Singapore is renowned as one of the most expensive countries in the world. The cost of living here is skyrocketing compared to some European countries, which means that several Singaporeans will take on personal loans to tide through financial difficulties.
But what does that mean exactly?
If you’re planning to move to this beautiful island, can you make enough money to cover your expenses? In other words, is your salary enough?
We’ll answer those questions below as we analyse how much living costs in Singapore vary according to different lifestyles. Just one hint – if you’re an independent social climber whose idea of leisure doesn’t include Netflix and chilling on your couch, or going through your weekends with anime, you’re going to fork out more than that guy who’s riding the MRT and living with his parents.
People need a place to live, right? So housing should be top of mind if:
– You’re a foreigner planning to uproot your entire existence to come live in Singapore, or:
– You’re a local who’s finally trying to flee from their parents’ nest
So, here’s the bad news:
Housing makes up a massive portion of the cost of living in Singapore. You can expect to pay:
– At least $1,000 but even up to $3,500 if you’re renting – depending on the property, of course
– About $1,500-$3,500 in monthly installments if you’re going to purchase a property in Singapore
To cover these costs in Singapore, you might need to take a loan for it. Let’s break down these expected costs:
Rental Costs In Singapore
Many people who come from abroad and plan to make a living in Singapore will rent a property. That could be you, so consider this:
Renting in Singapore isn’t cheap.
If you’re on a limited budget, the solution is to:
– Compare different shared HDB apartments and rent a single room.
– Analyse different private condos with shared amenities (e.g., shared bathroom or kitchen)
Even so, the rent will add up to at least $700, but probably around $1,500-$2,000/month. And remember that while sharing an apartment is a practical solution for single people, it’s not excellent for couples or families.
What’s the deal for single non-sharers?
If you’re single but not looking forward to sharing your private space with people you don’t know, you can consider renting:
– A 2-room HDB flat
– A studio apartment (read our in-depth guide to studio apartments in Singapore here)
– A 2-room private condo
We’ve listed these options from the cheapest to the most expensive. HDB flats are the most inexpensive and practical places to live in, but they lack bells and whistles. To rent just a HDB bedroom without it’s own toilet costs at least $700.
Private condos are at the expensive side of the spectrum because they’re stylish and give you access to all sorts of amenities, including:
– BBQ spots
So, the monthly rent for an entire condo unit in Singapore can reach $4,500.
Other factors that influence the cost of rent are:
– Distance to the CBD
– Nearby transport options available, the distance to the nearest MRT stations
– Nearby dining, shopping, and entertainment options
Remember that neither of these factors should be a reason to pay more rent if you don’t need them. For example, if you’re not working in the city centre and prefer to stay farther away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can pay less rent for a cosy flat in the further east. Alternatively, if shopping or dining out isn’t your idea of fun, don’t pay more rent for a central apartment.
Warning: If you’re going to live with the apartment’s owner, make sure you agree on all details from the get-go. For instance, some people in Singapore don’t allow their tenants to cook inside the shared flat.
To get enough cash for your apartment rental in Singapore, click here.
What About Buying A Home In Singapore?
To purchase a property in Singapore, individuals and couples can take on a property loan to finance it.
Buying a home in Singapore is a practical option for citizens or permanent residents. So, the choice is between:
– A HDB flat: If your budget is limited, consider applying for a new HDB apartment because you’ll benefit from more subsidies and even some grants. Of course, the total financial assistance you’re going to get will depend on your current income. Alternatively, older HDB apartments are more expensive, especially in the city centre.
– Private property: This option is more expensive than HDB flats, so you’ll need to have a more significant income to pay your monthly loan instalments.
But what are the prices?
– HDB flats: an average of $300k for a standard three-room apartment
– Private property: an average of $1m
So what does that mean in loan installments?
Consider you’ll need:
– 10% down payment for your HDB apartment
– 20% down payment for your private apartment
– An average 25-year tenure
Those factors bring us to a total of $1,500-$4,500/month for loan installments.
Curious about how much loans will cost? Why not try our free personal loan calculator here?
Just like anywhere else in the world, living in Singapore means you’re going to move from point A to points B, C, D, and so forth in your average week. In Singapore, you can apply for a personal loan to purchase your car if you need one.
The primary factors behind gauging your transportation costs are:
– How many of those points do you have to cover in a week
– How far away they are
– Your favourite means of transportation
So, if you’re close to your kids’ schools, your job, parents, shopping, gym, etc., you can walk or even ride a bike. You won’t need a car for that.
Warning for expats: You can’t ride a bike in Singapore if your workplace is too far away.
Firstly, there aren’t enough bike paths – although the local administration is working on those park connectors – and secondly, you may not be able to shower once you reach your destination. Unlike countries like Holland, where cycling anywhere is prevalent, Singapore’s climate is hot and humid.
