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Cost of Living in Singapore Compared To The Rest of The World

2 min read

Some of the main considerations for expatriates planning to live in Singapore include the culture, cost of living, transportation and taxes.

With Singapore recently listed as the fourth-most expensive city for expats, it is important to understand the differences should one decides to relocate here.

A quick look at expats in Singapore

Based on a survey HSBC, the main 3 reasons which many chooses the expat life in Singapore are

  • Earnings improvement
  • Better quality of life
  • Better prospects when it comes to their career

Based on the survey, a majority of expats in Singapore comes from Eastern Asia followed by Europe and South & Central Asia respectively.

TL;DR- Cost of living in Singapore vs rest of the world

For better illustration, we compared the cost of living in Singapore with some of the countries around the world.

As shown below:

  • Cost of living in India is 182% cheaper than Singapore
  • Cost of living in China is 90% cheaper than Singapore
  • Cost of living in Japan is 182% cheaper than Singapore
  • Cost of living in South Korea is 40% cheaper than Singapore
  • Cost of living in Australia is 6% cheaper than Singapore
  • Cost of living in Germany is 31% cheaper than Singapore
  • Cost of living in France is 13% cheaper than Singapore
  • Cost of living in USA is 14% cheaper than Singapore

source: Expatistan

Further Reading: Illustration and breakdown of costs

Cost of dining in Singapore compared with rest of the world

CountryCost of Meal
(Inexpensive Venue)
Imported Beer
(1 Can)
Meal at Mcdonalds
SingaporeS$12S$10S$7.50
South KoreaS$8.43S$6.02S$7.23
ChinaS$4.01S$3.21S$6.02
JapanS$9.82S$6.14S$8.35
IndiaS$2.97S$3.77S$4.95
FranceS$19.16S$6.39S$12.77
GermanyS$15.97S$4.79S$11.17
AustraliaS$18.14S$8.06S$10.08
USAS$19.14S$6.84S$9.57

Cost of groceries in Singapore compared with rest of the world

Country12 EggsCigarettes
(Marlboro)
1 Kg of Apples
SingaporeS$2.58S$13.75S$4.30
South KoreaS$3.99S$5.42S$8.47
ChinaS$2.16S$4.01S$2.18
JapanS$2.68S$5.59S$8.33
IndiaS$1.22S$3.96S$2.59
FranceS$4.05S$11.65S$3.61
GermanyS$2.62S$10.06S$3.55
AustraliaS$4.32S$27.21S$4.11
USAS$3.22S$9.57S$5.94

Cost of transportation in Singapore compared with rest of the world

CountryPublic Transport
(1 Way)
Gasolin
(1 litre)
Taxi
(Normal Charge, 1km)
SingaporeS$1.80S$2.26S$0.55
South KoreaS$1.51S$1.51S$1.17
ChinaS$0.40S$1.35S$0.47
JapanS$2.58S$1.63S$5.03
IndiaS$0.40S$1.48S$0.30
FranceS$2.55S$2.16S$2.94
GermanyS$4.39S$2.15S$3.19
AustraliaS$4.13S$1.41S$2.02
USAS$3.08S$0.94S$2.29

Cost of rental in Singapore compared with the rest of the world

CountryApartment
(1 bedroom in city centre)
Apartment
(1 bedroom outside city centre)
Apartment
(3 bedrooms in city centre)
Apartment
(3 bedrooms outside city centre)
SingaporeS$2694.24S$1751.08S$4648.60S$2910.85
South KoreaS$795.24S$506.99S$2110.24S$1281.75
ChinaS$701.29S$416.30S$1542.22S$841.30
JapanS$1020.10S$696.90S$2234.70S$1366.36
IndiaS$239.88S$147.79S$572.77S$345.36
FranceS$1089.78S$854.43S$2015.58S$1519.95
GermanyS$1088.15S$812.73S$2142.13S$1562.24
AustraliaS$1666.48S$1282.89S$2687.02S$1892.43
USAS$1684.21S$1329.13S$2729.56S$2120.45

source: NUMBEO

Read also: How Much Is Enough To Live In Singapore? 


While researching, we also came across a question on Quora regarding the average cost of living for a couple in Singapore. We would like to share the most upvoted answer.

What is the average cost of living for a couple in Singapore? What would be the average expense towards condo rent, groceries, medical insurance, vacations etc.?

For couples with high monthly expenses:

Food and groceries: $1500

Transport: $1500

Rental: $4000

Income tax: $500

Holidays: $700

Entertainment: $500

Medical insurance: $200

Total: $8900

This is based on a couple who

• regular eats out at restaurants

• drives a car or takes a taxi heavily

• rents a condo

• travels to Japan, Australia or Europe for holidays

• has medical insurance for private hospitals

• has pricey hobbies

For couples with low monthly expenses:

Food and groceries: $600

Transport: $200

Rental: $800

Income tax: $500

Entertainment: $100

Holidays: $200

Medical insurance: $200

Total: $2600

This is based on a couple who

• eats mostly at home or in hawker centres

• takes the bus and train

• rents a room in a HDB flat

• watches movies on weekends

• travels regionally for holidays

• has medical insurance for government hospitals

Financial Planner Daniel Tay who provided the really detailed answer also mentioned that he excluded payment for other insurance, savings and investments. It really depends on each couple’s situation, life goals and the type of financial advice you receive.

f you encounter any questions, feel free to ask Our Community! Do check out our blog for more information while embarking on your personal finance journey!

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