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How to Save on Food Costs in Singapore During Times of Inflation

·11-min read
How to Save on Food Costs in Singapore During Times of Inflation
How to Save on Food Costs in Singapore During Times of Inflation

Following the recent rise in prices from general inflation in 2022, having a nice meal has become more and more expensive. MAS reported that the core inflation of Singapore in June peaked at 4.4%, which is the highest ever since the Great Recession in 2008.

Singapore’s vulnerability to supply shocks, especially during the past two years from the start of the decade. From the pandemic hurting the supply capacity of the world economy to the ever-increasing Russo-Ukrainian conflict, which has decimated the supply of eggs and chicken feed in the world, as well as our neighbours adopting a more trade protectionist model of cutting exports of fresh chicken to prevent prices from rising in their country. Even once those supply shock issues are rectified, prices might take a long time to act accordingly.

So, in such turbulent times, what can we do to save ourselves from being priced out from just enjoying a meal? Well, stick here to find out!

Dining Promotions and Credit Cards

Drinks store in Lau Pa Sat
Drinks store in Lau Pa Sat

There will always be promotions when it comes to dining in restaurants, be it due to special occasions such as national days, SAF day, Christmas, Hari Raya etc., or from restaurant vouchers and discount cards, you can never run out of options to save more money when you dine in.

There are restaurant chain membership cards that provide attractive discounts, such as the Level Ground Community, which offers discounts of up to 15% on your final bill on their affiliated restaurants when you sign up as a member for as low as $30 a year. There are also Telegram and Facebook groups such as SG Kiasu Foodies and SG food Deals that provide the latest restaurant promotions.

Many credit cards provide great dining deals, and some even allow you to accumulate miles and reward points for future usage; click here to find out more about which credit card is best for you for dining. Some restaurants even offer special discounts to certain credit card members, including buffet deals.

HSBC Visa Platinum

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 2-year waiver, subsequently with S$12,500 annual spend

  • 5% cashback on local dining, groceries & petrol (up to S$250/quarter)

  • 0.4 miles per S$1 general spend, unlimited

  • Up to 21% fuel savings with Caltex, Shell (including 5% card rebate)

HSBC Visa Platinum Card is one of the few cards on the market that allows consumers to earn cashback and miles. Cardholders earn a 5% rebate on local dining, groceries and petrol–key spending categories for most consumers–after S$600. All other spending earns 0.4 miles per S$1, with no minimum requirement. Cardholders can earn up to S$250/quarter (about S$83/month), which is quite respectable, and the S$180.0 fee is waived with S$12,500 annual spend. Overall, HSBC Visa Platinum Card is worth considering if you want to earn both miles and cashback to spend on essentials like food & petrol.

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 2-year waiver, subsequently with S$12,500 annual spend

  • 5% cashback on local dining, groceries & petrol (up to S$250/quarter)

  • 0.4 miles per S$1 general spend, unlimited

  • Up to 21% fuel savings with Caltex, Shell (including 5% card rebate)

HSBC Visa Platinum Card is one of the few cards on the market that allows consumers to earn cashback and miles. Cardholders earn a 5% rebate on local dining, groceries and petrol–key spending categories for most consumers–after S$600. All other spending earns 0.4 miles per S$1, with no minimum requirement. Cardholders can earn up to S$250/quarter (about S$83/month), which is quite respectable, and the S$180.0 fee is waived with S$12,500 annual spend. Overall, HSBC Visa Platinum Card is worth considering if you want to earn both miles and cashback to spend on essentials like food & petrol.

UOB YOLO Card

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver

  • 8% cashback on weekend dining, entertainment, Grab, select UOB Travel (3% weekdays)

  • 3% online travel & fashion

  • Free travel insurance

UOB YOLO Card is the ideal card for social weekend spenders and comes with promotions specifically tailored to young adults. Cardholders earn up to 8% on dining, entertainment, Grab rides & select UOB Travel on weekends (3% on weekdays), and 3% on online fashion and travel. There’s a S$600 minimum spend requirement, but this amount is standard, and cardholders can earn up to S$60/month.

UOB YOLO Card stands out as a dining & entertainment card not only for its high rewards rate but also for its promotions and privileges. Cardholders can enjoy 1-for-1 drink & dining specials, discounts at popular restaurants and merchants like Deliveroo, and special privileges through Visa Foodie Trail. There are also plenty of entertainment perks, including annual parties featuring popular music artists, freebies at nightclubs, and discounted movie tickets. UOB YOLO Card is great for young adults with high social spending on weekends, with added dining perks.

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver

  • 8% cashback on weekend dining, entertainment, Grab, select UOB Travel (3% weekdays)

  • 3% online travel & fashion

  • Free travel insurance

UOB YOLO Card is the ideal card for social weekend spenders and comes with promotions specifically tailored to young adults. Cardholders earn up to 8% on dining, entertainment, Grab rides & select UOB Travel on weekends (3% on weekdays), and 3% on online fashion and travel. There’s a S$600 minimum spend requirement, but this amount is standard, and cardholders can earn up to S$60/month.

UOB YOLO Card stands out as a dining & entertainment card not only for its high rewards rate but also for its promotions and privileges. Cardholders can enjoy 1-for-1 drink & dining specials, discounts at popular restaurants and merchants like Deliveroo, and special privileges through Visa Foodie Trail. There are also plenty of entertainment perks, including annual parties featuring popular music artists, freebies at nightclubs, and discounted movie tickets. UOB YOLO Card is great for young adults with high social spending on weekends, with added dining perks.