Here are your options:
– Buying a car: That’s the most expensive alternative because vehicles are very pricy in Singapore. Besides, you’ll also have to pay for insurance, gas, and parking fees so that the grand monthly total will be at least $1,000, if not $2,000 or more.
– Using the MRT: Public transport is a low-cost, convenient option in Singapore because there are many stations and efficient transport. Thus, the total cost for a month is around $120.
– MRT + Grab/taxi: The real problem is when you’re trying to enjoy a night out because there’s no public transport during the night and even the weekend night buses stop working at 2 am. Additionally, you may have a couple of emergencies per week when you’ll want to get from point A to point B faster. So, if you decide to haul a cab or a Grab, you’ll need to include $200 more in your budget, which gets you to $320/month.
To finance your needs in Singapore, you can apply for a fast and affordable loan with Lending Bee. Lending Bee is one of the largest financial institutions in Singapore. We have been around for several years and is one of the few firms that has the SFA Fintech licence!
3. Daily Expenses
Daily expenses are a significant part of the cost of living, and you can’t elude them. You have to eat at least and pay your utilities to survive anywhere. Here’s how much you have to fork out:
Buying groceries is more expensive in Singapore than in other parts of the world because we import many goods like milk and non-tropical fruit. However, buying groceries from your local supermarket or wet market is cheaper than dining out.
If you’re a single person who’s mostly cooking home, budget at least $200/month for your groceries.
While some of us may be satisfied with 3-in-1 instant coffee, some might prefer freshly brewed coffee. Those atas coffee comes with a bigger price tag. Be prepared to spend about $5-9 for each cup of cafe coffee.
More budget goes into this segment if you’re the type that needs coffee to function.
Alternatively, you can get a $1.10 coffee from your nearby kopitiams.
Eating out is the default for most of us in fast-paced Singapore.
For example, it’s almost impossible for some people to bring their own food from home to their workplaces or to have the time and energy to cook every meal. You may enjoy a night out with your loved ones at least once in a while – it does wonders on your stress.
Of course, you should choose an option that fits your budget. Eating lunch at a hawker centre is a practical option for those busy workdays because your food will cost around $4 – minus the drinks. Conversely, a midrange dinner will cost about $30 per pax.
Such costs will increase when you’re going through different life stages, prompting you to get extra financial help.
Allocate a substantial part of your living expenses budget for your utility bills, especially now since the price of electricity is skyrocketing.
The bills you should consider per month may include:
– Utility expenses, including phone bills: $200-$600 depending on your air conditioning usage
– Medical costs: If you don’t have health insurance yet, put aside at least $100-$200/month for the usual tests and consultations. However, insurance is an excellent idea if you get into a massive accident and need surgery or other extensive hospital care.
– School: Put aside at least $500-$700 if you’re planning to send your kids to a local school. By contrast, private schools cost at least $1,000-$3,000/month.
– Domestic help: Almost 20% of the households in Singapore hire domestic helpers, so chances are you’ll consider this option at some point. Currently, depending on your potential maid’s experience and nationality, budget about $600-$1,000 for her salary and expenses.
– Exercise: If you’re going to a gym, put aside at least $100 for your membership.
– Recreation: At this point, it depends on what you understand by recreation. For instance, you can be happy with just Netflix and ordering pizza for about $20/ month. If you need more than that, a movie ticket is $10-$15 – just like a pint of beer. If you and your friends are karaoke fans, too, get ready to fork out an extra $30/person.
Those extras we’ll mention below will add to your budget, but hey, they may be well worth it:
– Expensive gym membership: If you choose a speciality gym with lots of relaxation options (cryo-room, sauna, meditation), you can end up paying $250-300/ month.
– Dining at posh restaurants: This is well worth it to impress your date, but be ready with at least $50-$100/ person.
– Travelling: A weekend trip to nearby countries in Southeast Asia can be a fantastic way to spend your free time. Travelling is exciting, instructive, and opens up new worlds, but you have to put aside at least $200/ trip/ person.
A Little Conclusion For The Cost Of Living In Singapore
If you add the total costs above, you get to at least $1,500/month if you’re a single person renting a shared HDB flat with no kids and no expensive entertainment plans. But, if you like the high-end life and want your kids to go to the best private schools, be prepared with $3-$12k/month.
That said, indulging in moderation may not always be the solution.
Even if you budget carefully, the unpredictable can come barging into your life, taking the form of emergency surgery or a new baby on the way. Alternatively, you may want to invest a bit more into your car or dream home – and that’s perfectly fine.
Lending Bee is here to help with some of the largest loans in Singapore. We have customised, quick loan solutions for everyone! It only takes a few minutes to fill in our application form and a few hours to get your approved loan. Apply now.
About Lending Bee
In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, you can count on one thing – your partner in credit, Lending Bee. Just like an industrious bee, we are committed to helping each and every customer access credit – quickly, easily and seamlessly.