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How Expensive is the Cost Of Living in Singapore? (A Breakdown)

Singapore, often dubbed the "Little Red Dot," is more than just a vibrant city-state. It's a melting pot of cultures, a hub for global businesses, and a dream for many looking to relocate. But what is the cost of living in Singapore? If you're pondering a move to Singapore or just curious about the expenses, you've landed in the right place.
By · October 23, 2023
How Expensive is the Cost Of Living in Singapore? (A Breakdown)

Moving to Singapore?

We are experts in international moving services in Singapore at low-cost. All Covered. No Hassle.
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In this article, we'll uncover:

  • The nitty-gritty of daily living expenses in Singapore, from swanky condos to hawker center feasts.

  • How Singapore's cost of living compares to other global hotspots.

  • Tips and tricks to stretch your Singapore dollar in this bustling metropolis.

  • The real deal on salaries and employment opportunities.

  • A peek into government programs that might just lighten your financial load.

P.S. Looking to move to Singapore? Wise Move connects you to the best local movers in your new area so you can transition smoothly. Just answer a couple of questions, submit your contact info, and get competitive quotes directly to your inbox.

What is the Cost of Living in Singapore?

When we talk about the monthly living expenses we're referring to the total amount of money an individual or family needs to maintain their standard of living in a particular location. This monthly cost includes everything from rent and groceries to medical or home insurance to transportation and leisure activities. It's the financial footprint of your daily life. Now, when it comes to the cost of living in Singapore, things can get a tad bit interesting.

Singapore, a city-state known for its stunning skyline and rich cultural tapestry, is also infamous for its high living expenses. Many expats wonder what the average cost of living in Singapore looks like. Let's break it down.

  • Monthly rent can vary dramatically based on location, size, and type of accommodation. For instance, a one bedroom apartment in the city centre might set you back an average of SGD 4,510 per month , while the same in the outskirts could be a minimum cost of around SGD 2,985. A condo apartment in the city centre varies from SGD 1,600 to 16,000 . A studio apartment in the central business district can cost from SGD 2,500 per month for a partially furnished apartment to SGD 12,000 per month for a fully furnished apartment.

Wise Move Tip:All in all, rental accommodation will be a large portion of your monthly cost. The recommendation is that your monthly rent shouldn't be more than 40% of your average salary.But excluding rent, you'll be surprised at the wide range of the average price of goods and services.

P.S., check out our home moving checklist to ensure a smooth move into your new place.

  • Food: Singapore is a food lover's paradise. From Michelin-starred restaurants to bustling hawker centers, there's something for every palate and pocket. A Big Mac meal at a fast food restaurant can cost SGD 6 on average while a local neighborhood pub might cost you SGD 10 for a meal. Dining at an Italian restaurant or a mid range restaurant could be around SGD 80 per person or more.

  • Transportation: Getting around Singapore is a breeze, thanks to its efficient public transportation system. A monthly transport pass (for unlimited travel) typically costs an average of SGD 120. If you're thinking of owning a car, though, be prepared for hefty expenses, from the high cost of COEs (Certificate of Entitlement) to road taxes and fuel. If you're relocating from abroad, consider consulting international movers for a hassle-free experience.

  • Utilities: For a standard 85m^2 studio apartment, monthly costs for utilities like electricity, heating, cooling, and water can average SGD 150 to SGD 250 per month. Internet and mobile plans are additional, with prices varying based on providers and packages.

The daily living costs in Singapore can be a mixed bag. While some things might seem pricier than back home, others, like food at local hawker centers or public transportation, can be surprisingly affordable. It's all about knowing where to look and how to budget. But with apps like Seedly, you can track and manage your expenses seamlessly.

In essence, while the Lion City offers a high standard of living for Singapore citizens, it comes with a price tag to match. But with a bit of savvy planning and local know-how, you can navigate the financial landscape like a pro.

Pro tip: If you're moving to a new address, make sure you take the right precautions and notify the appropriate parties. And for those who need to calculate their belongings, the inventory volume calculator is a handy tool.

Cost of Living in Singapore vs. Other Cities or Countries

So, you've got a grip on the cost of living in Singapore. But how does it stack up against other global hotspots? Whether you're weighing your options for a big move or just love a good comparison, we've got you covered. Let's dive into the cost of living in Singapore vs other cities and countries.

Singapore vs US: The US, with its vast landscapes and diverse cities, estimated monthly costs can vary wildly. While cities like San Francisco or New York might rival or even exceed Singapore's rental prices, places like Austin or Atlanta are more affordable. On average, rent in Singapore can be around 35 - 47 % higher than in major US cities. However, the healthcare system and higher education also often come at a steeper price in the US.

  • Singapore vs. UK: Londoners might find Singapore's housing and rental costs very familiar, as both cities boast some of the priciest real estate globally. However, when it comes to daily expenses like food and other transportation costs, Singapore often has the edge. A meal in a London restaurant can be pricier than its Singaporean counterpart. But remember, the UK has a broader range of cities with varying costs, so it's essential to compare apples to apples.

