TL;DR: The lobang aunties in us update you on the free stuff you can get.
Singaporeans love free stuff. We can’t ignore the flutter in our hearts when we see the ‘FREE GIFT’ signs and the more shameless of us won’t hesitate to ask for an extra thumbdrive or keychain with our big purchases. But what if we could get things for free on their own?
Here are 10 things in Singapore you probably didn’t know are free. You’re welcome.
1. Free Tuition
In the country of tuition kids, parents are known to pay exhorbitant fees to give kids extra help with their schoolwork. But it’s not only the rich kids who get some extra help now.
Established from 2002, Loving Heart has been giving children from lower-income families free tuition for quite a while now. This non-profit voluntary welfare organisation (VWO) collaborates with relevant social agencies and organisations to better cater to the needs of the lower-income households.
2. Free Movies
No, we’re not talking about pulling out that eye patch and peg leg. You’d be surprised the number of places in Singapore that have free movie viewings. Movie Mob, for example holds film screenings on heartlands plains on a regular basis, while DBS Movies by the Bay screens blockbusters by the Marina Reservoir every third Fridays and Saturdays of the month, with a clear view of the Singapore skyline in the horizon. What’s more, DBS lets you vote for your fave movies to screen too, YAY!
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, The Arts House may run obscure indie movies from time to time, while The Projector has been known to hold “pay what you want” sessions for specially curated movies.
It’s nice to have the option, after all.
3. Free Legal Advice
You’ll never know when you run into legal problems, and any complications with the law is best dealt with a professional’s opinion. If you can’t pay a hand and foot to hire a lawyer, seek out legal clinics all over the country, where law students and practicing lawyers help provide pro bono legal advice for anyone and everyone.
Oh, NTUC’s PME Unit also runs LawWorks legal clinics or even workshops (legal primers), so you can check it out here or go like their Facebook page to stay updated of their free legal workshops and clinics.
4. Free Haircut
If you’re a brave soul looking for a fresh look, or just need a quick snip of the hair that’s irritating your brows or ears, you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a haircut or even hair colouring in some fancy salon. Beauty school students or ITE students are always on the look-out for volunteers or what they call models to practise on. Services offered could vary from a trim to a full perm, so go in with an open mind and a clear understanding with the hairdressing student to what you’re signing up for.
Be brave,. Go on and go forth!
5. Free Printed Photographs
Printed photographs are making a comeback, but you don’t have to go to a physical photo store to pay a few dollars for some photographs of your friends. Local app Spark allows you to print up to 10 photographs a month for absolutely no charge, and then has the photographs sent to your home.
The catch is that they come with advertisements on the back, but if you’re lucky, you may get advertisements that come with promo codes for online stores or cafes.
6. Free Gym Access
Gym membership in Singapore can be expensive, but you really have no excuse. Thanks to ActiveSG, Singaporeans get $100 of credit to gain access to anything from swimming pools, tennis courts, or gyms outfitted with threadmills and weight machines. These public gyms do cost about a dollar or two per entry without the credit, but with the credit you will get free access to these gyms at least once a week.
Literally, no excuse.
7. Free Exercise Classes
If going to the gym is way too boring and you’re looking for something more exciting, then maybe sign up for one of the many free exercise classes that the Sunrise in the City (SITC) programme by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) has made available for all Singaporeans and PRs.
The classes could range between anything from yoga to Kpop dance classes. One tip: check regularly and book fast. These classes are insanely popular, so its fastest fingers first. Sign up here.
8. Free Food
Singaporeans already know the basics of getting free food, especially when it comes to hanging around seminars or signing up for food challenges, but there are other sources of free food for those who really need it. Websites like Free Famous Food will provide food coupons, while religious centres like Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society or Singapore Buddhist Lodge will serve up free food to the less privileged.
If you’re a fan of vegetarian food, Anna Lakshmi serves up a vegetarian feast in several outlets around the island. They’re not technically free but pay-what-you-want, but you could technically get away with not paying if you were truly shameless. (And nooooo… please don’t. Just dont.)
9. Free Classes for Anything Else
Granted, these courses are technically not free-free, but hey, you have SkillsFuture Credit, remember? Yeaps, the government is giving us money to upgrade ourselves so that we can get and keep our jobs.
Languages, photography, hydroponics, coding, stage management, project management… or even presentation and management skills that you can apply in the workplace; there are over 10,000(!) courses for you to choose from. It’ll be a waste not to at least take a class in something.
10. Free Everything Else
Indulge in your obsession with freebies at the Singapore Really Really Free Market, a session where, yes, everything is free. Clothes, books, accessories — you name it. They do ask that you trade something if you can, which will go a long way in helping the really actually sibei free market to continue,. But if you can’t, then feel free to grab something and head out the door. Just run fast, like really really fast.
For the truly diligent, Singapore’s Craiglist or forums like Singapore Motherhood do have groups for people just desperate to get rid of their stuff. Truly a lesson that perseverance and real kiasu-ism will be rewarded in Singapore. And tell me again, who was it who said Singapore’s the most expensive city in the world?