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

profileHui Juan Neo

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There’s an elephant in the room, and I think it’s high time we addressed it.

Yes, I’m talking about the record-low birth rate.

I mean, c’mon, we know how tough it can be to raise a child, financially and physically.

Source: giphy

The Straits Times reported that Singapore’s fertility rate fell from 1.04 to 0.97 per woman – well below the replacement rate of 2.1 – the level of fertility at which the population replaces itself from one generation to the next. 

I’m not going to lie. Besides reflecting a change in generational priorities, one apparent reason is the rising cost of living.

Just how much would we potentially spend on raising a child in Singapore? Let’s zoom in.


TL;DR: How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Child in Singapore?

We broke down each stage of your child’s journey until they finish their university education.

Something to note: By the time we reach the pre-university stage, we’ve assumed that they have taken responsibility for some of their smaller expenses.

StagesAmount Spent
Pregnancy & Child Birth$5,055 - $27,001
Infant Years$44,113 - $92,941
Toddler Years$27,212
Primary School$68,541
Secondary School$50,267
Pre-University$24,876
University$69,945
Total$290,009 - $360,783

Of course, every child will be different, and many variables can change throughout the 23 years we’ve covered.

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

But now you know you’ll spend $290,009 – $360,783 on your child.


How Much Does It Cost to Give Birth in Singapore?

Source: giphy

For the uninitiated, previously, we found that it costs about this much for the whole course of pregnancy in a public hospital:

  • Pregnancy: $4,250 – $9,100
  • Child Birth: $805 – $17,901

This is a more detailed breakdown based on your preference:

Prenatal CommitmentsEstimated Price
Gynaecologist Consultation Fees (15 visits)$1,800 to $4,500
Packages (from Second Trimester onwards)
$600 to $2,000
Ultrasound (4 scans)$800
Prenatal (per class)$50 to $300
Harmony testing
$1,000 to $1,500
Childbirth / Delivery OptionsEstimated Price
Public Hospital (Normal/Assisted)$805 to $5,589
Private Hospital (Normal/Assisted)$2,534 to $10,341
Public Hospital (Caesarean)$1,491 to $9,351
Private Hospital (Caesarean)$10,786 to $17,901
Water Birth (excluding maternity packages)$400 to $3,000
Doula$700 to $2,500

You can refer to this article for a clearer overview of what you can expect to pay from the first trimester until giving birth.


Infant Care: 0 – 3 Years Old

ExpensesAmount Spent
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$14,412 - $31,200
Childcare$12,960 - $45,000
Total $44,113 - $92,941

Note that the costs mentioned below are upfront costs and not offset by baby bonus.

Postnatal Care

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 $3,530 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.

Getting a postnatal massage can cost you $500 easily.

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

Hygiene

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’ll 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 fine and costs 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 cost about $15.

I don’t know if parents will use regular 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 your brand, they’ll probably need 4-6 diapers daily.

For newborns, a small diaper 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.

Source: SG Budget Babe

You can always use a regular backpack to hold your baby’s 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 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

Baby clothes are so tiny and cute!

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

And since babies cannot control their bodily movements, you’ll 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 among the top gifts given to new parents, so you might be able to save some money on them.

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

Nursery

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 short period of time, parents will still spend money to ensure that the items are sturdy and safe for their child to use.

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

Toys cost between $20 and $100 each, depending on how many you want to buy.

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

Pro tip: If you have fellow mummy or daddy friends, ask for hand-me-downs! Babies outgrow themselves very quickly. Ask around, and you can save more!

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

Stroller & Carrier

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

An average good-quality stroller should cost about $800, and a $300 carrier when the child wants 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

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

Yeah, there are more items that you’ll need only for a short period of time, but they are 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 ones.

But assuming that your baby starts drinking infant formula milk at 6 months old, they’re likely to use 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.

Formula milk is one of the most expensive consumables here, averaging around $50 per tin.

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

Healthcare Services

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 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 ensure their kids are well-protected.

Amount Spent on Vaccinations = $844 over 2 years 

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

Insurance

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

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

Health Insurance

MediShield Life covers our children from birth, but you’ll want to ensure 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 in premiums using your Medisave and $70 in cash.

Amount Spent on Health Insurance = $400 over 2 years 

Personal Accident Insurance

I’m pretty sure our children are more accident-prone than ours, so this one doesn’t 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 

Cost of Infant Care in Singapore

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

Infant Care Centres: 6 months to 18 months (1.5 years old)

Typically, infant care services average around $1,201 – $2,600 per month.

