How Much Does It REALLY Cost To Raise A Child In Singapore? Realistically...
 
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How Much Does It REALLY Cost To Raise A Child In Singapore? Realistically...

Jacqueline Yan
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Yeap, we all know it’s going to be expensive to raise a child.

I mean, c’mon, you’re basically providing for another human being, from scratch.

simba being lifted up the lion king
Source: giphy

But it really makes you wonder seeing how the rising cost of living and therefore, raising a child, is one of the main factors leading to Singapore’s low fertility rate.

You know what’s the fertility rate we’re supposed to have if we want to be able to replace our previous generation? 2.1 children per woman.

Guys, our fertility rate is at 1.14 children per woman.

Barely half of the replacement fertility rate…

Just how much will we potentially spend on our child that it defers us from wanting to have children?

TL;DR – How Much Does It Really Cost To Raise A Child?

Well, we broke down each stage of your child’s journey, all the way until they finish their university education.

But just something to take note though, by the time we reach the pre-university stage, we’ve assumed that they have taken the responsibility to take care of some of their smaller expenses.

Also, to encourage independence and for gaining experience, we assumed that they will take up some part-time or freelance gigs during their university years.

StagesAmount Spent
Pregnancy & Child Birth$13,006
Infant Years$31,541
Toddler Years$27,292
Primary School$68,541
Secondary School$50,267
Pre-University$24,876
University$69,945
Total$285,468

Of course, every child is going to be different and there are so many variables that can change throughout the 23 years that we’ve covered.

But now you know that you’ll at least be spending at least $280,000 on your child.


Now, this article is really long since the period we’re looking at ranges over 23 years.

So click on the individual stages below to take a look at the things you will be spending on as your child grows up:

potato illustration
Source: giphy

Pregnancy & Child Birth

ExpensesAmount Spent over 40 weeks
Pregnancy $5,170
Child Birth$7,296
TOTAL $13,006

Pregnancy

First Trimester

Congratulations! You probably took a while before you discovered that you’re pregnant since signs usually only start showing after a while.

Good luck, there’s going to be quite a few blood tests to do, along with consultations with the gynaecologists.

Thankfully, you can also enjoy subsidised consultations, starting from $30. You might need about 2-3 check-ups at least, so let’s account for $150 in total, in case there are other complications involved.

Don’t forget the blood tests, there are also at least 3 blood tests that you will take, which can cost about $200 – $400 each.

Amount Spent on First Trimester = $1,350 over 12 weeks

Second & Third Trimester

Now, you’ll need to go for several ultrasounds and more consultations with the gynaecologists, and they’ll likely offer you a prenatal package.

ExpensesAmount ($)
Pre-natal Package$850 - $1,500
Ultrasound Scans (x4)$800
Harmony Testing$1,000 - $1,500
Total$2,650 - $3,800

Amount Spent on Second & Third Trimester = $3,800 over 28 weeks

Prenatal Classes

Depending on which provider you choose, prenatal classes can range from $200 per class to $900 per package.

You’ll have to do your own homework to see which class you prefer, but let’s take something more affordable, at $320 for a 6-class package.

Amount Spent on Prenatal Classes = $320 over 6 classes 

Supplements

Let’s say you’ve only started taking supplements from week 6 until week 40. The brand of supplement you purchase requires to take 2 tablets a day and comes in a 120-tablet bottle for $60. That’s 4 bottles worth of supplements, costing you at least $240.

Amount Spent on Prenatal Supplements = $240 over 34 weeks

Amount Spent on Pregnancy = $5,710 over 40 weeks

Child Birth

woman giving birth
Source: giphy

If you have the money to spare, then sure, giving birth in a private hospital is doable for you.

Otherwise, most of us might be giving birth in restructured hospitals, which is definitely more affordable.

The cost of delivery changes rather drastically if you require a caesarean section delivery, ranging about $8000 in restructured hospitals.

Using the median cost of a caesarean section delivery tied to Class B ward status, expect to spend about $7,296 to give birth.

If you are able to give birth naturally, this amount can actually cover you for Class A status or even in a private hospital.

Amount Spent on Child Birth = $7,296 


infant laughing and getting shocked
Source: giphy

Infant Years: 0 to 2 years old

ExpensesAmount Spent over 2 years
Postnatal Care$3,530
Hygiene$2,523
Clothes$1,200
Nursery
$1,620
Stroller & Carrier$1,130
Feeding Needs$3,934
Healthcare Services$2,004
Insurance$800
Infant Care & Child Care$15,600
Total $31,541

Postnatal Care

mother illustration

Childbirth can be very taxing on a mother’s body and as an Asian practice, mothers undergo a confinement period to rest and recover.

However, someone has to take care of the baby and you, right?

Confinement nanny to your rescue!

On average, mothers pay $2,800 to their confinement nannies for their month-long services.

But don’t forget, you’ll need to give them red packets on their first and last day with you, of about $80 and $150 respectively.

It’s also typical to get a postnatal massage, which can cost you $500 easily.

Amount Spent on Postnatal Care = $3,530 over 1 month 

Hygiene

bathtub illustration

ItemsAmount Spent over 2 years
Bathing
Bath Tub$30
Towels$35
Bath Toy$15
Baby Shampoos$60
Diaper Needs
Diapers$1,993
Diaper Bags$150
Diaper Cream$240
Total $2,523

Bathing Needs

You’re going to need a bathtub at least since your little one won’t be able to stand on their own.

