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Rising Cost of Living in Singapore: How Much Will It Cost? (2024)

Rising Cost of Living in Singapore
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Singapore has consistently ranked among the world’s most expensive cities to live in. Between 2014 and 2019, it held the top spot, and even during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the city remained in the top five. Singapore climbed to second place in 2021 and regained its position as the most expensive city in 2022 according to research by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Amidst Singapore’s rising cost of living, a recent survey from UOB highlighted the anxieties of the residents. Two-thirds of Singaporean consumers anticipate an economic downturn in the forthcoming year. This poll further revealed that, compared to their ASEAN counterparts, the cost of living is the foremost concern for Singaporeans. To address this pressing matter, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong emphasized the collective effort required by the Government, businesses, and community groups.

The government has initiated various support measures, including the Community Development Council vouchers, promising further assistance soon. Businesses are also urged to uplift vulnerable families. As of 2023, it’s estimated that an individual would need a monthly sum of $2,560 to meet the cost of living in Singapore.

Income

Singapore has been experiencing a rising cost of living, with the government implementing measures to address this issue. As part of Budget 2023, the government announced more cash payouts—including a one-off cost-of-living special payment of $200 to $400 in June 2023. This payment aims to help Singaporeans cope with the increasing expenses in various sectors.

When considering a suitable income to live well in Singapore, various factors come into play. For a single person or a couple, a monthly income of around $3,510 USD (SGD 4,600) – $10,000 USD (SGD 13000)  is often sufficient. It’s important to note that the actual amount needed varies depending on your lifestyle, personal preferences, and budget constraints.

In addition, the government is working to stabilize prices and support incomes, with the expectation that these efforts will eventually leave Singaporeans better equipped to handle the rising cost of living. However, this strategy depends on accurate assumptions and a proper calculation of the Consumer Price Index, which some critics argue may not fully reflect the realities on the ground.

Monthly Cost Of Living

When it comes to living in Singapore, the cost has been on the rise. As you plan your finances, it’s essential to have an understanding of the monthly living expenses.

 

Low-Range

Mid-Range

High-Range 

Single Adult (with rent)

$1,245

$2,560

$7,780

Single Adult (without rent/mortgage loans)

$545

$1,360

$4,380

Couple

$2,740 

$5,770

$16,560 

Family of 4

$3,200

$7,920

$22,060

Keep in mind that these figures are general estimates, and your personal expenses may differ based on your lifestyle and preferences. It’s vital to evaluate your individual needs to create a more accurate budget.

Housing

In recent years, the cost of living in Singapore has been on the rise, with housing prices playing a significant role in this increase. If you’re considering moving to Singapore, you should be aware of the challenges and expenses associated with finding a suitable place to live.

According to official data, average rental prices in Singapore surged by 30% in 2022 – the fastest pace in 15 years. If you are looking to rent a room in a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat, the rental costs of a common room typically fall in the range of $600-$800. If you want a bit more luxury and privacy, you can opt for a master bedroom, which provides private toilet access, and this would set them back between $900 and $1,300.

However, if you prefer a more upscale private housing accommodation, such as condominiums, you’ll need a budget of around $950-$2,000, these come with the added allure of amenities such as gyms and swimming pools.

For families who want to rent an entire HDB flat, you should budget for a monthly cost ranging from $1,500 to $2,800 – depending on the size of the flat.

Education

From the year 2000 onward, educational expenses have risen by 80.7%. On average, the annual inflation rate for education stood at 3%. Take a look at the standardized fee of different types of schools. The fees below are from the Ministry of Education.

Primary School Fees:

 

Maximum Monthly Fee

Singapore Citizen

$6.50 to $13

Singapore PR

$230 to $268

International student (ASEAN country)

$490 to $528

International student (non-ASEAN)

$825 to $888

Secondary School Fees:

 

Maximum Monthly Fee

Singapore Citizen

$5 to $25

Singapore PR

$440 to $520

International student (ASEAN country)

$840 to $920

International student (non-ASEAN)

$1,600 to $1,770

Local Public Universities

Singaporeans, attending a four-year undergraduate program at a local university, will need to pay fees ranging from S$22,500 to S$54,000, averaging around S$38,250. On the other hand, students not benefitting from subsidies face significantly higher costs, with fees falling between S$121,324 and S$182,400, and an approximate average of S$151,862.

