We don't really know how it came to be but "giving away free money" seems to be a viable business strategy these days. Of course, discounts, gifts and promos have always been tried and tested tools employed by marketers, but never before has the average consumer had such chance to reap savings to such degrees.
We investigated and rounded up eight apps - both established classics and up-and-coming new favourites - you should download to save money on everything, from online shopping to dining, travel and fitness.
One of the pioneers in Singapore's online rewards space, ShopBack gives you cashback on everything and anything you could buy online. And the best part is, this cashback is earned in addition to any in-store promotion or credit card rewards your transaction may qualify for.
Featuring over 300 of the most well-known brands that cover lifestyle, fashion, travel, groceries and dining (Deliveroo, Lazada, Sephora are just some examples), there are serious savings to be had at ShopBack. You literally will be passing up free money if you go shopping without it! My favourite part is how you can withdraw the cashback you earned into your banking account, making it a truly flexible rewards scheme.
Offering a similar concept to Shopback, Rebatemango is a new player with a refreshing twist - why limit your cashback to just cash, when there are so many other rewards schemes you're interested in? With Rebatemango, you can exchange the cashback you earn into rewards points or air miles, which could be helpful if you're trying to, say, rack up enough KrisFlyer miles to redeem tickets for your next family vacation.
Additionally, you can earn up to 10 per cent additional cashback if you collect 'mangoes' beyond a certain threshold - which you do at a rate of five mangoes per $1 spent.
If nothing curl your toes quite like redeeming a free plane ticket with your air miles, you'll want to add Mileslife to your list.
This dynamo of an app has been quietly getting stronger in the last few years, expanding its list of brands and merchants to give subscribers more opportunities to earn air miles with their preferred frequent flyer programme (FPP).
And the best part is, the miles you get from the app are credited directly into your FPP, and counted separately from your regular credit cards rewards. (Yes, you'll need to link a valid credit card to your Mileslife account to transact and start earning miles)
So, link your favourite air miles credit card and turbocharge your airmiles earn rate. Or, go with your favourite rewards or cashback credit card, and earn extra airmiles along the way. Either way, you'll get that free flight that much faster with Mileslife.
For everything from airport transfers to attractions tickets and day-tours, overseas WiFi and even last-minute pineapple tart pickups, Klook provides savings and convenience for your holidays and your weekend outings. The services booking platform prides itself on offering the best prices (or they'd refund the difference) and discounts up to 60 per cent off.
Simply browse your destination of choice on the website or app, and choose from an extensive list of activities, attractions and deals. Then simply make an online purchase on the item you want, and show up at the designated meeting point with your e-ticket when the time comes.
Although there's sometimes no way to check if the price you're offered really is the lowest you can find, the savings for items you can compare make for a pretty persuasive case. For example: Mdm Tussauds Singapore + Marvel 4D Experience is $23.50 on Klook, compared to $32 on the official site. Also, browsing what activities are on offer is a good way to approach a new destination, while the user reviews attached can help you avoid paying for a dud.
What's more, Klook is a featured merchant on many rewards sites, including Mileslife and Shopback, which means more savings and bonus rewards for you!
Drinking in Singapore is expensive, not least because inebriation makes us feel more confident about our bank account than we have any right to.
Here to save us all from yet another expensive credit card bill is Chug, which offers one drink every day for a flat subscription of $19.90 per month. Or if you're more of a weekend drinker, you can opt for five drinks at $9.90 a month.
Simply sign up for a subscription and head down to any of the partner bars and clubs to claim your free drink(s). And in case you're worried about having to claim your drink at dodgy establishments, take heed that Chug only partners trendy, cool and chic venues.
You may know this app as 11th Hour, which made some waves in 2016 upon its launch. Born out of the desire to reduce food waste in Singapore, the app lets you get notified of impromptu F&B deals near you - most commonly during lull periods or at closing time.
Ideally, the idea of saving money on your favourite bak kut teh would override your supper-time guilt, while hawkers got to reduce their food wastage.
After a merger, the app lives on in the form of Reprice, which offers menu price updates in real time. The idea is to let you know when the app's F&B partners lower their prices so you can grab a quick takeaway, saving you anywhere between 10 to 50 per cent on your meals. Oh, note that this isn't a delivery service, so you'll still need to go and get your meal yourself.
Another app that works in a similar way - dangling lower prices during lull periods to encourage spending - is Eatigo, which is catered to dine-in customers. So if reading this has given you a sudden craving for half-priced fish & chips from that cafe downstairs, you know what to do.
7) SHOPBACK GO
How about taking your ShopBack privileges and extending them offline, such that you can earn additional cashback while shopping in-store, or during your cafe-hopping Sundays?
ShopBack GO works by letting you select a shopping promotion of your choice, presented in the app. You'll need to link your credit card on ShopBack Go first, then tap "activate" on one of the promos, visit the restaurant or store, and pay with the linked card to receive the cashback on your purchase. And yes, this is on top of your usual credit or debit card privileges.
Accessible via the ShopBack app, ShopBack GO credits the cashback you earn through your offline purchases to your main ShopBack account. This means that, yes, you can withdraw your cashback from ShopBack GO to your bank account if you wish.
Catered to the needs of fitness buffs, iHerb offers a convenient way to get the protein powders, multi-vitamins and health supplements you need, while helping you save in the process.
Doing away with the typical reward points system - which often give you the option of redeeming useless products like shaker bottles, towels and t-shirts with corny inspirational phrases - iHerb instead gives you credit equivalent to 10 per cent of your order, which is automatically applied to your next purchase. No more wasted points, or padding your order just to use up your privileges!
Pair that with bulk discounts that kick in for buying multiples (great for stocking up), free delivery for orders over US$40 (S$54), and all-round great pricing, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a reason to buy from any other retailer. Psst, they stock beauty products as well as products for kids and pets too.
This article was first published in Her World.