How to Explore Cafes & Restaurants Without Bursting Your Wallet
Going to a restaurant or occasional weekend cafe has become so expensive these days. Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy the occasional time out without throwing your budget into complete disarray. You can keep the cost under control by making strategic choices about where to eat, when to eat, what to order, and how to pay.
1. Use GRABZ app
Probably the next best thing since Groupon, the GRABZ app is the best way to save money in Singapore if you are a foodie. For just $15.95 a month, you get access to over 500 deals at some of the best restaurant and retail shops.
Inside the app, many restaurants offer 1-for-1 deals on their Main Courses, which can save you on average $20–50 every time you go on a date or meeting with clients.
Assuming you eat out at classy restaurants such as Wine BOS just once a week, that will save you possibly $80 or more a month, well over the price of $15.95 you have to pay for a premium subscription. This doesn’t even begin to include complimentary freebies such as house wines, delectable desserts and entrees at Cafes like Flavour Fling etc.
What’s more? You can get exclusive invites to events like parties at some of Singapore’s most happening clubs such as 1Altitude and reap major savings on business-class flight tickets (Up to 50% off).
During your Birthday month, its almost like a Free-For-All feast where GRABZ app gives you cash vouchers, free drinks, desserts and massive discounts off certain establishments so you can hold your party there and double your dollar.
2. When You Eat — Aim For Lunch Time
If the experience of eating out is what you crave, you can enjoy it much more cheaply at lunchtime. Many chain restaurants charge significantly less for the items on their lunch menu.
You don’t necessarily have to eat at midday to get these prices. Some restaurants extend their lunch hours into the late afternoon, so if you’re willing to have your “dinner” at an early hour, you could pay the lunchtime price for it. Try searching for restaurants in your area to see which ones offer extended lunch hours or early bird specials for diners who come in before 6pm.
3. Get Cash Back with Credit/Debit Cards
Your savings on your restaurant meal don’t have to stop after you’ve paid the bill. By paying with a cash back credit card, you can get anywhere from 1% to 5% of your money back from the credit card issuer.
Some cash back cards just offer a flat-rate discount on everything you buy. However, others pay a higher percentage on purchases in specific categories, which can include restaurants. In many cases, the categories with bonus cash back change every three months, so it’s worth keeping a slip of paper in your wallet to remind you which categories are currently getting the best discounts for each card in your wallet. That way, you always know which card to pull out at a restaurant to maximize your reward.
4. Avoid Ordering Drinks
Yep, you saw that right, don’t take the drinks when you eat out. Skip the drinks whenever possible because it will save you at least $4–5. Let’s say soft drinks, they aren’t exactly good for health, taking them less would do more benefit than harm to your body and would save you that $4 if you were to buy a can of this soft drink in a supermarket. On the other hand, if you really want to drink something that’s really special on the menu, consider asking your dine-out partner if they would like to share a drink with you so that you two could split the cost by just adding an empty glass! Of course, make sure they are willing to do so. If they don’t want to, well, it depends on how you weigh it — is the drink worth it, or the money?
5. Share with a Friend (Or many friends)
Portion sizes at restaurants these days are out of control and most times one entree can be shared between two people. The next time you go out with a friend, get something you can both eat on. Even when you’re strapped for cash you can still get a good meal and you’ll avoid eating more than you should!
Do you have any other money-hacks or money saving tips for your fellow Singaporeans? Share with us your recommended tips in the comment section below!