Life hacks: 13 local apps that make your life easier in Singapore

Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

It’s the beginning of a new year, but let’s just agree to forget any New Year resolutions or #newyearnewme aspirations you might’ve made. Those never last past February anyway. Wishful thinking aside, here are some practical ways you can actually make your life easier – and all you have to do is download a bunch of free apps.

From cheap coffees to no-queue CBD lunches to taxi promos, this list of local apps (and the occasional chatbot) comes in rather handy to help you lead a relatively fuss-free life.



A workout class at The Jungle. Photo: Activpass/Facebook

What it is: With fitness, wellness, and beauty services in its arsenal, Activpass is a three-in-one, pay-as-you-book platform that doesn’t require any monthly membership fees. On it, you’ll find everything from boot camps and yoga studios to martial arts and golf sessions to massage and Traditional Chinese Medicine services to hair, makeup, facial, and nail salons.

The individual workouts may be slightly pricier than, say, other fitness apps – and the pampering sessions don’t come cheap either – but the platform does offer discounts and last minute deals for eagle-eyed users to take advantage of.

Get it if: you promised to take better care of your health and overall well-being this year – at the expense of your bank account (something’s gotta give, right?).



Photo: Barterli/Facebook

What it is: A community marketplace that welcomes anyone who loves reading (or who wants to declutter their life) to exchange, buy, and sell books. To put up your secondhand titles on the platform, simply snap a pic and create a free listing – no fees or extra charges required. For buyers, just browse through the app and sort books by location, popularity, and condition.

Get it if: you’re a bookworm increasingly worried by the decreasing storage space left on your shelves.


Bus Uncle

Photo: SgTransport/Flickr

What it is: One grumpy uncle sitting in front of his keyboard frantically dishing out bus schedules and instant updates to commuters across the entire island. Nah, we kid. It’s a chatbot behind all the info — which is pretty darned accurate — but it sure does a great job amusing you with its sarcastic retorts and witty Singlish replies, with a couple of dad jokes thrown into the mix.

Get it if: you want to be entertained during the seemingly endless wait for your bus.



Photo: cutQ SG/Facebook

What it is: The takeaway app that saves you time spent queueing during crowded lunch hours is, well, exactly what its name suggests. Simply place your advance order from the list of participating eateries (most of which are in the CBD) and decide what time you want it ready, then pay up and cheerily breeze past the long lines to collect your food.

Restaurants on the app include Pho Stop, The Poke Shack, Village Nasi Lemak, and Jewel Coffee, but take note that if you’re eyeing dishes from multiple vendors, you’ll have to make separate orders and pick ‘em all up yourself.

Get it if: you’re an impatient person who gets hangry easily. Or if you just detest waiting in line while your stomach protests in unhappiness.



Photo: Hernán Piñera/Flickr

What it is: Queueing has become such a popular pastime in Singapore that there’s actually a professional service you can hire to wait in line for concert tickets, limited edition collections, and even restaurant reservations. Queue “packages” start from $20 for an hour and can go up to $350 for 24 hours, with options for customers to replace the patient individual in line or to have the goods delivered straight to your doorstep.

Get it if: you can’t be bothered to get in line. Ain’t nobody got time for that.



Photo: KopiPass/Facebook

What it is: Coughing up $60 seems like a rather exorbitant price for coffee, but this pass allows you to redeem one free non-alcoholic drink (worth up to $6) at each of the participating cafes over the course of a year, which can amount to pretty good savings, considering the list features more than 60 names. Caffeine joints include Cups N Canvas, SPRMRKT, The Reading Room, and Archipelago Creamery.

The app also works as a simple café guide, with eateries filtered by location, opening hours, free Wi-Fi, and alfresco seating, as well as suggested signature dishes at each place and special promos throughout the year.

Get it if: you’re that person in the group chat everyone approaches for café recommendations and reviews. (You’ve got a reputation to keep up, after all.) Coffee addicts are also welcome.