  • Dubai vs. Singapore: Both these cities are synonymous with luxury and a high standard of living. While housing in Dubai can be slightly cheaper, especially in the more suburban areas, dining and entertainment often come with a heftier price tag. The cost of living in Dubai vs Singapore is somewhat comparable, but Dubai's lack of taxes can make a significant difference in your monthly budget.

  • Singapore vs. India: The cost of living in Singapore is notably higher than in most Indian cities. Whether it's housing, food, or transportation costs, you'll find your money stretches furtherin India. However, it's worth noting that metropolitan areas like Mumbai or Delhi can have pockets of luxury that rival Singapore's rental prices.

  • Hong Kong vs. Singapore: Ah, the age-old debate. Both Asian giants, both financial hubs. While the two cities can be hard on the wallet, Hong Kong often takes the cake for higher monthly rent prices, especially in sought-after areas. However, when it comes to food and public transport, the costs are neck and neck.

  • Singapore vs. Malaysia: Just a hop, skip, and a jump away, Malaysia offers a significantly lower cost of living. Cities like Kuala Lumpur provide urban comforts at a fraction of Singapore's prices, from rent to dining out.

While the cost of living in Singapore compared to the UK, US, or Dubai might seem steep, it offers a unique blend of East meets West, modernity intertwined with tradition. Every city has its pros and cons, and it's all about finding the right fit for your lifestyle and budget to ensure you live comfortably.

Budgeting for Living Expenses in Singapore

Alright, so you're sold on the idea of living in the Lion City. But before you start daydreaming about weekend getaways to Sentosa or feasting on chili crab, it's essential to get a handle on your finances.

Budgeting in Singapore might seem daunting, but with a bit of planning and some local insights, you can make your money (or Singapore dollar , the official currency, to be precise) stretch further. Let's dive into how to budget for the cost of living in Singapore per month.

  • Housing: This will be your most significant expense. But fear not! While there are swanky condos that might burn a hole in your pocket, there are also more affordable options. Consider looking for an HDB flat, which is government-subsidized and can be much cheaper than private condos and usually these come with security guards at the front door.

    • If you're flexible on location, areas further from the city center or MRT stations often have lower rents for a decent living space. When budgeting, remember the cost of living in Singapore with rent can vary dramatically based on your choices. If you're considering moving to a smaller space, here are some storage solutions for moving to a small apartment.

  • Groceries: Singapore has a mix of local wet markets and international supermarkets. While places like Cold Storage or NTUC FairPrice offer a wide variety of products, they can be pricier. For fresh produce and meats, consider hitting the local wet markets early in the morning. Not only will you save money , but you'll also get a taste of local life.

  • For example, 4 rolls of toilet paper will cost around SGD 3.71 . Whole fat milk will cost you SGD 3.81 , local cheese can cost SGD 14 for 500 grams , and movie tickets will SGD 11 each on average. You can expect to pay around SGD 11 for a domestic beer at a neighborhood pub or SGD 2.60 at the grocery store.

  • Transportation: Owning a car in Singapore is a luxury, given the high costs associated with COEs and maintenance. Instead, embrace the efficient public transport system. A monthly pass for unlimited MRT and bus rides is around SGD 120. If you're an occasional traveler, consider using EZ-Link or NETS FlashPay cards, which offer discounted fares. For those late-night outings or when local transport isn't feasible, apps like Grab or Gojek are popular ride-hailing options.

  • Dining and Entertainment: While dining out in Singapore can be an experience, it can also add up quickly. Local hawker centers or food courts offer delicious meals at a fraction of restaurant prices. And for entertainment? Look out for free events, festivals, or attractions. Singapore often has community events or celebrations that won't cost a dime and make for a comfortable life.

  • Savings and Miscellaneous: Always set aside a portion of your income for savings or unexpected expenses. Whether it's a sudden medical bill or a must-have sale item, it's good to have a buffer. Seeing a private doctor is relatively inexpensive and easy to send money. A gym membership isn't that expensive either so you'll be able to stay healthy.

On average, the monthly cost of living in Singapore, considering a moderate lifestyle, can range from SGD 1,800 to SGD 3,500 for a single person. However, this monthly expenditure can fluctuate based on personal choices and habits. Your rent will be around 40% of your average salary unless you have fellow tenants to ease the financial burden.

In essence, while Singapore might seem like an expensive playground, with some savvy budgeting and local know-how, you can enjoy all it has to offer without breaking the bank.

Salaries and Job Opportunities in Singapore

Singapore isn't just a hub for tantalizing food and breathtaking skylines; it's also a magnet for professionals from around the world. With its strategic location and robust economy, the city-state offers a plethora of employment opportunities . But with the high living expenses, how do salaries and job prospects measure up? Let's delve into the world of work in Singapore and see how it aligns with the cost of living, especially for expats.

