Though we live on a tiny island, we get a diverse range of cuisines from all over the world. Besides the Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan cuisines, there are also Michelin-star restaurants that dish up world class gourmet food.
We also get celebrity chefs to cook for us. In June, Gordon Ramsay opened Bread Street Kitchen at Marina Bay Sands and joined the list of celebrity chefs who have set up shop in Singapore.
With so many restaurants offering us the opportunity to taste the world, how can we resist trying them out? Singaporeans eat out so often that we have become the top spender on dining in the region!
But no matter how much you like the food at restaurants, you don't have to throw big bucks at everything when you dine out.
Here are 5 easy ways for you to save money when enjoying a good meal out:
1. Earn Cashback On Your Dining
If you are so picky about food that you die die must eat the dishes you like, then use the right cashback credit card that gives you cash rebates on all your dining expenses. That way you won't be limited to certain restaurants.
For example, OCBC 365 Credit Card gives you 6% cashback on weekend dining and 3% cashback on weekday dining.
2. Use Vouchers
Restaurants (and the shopping malls that house them) often give out vouchers to attract customers. Even if it's a $5 voucher, it can help you offset some of the cost (It's enough for you to pay for a side dish!).
Many banks also let you redeem your credit card rewards points for dining vouchers.
For instance, Citibank Rewards Card VISA lets you earn 10 times rewards points for every $1 spent on shopping and all your online purchases (except travel-related purchases). That's a fast way to earn rewards!
You can then redeem these rewards points for dining vouchers through Citibank's rewards programme. Vouchers for Jack's Place, Swensen's, Crystal Jade, Billy Bombers and a wide range of other restaurants are available.
3. Order Water Instead Of Other Drinks
Save on your dining out bill by ordering just iced water instead of say, an iced lemon tea or a coke. Iced water is generally given for free at restaurants, so you can save a few dollars on your beverage.
If you are tempted to order a drink from the menu, think of it this way - not drinking sugared drinks also means you don't consume so many empty calories!
4. Eat At Restaurants That Have Credit Card Discounts
Most of the time when we dine out, it's not because we are particularly fond of certain foods, but because we don't have time to cook a meal at home. If you don't have a preference for food, then save part of the cost by heading to the restaurant that gives you the best credit card discounts.
Credit cards from different banks give you discounts at different restaurants, cafés and bars. You can use the GETdeals™ app which shows you more than 2,000 deals and discounts near you offered by major banks in Singapore.
For example, using an OCBC credit card to pay will give you discounts at Soup Restaurant, Siam Kitchen, Canton Paradise, and many other restaurants.
Citibank cards also give you discounts at many F&B places, including The Chop House, The Knolls, Hai Tien Lo, Outback Steakhouse and many more.
Sometimes certain banks run 1-for-1 dining promotions which are really great opportunities for you to take someone out to eat without paying for their meal!
5. Use Your Own Wet Tissue And Skip The Appetiser
Wet tissue can costs you 50¢, or even $1 apiece at restaurants. A family of 4 will need to pay $4 for that thing just to wipe their mouths. That's a rip-off you should avoid!
Bring your own tissue when you dine out, since it's not mandatory to use the tissue provided by the restaurant.
When you go to Chinese restaurants, don't just grab the peanuts on the table when you sit down. That will cost you a few dollars! You can send them away and save your appetite for your meal.
I don't know how peanuts have become an inseparable part of Chinese cuisine at restaurants. My mom cooks for us sometimes, but she never puts a plate of peanuts in front of us before a meal.