Dining Out Tip #1: Use Food Apps
It’s a universal rule by now that there’s an app for everything, and dining discounts aren’t exempt. Saving money on good food could simply be a matter of finding and using the right app. Between eatigo, Chope and The Entertainer — three of Singapore’s most popular dining apps — you should be able to find your sweet spot.
Eatigo gives you straight-up discounts when you book a restaurant using the app. Chope lets you reserve tables at eateries, and rewards you with points when you do. You can then use these points to exchange for discounts or to purchase deals. The Entertainer lets you purchase deals and offers which you can use whenever you like. With great deals like these, there’s no excuse to be paying full price for your meals.
Dining Out Tip #2: Keep Track of Bank Offers
Banks are one of the largest sources of dining discounts and offers, and all you have to do to qualify for them is to hold a valid credit or debit card. Browse any bank’s dining offer page and you’ll find savings on everything from fast food to restaurant meals. The best offers are those that give you massive savings for unlimited food — that’s right, one-for-one offers for buffets, including lunch, dinner and high-tea.
And if you have an appetite for fine dining, try Love Dining by Amex. This programme gives you up to 50 per cent off all day, every day at selected Singapore top restaurants and hotels. The benefit structure is highly flexible, providing savings for up to 20 guests. But the highest savings (50 per cent) kick in when you dine with one friend — great for cheering up your man with a surprise gourmet meal.
Dining Out Tip #3: Take Advantage of Evening Discounts at Bakeries, Delis and Sushi Joints
If you happen to be going on a grocery run after 8pm, remember to check out the supermarket’s sushi, deli and/or fresh baked good sections. Chances are you’ll find some great selections at heavily discounted prices.
This happens because certain foods are only appealing when they’re fresh, and although there may be nothing wrong with eating, say, day-old bread, most shoppers prefer fresher options. But because predicting customer demand is still an arcane art, sushi outlets, deli joints and bakeries more often than not hold last minute flash sales to reduce wastage. That’s great for all those times when you have an inexplicable craving for raw fish and soy sauce.
READ MORE: How To Avoid Being Tricked By Nutrition Labels At The Supermarket
Dining Out Tip #4: Go Out During Birthdays
You know all those Facebook notifications that tell you it’s so-and-so’s birthday? Well paying attention to them could net you some dining savings. Most cafes, bars and restaurants offer birthday discounts and other goodies, so if you shrewdly plan your big-ticket dining around your birthday month — and those of everyone else you know — you can end up saving a fair bit. Just don’t be too obvious about why you’re really asking out, on their birthdays, that colleague you normally never speak to.
READ MORE: 12 Free Birthday Treats You Didn’t Know You Could Get In Singapore
Dining Out Tip #5: Order Wine by the Bottle
We get it, a good glass of wine can elevate an ordinary meal into something special. But if you’re going to have your Friday indulgence, we recommend going for the bottle. The markup on alcohol is terribly high, even more so if you order by the glass. Splitting the bottle with two or three of your girlfriends will save you significant bucks in the long run. Another way to save money on expensive drinks is with Chug, a recently launched app that lets you buy an alcohol subscription. Choose from $9.90 a month for five drinks a month, or pay $19.90 and get one drink every day.
READ MORE: 11 Rooftop Bars In Singapore For Killer Views And Delicious Drinks
Dining Out Tip #6: Opt for Lunch Instead
True story time. My friends and I went for a Korean BBQ dinner buffet in Chinatown. It was awesome and we really enjoyed ourselves. The following week, we decided to go there again, but only this time we went during lunch. We figured with the dinner rate, we were overpaying for premium items anyway.
Imagine our delight when we found out that the lunch buffet serves up the exact same menu as the dinner one, but it was 60 per cent cheaper! Of course, we never went back there again for dinner from then on.
Long story short: If there’s an eatery you’ve been hankering after, but it’s kinda out of your price range, enquire if they have a lunch service instead. Chances are, you’ll be getting most (if not all) of the same menu, but at prices that are friendlier to your wallet.
Dining Out Tip #7: Avoid The "Special Set Menu"
Do you really need to eat three or four courses? It may seem value-for-money depending on how many items you get in the set, but ordering a la carte can save you some dollars and reduce the potential for food wastage. What’s more, there’s a higher chance that you’re being served less popular items or even leftovers from the kitchen.
Dining Out Tip #8: Order Appetisers (Or Share A Main)
Appetisers or starters can sometimes be quite filling, and they’re usually cheaper than ordering a main. In fact, you may even be able to order two different appetisers and still pay less than you would for a main course. Alternatively, opt to share a main course or two if you’re dining with a group. You get to try different types of food and save some money too!