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Singapore on a shoestring

A day in the life of a bargain hunter

Screw what the eggheads say – Singapore might be the most expensive city, but you can still live it up without letting your wallet down. Read on to find out what to see, eat, drink, buy and do on the cheap.

Morning

Whatever time you crawl out of bed, a plate of roti prata works wonders. But let’s show some love to its lesser-known cousin, the murtabak. At the 104-year-old Victory Restaurant (701 North Bridge Rd, 6298 6955), you can feast on this sinful combination of prata dough, egg, onions and meat – choose from beef, mutton, chicken and sardine – fried on a griddle. And at $5 for a pancake and accompanying curry, it sure beats shelling out tens of dollars for eggs benny.

Work off those calories at Bugis Street (3 New Bugis St, 6338 9513), a couple of minutes’ walk from Victory. The bustling pasar malam-like shopping street – our scaled-down version of Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market – constantly overflows with those looking to spot a good buy. Navigate three storeys’ worth of tiny shops, which hawk everything from apparel to homeware and K-pop memorabilia, but don’t be too quick to draw out your wallet. There might be another stall around the corner selling that same T-shirt you’re eyeing, but at half the price.

Afternoon

What’s better than beer in the afternoon? A free flow of beer in the afternoon. Make your way down to the Tiger Brewery for a guided tour of the facility and, more importantly, a 45-minute all-you-can drink session held in the cosy Tiger Tavern. Don’t so much ‘sample’ as drown in the brewery’s range of cold ones, including Tiger, Heineken and Anchor lagers as well as Archipelago craft beers. The whole thing will only set you back $18, the price of a pint in fancier watering holes in town.

Throats lubricated, head on over to IMM. This five-storey mall houses a smorgasbord of outlet stores, so whether you’re interested in furniture, home ware, branded goods or travel gear, hit it up for bargain bin prices.

Evening

You’re probably starving now. That means meat, and lots of it. Barossa offers a beef buffet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays that, at $45.90++, is an absolute steal. Expect slab after slab of wagyu, Australian ribeye, beef cheeks and other prime cuts alongside a drool-worthy array of sides and sauces.

And for an after-dinner treat, check out the National Museum of Singapore’s Under the Banyan Tree series of free movie screenings. These screenings are held outdoors, so bring a mat and go early to grab a good spot.

Or you could sign up for one of Laneway Learning’s classes. The Australian company will be holding all sorts of quirky workshops, such as terrarium- and lantern-building. The classes – they’re only $20 plus material fees each – are all conducted at SPRMRKT (2 McCallum St, 6221 2105) in the evening, but check out their website for a more detailed schedule.

Night

The sun’s down and it’s time to get your drink on (as though you haven’t done so already.) Singapore is notoriously pricey when it comes to booze, but there are places you can get affordable tipple. Like Drinks & Co (44 Club St, 6222 2005), for instance. Smack in the middle of the CBD, the bar stocks shelves of spirits and wines you can purchase by the bottle – prices start at $28 and $22, respectively. However, there’s a catch: The bar charges corkage fees for cheaper bottles. It’s still way cheaper than the mark-ups clubs charge, so drink away without upsetting your wallet.

And when you’re suitably sloshed and in the mood to shuffle, there’s always Ladies Night. F Club (3B River Valley Rd, #01-08 Clarke Quay, 6338 3158) holds its ladies’ night every Wednesday, and not only can girls skip past the velvet rope, they’re handed two complimentary house pours. Turn up in groups of five or eight to receive even more alcoholic rewards on the house.

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