Some parents may buy super expensive ones, but a regular baby bathtub works just fine and can cost you around $30.

As they get a bit older, you might need some bath toys to keep them occupied while you shower them, which will amount to about $15.

I don’t know if parents will use normal towels but baby towels might be better at the start, expect to spend about $35 for a few to rotate.

Lastly, baby shampoos cost about $15 per bottle, but since they’re so small, one bottle can last you 6 months.

Amount Spent on Bathing Needs = $140 over 2 years 

Diaper Needs

The amount of diaper a baby uses is INSANE!

Regardless of the brand you use, they’re probably going to need 4-6 diapers a day.

A small diaper for newborns costs about $2.16 per day for their first year and assuming they change to a large-size diaper when they turn one, that’s going to be about $3.30 per day.

Cost of Diapers Singapore
Source: SG Budget Babe

You can always use a regular backpack to hold your baby essentials, but some mothers might prefer to get a diaper bag designed specifically for this purpose. A regular diaper bag will cost you about $150.

Babies typically have sensitive skin so mothers will usually use cream when changing the diaper to prevent rashes from developing.

A tube of diaper cream can probably last a month and costs about $10 on average.

Amount Spent on Diaper Needs = $2,393 over 2 years 

Amount Spent on Hygiene = $2,523 over 2 years 

Clothes

illustration of baby bodysuit

Baby clothes are so tiny and cute!

On average, a set of baby clothes will cost you about $30.

And since babies are not able to control the bodily movements, you’ll definitely need many sets to rotate. Maybe 10 sets at least?

Babies outgrow their clothes so quickly, you’re like to have to buy more even 6 months at least.

But don’t worry, baby clothes are probably one of the top items gifted to new parents, so you might be able to save some money here.

Amount Spent on Clothes = $1,200 over 2 years

Nursery

illustration of crib with toy

ItemsAmount Spent over 2 years
Cot$500
Cot Toy$70
Play Pen$150
Changing Mat$30
Bouncer$150
Walker/Activity Centre$200
Safety Gate$90
Baby Proofing$30
Toys$400
Total $1,620

Well, the items above are pretty straightforward!

Even though they are only used for a super short period of time, parents will still spend money as they want to ensure that the items are sturdy and safe to be used by their child.

Some people might choose to buy a special changing table for their babies, but most of the time, a changing mat would suffice.

As for toys, they range from $20 to $100 each, and well, it really depends on how many you want to buy for them.

Furthermore, this is probably also another top item gifted to new parents.

Amount Spent on Nursery = $1,620 over 2 years 

Stroller & Carrier

illustration of stroller

If you’re looking for a top-tier stroller, it can potentially cost you upwards of $1000.

An average good-quality stroller should cost you about $800, along with a carrier of $300 when they want to be carried.

Most of the time, there’ll be at least one stroller toy to keep them occupied, which may cost you about $30.

Amount Spent on Stroller & Carrier = $1,130 over 2 years

Feeding Needs

illustration of feeding baby

ItemsAmount Spent over 2 years
High Chair$100
High Chair Toy$20
Breast Milk Pumps$200
Milk Bottles$30
Milk Steriliser$150
Muslins$25
Soothers$9
Teethers$10
Newborn Bibs$20
Toddler Bibs$25
Infant Formula Milk$3,300
Baby Bowl & Utensils$15
Toddler Bottles$30
Total $3,934

Yea, more items that you’ll need only for a short period of time, but still essential for your baby.

When it comes to breastmilk, mothers have no control over how much and how long they can provide it for their little one.

But assuming that your baby starts drinking infant formula milk from 6 months old, they’re likely to run through 3 tins each month.

Some experts may say that infants can wean off formula milk by 12 months, but it seems like most parents still feed their babies with formula milk up to 2 years old.

But by then, their appetite will be bigger and they’ll potentially run through 4 tins per month.

Well, formula milk is one of the most expensive consumable here, since it averages around $50 per tin.

Amount Spent on Food & Feeding Needs = $1,130 over 2 years

Healthcare Services

illustration of red cross

Paediatrician Visits

Infants require special care in certain cases, especially to track their development progress.

Experts recommend at least 8 visits during the infancy years and each visit costs about $120 on average.

Amount Spent on Paediatrician Visits = $960 over 2 years

Polyclinic Visits

Apart from paediatrician visits, you’re likely to bring your baby to the doctor quite frequently as well as they have the potential to fall ill easily, probably 5 times a year?

Luckily, children (below 18 years) have highly subsidised fees in polyclinics, it’s a separate story if you’re bringing your kid to a general practitioner though.

With highly subsidised consultation fees of $6.90, you may be spending $20 per visit.

Amount Spent on Polyclinic Visits = $200 over 2 years

Vaccination

VaccinationAmount Spent over 2 years
Compulsory
5-in-1
(Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Inactivated Polio Vaccine, Haemophilia Influenza Type B)
$0
Pneumococcal 13-Valent$450
Hepatitis B $0
Mumps, Measles, Rubella$0
Recommended
Rotavirus$190
Hepatitis A$132
Varicella (Chickenpox)$72
Total $844

Most of the compulsory vaccinations are free at polyclinics, except the Pneumococcal 13-Valent.

