Singapore is considered to be a paradise that offers a mixture of traditions and cultures, along with the world’s finest amenities and new opportunities. The Little Red Dot is a great place for businesses and is also the number one island for food lovers.
However, there is no doubt that Singapore is expensive when it comes to living. Sometimes, we might even need extra financial help to settle down.
From mounting rent prices to some of the most expensive education institutes in the whole world, the city-state really offers a remarkable lifestyle for people who can afford it. But you will be ecstatic to know that not all living expenses have a high price tag.
The cost of living also depends on the lifestyle you choose. Costs of many things can be reasonable if you make the right choices, like while eating out if you choose to eat from local establishments, the price you pay can be reasonable, or if you choose to travel by bus instead of a taxi, you can save a fortune on your monthly transportation costs.
In this blog, we are going to discuss the cost of living in Singapore which generally includes basic necessities like food, clothing, transport, education, housing, and so on. There is a wide range of choices for every category, Singapore can be quite comfortable even when you do not earn a hefty amount of money because there are always things you can find that fit your budget.
What Are Accommodation Costs In Singapore?
Singapore housing costs depend on various factors. With HBDs and private housing options like studio apartments and condos, Singapore has tons of options for available accommodation. Therefore, it becomes very important that you weigh the pros and cons of each type of rental in Singapore, and choose the one that is best suited for your needs.
1. HBD Flats
Living in HBD flats provided by the government makes total sense if you have a tight budget, with 80% of Singapore’s local population living in HBD units it makes for a very reasonable option. HBD flats are located all over Singapore.
Singapore’s HBD flats are globally renowned to be the best type of government housing whereas other governments struggle to make their offering lucrative. Singapore does this by making HBD flats full of the best amenities, features, and perks. In fact, they are preferred over condos even if one can afford them.
The location of HBD flats also makes them a good choice. They have a good mixture of stores and entertainment spots near them.
However, these units do not come with luxurious amenities such as gyms, swimming pools, etc. Also, the cost of the HBD units depends on the size of the unit you rent and the location it is situated in. The average cost of an HBD unit in the city can be $2,700 to $3,000 while outside of the city it can cost from $1,900 to $2,200.
However, there is good news! If you’re unable to afford an entire apartment, you can consider renting just a room in a HDB flat. Renting just a room starts from $500 and goes up to $1,000, depending on the house’s location.
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Condos in Singapore are known for their amenities such as the gym, swimming pools, BBQ pits, tennis courts, playgrounds for children and more.
Most expats working in Singapore do prefer living in Condominiums. So, if your budget allows you to pay for more comfort and security, this is a suitable option for you. The prices of condos also vary depending on the location and condition of the building.
In prime areas, the cost of a 3-bedroom condo starts from $5,000 and can go up to $15,000. The better the condominium’s location, the higher the price.
3. Landed Property
Due to the large population of Singapore and relatively small land space, landed properties are very uncommon and are quite expensive to rent.
These include bungalows, semi-detached and detached houses, and terraced houses. A luxurious bungalow can cost as high as $35,000 per month. In a prime location, a detached bungalow can cost $18,000 on an average per month while a terraced house tends to be less expensive and can cost $8,000 to $13,000 per month.
This is the best option for larger families.
What Is The Cost Of Food In Singapore?
In comparison to other expenses, food is relatively cheaper in Singapore. Depending on the choice of your lifestyle food can be a significant factor or a marginal factor, totally depending on how free-spending you can be.
There are several international cuisines available in the restaurants for different budgets but if you have long-term plans then eating out can quickly become expensive and can reflect heavily on your budget. A family living in Singapore can save significantly if they cook on their own daily or as often as possible and only frequent local hawker centres to eat out.
1. Dining Out
In Singapore, you can find hawker centers and food courts in abundance that actually offer a wide range of dishes and this is can also be considered a unique feature of Singapore.
Hawker centers can provide lunch on costs as low as $3 whereas in the food court the cost of lunch ranges between $5 to $8. It is really a lot more affordable than most countries, and they can be found everywhere in Singapore.
If you go out to eat at an average restaurant it can cost you $20 to $40 for basic meals per person. Fast food joints like McDonald’s can cost $7 per meal. If you cook your meals for breakfast and dinner at home while eating at hawker centers and food courts for lunch, including occasional outings at weekends, your monthly budget can cost $600 to $1,000 in Singapore.
2. Dining At Home
Eating in can be a very effective way to save money with additional health benefits.
Cooking at home should only cost up to $200 per person every month which includes basic meat and vegetables. Depending on your eating choices the cost can vary but dining in is definitely the ultimate way to keep your food budget in check.
