Cost Of Living in Singapore : A Guide to Expats

It goes without saying that Singapore is one of the most famous tourist attractions not only in Asia but also globally. This highly developed country located in Southeast Asia is the only city-island-nation in the world which uniquely distinguishes itself from other countries. Not only that, but it is also a global financial center with one of the strongest economies in the world!

As a country known to have high ranking marks in different sectors such as education, health care, technology, and also it’s quality of life, it is no surprise that living in Singapore, cost will be relatively high.

Of course, you should already be aware that the cost of living in Singapore would be quite expensive. The price of housing in Singapore and also the cost of public transport for you to commute daily alone would take up a significant amount of your monthly budget. This does not include other forms of entertainment, your monthly gym membership or other unthought-of cost of living in Singapore.

Therefore, as a new man trying to fit oneself in a new country, we’ve got you covered with a list of what you need to know and do to ensure your monthly costs don’t go over budget! After all, we certainly don’t want the cost of living in Singapore to burden anyone trying to make their lives here in their new home.

Transportation modes

Transportation modes

Getting around the city is very convenient as the public transportation system in Singapore is very efficient. You don’t need to worry about getting lost on your way to Marina Bay Sands or to Orchard Road, the efficient and user-friendly public transport system in Singapore will make you feel like a local from the get-go! Not only is the system easy to use, the price is also cheap!

As soon as you step your foot in Singapore, be sure to buy yourself an EZ-Link card which can be used for buses, subways and other public transport. All you need to do is just tap your card during the beginning of the journey and then tap again once you have arrived at your destination to automatically deduct your fare. 

One of the most famous means of public transport in Singapore is Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) that covers many parts of this beautiful city, which include the suburbs as well as famous tourist spots like Chinatown! On the other hand, if you’re looking for a transport system with a better range, then you can opt for the bus system which is an extensive network that travels across the island. Do note that you can also use ride-sharing apps like Grab as this is also one of the famous means of transportation in Singapore.

Where to live in Singapore

Next, your housing costs and where to settle down. You might be wondering where is the best place to live in Singapore. There are many different neighborhoods that you can consider but first, do ask yourself based on what criteria should you choose your new home? Is it based on the location? The facilities nearby? Or the number of members in your household? Or perhaps it is the monthly rent?

Fret not, we’ll give you heads up on the best places to live in Singapore. Novena, located not far from Orchard is a good place to move in for several reasons. Its close proximity to the MRT and the city as well as the good access to the Pan-Island Expressway makes it a famous choice among younger and single expats. Furthermore, there are also a nice mix of condominiums, an HDB flat and houses in the area. Some expats are happy to also stay in an HDB flat, in order to save costs. Not to forget, you can also find yourself in a food galore at Newton Circus Hawker Centre which is located just around the area!

Serangoon which is a big residential area is also becoming more popular amongst expats. With many nice facilities nearby like good access to public transport stations as well as other local attractions, it is no wonder that many expats are choosing this place as their new home!

Food

Food

“Food haven”. Singapore is notorious for its food galore and hawker centers. Although it’s tempting to dine out at fancy restaurants or hipster cafes, enjoy a local experience like no other by eating out at their local hawker centres! You can enjoy their delicious unique local cuisines like the Chilli Crab or Hainanese Chicken Rice, which will guarantee your taste bud an experience that is definitely out of this world! Although eating out at these food centres can make you sweat due to the hot weather, you definitely do not want to miss out on what they can offer. Simply put, this is the best place to get a good value for money. 

Hence, these are a few local hawker centres in Singapore that you definitely shouldn’t miss:

  • Chinatown Complex Food Centre;
  • Maxwell Road Hawker Centre; and
  • Old Airport Road Food Centre

Internet Connectivity and telephone SIMs

Singtel

Staying connected is definitely important especially if you are in a foreign land. However, you don’t need to worry so much as it is easy to find internet connection in Singapore. Singapore provides a free public WiFi service across the land such as Wireless@SG which can be found available at many famous tourist attractions like malls, MRT stations, as well as museums. So, it wouldn’t be a problem for you to go on apps like Instagram or Twitter to keep your friends updated about your life in Singapore.

