Choose a vegan diet

Vegan cooking: Save money with groceries cashback rebates

Benedict Cumberbatch is one. So are Ariana Grande and Madonna. They are vegans, that is. Adopting veganism as a lifestyle is no longer something you do just to appear trendy, but is a movement that’s fast becoming mainstream.

And the vegan movement has not passed by Singapore, with a growing segment of Singaporeans embracing the vegan lifestyle and the diet. Vegan products are appearing in more stores here, and restaurants are also offering vegan options on their menus. This observation is backed by a 2018 National Nutrition Survey conducted by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board, which showed that Singaporeans are eating more healthily, consuming more wholegrain, fruits and vegetables.

What does it mean to be vegan?

Vegans are people who are on a vegetarian diet that also excludes dairy, eggs, honey or any other animal products. Some go on this diet so as not to exploit animals, but others adopt it because they believe that a plant-based diet is healthier.

Some vegans also avoid the use of animal products such as leather.

The belief that vegan eating is healthier is backed by a number of studies that show a vegan diet may result in physical benefits such as weight control, improved blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and also helps to keep the heart healthy.  

While going vegan has its benefits, it is important for vegans to plan their diet to make sure it includes all the essential nutrients especially those like protein, minerals (including iron, calcium and zinc), vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which can often be inadequate in a purely vegetarian diet. So vegans take care to eat nutrient-rich plant-based foods such as tofu and tempeh; beans, lentils and peas; nuts and nut butters; soy, rice or almond milk; whole grains and cereals; fruits and vegetables.

Choose a vegan diet

 

Save money by shopping and cooking in bulk

Convinced that you want to go vegan? While it is all well and good to adopt an alternative diet whether you are doing it for health benefits or ethical reasons, doing a special diet in Singapore can be trying – and expensive. Looking for vegan food at hawker centres or coffee shops, where most Singaporeans eat their meals, can be tough. And while many hipster food establishments that cater to these special diets have sprung up in town, the costs of eating at those places can quickly add up.

You can still live the vegan lifestyle on a budget. One way to go vegan without going broke is to cook your own meals. And if you’re short on time (and who isn’t?), batch cooking might be a workaround solution.

Batch cooking is when you cook and freeze large portions of different foods, which you then defrost and mix and match to create versatile meals throughout the week. This is a quick and easy way to ensure a steady but varied supply of meals, minus the fuss of bringing out the pots and pans each time. 

When you prepare your own meals, you know what's going into them – you can make sure nothing of animal origin slips into your food. And when you do batch cooking, you also save time because you need to do grocery shopping just once a week. 

More importantly, batch cooking helps to save money because you’re less likely to buy unnecessary items when you plan your meals and shopping list.

On top of that, buying ingredients in bulk usually costs much less on a unit price basis. A 10kg bag of Song He Thai Fragrant Rice goes for $31.50 on Cold Storage’s online store, for example, which means it costs $3.15 a kg; a 5kg bag costs $16.50, which has a higher unit cost of $3.30 a kg. 

The chart below shows some common items that a vegan might buy for a week’s worth of meals, and the cost of the items. As you can see, you can go vegan whether you are on a budget or not. *Prices are taken from Coldstorage.com.sg and are subject to change.

Grocery shopping lists – Budget VS Splurge

Budget: Shopping list for one week (except for pantry staples like rice, peanut butter, and miso paste which may last for months)

Cost

Splurge: Shopping list for one week (except for pantry staples like rice, peanut butter, and miso paste which may last for months)

 

Cost

Song He Thai Fragrant Rice, 10kg

$31.50

Two packets Simply Natural organic mixed quinoa, 500g each

$31

Pre-packed carrots, 500g

$0.95

One head broccoli, 400g

$3.16 

Three packets Thai baby corn, 100g

$7.35

Peru asparagus, 300g

$6.90

Two packs Genting Garden honey cherry tomatoes, 275g

$3.95

Heirloom mini tomatoes, 500g

$9.90

Unicurd silken tofu, 300g

$0.95

Unicurd silken organic tofu, 300g

$2.25

Adam’s natural peanut butter, 454g

$6.95

Carley’s organic almond butter, 170g

$14.30

Nutrisoy fresh soya milk

$2.40

Ecomilk organic quinoa milk, 1 litre

$6.55

Three avocados, large

3 for $7.95

Three avocados, large

3 for $7.95 

Two bunches of mini Thai kailan, 200g

$5

Two bunches Toscano Sustenir kale, 150g

$14

Two cans Mili mock duck 280g

$4.80

Two packets Quorn vegan fishless fingers, 200g

$14

Two punnets of Malaysia brown button mushroom, 200g

$8

Two punnets of Malaysia portobello mushroom, 250g

$14.90

Hikari organic miso, 500g

$6.50

Hikari organic miso, 500g

$6.50

China Fuji apple

3 for $4.45

Strawberry with stem from USA, 454g

$17.90

Total bill for one week:

$90.75

 

$149.31

Total bill for four weeks, deducting the amount spent on staples like rice, nut butter, and miso paste

$288.15

 

 $441.84

 

Cooking and eating as a family

Save more using a cashback credit card 

Want to save on your groceries or other purchases? You can do so if you use a cashback credit card to pay for your purchases.

A cashback credit card is a card that gives you a percentage of your spending back to you when you make purchases on the card. The rebate will be credited to your card account, which will be used to either offset your card bill the following month, or deducted from purchases at certain retailers, depending on the card-issuing bank.

A credit card satisfaction survey conducted by global market research firm JD Power in 2015 showed that Singaporeans’ favourite credit card reward is the cashback, because Singaporeans are pragmatic this way. Cash is, after all, king. 