The rest of the vaccinations are recommended, but parents will usually still go ahead with them just to make sure that their kids are well-protected.

Amount Spent on Vaccinations = $844 over 2 years 

Amount Spent on Healthcare Services = $2,004 over 2 years

Insurance

illustration of hands and floating heart

For all I know, I grew up without much insurance coverage and I still turned out fine.

You’ll never know what’s gonna happen so most of us will still choose to purchase at least a health and accident insurance for our children.

Health Insurance

MediShield Life covers our children from birth, but I’m sure you’ll want to make sure everything is in order, with integrated shield plans.

For an integrated shield plan that covers your child for class A wards in a restructured hospital, you’ll expect to pay $130 using your Medisave and $70 in cash for the premiums.

Amount Spent on Health Insurance = $400 over 2 years 

Personal Accident Insurance

I’m pretty sure our children are more accident-prone than we are, so this one doesn’t really require much explanation.

An average personal accident insurance plan for your little one will probably cost you about $200 per year.

Amount Spent on Personal Accident Insurance = $400 over 2 years 

Total Spent on Insurance = $800 over 2 years 

Infant Care & Child Care

illustration of kindergarten with rainbow

Not all parents are able to get their family to help out during this period or some may not be able to get a domestic helper to take care of their infant.

Infant Care

Typically, infant care services average around $700 per month, after government subsidies.

Assuming that you start engaging infant care services for your child at 6 months old until the maximum age of 18 months

Amount Spent on Infant Care = $8,400 over 1 year 

Child Care

Whether they’re enrolled in the toddler programme or the playgroup programme, the next 18 month until your child turns 3 years old, you’ll likely be paying an average of $400 per month for full-day childcare, after government subsidies.

Amount Spent on Child Care = $7,200 over 1.5 years 

Amount Spent on Infant Care & Childcare = $15,600 over 2.5 years 


kid playing with plower truck
Source: giphy

Toddler Years: 3 to 6 years old

ExpensesAmount Spent Over 4 years
School Fees19,200
School Supplies$880
Pre-School Enrichment$1,477
Clothes$1,240
Toys & Games$450
Healthcare Services $440
Insurance$1,600
Diapers$1,205
TOTAL $27,292

School Fees

illustration of school

Nursery Fees (3 to 4 years old)

I struggle to tell the age of the little kids since they are all so tall and strong nowadays.

By the time your kid reaches 3 years old, they will be enrolled in a nursery programme for 2 years.

Nursery fee ranges depending on your choice of centre, but typically, you’ll be expected to pay upwards of $400 per month after government subsidies.

Amount Spent on Nursery = $9,600 over 2 years 

Kindergarten Fees (5 to 6 years old)

Next checkpoint after nursery, kindergarten!

Similarly, kindergarten fees start from $400 per month after subsidies.

Amount Spent on Kindergarten = $9,600 over 2 years 

Amount Spent on School Fees = $19,200 over 4 years 

School Supplies

illustration of stationery

Oh, they look so cute in their uniform! Ahem, $20 per set, please.

The thing about toddlers is that they just grow so fast! You might need to buy new uniforms every 6 months, and you’ll probably need at least 3 sets to rotate between.

Amount Spent on School Uniform = $480 over 4 years 

They’re going to need cute little bags to put their water bottles and other adorable belongings as well, which will amount to about $100 per year.

Amount Spent on School Bag, Water Bottle & Other Supplies = $400 over 4 years

Amount Spent on School Supplies = $880 over 4 years 

Pre-School Enrichment

illustration of piano

Start them young, they say.

They have coding classes for 4-year-olds now?! I don’t even know what I was doing at 4 years.

Maybe coding doesn’t apply to every kid, but music might spark some interest in them!

Life Stage Tuition and EnrichmentFees Duration Total Cost
PreSchoolYamaha Music Wonderland Course For 3 Year Olds369.15 / 3 Mths1 Year $1476.60

Amount Spent on Pre-School Enrichment = $1,477 over 1 year 

Clothes

illustration of clothes

Okay, more cuteness here, so I’m just going to stop.

Even if they don’t need new clothes, I think it’s difficult to resist buying nice clothes to dress up our kids at this stage.

Let’s say you buy them 4 tops ($20 each) and 2 pairs of shoes ($25 each) every 6 months, along with 2 pairs of pants ($25 each) per year.

Amount Spent on Clothes = $1,240 over 4 years

Toys & Games

illustration of ABC blocks

Since there are so many enrichment games and applications available on smart devices nowadays, the number of physical toys we purchase may be significantly lower.

Let’s say you buy a bicycle for them, which might cost you $150 at least, it’ll be good for 2-3 years as they slowly wean off training wheels.

They can’t be cycling and using mobile devices all day, so maybe allocate another $100 per year on physical educational toys.

Amount Spent on Toys & Games = $450 over 4 years

Healthcare Services

illustration of red cross

Paediatrician Visits

Parents are recommended to bring their child for at least 1 paediatrician visits when they are 3 years old, which should cost you about $120 per visit.

Amount Spent on Paediatrician Visits = $120 over 1 year

Polyclinic Visits

Unfortunately, kids at this age still tend to fall sick more easily as their immune system is still developing.

With subsidised consultation fees of $6.90, an average visit might cost you only $20, but there’s a high possibility that they’ll be visiting the doctor at least 4 times a year.

