Singapore is consistently ranked first in cost-of-living surveys. But how much does it really cost to live here? If you’re a young working adult or an expat, you’re probably wondering how much is “reasonable” for someone your age to spend each month. Of course, the answer varies greatly depending on your lifestyle and values. In this blog, we tell you about the cost of living in Singapore. Read on to find out more… We cover a range of options (from budget to higher-end) for a middle-class lifestyle when compiling this rundown of the cost of living in Singapore. The prices are all in Singapore dollars.
Cost of Living in Singapore:
Rent in Singapore
In Singapore, the majority of expats rent a home. And it is not cheap! If you’re a single person looking to rent just a room in a shared HDB flat (public housing) or a condo apartment (private) with a shared bathroom, you can expect to pay between $700 and $2,000 per month. Don’t want to share? It will cost you more. A studio apartment or one-bedroom unit in an HDB flat or condo costs between $1,500 and $4,500 per month. The cost of property varies greatly depending on its type. For instance, HDB flats are less expensive but more basic. And condo apartments are more expensive but swankier and sometimes have gyms/pools. Another consideration is the distance from the city centre. The closer to the centre, the higher the price. However, Singapore’s public transportation system is not bad, so renting a place on the outskirts of the city can save you money. As an added bonus, neighbourhoods outside of the city centre have more character and less expensive dining options.
If you’re moving here from another country, or if you’re a local thinking about leaving your parent’s house, your biggest expense will be housing. Whether you rent or buy. If you are renting, you should budget at least $700 to $1,500 per month. And $1,500 to $3,000 per month if you are a Singaporean/PR buying a home and eligible to purchase HDB property.
Purchasing a Home
If you are a Singaporean or PR looking to buy a home, you will have two options – an HDB flat or private property. New HDB property is heavily subsidised, and you will be eligible for grants based on your income level. Prices for resale property in more central areas can be quite high.
Again, this varies greatly depending on your way of life. However, you should budget for the following costs – Groceries – Due to a large number of imported products, this may be more expensive than in other countries. Milk, non-tropical fruits, and non-Asian products such as cheese are generally quite expensive. If you cook every day at home, you’ll probably spend at least $200 per month on groceries. Coffee – A kopi at a local hawker centre may cost slightly more than $1, whereas a coffee at a Western-style cafe or a chain such as Starbucks may cost $5 to $7. Food – At one end of the spectrum, a meal at a suburban hawker centre can be as low as $3 to $4. (not including drinks). When it comes to dining, a meal at a mid-range restaurant should cost between $20 and $30. Mobile data – A basic SIM-only plan costs $20 per month. Exercise – Gyms and other sports/exercise classes are quite expensive in Singapore, with a reasonable price range for a gym membership or weekly class is around $100 per month. Recreation – On weekdays, movie tickets are around $9, and on weekends, they are around $13. Alcohol is prohibitively expensive, with a pint of beer in a city centre bar costing between $10 and $15.
Your monthly transportation costs can vary greatly depending on how far you need to travel and what mode of transportation you use. If you live close to your workplace and the city centre, you will spend less on transportation. As compared to someone who lives in Woodlands and has to commute to the CBD every day. Unless you have a lot of spare cash, buying a car in Singapore is not a good idea. They are notoriously expensive in this city, costing an additional $1,000 to $2,000 per month (car loan instalments, petrol and parking). You’ll most likely use a combination of public transportation (buses and MRT) and taxi (or Grab) rides. Public transportation is reasonably priced, typically costing between $100 and $120 per month. The thing about Singapore is that you can save a lot of money by living like a monk (eg. never drinking, always taking public transport). However, once you start taking some liberties, your cost of living skyrockets. Read our cost of living in Singapore guide for planning your finances better.