How Much Does Transportation Cost In Singapore?
1. Public Transportation
Singapore is known to have one of the best and least expensive public transportation systems in the world. The average fare for a one-way bus is about $1.60, if the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and bus transports are combined it will cost approximately $150 for a month on average.
2. Taxi Service / Grab
Traveling by taxi in Singapore is not very expensive, unlike in some countries such as Japan.
In fact, the taxi services in Singapore are considered well organized worldwide because the drivers are willing to cover even the shortest distance here. The first-mile taxi fare starts at $3.00 to $3.40 and you have to pay $0.22 for every 400m traveled up to 10km, and after that $0.22 per 350m.
For frequent taxi service / Grab users, the monthly fees akin to that of owning a car.
3. Private Car
Buying your personal car can be an expensive feat in Singapore due to the massive government taxes applied to this mode of transportation. Other than the car’s price tag, you will have to take note of the COE (Certificate of Entitlement) which gives you the right to own and drive a vehicle in Singapore.
The aim of the government in Singapore is to reduce air pollution and heavy road congestion so it basically encourages the people living here to use public transport rather than buying a car.
Petrol in Singapore can range from $2.15 to $2.52 depending on the grade plus parking can also cost you $2.00 in the city per hour. You will be spending $600 on an average per month for petrol, parking, and toll charges with $500 to $2,000 for yearly maintenance.
Owning a car can add significantly to your budget and with great public transport services it is absolutely unnecessary to own a car in Singapore. However, if your work requires traveling a lot during the day then you might rent a car and if your budget allows, you can go ahead and buy one too.
How Much Does Healthcare Cost In Singapore?
In 2000, Singapore’s healthcare system was ranked the best in Asia, and sixth-best in the world by the World Health Organization. The healthcare system in Singapore is cost-effective and provides a type of medical treatment that brings high success rates.
There is no need for any insurance to cover your daily healthcare-related needs. At a general practitioner, you will require an average consultation fee of $40 while things like x-rays and bloodwork will cost you $50 to $800.
For those who are on a budget, they can always visit any one of Singapore’s Polyclinics where affordable healthcare is provided. However, due to high demand, there is often a long waiting time. It is advised to make an appointment before going to the Polyclinic.
If you visit a specialist at a private institution for consultation, the charges will be $75 to $125. Hospitalization charges depend on the type of ward chosen by you but you should buy insurance that covers hospitalization and surgeries because these insurances will add up to $2,000 to $3,000 per year. And according to your choice of the ward, the cost can vary from $30 to $3,000.
How Much Are The Utility Bills In Singapore?
Your monthly bills which generally incorporate air, water, and electricity may range from $100 to $600, depending on the usage.
Subscriptions for mobile phones range from $35 to $100 per month. About $28 is required for a basic TV channel subscription and $50 to $80 is required for an expanded channel subscription. If you want a broadband internet connection at your home it will roughly cost $50 per month.
How Much Does Education Cost In Singapore?
Singapore entertains very high education standards.
If you are a working expat in Singapore then you have the choice of sending your kids to a government school or a private school. Government schools are also known as public schools here and private schools are also known as international schools.
The local schools will follow the curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education whereas a private school offers a wider and more internationally accepted curriculum. The advantage of sending your child to a government school is that it is very affordable and accepted.
1. Local Government School
It should be kept in mind that children from permanent Singapore residences attend government schools. The cost of a local school in Singapore is $246 to $356 for primary education, for secondary education, it is $381 to $486, and for junior college $552 to $752.
2. International (Private) School
The estimated fees of these schools range from $12,000 to $30,000 yearly with an estimated S$1,000 to S$2,000 bus fare / miscellaneous amount for a year too.
Cost Of Child Care Services In Singapore
With the high cost of living in Singapore, you’ll find that most households have both parents working full-time.
You can find a lot of child care services in Singapore for babies and kids up to seven years of age. The fees of course vary from one center to another and also depend on the different packages such as full-day child care (7 AM to 5:30 PM) will cost you between $500 to $1,500, while half-day child care (7 AM to 1 PM) will cost you around $400 to $1,200.
How Much Are Taxes In Singapore?
Singapore has one of the lowest income tax rates in the world. The tax system of Singapore ensures sizable savings and follows a territorial basis. This means that only income that is earned in Singapore is taxed.
Overseas earned income is not taxable, with certain exceptions. For residents such as permanent residents, citizens, and foreigners who have stayed for more than 183 days, Singapore’s personal tax rate starts from 0% and is capped at 20% whereas the non-residents are taxed at a flat 15%. There is no wealth tax, individual tax, estate tax, or capital gains tax in Singapore.
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