Compare cashback rewards

There are of course, terms and conditions to be met to earn your cashback, which differ across cards. The UOB Delight credit card, for example, has a tiered system of rebate when buying groceries. Charge at least $800 a month on anything and you get a rebate of 8% when you shop at supermarkets like Cold Storage; charge between $400 and $799, and the cashback for groceries is 3%; if you spend less than $400, the groceries cashback is 0.3%. The rebate is also capped at $50 per month for each card member.

HSBC, on the other hand, requires a cardholder to charge at least $600 per month for all three months in any given quarter of the year to get a 5% cashback on groceries, petrol, or dining, subject to a cap of $250 per quarter.

Different cards also focus on giving cashback for different kinds of spending.

The Citi Cash Back Card gives up to 8% cashback for groceries, petrol, and dining, while the UOB Yolo Card gives up to 8% cashback for weekend spending on dining, entertainment, and Grab rides, subject to terms and conditions.  

Since different cashback cards reward different kinds of spending, it is important to consider your pattern of expenditure and apply for the most useful card.

If you are on a vegan diet and want to bulk purchase your groceries, you should zoom in on a credit card that rewards grocery shopping. The table below shows some cashback cards for people who hang out in supermarkets, and the amount of potential savings if you were to purchase a month’s worth of groceries as listed in the chart above ($288.15 on a budget and $441.84 on a splurge). 

The calculations assume that you meet all the requirements for getting maximum cashback on groceries on your card.

Credit Card

Percentage cashback

Terms and conditions

Savings if you’re on a budget

Savings if you’re on a splurge

What kind of grocery shopper this card is good for

Citi Cash Back Card

 

Up to 8% cashback on groceries, dining, and petrol.

It also gives an unlimited 0.25% cash back on all other retail purchases.

This works by giving you an unlimited 0.25% base cashback on all retail purchases.

If you spend at least $888 a month, you get an additional 7.75% bonus cashback on groceries, dining, and petrol, but the bonus cashback is capped at $25 per category per month. 

$23.05

You will get the maximum bonus cashback of $25, in addition to the 0.25% base rebate on your  entire sum of $441.84, so your total rebate will be  $26.10.

If you are the kind who spends moderately on groceries, dining, and petrol, this card will allow you to reap the highest amount of cashback from all three categories.  

Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Credit 

1.5% cashback on all spending

The cashback is unlimited and requires no minimum spend. 

Cashback will be credited to your card account and offset against the following month’s bill. 

$4.32

$6.63

This is a good card to hold if you want to spend without having to consider whether you fulfil the terms and conditions to get your cashback. There is no minimum spending and unlimited cashback, so you’re covered whether you’re buying only a bag of rice one month or doing a supermarket sweep the next month. Also, it doesn’t restrict spending to any category, which is good for general shoppers. 

UOB Delight credit card

Up to 8% rebate at Cold Storage, Market Place, Jasons, Giant, and Guardian. It also offers 10% off over 4,000 house brands at Cold Storage, Giant, and Guardian.

Get up to 3% rebate on contactless transactions and recurring bills and 0.3% rebate on all other spend.

You get the full 8% cashback on groceries if you spend more than $800 a month on anything. If you spend between $400 and $799, the grocery cashback is 3% and if you spend less than $400, the grocery cashback is 0.3%

Rebates are capped at $50 per cardmember.

Rebates can be redeemed instantly at Cold Storage, Market Place, Jasons, Giant, and Guardian. 

$23.05

$35.35

This card is good for those who like going to supermarkets under the Dairy Farm Group like Cold Storage; on top of the cashback from the card, you also get 10% off house brands. In addition, rebates can be redeemed at those supermarkets, making things easier for you.

HSBC Visa Platinum

5% rebate on only groceries, petrol, or dining

You must charge a minimum of $600 per month for all 3 months in any given quarter of the year. 

The rebate is capped at $250 per quarter and will be credited into the cardholder's card account within two months after the end of each quarter.

$14.40

$22.10

The cashback for this card applies only to spending on groceries, petrol, and dining, but it has a high cap of $250 per quarter. So if you spend a lot in these three categories, you will be able to maximise your cashback.

OCBC 365 Credit Card

Get 3% cashback on groceries, 5% on petrol, 6% on dining and 3% on private hire car and taxi rides, recurring telco bills, recurring electricity bills and online travel-related bookings.

To get the cashback, you need to spend at least $800 in a month. If you spend less than $800, you get a flat 0.3% cashback on everything.

The cashback amount is capped at $80 per month and will be credited into the cardmember’s card account.

$8.65

$13.25

This card covers cashback in many areas, from groceries to land transport and telco bills, so it is a good card for those whose expenses are spread across these categories.

DBS Live Fresh

Up to 5% cashback on online and Visa contactless spend.

You need to spend a minimum of $600 a month to receive a 5% cashback, which is capped at $20 on online spending, $20 on Visa contactless spend and $20 on all other spending each month.

If you do not meet the minimum spend of $600 a month, you will earn 0.3% cashback. Your cashback will be credited to your card account.

$14.40

$20 cap

This card is for modest spenders who spread their spending across online shopping (which also applies to buying groceries online), Visa contactless spend, and other categories of spending such as dining and entertainment.

As you can see, great savings can be had when you shop using a cashback credit card, especially those which reward grocery shopping. To apply for any of these cards, head over to GoBear to choose from over 40 grocery rewards cards and select the best one for your personal needs.

You can even input your expected monthly spending on Groceries, Petrol, Dining, Shopping, and other categories, and you'll see the estimated annual cashback that you'll be getting on each of the cards. The website will also show you the current promotions with each card.

 

Related articles:

Best cashback credit cards in Singapore (2019)

9 easy ways to save money on groceries