A Guide to Shopping for Clothes On a Budget in Singapore

A Guide to Shopping for Clothes On a Budget in Singapore

Budget shopping in singapore? Yep, totally possible! Check out our guide and start splurging!

Ever wondered how people (especially on Instagram) seem to have new outfits every other week? That’s probably because you’re none the wiser about how to budget-shop in Singapore! Contrary to popular belief, shopping CAN be done on the cheap in our fast-moving metropolis. What is inflation even?! For all you rookie shoppers, there are definitely some places, offline and online, that you should check out for budget hauls.

Before you wrinkle your nose and imagine mouldy clothes hanging off rusty hangers at dingy thrift stores, read on and arm yourself with these thrift-shopping hacks before going on a spree!

1. Brick and mortar shops

Bugis Street

Brick and mortar shopsImage credit: estherxie

Known for its cramped hallways and shoebox-sized stalls, Bugis Street is definitely one of the best places in Singapore to get an entire outfit for less than $40. With so many shops in the building, it’s unlikely that you won’t be able to find anything that would suit your taste.

TIPS: The stores rarely have changing rooms fitted in, so it’ll be best if you bring along a rough gauge like your shortest dress or your favourite pair of shorts.

Also, you might not realise it but there are usually multiple shops selling identical things. If you really want to get something at its lowest price, try walking around and compare the prices. You’ll be surprised that sometimes the difference is pretty substantial!

*Scape Marketplace

Scape MarketplaceImage credit: Scape Marketplace

Although not exactly brick and mortar, *Scape Marketplace is a great place to get clothes, accessories or bags at prices that are way lower than those sold at actual retail stores. Many of the booths also have items that you’ll find in Bangkok! No need to buy a plane ticket out of the country to get your favourite Bangkok drawstring bags or tie-dye t-shirts!

TIPS: You don’t really get to bargain much although some sellers are nice enough to take off a dollar or two when you buy more than one item!

Before you end up wandering along Somerset on a weekday, don’t forget that the *Scape flea markets only happen on Friday to Sunday evenings!  

Also read: 11 Heartland Malls in Singapore that We Absolutely Love

2. Online shopping


taobaoImage credit: Taobao

For those in the know, the introduction of Taobao has changed our entire outlook on shopping. With Taobao agents to help facilitate the process and help us linguistically challenged individuals liaise with Chinese merchants, we now have access to unbelievably cheap products! Plus, you can find anything, from cooking pots, cosmetics, furniture to snacks!

TIPS: Find reputable and trustworthy agents! Personally, I’m a huge fan of 65daigou as they handle everything like pre-purchase services, the actual ordering, shipping, post-purchase services and even delivery! For them to handle everything for you, you’ll only need to pay a small agent fee.

If you’re good at reading and communicating in Chinese, you should skip the whole ordering-through-an-agent thing! Use your linguistic powers to your advantage and order directly from the merchants.

Like Bugis Street, there are bound to be multiple merchants on Taobao that carry the same products. It’s always best to look around for the merchants that are the most reputable and those that are selling their products at the most competitive price!


Image credit: Carousell

A great way to start a self-sustaining wardrobe, Carousell is a platform for users to buy AND sell. This is my secret to always having new clothes in my wardrobe without breaking the bank! So arm yourself with amazing basic communication skills (you’ll be surprised at how many people don’t have this), and chalk up those good feedback points! People are more likely to deal with those who have received great feedback. If you’re nasty, you might even end up on the infamous Carouhell

TIPS: Try to sell some of your lesser worn items before you start scouring for new things to buy. You’ll be glad you did because you wouldn’t want to be left with a wardrobe full of new clothes, clothes that you don’t wear anymore AND a depleted bank account.

Also, because of the nature of online shopping, you can’t guarantee that the item is going to be well-fitting or even anything like what is shown in the stock images (as some sellers like to upload in their listings). You should always ask for a real life picture of the item and measurements before committing to a purchase.

Know your fakes from your authentic goods! If you see a brand new pair of Nike shoes going for $30, you’ll know it’s fake.

Oh, and don’t forget to “nego”!

3. Thrift shopping

Flea Marketsbudget shopping in singaporeImage credit: Three Blind Mice

The catch is that most of the items you’ll find in flea markets aren’t brand new. Many of the items are “preloved” goods but they’re usually in mint or great condition! Plus, you wouldn’t really care about that once you realise what a steal some of the clothes are. It isn’t uncommon for some sellers to slash down their prices by almost 70% of their actual retail price.

Some of the more popular venues for flea markets are at TripleOne Somerset and Lucky Plaza! Subscribe to popular flea market vendors like Three Blind Mice to stay updated.

TIPS: Haggle, haggle and then haggle some more! But of course, always be courteous to sellers as well as other customers. Also, bring along a huge bag to collect all your hauls! People rarely walk out of a flea market with just one item.

The Salvation Army

salvation armyImage credit: Joseph Brent

The Salvation Army is where the quintessential thrift shopping happens. With goods ranging from second-hand golf clubs to vintage Gucci shoes, you can find almost anything here. Not everything is going to be in good condition though. So go in with an open mind! Your safest bet would be to check out the Praisehaven branch in Upper Bukit Timah as it’s usually well-stocked!

TIPS: Always, always check your items before purchasing them. That top might look cute but it might have a broken zipper that’s beyond repair. It never hurts to be meticulous when you’re shopping at thrift stores!

Also, put your loots in the washing machine before wearing them! You never know where that blouse has been…

Also read: Hottest Asia Shopping Destinations for the Shopaholics

4. Shopping, without actually shopping


Pick a few of your best dressed friends and swap clothes! It’s a win-win situation; you get to have new clothes without paying! The best thing about this (apart from free clothes) is that you get to try on the clothes and make sure they fit.

TIPS: Don’t be calculative. If your dress that you’re swapping is almost twice the price of the top that you want from a friend, so be it. As long as all parties go home satisfied and with a bunch of FREE new clothes, that’s really all that matters!

Don’t bring your nasty and tattered clothes! Be nice and only swap clothes that are of good, wearable quality.

With the festive season coming up, you best be on your way to getting some budget-shopping done! Don’t forget to know your budget, stick to it and shop smart. You’ll be going home a happier person, that’s for sure!

About Author

Sara Koh
Sara Koh

A self-professed poet, Sara loves all things that have words stringed prettily together. Naturally inquisitive by nature, Sara thinks she’d make one hell of an interrogator (or shrink) as a professional career. But she’ll settle for just being curious and she definitely doesn’t identify as a (dead) cat. At least not yet.


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