When it comes to finances, most people find their wallets strapped for the first couple of months of the new year. The activities of merry-making and gifting during Christmas, while fun, have taken away every spare cent, and it's a longer gap in-between pay.
But that doesn't mean we all have to become hermits for an entire month. There are things to do that can bring happiness and joy, and yet will not not cost you anything. Here's a list to get you started:
1. WATCH A FREE MOVIE AT AN OUTDOOR CINEMA
There are actually more than one outdoor cinema in Singapore that allows you to catch a film - there's six, to be exact. However, some are payable and ticketed, so don't get caught out. The free ones are MovieMob, Movies at Sentosa, and Be My Kaki Bus.
Simply find out when the next screening is on, and if the film tickles your fancy, grab your loved ones and head down to enjoy the show under the stars. Blankets and snacks are always a welcomed addition too, and bring a portable fan!
2. GET A WORKOUT AT MACRITCHIE RESERVOIR NATURE TRAIL
For a challenging jog, hike or just a gentle stroll with friends and family, nothing beats the great outdoors. Being active and surrounding yourself with nature has nothing but positive effects on you, so head to MacRitchie reservoir to enjoy both. From the TreeTop Walk to the wild macaques, get lost in the jungle, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy some downtime with your favourite people. Or go solo for much needed me-time.
3. WATCH FREE CONCERTS AT THE ESPLANADE
Art fiends listen up. While Singapore's iconic arts centre hosts many ticketed events, there are also copious free things to watch too, including dance shows, theatre performances and acoustic sets. To make it as easy for you as possible, they've even added a 'free' category to their website. Simply click the link, browse what is on offer and then turn up to enjoy the fun. Free fun, which is even better.
4. SNAP INSTA-WORTHY IMAGES IN HAJI LANE
The shops and coffee houses in Haji Lane may cost to enjoy, but the street art and perfect Instagram backdrops are entirely free. An absolute must-visit for locals and tourists alike, Haji Lane is an indie strip with a laid back vibe that feels like you're stepping into a street in Bali. If you have a few dollars to spare on a coffee, we highly recommend the Selfie Coffee cafe (at 11 Haji Lane). For around $8 to $9 max, you can get your photo printed onto the foam of your iced latte. Say no more.
5. TAKE A STROLL ALONG THE BEACHFRONT
When sun is about to set, where better to find yourself then strolling along a white sandy beach, hand in hand with your lover? Luckily, we have Sentosa to offer us just that, for free. Try walking from Vivocity across the boardwalk down to Siloso Beach - it's a very scenic and breezy 10-15 minute walk. At the beach, you can stroll until the end by the fort, or lay a blanket and enjoy the view.
6. WATCH THE SUPERTREE GROVE LIGHT AND MUSIC SHOW
The iconic and picturesque Gardens by the Bay not only holds fun and free things to do during the day, they have the Garden Rhapsody light and sound show every day at 7.45pm and 8.45pm at the Supertree Grove. Changing monthly, the shows are 15-minutes of spectacular music and lights in synergy, creating a lovely and memorable thing to admire with your family.
7. FEED THE ANIMALS AT FARMART
Simple, rustic and nostalgic, Farmart at 67 Sungei Tengah Road offers free animal feeding and a chance to get up close and personal with your favourite furry species. From goats to tortoises, animal lovers and kids will be thrilled by the variety of animals to see here. Farmart also offers animal tours and casual hawker food dining. What a great way to spend an afternoon!
8. SHOP AT A TOTALLY FREE MARKET (YES, IT'S ALL FREE)
Surely there's a catch? A free market? To just take things? For free? Absolutely.
Singapore's really really free market is a great initiative started to bring communities together, to close the loop on consumerism and encourage recycling. All goods and services are shared free and nothing is for sale. Anyone with stuff or skills to share are welcome to set up a stall, and if you find something you want, you're welcome to have it.
9. PAY YOUR RESPECTS AND ENJOY A MEAL AT THE SINGAPORE BUDDHIST LODGE
Whether you're Buddhist or not, a visit to The Singapore Buddhist Lodge at Kim Yam Road promises to be an enriching experience. Admire the weathered architecture or join in with the devotees as they go about their prayers. From 7am to 7pm, the Lodge serves three meals a day that are vegetarian for anyone and everyone to join in. There's no discrimination or exclusion.
This article was first published in Her World.