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 = $14,412 – $31,200 over 1 year 

Cost of Childcare in Singapore

Childcare Centres: 18 months (1.5 years old) to 36 months (3 years old)

Whether your child is enrolled in the toddler or playgroup programme, for the next 18 months until your child turns 3 years old, you’ll likely be paying an average of $720 – $2,500 per month for full-day childcare after government subsidies.

Amount Spent on Child Care = $12,960 – $45,000 over 1.5 years

Amount Spent on Infant Care & Childcare = $27,372 – $76,200 over 3 years


Toddler Years: 3 to 6 years old

Pre-school Expenses (Nursery & Kindergarten)Amount Spent Over 4 years
School Fees19,920
School Supplies$880
Pre-School Enrichment$1,477
Clothes$1,240
Toys & Games$450
Healthcare Services $440
Insurance$1,600
Diapers$1,205
TOTAL $27,212

School Fees

Nursery Fees (3 to 4 years old): Nursery 1 & Nursery 2

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

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

Nursery fees vary depending on your choice of centre, but typically, you’ll be expected to pay upwards of $415 per month after government subsidies.

Amount Spent on Nursery = $9,960 over 2 years 

Kindergarten Fees (5 to 6 years old): Kindergarten 1 & Kindergarten 2

Next checkpoint after nursery, kindergarten!

Similarly, kindergarten fees start at $415 per month after subsidies at a public kindergarten.

Amount Spent on Kindergarten = $9,960 over 2 years 

Amount Spent on School Fees = $19,920 over 2 years 

School Supplies

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 probably need at least 3 sets to rotate between.

Amount Spent on School Uniform = $480 over four 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 four years

Amount Spent on School Supplies = $880 over four years 

Pre-School Enrichment

Start them young, they say.

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

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 one year 

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 four tops ($20 each) and two pairs of shoes ($25 each) every six months, along with two pairs of pants ($25 each) per year.

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

Toys & Games

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 suitable for 2-3 years as they slowly wean off training wheels.

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

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

Healthcare Services

Paediatrician Visits

Parents are recommended to bring their child for at least one paediatrician visit when the child is 3 years old, which should cost about $120 per visit.

Amount Spent on Paediatrician Visits = $120 over one year

Polyclinic Visits

Unfortunately, kids at this age still tend to fall sick more easily, as their immune systems are 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 visit the doctor at least four times a year.

Amount Spent on Polyclinic Visits = $320 over 4 years

Amount Spent on Healthcare Services = $440 over four years

Insurance

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 four years

Personal Accident Insurance

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

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

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

Diapers

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

School Supplies

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 uniforms should cost you about $20, while a PE (Physical Education) attire set will cost about $18 each.

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

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

Amount Spent on School Uniform = $288 over six 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 likely 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 six 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, about 8 subjects in primary school 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 six years 

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

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

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 six years 

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

Tuition & Enrichment Classes

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 they need and the enrichment classes they are interested in.

We’ve consolidated the cost for a scenario in which your child requires tuition for 2 subjects from P3 to P6 and is enrolled in one 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

That’s a whopping $42,615!

If I had understood the value of money then and how much my mum spent on my tuition classes, I would’ve been an obedient kid. Sorry, Mummy.

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

Transport

Since primary school students are still young, they might be unable 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 six years 

Well, your kid won’t go home directly daily since there’s tuition. Whether there’s someone to pick them up during their lower primary years or whether they can 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 $41 monthly.

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

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

Pocket Money

No one asked, but I used to get $0.50 daily in P1. Gone were the days when I could get a plate of rice + braised egg at that price…

Primary school students have little to spend except buying food in their 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.

Then again, many of my friends suggested that $2 per day is not enough as one plate of chicken rice is already $1.80, so you can add or subtract based on your kid’s school.

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

Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)

Students are encouraged to join a CCA when they’re in Primary 3.

Most of these will not cost you anything, but some niche activities might require costumes or equipment.

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

Amount Spent on CCA = $300 over three years

Clothes

Sometimes, I feel like kids are dressed better than 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 $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 six years

Dental Services

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 six years

Healthcare Services

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

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

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

Amount Spent on Healthcare Services = $180 over six years

Insurance

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 six 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 six years

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

Mobile Phones

While I personally won’t want to let my children 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 kids, I’ll give 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 six years

Computers

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

I’m not sure about you, but I won’t 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 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

Secondary school isn’t free anymore, but it’s affordable for Singaporeans at $5 per month.

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

Similarly, if you 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 four years

School Supplies

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 uniforms should cost you about $30 each, while a set of PE attire will cost about $20 each.

Likewise, you may be purchasing three sets of uniforms and two sets of PE attire every two years so that they can be rotated.

