Money-saving hacks: ST food writers dish on how to stretch your dollar

SINGAPORE - The price of everything from morning kopi to dinner at a favourite restaurant has been going up. Blame the lingering effects of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and bad weather for supply chain disruptions, and higher electricity and petrol prices. These in turn have put pressure on food prices.

If the start of the pandemic was about self-soothing with food to cope with big changes to work and home life, people all over the world have transitioned to stretching their dollar to cope with rising prices. They are forgoing the muffin they would have bought to go with their takeout coffee, walking past the ice cream chillers at the supermarket or buying house brands instead of premium ones.

There is nothing Singaporeans like more than a good deal, a lobang for discounts, a hack to save money.

The Straits Times food team is no different. These are some ways we make our dollars stretch.

Tan Hsueh Yun: Buy in bulk, feast on fish scraps

Companies that supply ingredients to restaurants and hotels turned to selling retail in the thick of the pandemic, and regular folks like us now have access to good quality meat, seafood, cheeses and other groceries. The savings are better when you buy in bulk.

The only time I buy retail packs of butter is when I want specific brands of salted butter. For baking, which I do a fair bit of, I buy 2.5kg blocks of unsalted Elle & Vire butter from Euraco Finefood. I also buy Valrhona chocolate buttons and cocoa powder there.


Hedy Khoo: Freeze bread, grow your own celery

Do not throw out shallots and onions which have sprouted. If they are not mushy or mouldy, place them in potting soil. The pot must have drainage holes. I find regular potting soil is good enough. You can grow these shallots and onions for their green tops, which can be used in place of spring and green onions.

Save Chinese celery roots from a bunch, along with about 5cm of the bottom of the stems. Put them in potting soil to grow your own Chinese celery.


Eunice Quek: Make stock, buy house brands

Making a big batch of stock is the most fuss-free way for me to stretch ingredients into multiple meals.

I stash prawn heads and shells in the freezer, ready for whenever I need to make stock.

Excess vegetable scraps, such as onion and ginger skins, can be added to flavour soup as well.


Wong Ah Yoke: Where to buy cheaper vegetables

While many people may think the cheapest place to buy fresh vegetables is at the wet market, that is not necessarily the case.

Sometimes, you can get them at the same price or for slightly less in supermarkets.

But for the best savings, look for standalone vegetable shops in Housing Board blocks near wet markets. For example, there is one near the Teck Ghee and Chong Boon wet markets in Ang Mo Kio, where I do most of my marketing. I have seen some in Bedok too.


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