Cost of Living in Singapore

by Jose Marc Castro on August 10, 2009

costoflivingSINGAPORELiving in Singapore can be very rewarding as of the moment. The government is actually providing a lot of benefits to workers and immigrants since it aims to quickly develop through foreign help and investment. This has brought prosperity to the small island nation, with the Economic Intelligence Unit ranking it tenth in the world as the most expensive city to live in, and third overall in Asia.

Now may be the perfect time for expatriates to make their move and find their niche in the fast-growing market in order to stabilize before things start getting expensive. Singapore’s quality of life index is highly similar to that of the United Kingdom. Due to the low cost of commodities, high salaries and excellent services and benefits, people from all over the globe are expected to be flocking in the next five years.

Economists also foresee that prices will begin to rise as more and more foreign workers and investors are bringing in value to the market. Singapore’s economy, at present, ranks 54th worldwide with over 137 billion euros and their per capita GDP is valued at over 30,000 euros.  Because of the very competitive actions of Singapore in terms of trade, tourism and commerce, prices can continue to rise. Cost of living in major cities is still very affordable and while economists project the gradual rising of prices, benefits and high-paying jobs are still abundant.

Food and Drinks Costs  in Singapore

Singapore harvests and exports a lot of seafood. Some rich examples of these are squid, clams, lobsters and crabs. There are also a number of exotic seafood like seahorse, stingray and eel. Usual meat products are beef and pork. There are also a variety of poultry like chicken, duck and goose along with eggs. Singaporean food is very cheap and there are several places downtown and vendors selling local cuisines at roughly 2 euros or less. Chinese noodles are the staple in Singaporean cuisine and many other dishes have been influenced by many foreign recipes and cooking techniques.  Buying raw goods at local markets and fish ports can save a lot and it is ideal to purchase directly from fishermen and farmers to guarantee freshness plus low price.

There are also several fruits and vegetables available depending on the season. Pineapple, rambutan and durian are common fruits produced in nearby provinces to the capital city. Vegetables include cabbage, carrots, horseradish and ginger. Singapore also produces tea, coffee, nuts, and red beans. All these come in very affordable prices sold by the kilo. The average Singaporean spends around 100 euros every month on food. Expatriates can find more expensive and delicious cuisines in fine restaurants and hotels in downtown areas. On the average, an individual eating three meals a day may spend as much as $10 to $15 for budget.

Clothes and Accessories Costs  in Singapore

Locally made wares and china-made products are rampant in Singapore and cost significantly less. There are night markets and hawkers selling cheap items in bulk. Some locally made goods are also expensive. Clothing and accessories may be one thing that remains pricey in the country. Imported and branded clothes cost very much the same as in the UK. Electronics are brought in from Japan or Taiwan and cars are also shipped from Japan or the United States and Europe.

Shopping in malls and department stores tend to be pricey although most Singaporeans manage to afford the better things in life due to high-paying jobs. The average person spends around 200 euros every month shopping for clothes and wares. Trinkets and small items are still expensive but getting them directly from manufacturers and traders in nearby villages and districts can save a lot. As of 2009, The consumer prices have been falling on its fourth consecutive month and this has prompted many of the goods to become cheaper in the commercial market.

Housing Costs  in Singapore

Housing in Singapore is relatively cheap. The government also provides a lot of benefits to immigrants and expatriates considering that they have invested in the local economy. Most foreigners are attracted by the low cost of housing plus extra advantages not present in other Asian countries. The economic slump is now being lifted, as market conditions for real estate commercial activity have become favorable which makes Singapore one of the growth areas in Asia.

Condominiums are also starting to grow in number especially in major cities. These are also open for full purchase for foreign businessmen willing to own Singaporean property. On the average, an apartment in the middle of the capital city can cost about 300 to 500 euros depending on the quality and type. Several agencies help foreign investors choose the right place as well as provide market analysis on how much their property will be valued in the future. More affordable homes and land are available in nearby districts. Expatriates can own land in Singapore very easily with the help of local agencies. Most expatriates prefer to purchase condominium units downtown especially if they are traveling to different Asian countries often.

Services Costs  in Singapore

Several housing services are available for expatriates’ convenience. Not only are they provided with full details regarding value, future value, history, quality and rates but they also receive several tax benefits on renovation, construction or maintenance. People do not need to spend more on fees as the government ensures that their homes stay safe and in good quality. Home insurance quotes are there at very cheap prices. Agencies will continually update owners regarding changes and other strategic investments with regards to their property.

Education in Singapore is one of the best in Asia and the world. Several expatriates and foreigners send their children to study university, college and masters in Singapore. There are student benefits, loans, allowances and scholarship programs linked with other British and American institution to ensure that learning remains as optimal as possible. The literacy rate in Singapore is among the highest in the world at over 95%.

Employment Costs  in Singapore

People basically come to work in Singapore so employment is very much available especially in the fields of trade, business, computer technology, engineering, architecture and health care. There are a number of agencies willing to direct foreigners into the job that is best suited to their financial needs and level of expertise. Foreign investors are highly welcome and there are already a growing number of foreign-owned businesses in the capital city.

