The cost of living in Singapore has been highlighted as one of the highest in the world today. The high costs are largely attributable to the large influx of foreign skilled workers and foreign direct investment into Singapore. Infrastructure, education and technology in Singapore are world-class here so you get much in return for the high cost.
High Cost of Living in Singapore, but Very Low Tax
Note: One thing to consider is that the tax rate in Singapore is one of the lowest in the world, so you will have a significantly larger monthly sum at your disposal than you might think. So remember to consider the cost of living in Singapore relative to your NET income each month of work. For a more detailed look, please visit our income tax page.
Cost of Accommodation
Rent in Singapore competes with most expensive cities in the world. For a decent two-bedroom condominium in a relatively central area, you will pay around S$4000. Go closer to one of the more prestigious areas (like River Valley or Dunearn Road) and accommodation goes up by 20-25% to S$4800-S$5000. A landed property (with e.g. four bedrooms) will cost you S$15,000+. For more on the various areas to live and costs, check out our accommodation section. Make sure you have something sorted for when you land in Singapore. If you’re looking for immediate accommodation in Singapore at reduced cost, check out Hotels Combined to get the cheapest rates going. Short term accommodation and serviced apartments that offer similar services and amenities come at a higher cost and with more flexibility. A comfortable studio apartment located reasonably centrally will cost S$5000-6000 per month from the likes of Global Residences. Charges can be arranged weekly also, often at added cost. If you are looking for ways to save money here then look at two things. Firstly, a great way to save is by getting a HDB (Housing Development Board) flat. These are no ordinary government-style flats! Many are beautifully furnished and modern. By renting a HDB flat you could get one for S$2,500-S$3,000 depending on location. Most of Singapore is very well serviced transport-wise so you’re never hugely isolated from work.
Cost of Socialising
Drinking in Singapore is an expensive hobby. A reasonable bar will set you back S$10 for a pint of lager or beer and S$14 for a glass
of wine. Watch out for ‘One for One’ offers: this actually means ‘Two for the price of One’!. If you’re looking for some places to empty your wallet in (and have a phenomenal night out) check out our nightlife section. Eating in Singapore can cost as much or as little as you like, and a rise in price might not necessarily result in greater quality. Check out our dining guide for eating ideas to suit all budgets. Singapore also has a revolutionary online food delivery website called Food Panda. From here, one can order from some of the top restaurants in Singapore, and prices are reasonable. A great way to save significant cost on dining, drinking and shopping (20% and more, sometimes) is to check out the offers attached to the top banks in Singapore. For example, Citibank have significant offers on at the moment on dining, drinking and shopping. Visit their website for more.
Cost of Transport
The cost of driving in Singapore can be extremely expensive, costing as much as $100,000 for the license to put a car on the road. There are alternative options that can be more affordable to those living in Singapore. Visit Avis’ useful driving guide to learn more about driving in Singapore. Public transport in Singapore is extremely good value in comparison to many other elements of daily living in Singapore. Buy an EZ links card at any MRT station and you’ll save hugely on bus and MRT travel. Taxis are also extremely good value- a 10 minute trip will set you back around S$6. Getting to work has never been so straight-forward. For more on transport in Singapore please visit our guide.
Cost of Healthcare
Healthcare in Singapore can be prohibitively expensive so you need to make sure that you are well-covered when you arrive here. Check out our Healthcare section for more.
Cost of Utilities
Electricity & Water costs are relatively expensive. For a two-bed apartment you should expect to pay around S$150-200 per month on electricity and water depending on usage of course. Don’t forget to switch off the air-con when you don’t need it- it’ll save you a lot!
Cost of Education
The cost of living in Singapore can be relatively high when it comes to your children’s education. International schools’ tuition fees can range from S$6,000 to S$17,000 per year for the Swiss School. Visit our education section for more.
Cost of Groceries
Grocery Shopping in Singapore is expensive as almost everything is imported. Here is a list of prices to give you an idea (estimated): Bag of Ground Coffee: S$10 Minced meat (250g): S$9 Butter (250g): S$4.70 Fresh Milk (1L): S$3.25 Loaf of Sliced Bread: S$1.95