The average Singaporean dines out at least four times a week. For some of us, dining out is not a matter of choice for various reasons: no time, no energy, or can't cook if your life depended on it (no shame in that!)
At the same time, we are also one of the top spenders in the region when it comes to dining out. A 2014 MasterCard survey of 400 Singaporeans found that consumers spent an average of about US$200, or about S$250, a month on dining out last year.
So is your dining budget growing too fast for comfort? To help you get more for your money, GET.com shares 4 ways you can save money on dining out in Singapore.
In This Ways To Save Money Guide
1. Spend On Lunch, Save On Dinner
There may be something to the old adage, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper".
I don't know about breakfast, but the rest of the advice seems as good for the wallet as it is for the diet.
Apart from the occasional nice night out with friends, there's no compelling reason to spend good money on lots of calories if you can't burn them off before bedtime.
So if you have a penchant for fine dining, satisfy it at lunch. Many restaurants offer set lunches that are a lot more affordable than their dinner menu, presumably because the lunch market is a more competitive one.
Check out our list of the 10 cheapest weekend lunch buffets in Singapore.
2. Strip Out The Unnecessary Expenses
Bring your own tissue paper or wet wipes, and return any wet towels that the restaurant provides – that already reduces your bill by between 30 cents to almost a dollar per person.
Some Chinese restaurants serve appetisers – usually peanuts – before the meal. If yours always goes uneaten, save money and cut food waste by returning them to the waiter as soon as you sit down.
And of course, since more restaurants have started to charge for serving tap water, bring your own bottle as far as possible.
3. Look Around For Deals
Many Singaporeans already have the habit of reading online food reviews when deciding where to go for the next meal. Take it a step further by always keeping a lookout for dining deals and credit card promotions near you.
Dining apps like Chope and PickatSG combine food reviews with updates on which restaurants are having discounts or special events.
You can also use the GETdeals™ app to search for the latest credit card deals and discounts nearby. If you are a holder of several credit cards, there will surely be a good dining deal to pick up, wherever you are!
4. Choose The Right Credit Card
When settling the bill, try to use a credit card that favours dining expenses.
OCBC 365 Credit Card is a strong contender to consider, as it offers 6% cashback on weekend dining and 3% cashback on weekday dining locally. But in order to get that high cashback, you need to spend at least $600 per month on this card. Otherwise, you earn only 0.3% on all your spending.