Amount Spent on Polyclinic Visits = $320 over 4 years

Amount Spent on Healthcare Services = $440 over 4 years

Insurance

illustration of hands and floating heart

Health Insurance

No changes here, you’re still paying $130 per year by Medisave and $70 per year in cash for their integrated shield plans.

Amount Spent on Health Insurance = $800 over 4 years

Personal Accident Insurance

Similarly, you’ll be paying $200 per year for their personal accident insurance plan.

Amount Spent on Personal Accident Insurance = $800 over 4 years

Amount Spent on Insurance = $1,600 over 4 years 

Diapers

illustration of diaper

Some kids may take longer to graduate from potty training, and that’s perfectly fine.

Assuming that they need diapers for another year, your cost might still average around $3.30 per day.

Amount Spent on Diapers = $1,205 over 1 year


primary school students taking pledge
Source: TODAY

Primary School Years: 7 to 12 Years Old

ExpensesAmount Spent Over 6 years
School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees$936
School Supplies$2,568
Tuition & Enrichment Classes$42,615
Transport$13,752
Pocket Money$3,600
Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)$300
Clothes
$1,830
Dental Services$0
Healthcare Services$180
Insurance$2,400
Mobile Phones$360
Computers$0
TOTAL $68,541

Whew, good job so far, they’re finally entering primary school!

School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees

illustration of school

Luckily for Singaporeans, primary school education is free! But we still have to pay miscellaneous fees, which is capped at $13 per month.

But if you choose to send your child to an independent or specialised school, your fees will definitely be more expensive.

Amount Spent on School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees = $936 over 6 years 

School Supplies

illustration of stationery

School SuppliesAmount Spent over 6 Years
School Uniform$288
School Shoes$840
Textbooks$720
School Bag, Water Bottle & Stationery$720
TOTAL SPENT $2,568

Don’t forget that they need supplies for school too!

An average set of primary school uniform should cost you about $20, while a set of PE (Physical Education) attire will cost about $18 each.

Since they’ll be wearing their uniforms daily, you’re likely to purchase 3 sets of uniform and 2 sets of PE attire so that it can be rotated.

We know, primary school students are still growing, so you probably will need to buy new sets every 2 years.

Amount Spent on School Uniform = $288 over 6 years 

You can’t complete the primary school look without a squeaky white pair of school shoes!

School shoes wear out really quickly, especially since primary school kids are so full of energy, which means you’re like to buy 2 new pairs every 6 months!

Some parents also choose to buy better shoes to provide better support for their active children, which may bring the cost to about $35 per pair.

Amount Spent on School Shoes = $840 over 6 years 

Honestly, I don’t remember much about my early primary school years, but do you not feel bad when you see primary school kids carrying bags that are sometimes bigger than them?

Well, it’s loaded with textbooks and supplies!

Speaking of textbooks, there are about 8 subjects in primary school that require textbooks.

Each subject has a textbook, activity book, supplementary reading…

Did we have all these last time?

Anyway, that’s about $15 per subject every year.

Amount Spent on Textbooks = $720 over 6 years 

Who has time for fidget spinners when you can be fiddling with your mechanical pencils and erasers?

But yes, you’ll need to get your child a school bag, water bottle and stationery for school too.

Hopefully, they don’t lose their stuff every other month, a set of these items will probably cost you $120 each year.

But if you want to budget, this is where you do it.

Amount Spent on School Bag, Water Bottle & Stationery = $720 over 6 years 

Amount Spent on School Supplies = $2,568 over 6 years

Tuition & Enrichment Classes

illustration of classroom

Being a primary school kid can be so stressful these days, with the amount of tuition and enrichment classes they have to attend.

The amount you’ll spend on your child’s tuition will definitely differ, depending on how much tuition they need and the enrichment classes they are interested in.

We’ve consolidated the cost for a scenario where your child requires tuition for 2 subjects from P3 – P6 and is enrolled in 1 enrichment programme class.

Life StageTuition and EnrichmentFeesDurationTotal Cost
Primary School (Lower Pri: P3-P4)Tuition for English and Math at The Learning Lab (1x weekly/subject)400/mth per subject,
800/mth for 2 subjects
2 Years (24 months)$19,200
Swimming Lessons (1x weekly) 50/mth2 Years (24 months)$1,200
Primary School Upper Pri: P5-P6)Tuition for English and Math at The Learning Lab (1x weekly/subject)420/mth per subject
840/mth for 2 subjects
2 Years (24 months)$20,160
Piano Lessons- Individual Lessons @ Yamaha (Enrichment) (1x weekly)
171.20/mth 1 Year (12 Months) - assume lessons stop after P5, as student prepares for PSLE in P6 $2,054.40

Amount Spent on Tuition & Enrichment Classes = $42,615 over 6 years

Transport

illustration of bus stop

Since primary school students are still young, they might not be able to travel independently.

On average, a two-way school bus service will cost about $150 per month.

Amount Spent on School Bus = $10,800 over 6 years 

Well, your kid won’t be going home directly every day since there’s tuition. Whether there’s someone to pick them up during their lower primary years, or whether they are able to travel independently during their upper primary years, they will still need to take public transport.

A hybrid concession pass for primary school students will cost you $41 per month.

