Well, to answer this question, it really depends on lifestyle. Here’s a guide as to what prices are like these days in Singapore.
A filling meal at a hawker centre or coffeeshop where most locals frequent can cost as low as $3. To add a beverage or dessert will cost just another $1 -$2. In shopping and office areas, you will find food courts instead of coffeeshops. As a guide, a plate of chicken rice is priced at about $5 at a food court. Eating out every meal, you can get comfortably with $15 on food daily. While dining out and ordering takeaway (aka take out) on a daily basis is becoming a lifestyle for many because it is so convenient, many families still have home cooked meals.
Groceries from the wet markets or supermarkets are reasonably priced. An averaged sized raw chicken at the supermarket costs about $6. Depending at where you do your groceries, prices differ between a wet market and supermarket, and from supermarket to supermarket. You can spend as little as $4 for half a kilogram of grapes at one supermarket, and $9 for grapes too at another.
Sticking to food prices, there is a wide range of restaurants for a casual dine out, such as Swensons and Ajisen. A main course at one of these joints costs about $12-$18. Moving on to a higher range of prices, an all-day breakfast restaurant charges about $20-$30 for a main course. International buffets at a hotel range between $40-$80 per person. Well, we could go on and on but the sky’s the limit for posh dining. Oh yes, how could we forget using the price of the Big Mac for comparison’s sake? A Big Mac costs $5.25 here.
A one way ride from a housing estate in the suburbs into the city would cost about $1.60. Buses are slightly cheaper in general to ride, but the journey often takes a longer time. If you take a taxi from town to a housing estate, say, Punggol (which is at the furthest end north-east of Singapore), it will cost about $16 for the 30 minute ride during non-peak hours. If you prefer to drive, a Toyota Corolla here will set you back at $120,000. What makes owning a car more expensive is road tax, aka COE (Certificate of Entitlement). The COE entitles you to use the car on Singapore roads for 10 years. Prices of COE fluctuate depending on demand, type of vehicle and engine capacity. As a gauge, the COE for a 1600cc car as we write costs more than $70,000. Parking fees and ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) fees can add up substantially as well.
People here live mostly in HDB (Housing Development Board) flats, which are government flats. To purchase a unit, you need to be a Singaporean or permanent resident (PR) and also meet a list of criteria in order to qualify to purchase. A new flat costs about $300,000 on average, depending on factors such as size and location. (For more on government flats, click here.) Renting a HDB flat will cost about $2500/month, again depending on location, furnishing, size etc. Renting a room in a HDB flat costs about $700/month. For foreigners, the option to own a property would be to purchase a condominium unit or landed property. Based on the market today, a new studio apartment costs at least $600,000 and a landed property, definitely more than $1m. Renting a condominium unit costs more than $4000/month and depending on condominium facilities, location and size, it can cost more than $12,000/month. To rent a landed property, you can expect to pay more than $7000/month.
Going to the cinemas for a show is a very popular activity here. During non-peak periods, a movie ticket costs $8.50 and $12.50 during peak periods. An average spa session is priced about $100 and the more expensive ones costs $300 and more per session. There are also many activities too that do not cost much or even free, such as enjoying the beach or parks. Community centres (CCs) and sports complexes are situated in most neighbourhoods and contain many facilities for free use or rent at very affordable prices. For instance, basketball courts are free for use while renting a badminton court for an hour costs about $7. To use the public swimming pool on the weekend costs just $1.50 per entry. $ You can also sign up for many classes that the CCs organises at very good rates, such as yoga, culinary, social dancing etc.
The utility bill for a family of 4 living in a HDB flat is roughly $250 a month. During months between June and August when the weather is really (really x 10) warm, most families use the air conditioning the most and that’s when you can expect the utility bill to shoot up too. Mobile phone subscription plans are priced between $30-$250/month depending on your usage. A decent broadband internet connection costs $50/month at minimum. (Visit these service providers’ websites for details on price plans: Starhub, Singtel, M1)
Preschool education ranges between $250-$1200/month depending on the school and school hours. Majority of the students go to government schools and fees are heavily subsidized for locals or permanent residents. Primary school education is compulsory and almost free for locals. Secondary school education costs less than $250 a year. Many foreigners also send their kids to government schools, albeit fees are higher.There are a number of international schools such as the Canadian International School, where many foreigners enroll their children in. Fees at international schools costs more than $10,000 a year. A semester in tertiary education costs about $6000 for locals and $20,000 for foreigners depending on course of study. Many parents also hire tutors for their school-going children. On average, a 2 hour tuition session for a secondary school student can range between $50-$100.
Locals and PRs have a Medisave account, where a portion of their monthly income goes to for hospital expenses. More services can be covered using Medisave funds in government hospitals compared to private hospitals. Subsidies are also granted depending on income levels. As a guide, click here for ward fees at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for citizens, PRs and foreigners. Doctor’s and medicine fees during a visit to a private clinic for a common flu or fever costs more than $50 and less than $20 at a government polyclinic for locals.
Tax rates are dependent on income levels and vary for locals and foreigners. Click here for rates.