Let me share with you how I optimise my expenses in various areas without sacrificing much qualify of life. Sometimes I'd only give a broad guidance and won't go into the details.
- I used to buy HSBC movie cards (for HSBC card owners only) which are just stored-value cards that allow purchasing of a fixed number of tickets online/offline at a discounted price. I'm not sure whether GV still offers it.
- I stopped buying those cards until I realised I can watch on weekdays at the lowest price. A typical 2D movie costs $6.50-$7.50 at GV per pax on weekdays. On weekends it can go up to $13! Some credit cards offer a slight discount and you can even get cashback on ShopBack.
- You can take up the free GV membership which offers perks and 1-for-1 tickets during your birthday month.
- Don't buy the over-priced and low-quality food at the cinema.
- To take it further, you can go for the cheapest Netflix subscription at only $10+/month but the latest movies won't be available. You can get a free 2-month Netflix subscription by signing up to be a LiveUp member via Lazada, etc.
- KTV: Well you can go to Civil Service Club, Teoheng and those not-as-branded ones. The prices should be cheap during off-peak hours. However, do note that CSC might not have the latest songs.
- Take advantage of corporate scheme discounts and reimbursements.
- You can subscribe to $20/month SIM-only plans -- if you don't want a new phone with a 2-year contract. A SIM-only plan is quite decent given the price. For example, Singtel offers 3 GB (no talktime, no SMS, no caller ID) for $20. You can add on 200-min talktime and Caller ID for only $5 / month each. I don't think anyone needs SMS. With a 12-month contract, the same SIM-only plan offers more perks: 5GB, 150 min and 500 SMS.
- Alternatively, you can get a new phone with contract and sell the phone at slightly below retail price to earn about $100-$200 one-off depending on the phone and selling price. However, this comes with a risk of not being able to sell the phone.
- You can also try cheaper telcos such as zero1 and Circles.Life with better perks and lower prices. They have no physical shops to save on operating costs. However, be prepared the customer service may take a long time to reply you. Well after all they have to cut costs somewhere to pass on the savings to you right? Both virtual telcos lease infra from M1 so the coverage is the same as M1's. But of course, SingTel offers the widest coverage with free ST WiFi at many locations.
- I personally have been a long-time SingTel customer. After my contract ended, I switched to SIM-only $20 + $5 for 200-min talktime. I don't have caller ID so I risk picking up overseas spam calls. Now I am contemplating swapping talktime for caller ID. I rather pay $0.16 / min (as-charged) for talktime as I usually use data to call people. I hardly use SMS and it costs only $0.05 / SMS anyway.
- Try to buy during sales periods such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday when steep discounts are offered. However, the best policy is to curb the urge to buy. Ask yourself whether it is truly necessary. I have lived pretty well with just a phone and laptop for many years.
- Don't chase the latest trends. Usually a gadget can last for pretty long, at least 5 years in my experience. So far my external harddisk and laptop have no problems. For a phone you can change the battery and it will be like-new again.
- I personally use iPhone as I prefer paying a premium for quality phones (compared to Xiaomi, etc.). The screen size is also just nice for my jeans pocket. Ladies usually prefer the Plus version 'cos they put in their bags instead of pockets. It has been 2 years now and I intend to change the battery to use it for a few more years.