Food is a subject close to every Singaporean’s heart and when the prices of our favourite roti prata or steamed fish go up, it’s hard not to notice.
According Singapore’s Consumer Price Index – All Items in July 2022, inflation climbed to 7% over 20211. Transport and food costs are primary drivers of this increase. In particular, food prices jumped a whopping 6.1% year-on-year over 2021 and 0.8% month-on-month1.
That means if you paid S$10 for a certain food in July 2021, you’d be paying S$10.61 for it in July 2022. Sixty-one cents might not sound like much. However, if like the average household in Singapore, your family spends almost S$1,200 per month on food (food and food serving services)2, this amount would have swelled to S$1,273.20 per month due to the rise in food prices. Multiply that extra S$73.20 by 12 months, and you’re spending S$878.40 more on food than the previous year! That’s enough to make jaws drop (not to take a bite out of a burger, if you know what we mean!).
With the rising cost of raw ingredients and dining out showing no signs of slowing down, it’s time to find ways to cope so you don’t feel a financial sting each time you dine out and aren’t pressured to give up your favourite foods.
Other great ways to stretch your grocery dollar that you should try now:
- Take advantage of member prices. Popular supermarkets and many eateries have member programmes that offer perks such as points that you can use to offset the cost of future purchases, cash rebates, and member-only special deals. Membership is often free or for a small fee. Sign up with merchants you frequent regularly to make it worth your while.
- Close in on closing-time deals. More and more big chain supermarkets, five-star hotels and heartland bakeries are slashing the prices of perishable foods such as pastries, roast meats, salads and even full-on buffets at closing time (usually an hour before doors close). Discounts can be 50% or more of the usual price, so you’ll have to be fast or go hungry (in the case of a sub-60 minute buffet!).
- Bulk or group buy and share. Buying bigger quantities usually means paying a lower rate, and you’ll get the best prices from wholesalers. If you don’t have enough freezer or pantry space to store a 17kg tin of cooking oil or 25kg bag of rice, split the supplies and cost with your parents, siblings or neighbour. Or, do some good and give those extra groceries to the needy families living in rental flats near your home.
- Grow your own food. Even if you don’t live in a big apartment, you can grow your own chillies, tomatoes, cucumbers and kangkong at home – and never have to worry about food price inflation. These items are easy to grow in Singapore’s tropical climate and require little space. You could also stick an onion in a pot of soil for your own spring onions or cut off the base of your store-bought bunch of celery, pop it in some water and watch the sprouts for your next meal start growing!
We can’t stop rising food prices, but with a little effort, creativity and some new practices, it’s possible to keep your food expenses under control. Meals are so much more enjoyable when you know you’ve shaved a couple of dollars or cents on them!
1. Source: Singapore Department of Statistics, Singapore Consumer Price Index (July 2022), accessed on 29 August 2022.
2. Source: Singapore Department of Statistics, Report on the Household Expenditure Survey 2017/18, accessed on 29 August 2022.