Once you have settled down, you might want to consider getting yourself your own SIM card should any emergencies arise. 

Here’s a list of telcos that are famous among Singaporeans:

  • Singtel

Singtel had just recently launched a new sub-brand called the Singtel GOMO at a price of $20 a month which is very cheap for a deal of 20GB data, 200 minutes talktime, and 200 SMSes.

  • Circles Life

Circles Life has become more famous especially among the younger generations. The most popular plan is the Smart Start Plan which has a deal of 20GB data, 100 minutes talktime and 25 SMSes at a price of $18 a month for new users. If you want to go with a cheap and low-maintenance card, Circles Life would be a good choice.

Banks that will offer the best savings

offer the best savings

Looking for the best bank for expats in Singapore? When you are new in town, you might want to start changing your financial arrangements. Hence, let’s look into some of the banks in Singapore that can give you an overview of what you will get yourself into.

  • OCBC Bank

OCBC or Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, is a multinational banking financial services corporation whereby the headquarters is in OCBC Centre, Singapore. If you plan on opening an account with OCBC, there are several types of accounts that you can choose from. For instance, the options vary from day to day accounts, saving products, and also special accounts for kids or young adults. Online banking is made easy with OCBC and some of the branches also open every day of the week.

  • DBS Bank

DBS Bank offers different types of accounts which are based on the customer type and need. For example, if you need to open a savings account, you can go ahead and consider the My Account or the eMy Savings accounts. You can also join their DBS expat programme for those who are new in Singapore.

  • UOB Bank

UOB Bank or United Overseas Bank provide you with a very extensive range of products. These products are based on different types of customers with different eligible criteria. As such, there are 6 types of saving accounts, 7 chequing accounts and also a different type of account for fixed deposits.

Apps that will helps Singaporeans

As we are living in the prime age of technology, we must also equip ourselves with the best current mobile applications to help us in our daily life. One of the most famous apps is definitely the ride-sharing apps. We can see that app-based taxi-hailing apps like Grab are becoming insanely famous for everyday use among Singaporeans. This is because of its affordability and transparency. You can see the fare being clearly displayed upfront so the likeliness of being scammed is ultimately being reduced.

When you are going around the city, it is best to have apps like Citymapper with you. To avoid yourself from getting lost, this app can tell you the key points of your journey as well as accessible routes for you to get to your destination. If there is any traffic jam, this app will also notify you for you to go ahead and use other routes instead.

Lastly, food delivery apps are now the most current and “in-trend” app that are being used by almost everyone! These apps will give you the choice to choose your preferred type of meal, restaurants as well as to compare the food prices, all with just the click of a button. With that being said, Deliveroo and GrabFood are one of the most famous apps used by Singaporeans for this purpose.

Culture

Condominium

Submerge yourself in the rich cultural diversity in Singapore. On weekends, you don’t have to just sit at home and scroll your social media. Go out! Explore the world! This is the chance for you to start exploring the heritage places in Singapore for you to get a one of a kind experience.

One of the most famous heritage places in Singapore that you can visit to learn more about South Asian Culture is the Sultan Mosque. This is one of the most famous heritage buildings in Singapore. Built in 1824 by the first Sultan of Singapore, this mosque is uniquely beautiful with large golden domes and big prayer halls that can accommodate as many as 5000 people.

Next, you can also pay a visit to the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. This is a place that holds a great historical significance in Singapore. As the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore, you don’t want to miss out on this beautiful temple that has many intricate carvings and sharp details which are definitely a great sight to behold.

Making friends and acquaintances

Lastly, the best part about moving into a new place is definitely meeting new people. Warm up to the locals and try to make as many friends as possible. You can do so by joining societies or events that are close to the heart of the locals. Perhaps, you might want to consider being involved in some of the social groups in Singapore such as the ‘Singapore Expats & Local Social Club’ or any other social groups for you to make more new connections.

Settling in at a new place can definitely take some time. But with this guide, you’ll get a hang of it in no time. If you are curious to know about any of the moneylender institutions in Singapore, 365 Credit is a reliable money lender institution. Head over to their website to find out more.