[update march 2013]
check out the Cost of Living in SIngapore for 2013. click here: http://joeyandmae.com/2013/03/01/cost-of-living-in-singapore-2013/
[end of update]
It’s 2011, and mainly for posterity, we’re listing down the cost of living in Singapore today. Prices are listed in Singapore dollars. To convert to your local currency, click here: http://xe.com.
Most people in Singapore live in HDBs. These are high rise apartment units built by the Housing & Development Board or HDB. There also condominiums and landed properties, but these cost more than the HDBs.
The current rent for a 3-bedroom HDB is around 2000. Each unit has a kitchen, a dining room, a living room, a shared toilet, a laundry area, and depending on the location, a balcony or a study room. There are 2 types of bedrooms: the master bedroom, which has its own toilet and bath; and the common room, which use the shared toilet.
[UPDATE AUGUST 2011]
The prices listed above were quoted as of April 2011. There have been developments since then particularly in the rent. Rent rates have gone up! The ususal 2000SGD 3-bedroom flat is now renting at 2500SGD on average. you can still get 2000 3-bedroom units though, but you will have to look hard and far. like those near the border with Malaysia. thanks to those who posted comments regarding this
[end of UPDATE AUGUST 2011]
People usually share the rent for the house, with the contributions divided accordingly to the type of room you have. for a 3 bedroom flat, the master bedroom usually rents for 800, and the two common rooms for 600 each. You can share a room between two or three people to save on rent.
The same set-up on rent sharing goes for condos and landed properties. But you have to check with your agent on the exact terms. Some owners don’t allow room sharing, some don’t allow babies, etc.
Cable TV and internet is usually bundled in a package, and this will cost you around 80 dollars a month. The internet is really fast here, ours is running at 26MBPS.
Electricity and Water bills are handled by the Public Utilities Board or PUB. An average PUB bill is around 200 dollars a month. This is usually divided equally among housemates in a flat. Some PUBs include the gas too. If you cook often at home, the PUB would be around 240 dollars a month. This is based on a 3 bedroom flat with air conditioned rooms.
Mobile phone bills should be around 50 on average for prepaid use. postpaid subscriptions cost a little more.
Each neighborhood has a food center called ‘hawkers’. Food is cheap from the hawkers and they taste good too. Cleanliness is monitored by the government so there’s no need to worry.
An average meal in the hawkers cost around 2.50, that’s a meat and veggie combo. The famous chicken rice is around 2.50-3.00 depending on your location. It’s usually a little more expensive in the downtown areas.
Soft drink cans cost around 1.20-1.50, coffee and tea around 1.0 per cup, bottled water is around 1.0 dollar. To save on drinks, bring your own water. Tap water in the HDBs is potable.
Fast food is a little expensive. An average McDonald’s meal is around 6.0. Same goes for Burger King. Subway average meal is 7.0 dollars. Restaurants will cost you around 20 for a meal for 2.
The best way to save on food is to do your own cooking. Drop by the neighborhood markets and grocery stores. A 30 dollar budget can last you for a week, on three meals a day. And it’s a healthier choice too.
A haircut costs 15 dollars. Hairstyling for women cost a little more. Massage in the malls cost 40 on average.
Each visit to a doctor for common ailments costs around 40 dollars. Medicines included. Dental services cost around 60 dollars for basic services like cleaning and filling. Specialists would cost more of course.
Public transport is highly efficient in Singapore, and comes cheap too. Trains and buses use the same fare system. They call it EZ Link, it is a prepaid system on an RF card that you tap on every time you board and alight a train or bus. The fare for each ride depends on distance. On average it will cost you 1.30 for a one way trip. the daily expense for transport is around 5 dollars.
Taxis in Singapore have a flag down rate of 2.80, and adds on around 0.20 per kilometer. On average, taxi rides costs you around 12 dollars each trip. There are additional charges when you ride during peak hours or rush hours, thats around 7-9AM and 6-8PM. And a 50% surcharge from midnight up to 5AM.
There a lot of parks around Singapore and you can spend an afternoon there for free. Each neighborhood also has community centers with swimming pools open to the public. Entrance to these public pools is just 1.0 dollar. There also public fitness gyms that cost you 2.50 per entry.
Theme parks cost a little more. Entrance to Sentosa island is 3.0 dollars. And each attraction in sentosa has separate fee. Universal Studios is around 68. The Singapore flyer costs around 30 each. The National Museum entrance is 10 dollars.
Movies cost 9.0 dollars on average. Theatre depends on the production. Some are for free, like during festivals. Books cost around 12 dollars on average.
A pack of cigarettes costs around 12 dollars. A bottle of beer in bars is 12 dollars. It is cheaper to buy beer in the supermarket, would be around 18 dollars for a six pack of Tiger beer. Wine is around 19 dollars per bottle. Vodka is almost 80 dollars per liter. It would be cheaper to but these duty free at the airport. Vodka is only 25 dollars in the duty free shops.
Singapore is the best point to start exploring South East Asia. Each round trip plane ticket around SEA costs around 150 dollars on budget airlines. It could go cheaper on promos.
A shirt in Giordano costs 15 dollars. Same goes for brands like Cotton On, Hang Ten, Bossini. Zara and Topshop cost a little more, should be around 40 per shirt. Designer goods should cost a lot more. A pair of jeans from Giordano is around 60 dollars. A pair of Levi’s costs 150 dollars.
An IMac costs 1700. Ipad is around 700. Samsung galaxy tab is around 800. A basic DSLR is around 1000 dollars. an iPhone is around 800. A compact camera can come as cheap as 100 dollars, to as high as 800. a panasonic lumix is around 650. a canon ixus is around 400. netbooks are around 500. A Flat screen TV is around 400 for a 32 inch LCD.
Those with annual incomes not exceeding SGD22,500.00 need not pay taxes. As a benchmark, an individual with an annual income of 30,000 has to pay 350, and those who earn 40,000 pay 900 for taxes. That’s taxes for a year. SO in case you need to pay 350, you can prepare for it by saving 29.16 dollars (350/12) every month. The IRAS, or their version of IRS, does the assessment. There will be exemptions for those with dependents etc. The PR’s or permanent residents and the citizens have an additional withheld amount. They call it CPF, it’s more like their version of social security funds that you can use to buy a house or pay for your medical services etc. The IRAS has an online tax calculator. check it out here: http://www.iras.gov.sg/Tax%20Calculators/IIT/IIT.html
Average monthly expense
To summarize, here’s a breakdown of one person’s average monthly expenses here in singapore. We take into assumption you live in a house with 6 people, at 2 persons in a room. and you occasionally allow yourself some leisure time and shopping.
Room Rent, common room (600 / 2 persons) = 300
PUB Share (240 / 6 persons) = 40
cable internet (80 / 6 persons) = 13
food and groceries, home cooking (30 x 4weeks) = 120
transport (5 x 20 days, workdays only) = 100
entertainment/leisure (100 a month) = 100
dine outs, shopping etc = 200
phone bills prepaid = 50
total average monthly expense = 923 dollars.
To convert to your local currency, go to this site: http://xe.com
That’s a budget that would allow you a little balance on work and life here in singapore. Of course, the actual expense depends on your lifestyle. What we’re saying is, with the budget above, you should be ok.
I think that’s about it. We’ll add more in case we miss something. Hope this helps.