Bogged down with a never-ending to-do list? Try these time-management hacks that will save you money (and your sanity!) in Singapore
Many of us live crazy-busy existences in Singapore; sometimes even five minutes can seem like a luxury. We know, it doesn’t sound like a huge amount of time in the day, but there’s just so much we can do with an extra five minutes to ourselves. Hit the ‘snooze’ button one more time, whip up an easy breakfast, explore a little further during lunch, chat to mom on the stroll home, stretch it out, or (our personal fave) watch a warm-and-fuzzy cat video. Now finding yourselves fantasising about all the things you can do with five minutes…? Read on for a list of easy hacks to help you save time, reclaim your sanity, and make living in Singapore so much easier.
Beat the queue
Not all lines are worth joining, and waiting at the ATM is a nightmare (especially if get caught behind someone from the, ahem, older generation). If you need in a hurry for cash, pop into the nearest 7-11 convenient store to withdraw a maximum of $80. Can’t avoid a trip to the bank? The SMS “Q” service at DBS lets you request a queue number remotely, then notifies you when it’s your turn. Not keen on joining taxi queues but too lazy to take public transport? Download one of Singapore’s various taxi or car apps. Don’t have time to wait for a vacant fitting room to try on a pair of pants? Measure the width of the pants around your neck, and it should fit if there’s no excess space (too big) or gap (too small). Nifty, eh?
Splitting the dinner bill
Dividing the cheque is a tricky, tricky game. Should you divide the check evenly, or spend forever and ten minutes calculating individual amounts? If there’s just a few dollars in difference, it’s easier to split the bill evenly. If you have small and big eaters (and boozers!) in the group, doing the math is probably a better idea, and bill-splitting app Divvy (USD 0.99) makes the process a lot simpler. Just snap a photo of the receipt (it reads the prices automatically), drag each item to the people who ordered them, and voila, your bill is calculated – with tax and tips handled automatically as well. Unless everyone at the table has enough cash to foot the bill, it’s common for one to pick up the entire cheque, and the rest to reimburse him/her. This is where personal mobile wallet DBS PayLah! comes in handy. The free-to-download app lets you transfer money to anyone, even non-DBS/POSB customers instantly with just the recipient’s mobile number. No account details needed!
Avoid expensive ERP and parking
GPS navigation device Garmin has software that actually helps you avoid ERP gantries, but if you’re not sold on buying one, plan your route with gothere.sg. The clever route planner shows the cheapest route to your destination with the “Minimize ERP” option, and you can click on the gantries on the map to find out the charges for various times of the day. ERP timetables are also available on motoring site One.Motoring, so you can better plan your routes, especially those you regularly take. Running errands on Sundays also help you save on ERP and parking (some places offer free or per-entry parking). Spend a few minutes checking parking rates can also help you avoid shocking charges. The park and ride scheme is also a cheaper way to commute: motorists can park their vehicles at selected HDB/URA car parks and continue the rest of the journey with public transport.
Comparing travel insurance
As if hunting down the cheapest flight and hotel isn’t time consuming enough, there is a gamut of travel insurance plans to fuss over. This is where GoBear comes in. The website helps you compare different policies, side-by-side and for free, so you save precious time when it comes to finding a suitable plan. Like the idea of being comprehensively protected in 3 minutes flat, wherever you may be headed to? A travel insurance we like is DBS’ TravellerShield plan, because it promises thorough cover – super speedily – all via an easy app.
Find unique gems effortlessly
Sure, we love an epic sale at big-name stores, but so does everyone, and that means the racks and displays are filled with things that a bunch of folks probably already own. Smaller, indie boutiques are your answer to shopping for interesting and unexpected items, but if you are strapped for time, your best bet for affordable gems are the flea markets and shopping bazaars in Singapore. See our guide for your fill of one-of-a-kind furniture, locally-produced food, handmade goodies, vintage wares and all kinds of wonderful steals that will make your friends well jel.
No, we don’t actually mean living on a fast-food diet, but there are definitely ways that you can cut down on (or avoid altogether) waiting in a hangry (that’s hungry-angry) mood for your meal. If you do takeaways on the reg, ask your favourite eatery if you can call ahead to order and pick up when it’s ready. Alternatively, try one of the city’s various delivery services that will get your grub to your door while you crack on with something else.
Have fun without spending
We may be living in the world’s most expensive city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune (or anything for that matter) to have a satisfying day out. You could catch a Hollywood blockbuster under the stars at Singapore’s favourite outdoor movie experience, DBS Movies by the Bay, go shopping at the Singapore Really Really Free Market, visit the museums, and even set sail on one of Asia’s largest sailboats at the Marina Bay – all without forking out a single cent!
Never get bored of your workout, again
Here’s a scenario: you have a membership at a swish gym, but pounding the treadmill or mindlessly working out on the elliptical machine is spelling boredom for you. Well, thanks to the rise of fitness passes in Singapore, you’ll stay motivated for longer with a multitude of workout possibilities. These alternative gym memberships, such as Guava Pass, KFit, Passport Asia and Dossier, offers access to a pool of fitness studios and their classes, which span from pole-dancing and golf to martial arts and spinning. It’s a great way to keep your mind interested and muscles guessing, so you’re less likely to drop out of your (expensive) exercise routine.
Declutter your space
Clutter is one of the biggest causes of stress in our lives. “When you’re surrounded by more things you can manage, it sends a visual message that your life is out of control,” the Mayo Clinic reported. The first step to ease congestion in your living space is to streamline your possessions and purge stuff that you don’t need or want. While selling your discards is a good way to recoup a fraction of the cost to make up for these “mistakes”, it’s also a hassle. If you don’t have the time and don’t need the money, be generous and donate them to charity at these places.
Charge your phones for free
Most of us have a portable charger dutifully charged and stashed in our bags. Still, there are times we found ourselves low on battery on both our chargers and phones. Fret not about being offline until you get home: plug in your devices at City Hall, Orchard, Tanjong Pagar and Kent Ridge MRT stations, as well as ION Orchard’s concierge. Even better, Singapore Power is installing 200 free mobile charging stations islandwide by the end of this year at busy locations including hospitals and supermarkets.
This article is sponsored by DBS.