Salaries are very high in Singapore plus citizens get to enjoy several benefits like bonuses, education for their children and medical insurance. The current world recession has only put a dent in the growth of the labor force, as the unemployment rate is at a meager 2.1%. Companies care a lot about their employees as this explains all the added advantages. Per capita GDP is expected to grow by 6% in the next few years so while commodities are growing in value, people will still be earning more than enough to afford.


{ 112 comments… read them below or add one }

Pravin February 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Hi,

I have an offer of approx 8000 per month after tax.
Will this be sustainable considering that
- I am currently in Bangalore staying in an owned 3Bed condo with all facilities. I would like to maintain the standard of living.
- I have my wife and newborn child
- would like to remit around $2500 back home every month to pay my EMI, and some savings

If not, what should be the ideal figures to get in hand in current market conditions?

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VijetaN February 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Hi,____We are planning to move to Singapore from India, got a good job offer for S$130,000. We were looking at HDB flats and Condo's on propertyguru and we can find decent apartments starting from 3000$ but we expected and read everywhere you can get get 2br and 1 bath in 2000$. What about food expenses I have thought that 2000$ wil be good for couple without children, is it true or not. I dont want to come there and have surprises and then my saving will be big hit.____Anyone can suggest me something. Is there any good sites for apartments(rent), and which all places will be good to live, inexpensive and decent apartments not like small bedrooms..____Thanks __VN

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Aruna April 26, 2011 at 9:55 am

I don't mean to be rude, but to be offered a high income like yours, surely you have some brains to do some research. Do yourself a favor, go on a holiday and find out the real facts.

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Nitin March 5, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Hi
I am Nitin from India.I got a job offer of 2000 SGD/Month from singapore..
Plz suggest me, can i survive in this amount or not.
what are the living & fooding charges per month.

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Paul April 26, 2011 at 9:50 am

Only just for a single and with shared accomodation.

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pkumar April 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Hi,

I earn around 11.5 Lakh INR per annum in India..Now I have gt an offer in Singapore fr 75K SGD base salary and additional stuff like bonus n etc..Im single n wud marry in an yr or so…Wud it be a gud idea to move to SIngapore with the pay Im gettimg in India n the pay Im being offered in SIngapore..Can some one please advice

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Leanna April 27, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Dear All, the comments would be helpful if I weren't a student, but this way I still have some questions.
I have the opportunity for a PhD in Singapore at A*STAR (2 years there, 2 years UK). I would have a studentship of 19,000 Pounds (38,700 SgD – if I converted correctly) for the first year. I have lived (as a student) in eastern europe as well as Germany and the UK. So standards can be be cut down to some extend. Rents-total, food, public transport, insurance (possible that I have to do that in my home country)….
If you have some experience, I would be very thankful if you could share them with me.

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Nikhil August 1, 2011 at 11:18 am

how much should a tourist carry to spend 1 weak in Singapore……..kindly replay as soon as possible..

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Matt CC August 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm

This article looks very similar to this one: http://www.focussingapore.com/information-singapo

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Kamlesh December 28, 2011 at 11:24 am

I am single. I have q1 pass. Salary offer 1700/- SGD monthly. How many expensies per month. I expect to live ok (not luxury not poor ) in singapore

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abhi January 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

Hi Friends, i am getting a job in Singapore with a salary of 2000 SGD. is it sufficient to survive.

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Malik January 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm

It is insufficient. One Room(without cooking) to rent is around 700$, Transport cost is high. You must have atleast 4000 salary to live a good life as a bachelor.

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hitzzz January 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Im an Indian,26,M with 5 years of experience (in BPO). I want to go through Visitor's pass visa to SG. The purpose of my visit in to get a job.Is it possible to get a BPO jobs in SG?? How salary can i expect? If it isn't possible, I am ready to do any decent job that i can survive in SG.Please someone advise on this,i will be grateful:)))

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Hedayat January 30, 2012 at 3:09 am

Hey guys..nice to know the great interest from this thread that a lot of people show interest in coming to Singapore given good living quality and standards.

My advise is this, if you are on expat package and earn atleast 6k per month, then you should make the move – expat package may include international school for children as well as housing!

If you are coming to here to earn anything less, please stay in your own country!

Just look at the figure below;

Singapore china made car Chery QQ – 0.8L – cost SGD78k – you can only use your car for ten years.
Petrol prices – $2 /l on average
Road tax – per annum – anywhere between $700-$5k – depend on the car you drive
Insurance for your car – Anywhere from $1.5K – $20K -depend on the car you drive
Food cost is generally cheap at hawker center – with hawker STANDARDS.
Housing cost – 3 room flat (if ur going to buy eventually) – average S$ 300K – 99 years
Housing rental cost for 3 room flat – about $2k per month
Bus and MRT commuting on adult fare – practical travelling – $300 per month
Medical expenses at private clinic – each visit will be a minimum of $30-$40 for consultation ONLY.
Salaries are low and competition is VERY high.

