The costs of living in Hong Kong might be rising and rising, but we’ve got some hacks for the coming year to help you spend wisely and one-up the inflation.
1. Make good use of your tax dollars
The HK government actually offers many public facilities for free, or at minimal cost. This includes swimming pools and gyms; libraries and community halls with Wi-Fi and function spaces; outdoor parks and gardens with actual grass and plenty of space; and parking spots that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for. Next time you need a place to chill, a space to do your work without overdosing on coffee, or somewhere to stash your car besides an underground mall, do remember the venues and services that are already offered to you courtesy of your tax dollars.
2. Take the MTR
With the South Island line set to open in days, two new stations in Kowloon, and more than a few to come, the MTR is starting to look like a viable method of transport to traditionally-harder-to-access parts of town. Ditch the taxi or Uber in favor of this more economical option whenever you can — and save money AND the environment while you’re at it.
3. Download the ENTERTAINER app
Wish you could eat out, stay out, and travel constantly without breaking the bank? Popular Buy One Get One Free app the ENTERTAINER might just be that magic pill for your wants. Think of it as a giant digital coupon book for restaurants, bars, hotels, spas, gym studios, co-working and events spaces… the list goes on. Each participating merchant lists a selection of BOGOF and 2-4-1 offers, from free main dishes and drinks to free neck massages and yoga classes, or a free night at a hotel (either in Hong Kong or abroad). In a restaurant, for example, one of your two main courses comes free. At a studio, you would get to go to a dance class for free after signing up for the first class.
So what’s the deal? The ENTERTAINER Hong Kong 2017 edition is available to Loop readers at a generous Early Bird price of $295, instead of the usual $475. If you get it before the end of the year (that’s December 31, 2016) you will unlock all 2016 offers as well as all of 2017’s, so you can start saving immediately. Also, a brand-new, spin-off BOGOF drinks program called Cheers comes bundled with the package. (For comparison, the Cheers package alone costs $295). Cheers focuses on restaurants, bars and nightspots and the offers are all alcoholic beverages-related. Think savings like 2-4-1 on standard drinks, bottles, buckets, and so forth.
What are some participating venues? Hundreds! These include Seoul Bros, Pololi, Bread & Beast, La Rotisserie, Lai Bun Fu, Wagyu, Qi House of Sichuan, La Paloma, The French Window, FoFo by El Willy, b. yourself café by agnes b., Le Relais de L’Entrecote and more. Fight Factory Gym, Yoga Central, Ocean Park and Sense of Touch are examples of lifestyle vendors. Sofitel, Intercontinental, and Banyan Tree represent some of the global hotel brands. Under the Cheers program, participating bars include The Woods, Hong Kong Brew House, Zerve Plus Bar and more.
Sign me up! First, download the ENTERTAINER App (available on iPhones and Android) on your mobile device. Once you’ve got the App, buy your Early Bird package through this link, or apply the coupon code THELOOPHK2017 after selecting the Hong Kong 2017 Edition in your app — for a chance to win a bottle of limited-edition Luis Felipe Edwards Chile 2012 on top of the Early Bird discount. (Winners announced Jan 3, 2017)
How does it work? It’s really pretty simple. Scroll through the offers on the App, which are neatly divided into five lifestyle categories: Food & Drink, Beauty & Fitness, Attractions & Leisure, Retail & Services, and Hotels Worldwide. Find the offer you need, and press ‘Redeem’ when you’re at the participating venue. Et voila!
All offers are available seven days a week — so you don’t need to do mental gymnastics with your schedule to take advantage of them. This year, there are 500+ venues, 1,700 offers and $1.2 million (!!) worth of savings on the ENTERTAINER Hong Kong.
Cheap dates and affordable group meals (you can redeem up to four coupons for eight or more diners) are on the cards for social butterflies who want to spread the love; while two-for-the-price-of-one classes, hotel stays and spa treatments are up for grabs for those who want to maximize their savings.
A Little Background
The ENTERTAINER was founded in 2001 in Dubai, by an Australian named Donna Benton. It was conceived originally as a handy coupon book, and its popularity led to its expansion to multiple cities in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia. Nowadays, the ENTERTAINER is mostly available as a mobile-phone-friendly App.
Written by The Loop HK for The Entertainer.