Average Salaries

Salaries in Singapore can be quite competitive, especially in sectors like finance, tech, and engineering. The average salary in Singapore of SGD 70,000 , which can vary based on experience, qualifications, and the company in question.

Wise Move Tip: Always negotiate benefits like housing allowances or tuition fee coverage during your job discussions to make the financial equation more favorable in Singapore.

Job Opportunities

Singapore is home to many international students and numerous multinational corporations, making it a hotspot for employment opportunities in various sectors. From tech giants like Google and Facebook to financial behemoths like DBS and UBS, the options are vast. Moreover, the local startup scene is booming, offering roles in diverse fields and often with the added perk of a dynamic work environment.

Expats in Singapore

The cost of living in Singapore for expats can be a mixed bag. While the city offers higher salaries than many other countries, it's essential to factor in expenses like housing, schooling (if you have kids), and entertainment. Most expats enjoy perks like housing allowances or school fees covered by their employers, which can significantly offset costs. However, it's crucial to negotiate these benefits before making the move.

Specific Communities

For the Indian community in Singapore, it's worth noting that there are organizations and initiatives catering to their needs. While the cost of living in Singapore for an Indian family might be similar to other families, there are community-specific programs, events, and subsidies that can be beneficial. However, when considering the cost of living in Singapore in Indian rupees, it's essential to keep in mind the exchange rate and the relative purchasing power.

Balancing Salary with Expenses

While Singapore offers attractive salaries, it's essential to balance this pay with the cost of living. For instance, if you're considering a job offer in Singapore, factor in expenses like rent, utilities, transportation, and leisure. Websites or apps that offer cost-of-living calculators can be handy tools in this regard.

Singapore might seem like a pricey place to live, but its job market is vibrant and offers salaries that can comfortably offset living costs , especially for those in high-demand sectors. Whether you're an expat or a Singapore citizen, the key is to find a balance between income and expenses, ensuring a comfortable and fulfilling life in this dynamic city.

Subsidies and Government Programs for Living Expenses in Singapore

Singapore's reputation for being an expensive place to live is well-known, but what's often overlooked is the robust support system the government has in place. From housing to healthcare, there are numerous subsidies and programs designed to ease the financial burden for residents. Whether you're a family of four or an elderly individual, there's likely a scheme to assist you. Let's dive into some of these initiatives.

Housing Subsidies

The Housing & Development Board (HDB) offers various grants for eligible Singapore citizens . These grants aim to make housing more affordable, especially for first-time buyers. For instance, families can tap into the Family Grant , which provides substantial subsidies for those purchasing a resale flat. This can significantly reduce the cost of living in Singapore for a family of 4.

Workfare Income Supplement (WIS)

Designed for low-wage workers, the WIS scheme provides both cash payments and contributions to the Central Provident Fund (CPF). This ensures that workers receive support for their immediate needs and long-term savings. The amount varies based on age and income.

Silver Support Scheme

As the name suggests, the Silver Support Initiative is for older Singaporeans. It provides quarterly cash supplements to seniors who have lower incomes and lesser family support. The goal is to appreciate the contributions of the elderly and ensure they have a comfortable retirement.

Healthcare Subsidies

Singapore's healthcare system is top-notch, but it can be pricey. Thankfully, the government offers various subsidies to make medical care more affordable. From outpatient treatments to complex surgeries, there are schemes in place to reduce health insurance costs based on income and residency status.

Childcare and Education

For families, especially those with young children, childcare and education can be significant expenses. The government provides subsidies for tuition fees for preschools and childcare centers, ensuring that children get a head start in life without causing financial strain. Singapore public schools are also world class and don't require tuition fees.

Pro Tip: Engage with local community centers in your neighborhood. They often host informative sessions on government subsidies and can provide personalized guidance on maximizing the benefits available to you.

In essence, while Singapore might seem like an expensive place to live, the government has put forth a myriad of programs and subsidies to ensure residents are living comfortably without being overly burdened financially. It's all about being informed and tapping into the resources available.

Moving to Singapore? Let Wise Move Help.

Singapore's vibrant allure is undeniable, offering a blend of tradition and modernity. As you navigate the living expenses in this dynamic city, remember that knowledge is power, and smart choices make all the difference.

  • Housing: Consider HDB flats for affordability.

  • Groceries: Local wet markets offer fresh and budget-friendly options.

  • Transportation: Embrace the efficient public transport system.

  • Dining: Local hawker centers provide delicious meals without the hefty price tag.

  • Subsidies: Tap into government programs to ease financial burdens.

After absorbing all these insights, it's essential to have the right tools and partners on your side. Wise Move, with its expertise and resources, ensures that your transition to Singapore is as seamless as the city's blend of cultures. Whether it's finding the perfect home or understanding local nuances, WiseMove is your trusted companion in this exciting journey.

Cheers to smart moves and new adventures!

Moving to Singapore?

We are experts in international moving services in Singapore at low-cost. All Covered. No Hassle.
9.6 · 215 reviews

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