Lobang King

Photo: Lobang King

What it is: Give your wallet a break with discounts, one-for-one deals, and even the occasional free giveaway on everything from food and drinks to retail purchases and beauty services. Covering 16 categories of promos, the app also directs you to the ones nearest to your location. 

Get it if: you chase after deals and discounts with the unabashed enthusiasm of an auntie.


Pet Widget

Photo: Pet Widget/Facebook

What it is: Never experience the soul-crushing pain of losing your furry friend with Pet Widget’s intelligent pet ID that allows any animal rescuer to scan the badge’s QR code and receive information about the lost pet and its owner.

Without requiring subscription fees or batteries, the lightweight trinket can be easily attached to a collar, and even comes in funky designs such as hot dog prints, floral patterns, and marble motifs. It also connects to an app that features listings of pet shops and pet-friendly places, as well as a community of fellow animal lovers.

Get it if: you can’t even begin to imagine life without your furry best friend.



Photo: PopScoot/Facebook

What it is: At the rate people are destroying bicycles from bike-sharing companies, perhaps it’s just easier to go with electric scooters from this rental platform. (Although you should ride ‘em with caution unless you’d like to be fined a couple hundred dollars.)

Only available at selected areas for now – including stations at Tiong Bahru Plaza, Liang Court, and City Square Mall – the e-scooter rental will set you back $2 for 30 minutes, which is a small price to pay for the freedom to zoom around (not on the roads, of course). 

Get it if: walking isn’t really your thing.



Photo: Screengrab from TaxiBot

What it is: The sort-of taxi version of Bus Uncle, this chatbot brings you all the latest Uber, Grab, and ComfortDelGro promos so you never have to pay full price for a ride anywhere ever again.

Another plus point: the app will notify you when there’s yet another train breakdown and offer deals to entice you to ditch the MRT and book a ride. That also means you won’t have to endure the all-too-familiar feeling of despair when you reach the station and find it teeming with impatient, toe-tapping strangers frustrated at being late to work… again. 

Get it if: you can’t go anywhere without being shuttled around by your trusty Grab/Uber/cab driver.



Photo: Screengrab from Wander

What it is: Think of it as a modern-day IRC that connects you to complete strangers who have similar interests, with chats divvied into hashtagged (of course) topics such as #AddictedToCaffeine, #WelcometoRelationships, #SoloTravellers, and #Volunteering. You can ask questions, meet new people, share wise words, create your own group, and chat about everything under the sun on the social app. 

Get it if: you swore to expand your dwindling circle of friends this year.



Photo: WhyQ/Facebook

What it is: This app one-ups cutQ by actually buying your lunch at hawker centers and delivering it to you, so you won’t even have to step out of your air-conditioned nest at all. But there’s a catch: it only makes deliveries to selected locations in the CBD, Changi, and Science Park areas.

So if you’re one of the lucky ones, feel free to order everything from Hokkien mee and chicken rice to nasi lemak and claypot laksa from places such as Amoy Street Food Centre, Alexandra Village Food Centre, and Lau Pa Sat. Also, take heart that a minimum order isn’t required here, and delivery fees are kept low at $1.50 (here’s lookin’ at you, UberEats and Deliveroo).

Get it if: leaving the office to brave the afternoon sun and the hungry hawker crowds during lunchtime is the worst part of your day.



Photo: YummyBank/Facebook

What it is: Sometimes you just crave home-cooked food – especially when you’ve exhausted the selection of hawkers, cafes, and restaurants around your office. Enter YummyBank, a weekday lunch service that brings you an ever-changing line-up of home chef creations.

The menu offers a range of cuisines, from Thai and Peranakan to Indian and Chinese, with tried-and-tested dishes such as beef rendang, Nyonya chicken curry, seafood pasta, and tofu noodle salad. You can pick up your meal at specified locations – such as UOB Plaza, Fusionopolis, and Asia Square – but take note that orders for the day typically close at 10:30am, so act fast.

Get it if: it’s been a while since you’ve had a hearty home-cooked meal.

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