Cost of Living in Singapore


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The cost of living in Singapore is on the rise - again. The Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2013 ranked it the fifth most costly city in the world, just after Tokyo and Moscow but well ahead of London and New York City. 

The good news, however, is that salaries for experienced professionals are commensurately high, and additional benefits such as transport, school fees and accommodation allowances may be included in an expat employment package.
Singapore Merlion - Image courtesy ChinHaan Aw
That said, in light of the recent economic turndown and the increased competition among qualified professionals interested in working in Singapore, companies are more often looking for expats willing to accept high salaries without too many additional benefits.

The items that drive up the cost of living in Singapore are mostly expat-related, anyway, such as private accommodation, international schools, private medical insurance/treatment and Western food/products. Alcohol and cigarettes are expensive too.
 
Public transport is efficient and cheaper to use than taxis or a private car in the city, with weekly EZ-link travel cards available from SGD 50. As an example of the general cost of living in Singapore, a meal at a restaurant costs about  SGD 100 but a very wholesome meal at a sidewalk café or hawkers centre can cost as little as SGD 10. A bottle of Coke is around SGD 2 and the cost of a phone is about SGD 25 per month.
 
Additionally, public housing, public transport, food and household bills are considered cheap; not as cheap as surrounding countries, but cheap in proportion to earnings here.

Overall, the cost of living in Singapore is relatively inexpensive if expats choose to live in public housing and use public transport, though not as inexpensive as in surrounding countries. On the other hand, if one chooses to live as many Western expats do, the cost of living will be high. So, those that need to save a pretty penny or two, should do away with the car and the luxury condo, and opt to send their kids to a local school.

Singapore cost of living chart (2014)

*All prices are in Singapore dollars (SGD)
Accommodation (monthly rent from unfurnished to furnished)
Furnished two-bedroom apartment (HBD - public - Housing) SGD 3,200
Furnished, private two-bedroom apartment in the city centre SGD 4.500
Luxury, private two-bedroom apartment in city centre (in complex with pool, gym, etc.) SGD 10,000
Room in a shared apartment SGD 2,500
Food and drink
Milk (1 litre) SGD 3
Cheese SGD 9
Dozen eggs SGD 2.50
White bread  SGD 2
Rice (1kg) SGD 4
1 packet of cigarettes (Malboro) SGD 12
Public transportation (approximate values)
City centre bus/train fare SGD 2
Taxi (rate per km) SGD 0.6
Petrol/gasoline per litre SGD 2.15
Eating out
Big Mac Meal SGD 7
Coca Cola (500 ml)    SGD 2
Cappucino SGD 5
Bottle of beer SGD 8
Three course meal at a mid-range restaurant SGD 100
Utilities
Internet uncapped ADSL per month SGD 50 
Mobile call rate (mobile to mobile per minute) SGD 0.20
Electricity (average per month for standard household) SGD 200

Our Singapore Expert

Bry's picture
Curaçao, NA
Singapore
After living in Curaçao, Holland, Singapore, England and Australia, I'm now back in the tropics, lapping up life...
Bry

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