School

Annual Course Fees

Total Estimated Fees for 3-Year Course

Total Estimated Fees for 4-Year Course

Average Course Fees

NUS

S$8,250 to S$9,650

S$24,750 to S$28,950

S$33,000 to S$38,600

S$35,800

NTU

S$8,250 to S$9,450

S$24,750 to S$28,350

S$33,000 to S$37,800

S$35,400

SMU

S$11,500

S$34,500

S$46,000

S$46,000

SUTD

S$13,500

SUTD courses are generally 4 years

S$54,000

S$54,000

SIT

S$7,500 to S$9,300 (Fees are paid per trimester)

S$22,500

S$22,500 to S$37,200

S$29,850

SUSS

S$7,500 to S$8,410 (Fees are charged per module, not per annum)

_

S$30,000 to S$33,640

S$31,820

Overall

S$8,250 to S$13,500

 

S$22,500 to S$54,000

S$38,250

Healthcare Costs

All Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) benefit from the nation’s default healthcare coverage, MediShield Life, which caters to basic treatments in public hospitals. However, for those seeking extended coverage, there’s the option of obtaining an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) and accompanying IP riders.

The financial implications of these additional healthcare plans can be significant. IP premiums, for instance, average around $450 per year for individuals in their 30s. However, as age increases, so do the premiums; by the time an individual surpasses the age of 70, they might be looking at annual costs of about $1,800. It’s worth noting that these costs are subject to change based on the broader healthcare environment and policy adjustments.

Expat health insurance is available, starting from approximately $550 annually for those in their 30s. As with IPs for Singaporeans and PRs, these premiums tend to rise with age. Additionally, if one has pre-existing medical conditions, the cost is expected to be higher, reflecting the potential increased risk for insurance providers.

Food

While eating out can sometimes feel more expensive, many local establishments have managed to limit price increases to a small margin of around 30 cents per food item. This is mainly due to hawker centers, where rent, utility and food prices remain generally affordable compared to other countries. However, with global food price shocks and core inflation rising by 5.5%, you may wonder how much longer these businesses can continue to bear the pressure of increased costs.

Take a look at the consumer prices of some of the most common grocery items to have an idea of how much they cost:

Item

Prices in Singapore Dollar

Eggs (Seng Choon, pack of 10)

$3.65

Bread (Gardenia, High Fibre White, 400g loaf)

$2.60

Fresh milk (Meiji, 2 litre bottle)

$6.40

Breakfast cereal (Kellogg’s Cornflakes, 275g) 

$4

Fruit and vegetables (300g Cai Xin x 5)

$10

Chicken breast (300g x 5)

$25

Rice (5kg bag for 3 months)

$12 (3 months, $1 a week)

TOTAL

$52.65

Car

Cars in Singapore come with a high price tag, which could potentially cost you an additional $2,000 to $3,000 monthly, for car loan payments, insurance, fuel, parking, and upkeep.

As such, many residents lean on a mix of public transportation, including buses and the MRT, complemented by taxi services or rideshares like Grab and Gojek. Public transportation is notably more economical, with a monthly unlimited pass for the MRT and buses priced at around $128 for Singaporeans and PRs.

Government Assistance

In the 2023 Budget, a significant package worth SG$9.6 billion (US$7.14 billion) was unveiled, designed to alleviate the impact of the rising inflation rate. This package predominantly focuses on the primary household expenses in Singapore. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Housing: Rebates on HDB Service & Conservancy Charges.
  • Food and Daily Necessities: Community Development Council vouchers have been introduced to aid with daily essentials, complemented by U-Save rebates on GST.
  • Healthcare: A special Seniors’ Bonus Cash initiative is in place, alongside Medi-Save handouts amounting to SG$150 (US$111.69).
  • Education: Contributions to the Edusave Account and an injection of SG$300 (US$223.38) to the Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA).
  • Childcare: A boost of SG$400 (US$297.85) has been made to the Child Development Account.
  • Community Assistance: SG$22 million (US$16.38 million) has been allocated as grants to “Self-Help Groups” that represent different racial communities. These include the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), the Eurasian Association (EA), Yayasan MENDAKI, and the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA).
  • Direct Cash Transfers: Citizens will receive direct cash transfers ranging from SG$700 to SG$2,250 (US$521.23 to US$1,675.45) spread over a span of five years. This is in addition to various other singular cash payouts and incentives.

Closing

The rising costs in Singapore have been a pressing issue, with global food prices rising 28% in 2021 and higher inflation rates affecting the daily lives of residents. As you navigate these economic challenges, it’s crucial to stay informed and adapt your lifestyle accordingly.

Key Takeaways

  • Essential expenses like rent and food show significant increases, with renting costing between $600 and $800 a month and home buying ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 a month for eligible citizens and PRs.
  • The monthly cost of living in Singapore varies based on factors like lifestyle and personal choices. On average, a single adult might spend anywhere from $1,245 (low-end) to $7,780 (high-end) if rent is included.
  • The Singaporean government has taken steps to address the cost of living concerns, announcing an SG$9.6 billion (US$7.14 billion) package in its 2023 Budget.

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