Saving On Food & Travel With Technology

Tips for everyone on how to save money with the use of Technology

Saving On Food & Travel With Technology

Saving On Food & Travel With Technology

 

Food - 2nd Largest Household Expense

 

Food is the second largest expenditure for the average Singaporean household after housing and it accounts for 21% (or $1,118/month) of income. Yet few Singaporeans know that they can utilize online resources to save on these expenses. In this article, we would show you how reality as observed from the latest government survey and the various methods to save money using modern technology.

 

The most authoritative and comprehensive measure of household expenses would be the Household Expenditure Survey (HES). HES is conducted every 5 years by the Department of Statistics Singapore (Singstat) under the direct purview of the Prime Minister Office. Singstat has the crucial task of informing the government of what is happening in Singapore periodically with solid numbers.

 

The HES survey might be slightly dated but it is highly reliable and provides clear representation of the situation on the ground. The latest HES would be the one conducted from 2012 to 2013.

 

Source: Singstat (HES 2012/13)

 

Food expenses have increased steadily in absolute amount over the past 15 years from $798/month to $949/month to $1,188/month. This is compounded 2.67% increment every year which resulted in 48.8% increment over 15 years! This is partly due to inflation and partly due to changing food consumption habit.

 

While we cannot do anything about inflation at our level, we can certainly change our spending habit with modern technology. Before we go further, we have to acknowledge that there are 2 major components for food: Home Cooked and Dining Out. This article would focus on Dining Out solutions to cut your spending without compromising on quality. In fact, you might discover that this makes so much sense that you might entrench these practices to your lifestyle. The other component which we would be focusing on today would be on high class travel. You would be surprised to find out that you can get quality experience at lower price if you engage the right apps for it. One day you might even look back and wonder how you survived without these modern conveniences.

 

Underutilized Online Food Platform @ 0.67%

 

The key would be online purchases. Singstat did another specialized survey within its HES 2012/13 for online purchases alone. This survey is rather obscure and not as easy to find online. In order to save you the trouble of reading the 15 page survey, I have summarized the key findings for our context.


Singstat found out that richer households are more likely to embrace online purchases. For example, HALF of the top 20% of household (the multi-millionaires and billionaires among us) embraced online purchase. In contrast, less than 10% of the bottom 20% of household embraced online purchase. This is how the wealthy among us get more value for their purchase and stay rich. One should always keep in mind that price is amount you pay while value is what you get.

 

Source: Singstat (Observations on Online Purchase based on HES 2012/13)

 

The other observation would be that the younger generation are more receptive of online purchase. This is dominated by Millennials between the working ages of 25-34 where 40.6% of them admitted during the survey that they have purchased items online. So for now, only the young and the rich had utilized online purchases.

 

The bigger question would be what are they purchasing online? Well, the answer lies in the chart below.

 

Source: Singstat

 

Singstat found out that Singaporeans use online purchase for travel as it is cheaper and more convenient for price comparison. This should not come as a surprise for most of us as travel websites like Agoda had emerged as the default holiday booking platform for free and easy travel. What was more shocking is that we only spent $7.50/month on food online. This is a mere 0.67% of our $1,118/month spending on food. We can definitely do better than that. After knowing how we can dine in style in a cost effective manner, we would look at how we can travel in style in a similar manner too.

 

Dining Out

 

Groupon is a familiar to most of you. The good news is that Groupon is now available on your phone through its app. You can learn about promotions and discounts of fine dining experience just by installing this app on your smart phone.

 

Source: Google Play Store

 

Groupon provides good deals periodically with high class restaurants that would like to boost its sales but are forbidden from putting up a large ‘SALES’ sign in front of its window. This would cause irreparable damage to their brand. Hence they have to do so discretely but with enough marketing effort for it to reach its intended audience. One such example would be High Society Cafe at Marina Bay Sands.

 

Source: Groupon

 

High Society Cafe wants to grant a 34% discount for its diners to both retain existing clients and to attract new well-heeled clients to its high class menu. So it is teaming up with Groupon for its marketing strategy. It will still maintain its margin with tourists who are willing to spend and have a steady stream of local spenders who would pay 34% less for the same menu of goods. If you think about it, this is effectively a buy 3 get 1 free discount. Besides these high end dining experience for special occasion, there are also frequent discount for non traditional dining experience such as the recent craze of Mookata buffet for as low as $14/pax with StreetDeal.

 

Travel

 

After the fine dining experience, let us explore our options when we travel. While it is standard practice for local business to squeeze tourists no matter where we go to, we can effectively avoid this tourist money trap. Let us take a family trip to Paris and maybe visit the Eiffel Tower before the shopping trip. For such a trip, it would be good to use Airbnb to find local home owners who are willing to sublet an entire house for tourists. This would be much cheaper than renting 2-3 hotel rooms.

 

Source: Airbnb

 

This is an example of the Airbnb home rental which will give you 3 bedrooms and cost you less than $500/night. This is quite a steal because it would cost you $500/night per room if you go to a 5 star Paris hotel. You would get to see the photos of your living environment with impartial ratings from prior clients. For this example, the owner have a stellar 7 stars rating. If you are travelling as a couple, you might want to check out web comparison sites such Trivago and Agoda. They provide good discount from the menu price and these days only fools pay the hotel’s menu price which is jacked up for the unsuspecting tourists.

 

 

Conclusion

 

We have covered ways where you can save on travel and food with nimble application of technology. The most important point is that quality is not compromised as we get more value for our money. Remember price is what you pay but value is what you get. Thank you for reading.




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