Of the estimated 183,737 millionaires in Singapore, 1,000 are worth more than S$68.9 million. So what do these ultra-rich do in their spare time? Here are 5 top hobbies of the wealthy–and how you can join the fun without crashing your budget.
If you’re one of Singapore’s wealthiest, you probably won’t blink an eye at Sentosa Golf Club’s S$30,000/year term membership fee, or even the S$1,700 that golfers spend on average every year on equipment and merchandise. However, even if you’re not someone willing to spend up to S$480+ on a single green fee, you can still golf alongside the highest spenders. Here are a few tips to minimise the sport’s impact on your wallet:
- Check out wholesale stores and online marketplaces to pick up clubs and accessories at a discount. You can even buy lightly used goods on sites like 99golf
- Consider golfing on weekdays–the green fees are almost always lower. You can also golf up to 18 holes for under S$50 at fairways like Executive Golf Course or Champions Golf
- Golf on your vacations. Green fees are often lower at fairways in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia
- Open a new credit card. CIMB World and Maybank World MasterCard both offer waived green fees at prestigious courses worldwide, and neither requires you to pay an annual fee.
Whether you’re an avid golfer looking for savings–or you just want to play the preferred game of the ultra-wealthy–you can easily enjoy golfing in Singapore without breaking the bank.
Have an extra S$4,500 in your pocket? Hopefully you can find a few thousand more–if you’re interested in skydiving, you’ll have to leave Singapore (there are no drop zones here) in addition to paying a substantial fee for ground school, jumps, equipment rental, and instructors. Companies like Skydive Singapore offers a package for 9 jumps at this rate–but this doesn’t cover air tickets, hotels, meals, or transportation costs you’ll incur by travelling to Thailand or Indonesia for your training. Perhaps the adrenaline rush is worth the price–but why not access the thrill at a lower cost?
- Consider indoor wind tunnel skydiving. You’ll get to experience a simulation of free-falling from 12,000 to 3,000 feet for as little as S$89 for 2 dives with iFly (who are associated with Skydive Singapore, the expensive alternative)
- If you want the ‘real deal,’ you can take a single tandem skydive for S$450–expensive, but more accessible than the larger package. Use a travel credit card when booking your trip to the jump site, as most cards offer 10-20% off Expedia or Agoda
3. Scuba Diving
Singapore is surrounded by some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world, making luxury scuba diving experiences quite popular with the rich and adventurous. At prices up to S$10,000+ per diver, you can enjoy an extended, liveaboard trip with as many as 30 dives in 11 days, staying on an exclusive cruiser with trained chefs, massages, and even laundry service. The downside is, this rate rarely includes travel costs, harbour fees, equipment rental, or even extra amenities–you’ll also need to ensure you have the mandated dive and travel insurance. Even more, it costs up to S$600 just for an Open Water certification.
While this may seem a bit out of reach, scuba diving can still be financially accessible. Here are a few ways to explore the seas at a discount:
- If you’re willing to travel to Tioman, you can get certified for S$350-S$450 at a local dive shop. This may seem high, but the price includes 4 days of training and 4 open water dives. Gear rental is usually included, and you can book local accommodations on the cheap for as little as S$30/day
- After certification, consider shorter trips to nearby locations. The Dive Company, for example, offers a 2D2N Tioman Weekend trip (including transport, meals, accommodations, and 6 dives) for just S$399. This makes for a top-notch getaway if you’re able to save up a bit
- Check your travel insurance. Nearly all dives require coverage and recommend specific providers, but a select few credit cards–like Citi PremierMiles Visa–actually come with free travel insurance that extends to leisure scuba diving. Be careful though, may card plans exclude underwater activities!
4. Fine Dining
There are 39 restaurants with Michelin stars in Singapore–how many have you tried? It’s not the easiest endeavor. Take Waku Ghin, for example. Ranked 39th in the world and sporting 2 stars, it has only 25 seats and a 3+ week long waiting list. The 10-course menu comes at a price of S$400+ per person–quite a bit more than your average restaurant, to say the least. While there aren’t any easy shortcuts to skip the line in making reservations (except if you have the fabled American Express Centurion Card), there are ways to dine at top restaurants for a deep discount:
- Credit cards are absolutely key–nearly all offer standing discounts and 1-for-1 deals at exclusive restaurants, some of the most popular being Les Amis, Alma, Bacchanalia, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Labyrinth, Putien and more. Even better, some of these cards also award cashback for dining!
- You can also save money in more typical ways, like forgoing alcohol, splitting an entree, or dining on appetisers. If you still want the full experience, without cutting corners, going out for lunch can be a cheaper alternative
- Finally, fine dining isn’t defined just by Michelin stars; consider checking out local restaurants where Singapore’s top chefs go to eat: Ah Lim Jalan Tua Kong, Foong Kee Coffee Shop and Heng Heng Bak Kut Teh, for example (recommended by executive chefs at Salted & Hung, Corner House, and Bo Innovation respectively)
If you want to skip the line altogether, you can even bring the concept of fine dining home by enrolling in cooking classes or community centre food workshops. There’s nothing more accessible than your own kitchen!
5. Art Collection
While Singapore’s top collectors, like Jackson See and Richard Hoon, own hundreds of valuable works in a variety of genres, not everyone can afford to spend thousands on artwork. In fact, average auction sales for Singaporean artists like Georgette Chen and Cheong Soo Pieng are as high as US$211,983 and US$75,589, respectively. Living artist Tan Swie Hian’s work is valued up to an incredible S$4.4 million. If this doesn’t quite fit your budget–as per most of us–there are still a variety of ways to enjoy fine art without the high cost:
- Why buy when you can rent at a discount? With websites like ART LOFT, you can rent paintings worth S$5,000+ for up to 360 days (30 day increments) for a fraction of the cost. Not only can you proudly display the work in your home, you can also change your look with the seasons
- If you are looking to make a purchase, look online. Affordable Art Fair is a popular website for contemporary art sales that allows you to filter by your budget. There’s also an annual, offline component featuring top Singaporean artists and galleries
- Alternatively, you can view everything from contemporary to modern art at one of Singapore’s many free museums. Consider stopping by Singapore Art Museum, National Gallery Singapore, or National Museum of Singapore
Conclusion: Spend Smart, Live Rich
The luxurious pastimes of Singapore’s wealthiest shouldn’t be written off as ‘impossible’ for the rest of us. In fact, there are many opportunities to enjoy these activities even if you’re on a budget. Whether you’re looking to try new things or want a cheaper way to enjoy an expensive passion, it’s definitely considering these ‘everyday’ options.