’s B3, L1, L2 and L4 concierges offer you actual portable chargers you can take around with you, meaning you can shop and charge at the same time! Don’t worry non-Apple users – they’ve include a whole range of cables, so you’re included too.
Go on: plug in and enjoy yourself. Here’s a whole article we did on all the other free phone-charging spots, which include MRT stations too!
5. Exchange Sephora points for FREEBIES – not discounts
Sephora is a black hole: it sucks any beauty product lover into the store, and prevents anyone from ever coming out. At least that’s how it feels to the victim who’s been unwillingly dragged in there.
If you’re anything like me, you have to sign up to the Beauty Pass at Sephora. The Pass allows you to accumulate points and get some pretty sweet deals. Once you get 100 points, you can get 10% off your next purchase. However, we recommend you opt for the travel-sized freebie instead! It’s probably worth more than the discount, unless you really go on a mad shopping-spree. The selection of freebies are pretty good too – with products from Benefit, Dr Jare and Too Faced right now! The products change regularly, so you’ll always have something nice to look forward to.
6. Shave 50% off your bill when you dine at non-peak hours
Eatigo is the top app for any foodie, and here’s why. Restaurants have peak times, and not so peak times, which is why app has teamed up with a whole bunch of restaurants to give you discounts at selected times when the restaurant is less crowded. Reserve your place through the app and you can get up to 50% off at some restaurants!
If there’s ever been a pricey restaurant that you’ve wanted to try, there’s no excuse when you can get it for half price!
7. Reverse psycho the mixed rice uncle
First tip: next time you’re ordering mixed rice from a hawker centre, keep pointing at your dish and take your time doing so. The helper will subconsciously keep spooning more onto your plate, which means you’ll get a larger portion than usual!
Second tip: make sure to order your meat dish first: you’re more likely to get a bigger portion if they don’t think you’re just ordering the cheapest veg dishes. First impressions really do matter.
8. Get PAID to ride the MRT
Most people take the MRT on a daily basis, but did you know you can actually earn money from just travelling to your usual destinations? Basically, Singapore wants to encourage you to take the MRT on off-peak hours, so they introduced Travel Smart Rewards, a reward scheme that also comes in the form of an app.
The more you ride, the more points you get. You’ll get the most points if you travel between 6:15 – 7:15am and 8:45 – 9:45pm. You can use these points to play ‘Spin to Win’ which is kind of like Snakes and Ladders. Land on the right spot, and you’ll get free money! You can also choose if the cash rewards go to your Cepas card or directly to your bank account.
9. UNSUB from pesky telemarketers once and for all
I know the struggle: you’re waiting on an important phone call, and every time the phone rings your heart leaps with excitement. However, what you pick up to hear is just another annoying automated marketing call.
That’s why the Singapore Government came up with the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. All you do is sign up, type in your phone number, and you’re automatically protected from those silly phone calls!
10. Get a full body check-up for only $15
It’s hard to justify paying up to $60 to see the doctor, especially when you feel perfectly healthy. However, it’s super important to get regular health screenings as there are tons of symptomless illnesses. An affordable and reliable service is the Orange Health Screening priced at only $15. It includes 4 tests to give you a full body checkup, so you can save that $45 and go on a shopping spree at these bargain spots instead!
These screenings are specifically for people who look or feel well, so you don’t need to feel guilty for going. In fact, you’ll even be rewarded with cash incentives if they find out you’re healthy!
11. Spend above your usual $30 and get groceries delivered right to your doorstep
Grocery shopping in person is a battle: there’s the crowds of people fighting over the discounted food, the struggle to find the freshest milk with the latest expiry date, and of course – the huge queue at the till while you’re holding an incredibly heavy basket.
Online grocery shopping at Redmart, however, takes away all the fuss. Forget about those aching arms – you can get your groceries delivered right to your doorstep! They have a much wider variety of items meaning you can get your fave cookie brand instead of settling for second best.
If you’re a first time customer, you’ll get free delivery with just a $30 spend! If you’re a returning customer, you can add in a tub or two of Haagen-Dazs and get free delivery with a $49 dollar spend.
12. Shop with a 7% discount 365 days of the year at Changi Airport
Changi Airport’s been rated the world’s best airport for a couple of times now, and it’s obvious why. For a start, they have a rooftop pool, a butterfly garden, and even a couple of movie theatres! I definitely wouldn’t mind having a delayed flight here. As if that wasn’t enough to captivate you, Changi’s membership card, which is completely free, gives you 7% off all GST charges before immigration.
While you’re at it, why not just flash your membership card to get a La Praire facial treatment for completely free! If you’re more of the hand massage type, request for that instead. As well as that, your mum will be screaming ‘cause you can also get a free 2pc mask set from the SK-II.
13. Get hawker food for prices of the 90’s
Hawker centres are already reasonably priced, but there’s been a move by NTUC Foodfare to put a maximum price on dishes, meaning you won’t be paying more than the set price.
One of the hawker centres that have set a price-cap includes Bukit Panjang hawker centre, where the nasi lemak, fishball noodles and chicken rice are capped between $2.50-$2.70! So don’t be afraid to go and find your fave dish there, it’s not gonna get any more expensive even when it’s years down the line.
Everyday life improved
Do try some of these hacks out, and see if it makes your life a bit easier! I don’t know about you, but free Sephora goodies and cheap cheesy fries sound pretty good to me.
We hope some of these Singapore lifehacks help you get around. Let us know what kind of experiences you’ve had with them, and what kind of hacks you recommend in the comment section below!
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