Amount Spent on Public Transport = $2,952 over 6 years 

Amount Spent on Transport = $13,752 over 6 years

Pocket Money

illustration of money transaction

Hmmm, the start of their personal finance journey…

Primary school students don’t have much to spend on, except buying food in their school canteen.

Parents usually give pocket money of about $40 per month for kids in lower primary and about $60 per month for kids in upper primary.

But, of course, primary school kids might not have the concept of saving money yet. Parents usually give kids in lower primary on a daily basis, which upper primary kids might progress to weekly allowance.

Amount Spent on Pocket Money = $3,600 over 6 years

Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)

illustration of football player

I honestly can’t remember what co-curricular activities I joined in primary school, but students are encouraged to join a CCA when they’re in Primary 3.

Most of these will not incur you any cost, but there are some niche activities that might require costumes or equipment.

Depending on the CCA chosen, you might be spending $100 per year.

In preparation for their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), students will usually stop their CCA in Primary 6.

Amount Spent on CCA = $300 over 3 years

Clothes

illustration of clothes

Sometimes, I feel like kids are dressed better than some adults.

I don’t know how their parents do it, don’t they have to wake up even earlier?

That aside, kids’ clothing is significantly cheaper, averaging on $15 per top, $25 for pants and $25 for shoes.

But they need more clothes since they are constantly growing, you might be buying a new top every month, and rotating between 3 pairs of pants and two pairs of shoes per year.

Amount Spent on Clothes = $1,830 over 6 years

Dental Services

illustration of tooth

Primary school students don’t just have free school fees, they enjoy free dental services in school too!

Hopefully, with proper dental habits, they won’t need additional dental services.

Amount Spent on Dental Services = $0 over 6 years

Healthcare Services

illustration of red cross

Nope, not going to the doctor for the sake of getting MC! Similarly, we’re assuming that you’re not bringing your child to the general practitioner.

With consultation fees of $6.90, an average visit may also cost you $15 along with the medication.

We’re not saying that your kid is sickly, but your kid might be visiting the doctor twice a year?

Amount Spent on Healthcare Services = $180 over 6 years

Insurance

illustration of hands and floating heart

Health Insurance

For a primary school kid, you’ll still be paying $130 per year by Medisave and $70 per year in cash for their integrated shield plan premiums.

Amount Spent on Health Insurance = $1,200 over 6 years

Personal Accident Insurance

I’m just repeating myself so much by now…

Yeap, you got it, you’re still paying $200 per year for your child’s personal accident insurance.

Amount Spent on Personal Accident Insurance = $1,200 over 6 years

Amount Spent on Insurance = $2,400 over 6 years

Mobile Phones

illustration of smart phone

While I personally won’t want to let my child have a mobile phone until they’re much older, I understand the need for them to have the resources to contact us.

The difficulty here lies in ensuring that they don’t become too addicted to their devices.

You may not agree with me on this, but when I have a kid, I’ll be giving them my old phones instead of buying brand new ones.

Plus, they don’t need that much data.

I mean, c’mon, they’re kids.

Good thing there is a SIM Only plan that costs $5 per month for 2GB of data!

Amount Spent on Mobile Phones = $360 over 6 years

Computers

illustration of laptop

They may not need to use computers as often, but with our education system adopting e-learning components, they’re gonna need access to computers.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m not going to buy a laptop for my primary school kid in the future.

Well, they can use mine!

Amount Spent on Computers = $0 over 6 years


secondary school students in group discussion
Source: TODAY

Secondary School Years: 13 to 16 Years Old

ExpensesAmount Spent Over 4 years
School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees$2,064
School Supplies$3,140
Tuition$27,735
Transport$2,448
Pocket Money$9,600
Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)$600
Clothes
$1,720
Dental Services$0
Healthcare Services$120
Insurance$1,600
Mobile Phones$240
Computers$1,000
TOTAL $50,267

School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees

illustration of school

Well, secondary school isn’t free anymore, but it’s still super affordable for Singaporeans at $5 per month.

The miscellaneous fees are also higher too, capped at $38 per month.

Similarly, if you choose to send your child to an independent or specialised school, your fees will definitely be more expensive.

Amount Spent on School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees = $2,064 over 4 years 

School Supplies

illustration of stationery

School SuppliesAmount Spent over 4 Years
School Uniform$260
School Shoes$800
Textbooks$1,600
School Bag, Water Bottle & Stationery$480
TOTAL SPENT $2,568

An average set of secondary school uniform should cost you about $30 each, while a set of PE attire will cost about $20 each.

Likewise, you may be purchasing 3 sets of uniform and 2 sets of PE attire every 2 years so that they can be rotated.

Amount Spent on School Uniform = $260 over 4 years 

Secondary school students also need at least 2 pairs of shoes to rotate between and are likely to run through them every 6 months.

Some schools might allow sports shoes instead of plain white shoes, but an average pair should cost about $50.

Amount Spent on School Shoes = $800 over 4 years 

Secondary school students take on more subjects, averaging about 10 subjects that require textbooks.

Given that everything is more in-depth now, each subject can easily require $40 for materials.

Amount Spent on Textbooks = $1,600 over 4 years 

Who has time for fidget spinners when you can be fiddling with your mechanical pencils and erasers?

By now, they may stop losing their stuff that often, but they’re going to want to have nicer or cooler looking ones.