Grocery Credit Cards and Promotions

Supermarket interior in Singapore
Supermarket interior in Singapore

Sometimes, supermarkets can offer promotions and discounts depending on the occasion as well. There are also membership cards, such as Passion!, NTUC Union, or even SAFRA and HomeTeamNS that can provide discounts and perks for the respective supermarkets like Giant, Cold Storage, Fairprice, Sheng Siong and much more! Alternatively, you can also shop in online supermarkets such as RedMart and HonestBee to fully use their monthly promotions.

There are also different credit cards with attractive cashback and perks that make saving money on groceries more convenient.

Citi Cash Back Card

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver

  • 8% cashback on dining, grocery, & petrol (any station)

  • Up to 20.88% fuel savings at Esso & Shell

Citi Cash Back Card is one of the best credit cards for rebates on both food and petrol worldwide. Cardholders earn up to 8% cash back on dining, groceries, and petrol (any station). These rates apply both locally and overseas and are not merchant-restricted. This gives you the flexibility to earn at top rates no matter what brands you choose or where you buy them.

The Citi Cash Back Card does have an S$800 minimum spend requirement, but given the average consumer spends nearly half of their budget on food & transport–the two categories rewarded by this card–this threshold is reasonably achievable. In addition, you can earn up to S$80/month, or S$960/year. This is one of the higher earning potentials on the market. Ultimately, Citi Cash Back Card is an excellent option to consider if you spend much of your budget on dining, groceries and petrol.

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver

  • 8% cashback on dining, grocery, & petrol (any station)

  • Up to 20.88% fuel savings at Esso & Shell

Citi Cash Back Card is one of the best credit cards for rebates on both food and petrol worldwide. Cardholders earn up to 8% cash back on dining, groceries, and petrol (any station). These rates apply both locally and overseas and are not merchant-restricted. This gives you the flexibility to earn at top rates no matter what brands you choose or where you buy them.

The Citi Cash Back Card does have an S$800 minimum spend requirement, but given the average consumer spends nearly half of their budget on food & transport–the two categories rewarded by this card–this threshold is reasonably achievable. In addition, you can earn up to S$80/month, or S$960/year. This is one of the higher earning potentials on the market. Ultimately, Citi Cash Back Card is an excellent option to consider if you spend much of your budget on dining, groceries and petrol.

Maybank Family & Friends Card

If you spend quite a bit of time in both Singapore and Malaysia, you might want to consider Maybank Family & Friends Card as a way to maximise rewards for your grocery spending. Cardholders earn 5% rebates after S$500 minimum spend, or 8% after S$800 spend, on fast food & food delivery, groceries, transport, petrol, data communications/online TV streaming (& more) in both countries. All local grocery stores, supermarkets, and even online grocery spending are rewards-eligible.

Maybank F&F Card is extraordinarily accessible as well. The S$500 minimum requirement is already relatively low, and the S$180.0 fee is waived for three years (with just S$12,000 annually). Rewards are capped at S$80/month, but it's possible to max this out with just S$1,000 spent. Cardholders can achieve the fee waiver at this rate and earn S$960/year.

If you spend quite a bit of time in both Singapore and Malaysia, you might want to consider Maybank Family & Friends Card as a way to maximise rewards for your grocery spending. Cardholders earn 5% rebates after S$500 minimum spend, or 8% after S$800 spend, on fast food & food delivery, groceries, transport, petrol, data communications/online TV streaming (& more) in both countries. All local grocery stores, supermarkets, and even online grocery spending are rewards-eligible.

Maybank F&F Card is extraordinarily accessible as well. The S$500 minimum requirement is already relatively low, and the S$180.0 fee is waived for three years (with just S$12,000 annually). Rewards are capped at S$80/month, but it's possible to max this out with just S$1,000 spent. Cardholders can achieve the fee waiver at this rate and earn S$960/year.

Governmental Assistance

View of Supreme Court and Padang
View of Supreme Court and Padang

Governmental assistance during such tough transitional times can help reduce your psychological price shock of ingredients and dining options. As of 2022, some households are eligible for GST vouchers which are designed to help lessen the blow of rising prices. There are also incentives such as the NS55 voucher which can be used in some dining options and supermarkets.

Lastly, CDC vouchers provide $100 during the past two years to support local hawkers. Do note that, unlike other governmental assistance, CDC vouchers are best used for those with strict prices of multiples of $2, $5 or $10, as no change will be given to you if you overpay.

Cutting Down on Quality or Quantity

In the worst-case scenario, it is recommended that we cut down on the frequency of dining out in pricey restaurants in favour of cheaper alternatives or cutting back on meal portions when cooking meals so that you do not have to buy as often as possible.

Conclusion

Plates of hainanese chicken rice
Plates of hainanese chicken rice

Trying to cut down costs for inflation is challenging, especially for something as essential as eating and drinking. However, there are methods to lessen the blow of rising food prices. Learn more about other promotions, such as finding the best mooncakes for the upcoming mid-autumn festival, getting the best flight deals, and staycation deals with the relevant links.

Read More:

The article How to Save on Food Costs in Singapore During Times of Inflation originally appeared on ValueChampion.

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