No doubt singapore has very low taxes compared to other nations but you have to consider that you CANNOT claim for unemployment in singapore. If you got no job to pay for your house, the bank will cease your house and you live in the street. The same goes for your car – default one month payment and your car is auctioned off – loan still remains as damage to u.

On a healthier note, you can have security walking the streets of singapore at night :D and you have a lower chance of being murdered! Haha!

Just my 2 cents worth – Oh by the way I am wanting to migrate to canada myself – so yea its tough for SINGAPOREANS to survive here – what more foreigners? Unless you come under the category of special talents like great scientists or expert surgeon.

Thank u guys for your interest.

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Muhammad faisal February 3, 2012 at 11:49 am

i am an electronic engineer from pakistan..i got a job in singapore my starting sallery is 1400SGD..accommodation,transportation and health insurance will be given from company except food..tell me is it Enough sallery for me for living in Singapore?

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Jag February 21, 2012 at 6:42 am

Too low,
Rental of 1 room HDB apartment: S$750-850 per month
Food: S$200 monthly

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romy February 9, 2012 at 4:57 am

hii, cn u tell me dat wat d cost of one dat meal in singapore $?

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Aniket March 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Hi Everybody,
I am married and have a very young kid. i have been offered SGD 3000 pm by an IT company of which they would retain 10% and pay me back lumpsum after 12 months. So for all practical purposes I will have 2700 in hand every month. I have over 10 yrs of overall experience in some great organizations and about 5 yrs of experience in IT. I wouldn’t mind travelling 30-35 mins (one-way) to reach office.
I have 2 questions: ONE: Is this salary indicative of experience of 8-10 yrs? If not, what can one expect (an Engineer + MBA) in a Sales Job?
TWO: How much would I need to shell out per month to stay in a furnished (furniture+TV+Washing Machine+Kingsize Bed+Stove/HoB)1 BHK accommodation in HDB apartments?

Thanking you in advance!

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amitabh mahajan March 24, 2012 at 2:39 am

Hello everyone,

Can anyone tell me that $3500 is sufficient for decent living in Singapore with children education. One is 9 Year onle and the other is 4 years old.I am from India and getting a job poffer.Also Pls tell me how much minimum salary we required.

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Rohit March 31, 2012 at 11:15 am

Last week I got an offer from Singapore.. 4 yr exp IT.
I have discussed it with my employer… And they agreed to believe that, 4000 $ per Month is the MINIMUM requirement for a bachelor to live comfortably.. (Not luxury) . If you are coming from a costly city, You may need more of it… definitely 4k $ + , Always make it clear before joining.. In-hand salary amount..? Medical benefits..? other benefits like bonus/transport/phone etc ..?

below 4k is a straight NO, if you are earning 6+ lac INR/year in India..!!

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Rajesh June 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Hello All, I am Rajesh and am now living in Tokyo with a salary of 250,000 Yen per month.
If accommodation is provided(with facility to cook) how much would one require to spend in Singapore
I am a Vegetarian, Single Male (not into drinking or smoking or clubbing)
will 2000 SGD be sufficient?

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Neha July 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

Hello Everyone,

Your views would really help me sort out most of my issues. I received an Internship (for three months) in Singapore. The firm is good so I am very keen on taking it up. I would be arriving to Singapore by myself and I will not be having any dependents on me. My work area is Marina Bay.

My salary is SGD 3000 (I understand with this blog it is indeed less for a comfortable life). I am willing to stay at a cheaper area if I can manage to save up. My budget to pay for rent/tenancy is around SGD 700 as I need to save up to clear out my debts. Could you please suggest some feasible places to stay. I am not looking for any lavish or comfortable life. I understand that for food and daily consumption would cost around SGD 700/month.

Please suggest.

Thanking you.

Best,
Neha.

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jan January 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Hi! I' am interested to go for a study exchange in singapore, i would live in a college dorm. How much money monthly do u think i need?

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VETORA January 14, 2013 at 8:19 am

hey am from europe and i want to work summer student work in singapore for 2months , it is possible and which type of jobs can be offer for students and how ,what internet site can i use for follow up

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PUSHPARAJ June 21, 2013 at 4:56 am

Dear All,

I got a job in a logistics company at singapore with package of SG$1400/- per month (free accomodation), please help me can i save anything from there with that salary, also i am going in S pass visa, is it easy for me to jump to some other job of my category (holds MBA in logistics & supply chain management with 6.5years of exp in warehouse/purchase). Please help me, i need to take a call immediately.

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Jon May 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm

I think you should use the World Cost of Living Calculator and salary Analysis

Click below…

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Tamara June 24, 2014 at 3:54 am

Hello. I am a single 26 years old woman.I have been offered a job in Singapore where my company will be providing me permanent lodging and free transport from home to office and back home. I would have to bear just the food cost. What should be the appropriate salary for me? They are willing to offer me a salary of SG$1300. Should this be enough? I am not very extravagant and dont spend too much on food like going out every other day for a meal in a restaurant. I prefer cooking for myself

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