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The Cost of Living in Singapore – 2020

Singapore is no doubt an expensive place to live in, and everyone knows it; Just see how our country tops the list of surveys relating to the cost of living! However, just how high is the cost of living in Singapore?

For the young university students and working adults, you might have just begun or are going to embark on your working life, and are wondering just how much you ought to save and cap your spending each month. Understandably, the answer will definitely vary a lot depending on one’s individual lifestyle preferences, and values.

image - The Cost of Living in Singapore - 2020
The Cost of Living in Singapore – 2020

The following is a general rundown of the cost of living in this expensive city which covers a range of lifestyle options, and which may be of great use to all.

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Cost of Housing

If you’re thinking of moving over to Singapore, or you’re local planning to move out of your parents’ place, then the biggest expense bugging your mind would be your housing, whether you’re going to be renting or purchasing a home.

There will be a big difference depending on the type of property, as condo apartments mostly have facilities and amenities that residents can enjoy. Another factor would be the distance from the city, as the nearer a house is to the city center, the more expensive it will be.

If you will be renting, a reasonable budget to expect would be about $700 to $1500 each month, and about $1500 to $3000 per month if you’re a Singaporean/PR that is eligible and looking to buy an HDB property.

You should also be aware of how much you have to spend on monthly expenses like your electricity bills for instance; this is where a singapore electricity tariff calculator might come in handy to help you save some money.

Renting in Singapore

Renting a place in Singapore is not cheap at all. To rent just one room in a shared public housing flat for yourself only, you can expect about $700 to $2000 of rent a month.

This is if you’re even keen on the idea of sharing a flat with strangers! If you’re not, then it will cost you about $1500 to $4500 of rent for a studio apartment, or a one-bedroom unit in a condo or HDB flat.

Buying a Home

For Singaporean/PR couples looking to get a BTO flat, both of you must apply together and be ready to be married by the date of key collection. If you’re considering buying private property, get prepared to face a big home loan!

The newer HDB properties are highly subsidized, where you may be eligible for various grants depending on your level of income. For resale properties, their prices can be rather high if nearer to the central areas.

Generally for private properties, resale properties can cost from around $300,000 for a 3-room HDB unit, while an average condo unit costs approximately $1 million, and more.

Assuming that you put down a minimum 10% downpayment for an HDB unit or a 20% downpayment for private property, and take out a 25-year loan, you may have a range of $1500 to $4500 monthly for your payment of loan installments, for units within this price range.

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Costs of Transportation

Your transportation costs per month depend primarily on your means of transport, and the distance you travel on a daily basis. If your home is nearby your workplace and the city center, then you’ll be able to spend much less on your transport costs, as compared to someone else who lives over an hour away from their workplace and the city center.

A car is one of the most expensive purchases to make and upkeep in Singapore, as the related expenses including maintenance, petrol, and parking, can cost you an additional $1000 to $2000 monthly. Hence, getting a car isn’t going to be the best idea unless you have a rather large sum of disposable income.

As such, public transport is the most popular form of transportation in Singapore, with public buses and the MRT to choose from. They are affordable and will cost the average person about $100 to $120 per month.

Daily Expenses

As with all other things, daily expenses will vary depending on the individual’s lifestyle. If you’re keeping watch on your budget, then you can always hold dates at parks or engage in sports activities at your local exercise courts. However, the general costs that everyone can expect are as mentioned.

Groceries in Singapore are indeed more expensive compared to many other countries due to the high amounts of imported products. If you cook on the daily, you can expect to spend at least $200 on groceries monthly.

Dining out can be very affordable or very expensive, where a hearty meal at your nearby hawker center can cost you as low as $3 to $4, while a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost you about $20 to $30.

A basic SIM-only plan costs $20 per month but can go up by more than twice or thrice the amount if you require much more data usage and other services.

For your recreational activities, movie tickets are priced around $9 on the weekdays and around $13 for the weekends. Alcohol is incredibly pricy, where one pint of beer in the city center can be priced at around $10 to $15.

A karaoke session in a private function room may cost around $25 to $35 per pax, and this is not including food and beverages.

Little Luxuries That Inflate Your Spending

As small as this city is, there are plenty of things to enjoy in Singapore, but which can really inflate the amount you spend per month. For instance, gym memberships can be a costly, yet perhaps arguably necessary “luxury”.

They generally cost about $100 to $150 per month, and prices get steeper if they involve a specialization like MMA.

Unless you’re genuinely interested and willing to attend all sessions, don’t jump to signing membership deals like it’s nothing! Fancy restaurants are aplenty, but indulging in such posh experiences isn’t the most practical habit as well.


In all, Singapore is indeed a costly place to live in. But if you take it upon yourself to restrain from excessive and unnecessary spending, as well as track your expenses, then such a healthy attitude plus good management of your spending can only help you immensely. Good luck!

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