So even if you may be buying lesser, these items will still cost you about $120 each year.

Amount Spent on School Bag, Water Bottle & Stationery = $480 over 4 years 

Amount Spent on School Supplies = $3,140 over 4 years

Tuition

illustration of money transaction

Secondary school is important in determining which pre-university your child will be eligible for, and it can be quite tough.

Most likely, enrichment classes will have stopped by now, and your child may be getting tuition for 3 subjects.

Life StageTuition and EnrichmentFeesDurationTotal Cost
Secondary School (Lower Sec)Tuition For 3 Subjects (English, Math and Science) at Mavis Tutorial Centre 165.85/mth (per subject)
497.55/mth (for 3 subjects)
2 Years (24 months)$11,941.20
Secondary School (Upper Sec)Tuition for 3 Subjects (e.g A Math, Physics, Chemistry) at Mavis Tutorial Centre219.35/mth
658.05/mth (3 subjects)
2 Years (24 months)$15,793.20

Amount Spent on Tuition = $27,735 over 4 years

Transport

illustration of bus stop

By now, your kid should be able to travel independently, so you just need to pay for their monthly concession pass of $51 per month.

Amount Spent on Transport = $2,448 over 4 years

Pocket Money

illustration of money transaction

Your child has reached the age where they should be able to manage their spending and learn about budgeting.

A good range to give your secondary school kid will be $200 per month for pocket money.

Amount Spent on Pocket Money = $9,600 over 4 years

Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)

illustration of football player

Your child may have followed through with the same CCA from primary school, or they might choose another one that they are interested in.

Depending on the CCA chosen, you might be spending $150 per year.

Amount Spent on CCA = $600 over 4 years

Clothes

illustration of clothes

At this age, your kid’s clothing is still cheaper than adult apparels, averaging on $20 per top, $30 for pants and $50 for shoes.

But secondary school kids are probably going to be more particular about their clothes, so you might have to spend a bit more money.

So even if they might have been past their growth spurt, you might be buying a new top every month, and rotating between 3 pairs of pants and two pairs of shoes per year.

Amount Spent on Clothes = $1,720 over 4 years

Dental Services

illustration of tooth

Yay! Dental services are also provided for free in secondary school too!

Amount Spent on Dental Services = $0 over 4 years

Healthcare Services

illustration of red cross

Your kid is still going to enjoy a highly subsidised visit to the polyclinic, and let’s say they are super healthy and only visit the doctor twice a year.

Similarly, an average visit may cost you $15, along with medication.

Amount Spent on Healthcare Services = $120 over 4 years

Insurance

illustration of hands and floating heart

Nope, no changes still.

Health Insurance

You’ll still be paying $130 per year by Medisave and $70 per year in cash for their premiums.

Amount Spent on Health Insurance = $800 over 4 years 

Personal Accident

Likewise, your child’s personal accident insurance will cost you $200 per year.

Amount Spent on Personal Accident Insurance = $800 over 4 years 

Amount Spent on Insurance = $1,600 over 4 years 

Mobile Phones

illustration of smart phone

I might change my mind when I have my own kid in the future, but I still think that it’s alright for our kids to be using our old phones, especially since we change it so often.

Spending the majority of their time in school, they should still be comfortable with 2GB of data, that costs $5 per month.

Amount Spent on Mobile Phones = $240 over 4 years

Computers

illustration of laptop

Okay, at this age, they should have their own computer for school purposes and personal usage.

Unless you’re buying the best laptop with the highest specifications, you’ll probably be spending $1000 on their laptop.

I don’t know about you, but I try to take care of my gadgets and I’m pretty sure an average laptop can last 3-4 years.

Amount Spent on Computers = $1000 over 4 years


Collage of students from Junior College and polytechnic
Source: The Straits Times

Pre-University Years: 17 to 18/19 Years Old

ExpensesAmount Spent Over 2 years - Junior CollegeAmount Spent Over 3 years - Polytechnic
School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees$792$9,000
School Supplies$90$0
Tuition$10,560$0
Transport$1,224$1,836
Allowance$6,000$9,000
Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)$0$0
Clothes
$300$450
Dental Services$300$450
Healthcare Services$60$100
Insurance$800$1,220
Mobile Phones$1,080$1,320
Laptop$1,500$1,500
TOTAL $22,706$24,876

School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees

illustration of school

Junior Colleges

Yay, Junior Colleges (JC) are also super affordable for Singaporeans, costing you $6 per month!

By now, you’ve probably figured out that the bulk of your fees come from the miscellaneous fees, which is capped at $27 per month.

Well, if your child performs really well and is eligible for independent colleges, then good luck to your bank account!

Polytechnics

If your child has a particular field that they are very interested and passionate about, polytechnics might be a good choice for them!

However, polytechnic fees will leave a bigger hole in your account, since you’ll be expected to fork out $3000 per year.

Furthermore, polytechnic students have a 3-year curriculum compared to JC’s 2-year curriculum.

Amount Spent on School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees (Junior College) = $792 over 2 years
Amount Spent on School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees (Polytechnic) = $9,000 over 3 years

School Supplies

illustration of stationery

Not everyone may agree with me here, but at this stage, I’d want my child to settle their own expenses for school supplies.

They would have saved some money from their pocket money over the years, and small item purchases should be more than manageable for them.

