How to Save Money in Singapore – Budget Travellers’ Guide

by Viola
How to Save Money in Singapore

Singapore has earned a reputation for being pricey. In fact, it has been named “the most expensive city in the world” for multiple years by the Economist Intelligence Unit. For budget travellers, this cringey title alone is enough to give Lion City a pass. But before you say “no thank you”, I am here to tell you, with personal experience to back it up, that it’s possible to save money in Singapore and enjoy it on the cheap! Follow these tips and suggestions below. Your wallet will thank you!

*This post contains affiliate links.


Where to Stay in Singapore

save money in Singapore - accommodation at Vintage Inn

Check out Vintage Inn in Little India

Accommodation is usually one of the biggest expenses during travels amiright? Yes Singapore can be expensive in this category. Exhibit A: The cheapest room at the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel starts at $500SGD/night. Yikes! But if you are willing to forgo that Insta-fabulous photo in the rooftop infinity pool and being served by fancy butlers (at least that’s what I imagine), there are TONS of affordable/cheap accommodation options in Singapore



Capsule Hostels/Hostels

I stayed in a cozy capsule hotel in Little India and it was just $32 a night. I had everything I needed: a private space with a comfy bed, free fast wifi, easy access to the MRT station and sightseeing spots. It was great! You can find Vintage Inn and similar hostels on Booking.com.



I have been an Airbnb lover for years. It’s my favorite money saving tool for finding cool local homes for short term stay. From nice private rooms that cost $25SGD, to entire apartments for $55SGD, there are many listings for Singapore. 

√ Tip: 

Psst If it’s your first time using Airbnb, use my link here to receive $46 SGD/$34 USD off your first booking. 😀

Do not disrupt neighbors and be respectful when renting private homes. While Airbnb is not illegal in Singapore, you don’t want to get the home owners in trouble by any rude behaviours from your part.


Couch surfing

Finally, couch surfing is a wonderful way to meet locals AND SAVE MONEY. Can it be more of a win win? I met my new friend Brooke via couch surfing in her home. She gave me a whole room to myself (so actually way better than a “couch”) and graciously showed me around Singapore. She helped me a lot during my days there and I was blown away by her hospitality. Visit Couchsurfing.com to find kind locals who are open to hosting travelers.

√ Tip: 

Get a general vibe of whether you would get along with the host from their profile and read people’s reviews. Make sure to be courteous during your stay. Feel free to show your gratitude by bringing a gift for your host.


Where to Eat in SingaporeHow to Save Money in Singapore - Maxwell Food Centre

Yummy duck noodles bought at Maxwell for $4 SGD

Singapore is all about the food!! The diverse cultures in Singapore makes this city foodies’ heaven. Chinese, Indian, Malaysian…gosh you’ll wish you have an extra stomach for devouring all the deliciousness. Hawker centres are terrific places to go for trying a variety of street food that locals eat. Not to mention they are cheap cheap cheap! Hop by Maxwell Food Centre near Chinatown. Here you can find the iconic Tian Tian Hainan Chicken Rice and other drool worthy food stalls.

Other food spot favorites:

Satay by the Bay// Location

Save Money in Singapore- Satay by the Bay

So tasty and affordable! Awesome clay pot rice and fresh fruit juice here.


328 Katong Laksa //Location

Best Laksa ever! This cheap eatery in the Katong district has even been visited by Gordon Ramsey. Enough said.


Ananda Bhavan //Location

 Too many restaurants here to choose from in Little India. You can get a filling and cheap dinner at this little diner.


What to Do in Singapore

save money in singapore Haji Lane

Haji Lane near Kampong Glam. So photogenic!

The best things in life are free right? There are various free places to visit and free activities to do in colorful Singapore. Some of my favorite spots in SG that cost no moolah to access include the Botanic Garden, Little India, China town, Kampong Glam, Merlion Park, and Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. Yes, even Gardens by the Bay, one of the most Instagrammable spots in Singapore is partly FREE! *Cue halleluiah music. In fact, the only entry fees I ever paid in Singapore were for the Cloud Forest + Flower Dome in GBTB and the ArtScience Museum. You can simply skip these two activities and there will still be tons of fun stuff to do.





