It’s no secret that Hong Kong is an expensive place to live in. Well, that is now confirmed according to Mercer’s cost of living survey for 2020. Hong Kong wins the undesirable prize of the most expensive city in the world for expatriates, which certainly flows over for local families here too. Follow our tips below to be savvy with your money and not only save a few cents but more importantly, empower your kids with some financial literacy.
Discounts when dining out in Hong Kong
Why pay full price for that meal when with a bit of planning, you can not only secure a booking but claim up to 50% off for the same meal?
Set lunch deals are fantastic, with most restaurants offering them now. Not only are they good value, but normally serve the meals fast so you won’t have time issues on your lunch break.
Eatigo is hands down the best restaurant discount App in Hong Kong for 2021. Simply browse through the extensive list of restaurants, offering discounts from 10% through to 50% off food, with the higher discounts generally outside of peak hours. Works perfectly with a family, as you would normally eat earlier anyway. You can browse menus, then make a booking on the app, making it a seamless experience.
Take public transport more often
While it is far easier to just grab an Uber or taxi, the public transport network in Hong Kong is extensive. Most of us have a good grasp of where the train network goes, but how about buses? The bus network is fantastic here, with some great apps that allow you to time exactly when the next bus will arrive.
Start with Google Maps, enter where you want to go then select ‘Directions’ and the Train symbol. This will provide the public transport options. From there, you can use either the Citybus NWFB or KMB bus (also available on Google Play) to find the real-time schedule. A handy all-in-one App worth using, that also has real-time traffic and parking info is HKeMobility.
Claim your Octopus MTR fare subsidy rebate
Did you know that just by swiping your Octopus card on the designated Fare Subsidy Rebate machines you can claim back a good percentage of your monthly MTR spend?
For amounts spent on the MTR over $400 in a month, you can receive 25% credit back (of the amount over $400) onto your Octopus by just swiping it!
* As a temporary relief measure due to COVID (until the 30 June 2021) you can now receive one-third of the amount over $200 back.
Find a discounted Taxi
Did you know there are some underground Taxi services here that will offer a discount? Using a network of normal cabs, on longer trips, you can pre-book and receive a better price than the meter. Normally 15% off. It’s certainly not advertised, nor legal so don’t ask your next cabbie for a discount! Ask around, and you will find one of your friends will have a number to call.
Check out the second-hand market before buying
With such a large transient expat population, combined with small flats means that people are often moving in and out of apartments frequently in Hong Kong. This entails offloading furniture, providing some amazing deals on very lightly used products. There are some items that I would always buy new – mattress etc – but items like tables, wardrobes, plants etc there are plenty available at one-third the price of new.
The most active marketplaces for second-hand items in Hong Kong are Facebook Marketplace (plus local group pages) and Carousell. Use a Gogovan (available as an App) for easy and affordable bulky item transport.
Cars are another option to shop for second-hand. Have a read of our extensive Buying a used car in Hong Kong guide before you buy.
Here is where to find brand new LEGO alternatives at half the normal price in Hong Kong.
Freebies on your birthday
Who doesn’t like a freebie? Turns out that you can claim freebies and discounts not just on the day, but sometimes for the whole month! Here are a few examples where you can milk your special day, after all, it’s only once a year!
sky100 Observation Deck
When visiting the sky100 Observation Deck during your birthday month, provided you have a companion purchasing a ticket, you will get FREE entry plus a 20% discount at the cafe 100. This is for Hong Kong residents only, so you’ll need to bring your HKID or Birth Certificate. Bring up to 3 companions and they’ll also receive 30% off their tickets! Find all the details here.
sky100 Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre (ICC), 1 Austin Rd W, West Kowloon (+852) 2613 3888
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
As a Hong Kong resident, you can enjoy free entry to Madame Tussauds within a week either side of your birthday. Plus, bring up to 3 guests and they will receive 40% off their tickets too! You will need your HKID card to redeem. Check out the details here.
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, Shop P101, The Peak Tower, The Peak (+852) 2849 6966
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car
Simply bring along your HKID card to enjoy a free round trip in a standard cable car on your birthday. Tickets can only be redeemed on the day at the ticketing office. Board at Tung Chung and enjoy the glide through the mountains (and sometimes clouds!). Click here for more details.
Ngong Ping 360, Tung Chung, Lantau Island | (+852) 3666 0606
Hunt down the best Happy Hours
Let’s face it, drinks are expensive in Hong Kong. However, most bars now offer quite generous happy hour deals. Head to the popular bar areas like LKF and Wanchai for the best deals. Some great suggestions here.
Save money by Shopping Online
Online shopping has become a normal part of our lives. Slowly, shipping rates are reducing with plenty of big international retailers now offering free (or cheap) shipping to Hong Kong. Most have a minimum spend to qualify for free shipping. A few worth checking out –
• iHerb – Online Pharmacy | Free shipping over $155hkd
• Next – UK based retailer | Free shipping over $250hkd
• Cheese Club – Quality European Cheese, plus some good wine options | Free shipping over $600hkd
There are some great local Hong Kong online-based companies worth checking out too, like –
• Cheeky Bags – Handmade products | Free shipping for all local orders
• Regency Spices – Quality herbs and spices | Free shipping over $100hkd
• HKTV Mall – A wide variety of online products | Free shipping to a locker or pickup
Shop at alternative supermarkets
While we all know the handful of big-name Supermarkets in Hong Kong, there are some great bargains at a few of the smaller chains. Take some time to look in U-Select, Bestmart 360, 759 Store and DS Groceries for staple items like flour, sugar, tinned food, biscuits etc. U-Select for example sells predominantly Tesco brand from the UK.
Teach your kids some financial literacy
Now that currency is predominantly digital, it’s become difficult to teach kids the value of money. How can you quantify something you can’t see? Is certainly a challenge.
I highly recommend using the strategy developed by Scott Pape in the book ‘The Barefoot Investor – How to teach your kids the value of a buck.’ It’s an easy to read book providing great methods to not only teach your kids that you need to work for your money, but also has a great checklist of what your kids should achieve before they move out of your home. While written for Australians, the methods and advice are just as relevant for Hong Kong.