The only exception would be the school uniforms for JC students, where every set will cost you about $30. Similarly, you’ll minimally need 3 sets of uniform for them to rotate during the 2 years in school.

Amount Spent on School Supplies (Junior College) = $90 over 2 years
Amount Spent on School Supplies (Polytechnic) = $0 over 3 years 

Tuition

illustration of money transaction

Uh huh, I was a little taken aback when I found out that JC students need tuition too!

While JC school fees are relatively cheaper, you’re likely to support their tuition for 2 of their subjects.

Life StageTuition and EnrichmentFeesDurationTotal Cost
Junior CollegeTuition for 2 subjects (Private Tuition at market rate of $55/hr per subject) 440/mth (1x weekly, 2 hrs a session for 1 subject)
880/mth (1x weekly, 2 hrs a session for 2 subjects)
2 Years (24 months)$10,560

Amount Spent on Tuition (Junior College) = $10,560 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Tuition (Polytechnic) = $0 over 3 years 

Transport

illustration of bus stop

Oh yay, their travel concession is still the same rate, at $51 per month!

You’ll definitely be paying more for your kid if they head to polytechnic since they have 1 more year to travel to school.

Amount Spent on Transport (Junior College) = $1,224 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Transport (Polytechnic) = $1,836 over 3 years 

Allowance

illustration of money transaction

Now, we chose to be conservative with the allowance for your kids at this stage.

But every child is different and they may have different requirements.

Typically, polytechnic students will receive a slightly higher amount since their expenses in school are more expensive compared to those in JC.

Allocating $250 per month seems to fall in the higher range for JC students and lower range for polytechnic students.

Amount Spent on Allowance (Junior College) = $6,000 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Allowance (Polytechnic) = $9,000 over 3 years 

Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)

illustration of football player

Similar to their school supplies, unless it’s equipment that’s really expensive, I’d choose to pass on this expense to my child.

Plus, I know school mates in polytechnic who did not participate in any CCAs at all.

Amount Spent on Pocket Money (Junior College) = $0 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Pocket Money (Polytechnic) = $0 over 3 years 

Clothes

illustration of clothes

I believe your child will be super picky about their clothes by now and will be shopping with their friends more often.

I’d still help out a little in this aspect though, since they don’t have any other sources of income, except their pocket money.

You might find me stingy, but I’ll probably allocate about $150 per year for their clothes.

Amount Spent on Clothes (Junior College) = $300 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Clothes (Polytechnic) = $450 over 3 years 

Dental Services

illustration of tooth

Oh no, no more free dental services in school for your kids.

Now, unless your kid has a serious issue that requires immediate attention, they will likely be visiting the dentist twice per year, as recommended.

Depending on their needs, $150 per year would be a good range to allocate for this expense.

Amount Spent on Dental Services (Junior College) = $300 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Dental Services (Polytechnic) = $450 over 3 years 

Healthcare Services

illustration of red cross

Nice, JC students still enjoy highly subsidised consultation fees of $6.90!

So similarly, an average bill might cost $15 per visit.

Polytechnic students do too, but only until their second year of studies.

By their last year in polytechnic, they’ll have to pay the adult fees for their polyclinic visits, bringing their average bill to $20 per visit.

Amount Spent on Healthcare Services (Junior College) = $60 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Healthcare Services (Polytechnic) = $100 over 3 years 

Insurance

illustration of hands and floating heart

Insurance is so much more affordable if you’re young…

Health Insurance

The Medisave component for your child’s integrated shield plan remains at $130 per year, all’s good.

However, the cash premiums increase from $70 per year to about $90 per year once your child turns 19 years old.

Amount Spent on Health Insurance (Junior College) = $400 over 2 years 
Amount Spent on Health Insurance (Polytechnic) = $620 over 3 years 

Personal Accident Insurance

If you didn’t compare the products 16 years ago, some personal accident insurance designed for children may cease coverage when your child reaches 16 or 18 years old.

But of course, I’ve chosen one that provides coverage to 21 years old and even extends to 25 years if my child goes into full-time tertiary studies.

So no changes here as well, you’ll still be paying about $200 per year for your child’s personal accident insurance.

Amount Spent on Personal Accident Insurance (Junior College) = $400 over 2 years 
Amount Spent on Personal Accident Insurance (Polytechnic) = $600 over 3 years 

Amount Spent on Insurance (Junior College) = $800 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Insurance (Polytechnic) = $1,220 over 3 years 

Mobile Phones

illustration of smart phone

Okay, I think it’s fine to buy a new phone for your child now.

Let’s say that you don’t buy the most expensive iPhone in the market for them, a new smartphone will cost you upwards of $600.

C’mon, I can’t even buy it for myself.

Good thing though, a brand new smartphone should be able to last them throughout their pre-university studies.

And oh, they’re likely to use more data now as well, so you may be changing to a new SIM Only 20GB plan that costs $20 per month.

Amount Spent on Mobile Phones (Junior College) = $1,080 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Mobile Phones (Polytechnic) = $1,320 over 3 years 

Computers

illustration of laptop

The laptop you got for your kid while they were in secondary school is probably a little laggy by now.

It might be time for a new one since their school work will get more intensive, or they might just need to send it for servicing or upgrades.

Either way, $1500 over the span of their pre-university years should be good enough for your kid’s laptop.