How to shop in Singapore

china town singapore

A lot of people joke that the national sport of Singapore is shopping. Even if luxury shopping is not your thing, you should still experience at least one of the 10 gajillion malls in the city. It’s fun to see how flashy some of them are. (The malls are also the best hideouts from the heat) My favorite has got to be The Shoppes near Marina Bay Sands. There is a fricken canal inside the mall where you can take boat rides! Oh Singapore, you are so wonderfully extra. If you do decide to buy stuff though, make sure you have your passport with you so you can qualify for tax free shopping! Check out this guide here for details on how to do that. For those more interested in things like souvenirs and quirky cheap finds, visit Bugis Street and Chinatown. Have some fun and try your hands at haggling in the small shops.


How to get around Singapore

save money in singapore

Trains and buses in Singapore are very convenient and cheap. In fact, Singapore has been praised to have one of the most cost-efficient public transport network in the world. An average trip cost about $1.2 SGD. Purchase an EZ-Link card which is excellent for saving money as well as time. You simply load up the card and tap when you enter and exit the stations and buses. Easy peasy. (If you don’t have the card and pay by cash on buses, the driver won’t be able to give you change.)

Note that there is a Singapore Tourist Pass option. It costs $10SGD per day, $16SGD for 2 days and $20SGD for 3 days. I was glad I didn’t get it as I definitely didn’t spend enough on transport to make the pass worth it. If you like to experience a city on foot like me, I think you should go without this pass. For more information about transporation, check out this guide Getting Around Singapore Like a Local by Brooke from Roamscape. (My kind local host that I mentioned earlier!)



How to stay Connected in Singapore

helix bridge singapore

Get a 4G SIM card for $12 SGD via Klook that you can pick up at Changi Airport. It includes 100GB of local data, 500 mins locals calls, 100 local SMS and more. From the reviews, the internet speed is fast and the process of renting is easy. I was kicking myself that I brought an unlocked cell phone to Singapore, so I had to rent a pocket WIFI instead which was the more expensive option. Don’t repeat my mistake! (But if you must, pocket wifi rental is $10 per day plus $200 deposit from the airport.)

Alternatively, public WIFI is widely available in Singapore. You can connect to Wireless@SG at malls, museums, MRT stations, libraries, community centres, etc. So for the hardcore cheapos, you can just rely on the free wifi if you really want to save money. It would make things a bit challenging but hey, it’s free.



Don’t Get fined!

save money in singapore

Last of not least, don’t break local laws! This should be common knowledge when you travel, but Singapore is especially worth paying attention to. There are some strict rules about safety, maintaining the cleanliness of the city, and not being disruptive in public. Ie. If you are caught jaywalking, that’s $20 fine on the spot! But no need to be shaking in your boots, the police is not out to get you. Just exercise your best behaviours as you should as a responsible visitor and citizen of the world, and nobody will get hurt.


How to save money in Singapore Summary

It’s possible to save in many ways while traveling in Singapore. I hope this article has busted your impression that Lion City is an expensive destination. Check out Best Place to Visit in Singapore in 3 Days for more ideas on how to enjoy this wonderful city.





Going to Singapore soon? Plan your trip in 4 easy steps

Book A Flight: Find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner, my go-to search engine. 
Find A Hotel: Score affordable accommodation on Booking.comReceive $16 off your first booking with my link here
Buy insurance: You never know what may happen on the road. Protect your trip & gear with World Nomad, the best travel insurance company ever. Get a quote here.

Read up on the best advice: Love a good old fashion guide book. Suggested reading: Lonely Planet: Singapore Travel Guide

Travel for cheap or free resources


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How to save money in Singapore - Budget travellers' guide How to save money in Singapore - Budget travellers' guide

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Sami June 28, 2018 - 12:06 am

Singapore seems to have such amazing food and quirky architecture! I have it on my list for Asian adventures!