Amount Spent on School Uniform = $260 over four years 

Secondary school students also need at least 2 pairs of shoes to rotate between and are likely to run through them every six 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 four 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 four 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 less, these items will still cost you about $120 each year.

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

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

Tuition

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

Most likely, enrichment classes will have stopped by now, and your child may be getting tuition for three 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 four years

Transport

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

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

Pocket Money

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 monthly for pocket money.

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

Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)

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 four years

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 rotating between 3 pairs of pants and two pairs of shoes yearly.

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

Dental Services

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

Amount Spent on Dental Services = $0 over four years

Healthcare Services

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 four years

Insurance

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 four years 

Personal Accident

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

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

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

Mobile Phones

I might change my mind when I have my own kid, but I still think it’s alright for our kids to use our old phones, especially since we change them so often.

If you have an old phone to pass to your kid, that’s great. If not, be prepared to spend at least a few hundred to thousands for the latest iPhone or Android phone.

On top of that, they would need at least 2GB of data, which costs $5 per month.

Amount Spent on Mobile Data = $240 over 4 years

Computers

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

Unless you’re buying the best laptop with the highest specifications, you’ll probably spend $1,000 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 = $1,000 over 4 years


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

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 are capped at $27 per month.

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

Polytechnics

If your child is very interested in and passionate about a particular field, 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 pay $3,000 annually.

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

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

School Supplies

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

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 is the school uniforms for JC students, which cost about $30 per set. Similarly, you’ll minimally need 3 sets of uniforms for them to rotate during their two years in school.

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

Tuition

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

I still remember attending Chemistry tuition classes because… it was on another level.

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 two years
  • Amount Spent on Tuition (Polytechnic) = $0 over three years

Transport

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

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

  • Amount Spent on Transport (Junior College) = $1,224 over two years
  • Amount Spent on Transport (Polytechnic) = $1,836 over three years 

Allowance

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 the lower range for polytechnic students.

  • Amount Spent on Allowance (Junior College) = $6,000 over two years
  • Amount Spent on Allowance (Polytechnic) = $9,000 over three years 

Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)

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

  • Amount Spent on Pocket Money (Junior College) = $0 over two years
  • Amount Spent on Pocket Money (Polytechnic) = $0 over three years 

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 two years
  • Amount Spent on Clothes (Polytechnic) = $450 over three years 

Dental Services

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 two years
  • Amount Spent on Dental Services (Polytechnic) = $450 over three years

Healthcare Services

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 two years
  • Amount Spent on Healthcare Services (Polytechnic) = $100 over three years 

Insurance

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, so 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 two years
  • Amount Spent on Health Insurance (Polytechnic) = $620 over three 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.

There are no changes here, either. 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 two years
  • Amount Spent on Personal Accident Insurance (Polytechnic) = $600 over three years 

Mobile Phones

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 two years
  • Amount Spent on Mobile Phones (Polytechnic) = $1,320 over three years 

Computers

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 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 two years
  • Amount Spent on Computers (Polytechnic) = $1,500 over three years

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

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 they are enrolled in a local university, not taking specialised programmes like medicine or dentistry, and are not on any scholarships.

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 four years.

School Supplies

Student discounts are readily available at this point. So unless they reach out and ask for help, you should try to let them live independently by now.

I vividly remember paying tuition, working part-time, and doing internships to earn my own money so I could do what I wanted.

This was probably the first step in trying to be financially independent.

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 experience staying independently in their school hostel.

In fact, bunking with a roommate will also be helpful as they must 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 somewhat competitive system, plus they’re pricey.

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

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

Transport

Thankfully, students in local universities 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, yeah?

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

Allowance

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 four years

Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)

Likewise, if your child chooses to participate in CCAs, they should also be able to manage these expenses.

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

Clothes

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

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

Amount Spent on Clothes = $0 over four years

Dental Services

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

Amount Spent on Dental Services = $800 over four years

Healthcare Services

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 four years

Insurance

Health Insurance

Okay, the premiums for integrated shield plans get a little messy here due to the different age groups, 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 four years 
Amount Spent on Health Insurance (Through Polytechnic) = $1,045 over four years 

Personal Accident Insurance

Well, it’s good for us that we purchased a policy that extends until my child is 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 four years 

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

Mobile Phones

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

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

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

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

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

Computers

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 a laptop in university should suffice.

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


How Much Are You Spending On Your Kid?

The costs outlined above may differ for your child since everyone’s circumstances differ.

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!

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About Hui Juan Neo
A savvy shopper and foodie at heart, I'm always on a lookout for discounts and deals to snag the best bargains.
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