Amount Spent on Computers (Junior College) = $1,500 over 2 years
Amount Spent on Computers (Polytechnic) = $1,500 over 3 years 


university students in green robes walking to graduation ceremony
Source: giphy

University Years: 19 to 22 / 20 – 23 years old

ExpensesAmount Spent Over 4 years
Tuition Fees & Miscellaneous Fees$38,400
School Supplies$0
On-Campus Accommodation (1 year)$3,800
Transport$4,080
Allowance$16,800
Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)$0
Clothes
$0
Dental Services$800
Healthcare Services$160
Insurance$1,790 or $1,845
(Through JC or Poly)
Mobile Phone$2,560
Computer$1,500
TOTAL $69,890 or $69,945

School Fees & Miscellaneous Fees

illustration of school

Now, this is going to differ a lot, since there are so many options that your child can choose from.

But for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that they are enrolled in a local university and are not taking specialised programmes like medicine or dentistry.

An average programme will cost you $9,400 per year, along with miscellaneous fees of $200 per year.

Amount Spent on Tuition Fees & Miscellaneous Fees = $38,400 over 4 years

School Supplies

illustration of stationery

At this age, they are definitely paying for their school supplies on their own.

Amount Spent on School Supplies = $0 over 4 years

On-Campus Accommodation

 

Even if you can’t bear to part with your child yet, it’s good that they get to experience staying independently in their school hostel.

In fact, bunking with a roommate will also be helpful as they will have to learn to accommodate other people’s habits and whatnot.

But they’re not going to be away from you for long! Most school hostels have a rather competitive system, plus it’s kinda pricey.

One year away from you to live independently should be more than enough.

Amount Spent on On-Campus Accommodation = $3,800 over 1 year

Transport

illustration of bus stop

Thankfully, students in local university are still eligible for concession passes.

But it’s a little more expensive now, costing you about $85 per month.

Still better than paying adult fees yea?

Amount Spent on Transport = $4,080 over 4 years

Allowance

illustration of money transaction

Again, not everyone will agree with me here.

But I’d want my child to start taking up some part-time or freelance jobs during their university years.

Of course, it shouldn’t affect their studies, but working part-time can give them a glimpse of the real working world and prepare them for what’s to come.

Seeing that these side gigs should only be done on weekends or during their holidays, you will still need to give them some allowance, probably about $350 per month.

Amount Spent on Allowance = $16,800 over 4 years

Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)

illustration of football player

Likewise, if your child were to choose to participate in CCAs, they should be able to manage these expenses as well.

Amount Spent on Co-Curricular Activities = $0 over 4 years

Clothes

illustration of clothes

With their allowance and their income from their side gigs, they should be able to buy their own clothes as well.

Plus, they probably won’t agree with our tastes by now.

Amount Spent on Clothes = $0 over 4 years

Dental Services

illustration of tooth

By now, your child will need to pay adult fees for their dental visits in the polyclinic, bringing this expense to about $200 per year.

Amount Spent on Dental Services = $800 over 4 years

Healthcare Services

illustration of red cross

Adult fees are also applicable to their visits to the doctor now, so that should cost you about $20 per visit.

Amount Spent on Healthcare Services = $160 over 4 years

Insurance

illustration of hands and floating heart

Health Insurance

Okay, the premiums for integrated shield plans get a little messy here due to the different age group so I’ve consolidated them into the table below.

PaymentAgeYearly Premium Amount
University Student from Junior College
Medisave 19 & 20$130
21 & 22$195
Cash19 & 20$90
21 & 22$80
Amount Spent over 4 years$990
University Student from Polytechnic
Medisave20$130
21 - 23$195
Cash20$90
21 - 23$80
Amount Spent over 4 years$1,045

Amount Spent on Health Insurance (Through Junior College) = $990 over 4 years 
Amount Spent on Health Insurance (Through Polytechnic) = $1,045 over 4 years 

Personal Accident Insurance

Well, good for us that we purchased a policy that extends till 25 years old, I’m still paying $200 per year for my child’s personal accident insurance.

Amount Spent on Personal Accident Insurance = $800 over 4 years 

Amount Spent on Insurance (Through Junior College) = $1,390 over 4 years
Amount Spent on Insurance (Through Polytechnic) = $1,845 over 4 years

Mobile Phones

illustration of smart phone

Their SIM Only 20GB plan should still provide them with more than enough data, so this remains at $20 per month.

However, they may be eyeing a better phone now, so spare about $800 for this.

If they want anything more, I’ll probably ask them to top up the remaining amount.

Since they’ll be in university for 4 years, you’ll most likely have to help them with their phone purchase once in 2 years.

Amount Spent on Mobile Phones = $2,560 over 4 years 

Computers

illustration of laptop

They might not need a new laptop when they first enter university since they can still use the one from their pre-university years.

But somewhere during their university years, they’ll probably need to get a new one to replace, so similarly, $1,500 allocated for laptop in university should suffice.

Amount Spent on Computers = $1,500 over 4 years 


The costs we’ve outlined above may be different for your child since everyone’s circumstances are different. 

But at least, this provides a rough estimate of how much you’ll possibly spend raising your child in the future. 

Psst, please share if you have any tips! 

Ask financial tips on parenting here!

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About Jacqueline Yan
Full-time coffee nerd playing the personal finance game to feed her insatiable wanderlust.
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