Singapore is a vibrant and bustling city-state home to a diverse population of over 5.5 million. It is an expat destination with an exciting cultural mix, excellent career opportunities, and world-class amenities. The cost of living in Singapore is high, but life in Singapore is costly. If you are a student or living on a fixed income, you can make simple lifestyle changes to make the most of your money.
Even after eating, shopping, and enjoying leisure time like a local, you can cut costs and have a more authentic experience. As one of the world’s most prosperous economies, Singapore is a popular destination for expats looking for new job opportunities or a change of scenery.
In this blog, we will look at the cost of living in Singapore and provide a comprehensive guide for expats looking to relocate to the city-state.
Cost Of Living In Singapore – A Comprehensive Guide
1. Housing costs in Singapore
Housing is one of the most significant expenses for any expat living in Singapore. Singapore is known for having some of the most expensive real estate worldwide, with the average cost of a home in the city-state being over $1 million. This means that expats looking to rent or buy a property in Singapore can expect to pay a significant amount.
If you are searching to rent a property in Singapore, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 monthly for a one or two-bedroom apartment in the city center. However, rental prices can vary depending on the property’s location, size, and quality. If you’re willing to live further away from the city center, you can save significant money on your rent.
If you’re searching to buy a property in Singapore, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800,000 to $1.5 million for a two or three-bedroom apartment in the city center. However, the price of a property can vary depending on the location and quality of the property. Expats looking to buy a property in Singapore should be prepared to pay a significant amount upfront.
2. Transportation Costs in Singapore
Singapore is known for having an excellent public transportation system that is both efficient and affordable. The city-state has an extensive network of buses, trains, and taxis that can take you anywhere you need to go.
If you’re looking to take the train or bus in Singapore, you can expect to pay anywhere from $0.77 to $2.31 per trip. However, purchasing an EZ-Link card is recommended if you plan to use public transportation frequently, giving you a discounted travel rate.
Singapore’s taxes are also affordable, with the starting fare being $3.20 and an additional $0.22 per 400 meters traveled. However, taxis can be more expensive during peak hours, so avoiding using them during these times is recommended.
3. Grocery costs in Singapore
Expats looking to cook at home can expect to pay a moderate amount for groceries in Singapore. The cost of groceries can vary depending on where you shop and what you buy.
If you’re looking to shop at a local wet market or supermarket, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 weekly for groceries. However, technical items can be more expensive if you’re looking for more specialized or imported products.
4. Food Costs in Singapore
Singapore is a food lover’s paradise, with many cuisines and dining options. However, the cost of living in Singapore also depends upon the availability of food in Singapore, which can vary depending on where and what you eat.
If you’re looking to eat at a local hawker center or food court, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $10 per meal. These food centers are known for serving affordable and delicious local cuisine.
If you’re looking to eat at a restaurant, the cost of your meal can differ based on the type of cuisine and the restaurant’s quality. A dinner at a mid-range restaurant can cost anywhere from $20 to $50 per person, while a meal at a high-end restaurant can cost upwards of $100 per person.
5. Alcohol and Tobacco Costs in Singapore
Singapore has strict regulations on alcohol and tobacco, so the cost of these items can be high. A pack of cigarettes in Singapore can cost anywhere from $12 to $15, while a bottle of beer can cost anywhere from $5 to $10.
6. Cost of utilities in Singapore
The cost of utilities in Singapore can vary depending on the size of your home and your usage. Expats renting a property in Singapore may include utilities in their rent, while those who own a property must pay for utilities separately.
If you’re looking to pay for utilities separately, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $250 monthly for water, electricity, and gas.
7. Education cost in Singapore
The primary language in Singapore is English so that expat students can fit in easily. When it comes to public schools, their fees are fixed, which is around 30 SGD per month. However, international students can only register in the last out of three phases of the registration process, so locals have an advantage in admission.
It is too included in the cost of living in Singapore as private education in Singapore is highly valued and costly. As Singapore is well known for its universities, hence if you plan to study in Singapore for an extended period, you should consider some financial aid like singing the Service Obligation (SO), which offers scholarships to postgraduate students and also allows them to work in a Singapore entity at least three years after getting their degree.
8. Healthcare Costs in Singapore
The cost of living in Singapore also depends upon Singapore’s healthcare system. Singapore has the best healthcare systems in the world, with both public and private healthcare options available. However, healthcare in Singapore can be expensive, especially for those who don’t have health insurance.
If you’re an expat living in Singapore, purchasing health insurance to cover any medical expenses you may incur is recommended. The cost of health insurance can vary depending on your age, health, and the level of coverage you require.
9. Other Costs in Singapore
Other costs to consider when living in Singapore include entertainment and personal care. Entertainment costs can vary depending on your interests, with options ranging from movies to shopping to outdoor activities.
Living in person, such as haircuts and spa treatments, can also be more expensive in Singapore than in other countries.
Tips for Saving Money in Singapore
Despite Singapore’s high cost of living, there are ways to save money while living in the city-state. Here are some tips for expats looking to save money:
1. Live far from the city center
Rental prices can be significantly cheaper if you’re willing to live further away from the city center. This will help in reducing your cost of living in Singapore or any country.
2. Use public transportation
The public transportation system in Singapore is affordable and efficient, making it a great way to save money on transportation costs.
3. Eat at hawker centers and food courts
These food centers serve affordable and delicious local cuisine, making them an excellent option for expats on a budget.
4. Shop at local wet markets and supermarkets
These stores offer affordable grocery options, reducing cost of living in Singapore.
5. Take advantage of free activities-
Singapore has a range of free activities, including museums, parks, and outdoor markets.
The cost of living in Singapore can be high, but with proper planning and budgeting, expats can still enjoy a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle in the city-state. It’s crucial to consider all of the costs associated with living in Singapore, including housing, transportation, food, and healthcare, when deciding to relocate. By following these tips and being mindful of your spending, you can enjoy all Singapore offers without breaking the bank.