Leigh June 28, 2018 - 2:49 am

I would love to try a capsule hotel sometime, they look very interesting! I actually didn’t know Singapore was supposedly so expensive, but that’s good to know there are deals to be had!

Kris June 28, 2018 - 3:20 am

I’ve always loved the idea of trying a capsule hotel, but I’ve never had a chance to. I spend so little time at my hotel that I hate spending lots of money on them, so these would be a perfect way for me to cut costs. I also love how affordable their transportation system is. Having recently been in NYC, it seemed like it cost a fortune to use transit there.

Mayuri Patel June 28, 2018 - 5:54 am

I am fan of colourful places and as a budget traveler always looking for free things to do.This is gem article for me
Thank you for all the information.pinning it too. 🙂

Teja June 28, 2018 - 6:26 am

Very nice rundown of how to look around Singapore and not run out of money too early on your globetrotting trip! The best part is, it’s probably quite a bit closer to ordinary Singaporean lives! Have a look around Geylang area for a diversity of Singapore’s Malay community food.

Katie Dickinson June 28, 2018 - 10:50 am

I absolutely LOVE Singapore – and you’re spot-on with the recommendations to keep it budget-friendly. I was a big fan of the hawker centers and basically tried to stay away from eating in areas that have a lot of tourists (like Clarke Quay). Good shoes are also a must because the city is very walkable!

Viviane Claire Feeney June 28, 2018 - 1:45 pm

Chinatown is the BEST, and sososo cheap, as you said. Nothing compares to the $1 icy milk teas when you’re melting in the heat, even at night! I can imagine that the food scene is bomb, but the person we were meeting ordered waaay too much, I was not very hungry, I guess the sodium dries you out when you’re already cooking!
Would go back to Singapore, for sure!


Richa June 28, 2018 - 7:40 pm

Some great tips here! I can’t believe people spend all that money at Marina Bay just for a good infinity pool photo. Will definitely use these pointers next time I visit Singapore 🙂

sarah June 29, 2018 - 2:33 am

Great post! We love finding ways to save money- I can’t believe how expensive hotels are!! And the food sounds super yummy too- but I always worry about getting sick from something I eat when I travel… you didn’t get an upset stomach from anything?

Viola June 29, 2018 - 4:03 am

Hi Sarah, I never got sick eating anything in Singapore. Singapore is very clean so I wouldn’t worry too much! 🙂

Victoria June 29, 2018 - 10:39 pm

OMG. I’ll visit Singapore just to eat oodles of noodles!!! I’m iffy about staying in hostels but an AirBnB is right up my alley.

Jenia June 30, 2018 - 1:12 am

All so very true! Accommodation costs aside, Singapore doesn’t have to be expensive. We found the Asian-style food courts at the malls to be a great place for delicious and cheap food.

Steven Mitchell June 30, 2018 - 5:31 am

This is a tremendous idea and tips all the travelers, when we go for an international trip, we do not have the proper idea about all the price tags, that why many of them suffer many problems and pay a lot for a little reason. if we have some knowledge, an idea, which is you shown in your post it can save any money. I never visit around Singapore, I want to hang around here very recently. Your tips will help me to the best traveling experience in Singapore.

Cristina - Memories of the Pacific June 30, 2018 - 8:16 pm

Singapore looks so beautiful! I hope I can visit some day. I dream of seeing those colorful houses on the first pic 🙂

Sing September 26, 2018 - 11:29 am

This is a nice way for budget travelers in Malaysia.

Sing September 26, 2018 - 11:38 am

This is a nice guide for budget travelers.

James Whitef April 8, 2019 - 10:37 am

This is one of the best blogs for budget travellers. The information of this blog is really helpful for those who are making a plan to travel somewhere.

James Whitef April 8, 2019 - 10:39 am

This is one of the best blogs for budget travellers. The information of this blog is really helpful for those who are making plan to travel somewhere.


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