Cost of living in Singapore

Cost of Living in Singapore

According to EIU, in 2023, Singapore is the world’s most expensive city for the ninth time in the last eleven years, tied with Zurich, Switzerland. Despite the high costs, Singapore continues to attract expatriates and professionals from around the world.

The safe environment and efficient public services are among the factors that make the country a place to move for many people. Singapore is also home to some of the most expensive private properties in the city.

Let’s explore the expenses associated with living in one of Asia’s most vibrant cities. See the expenses associated with living in Singapore, covering everything from housing and daily necessities to leisure activities and transportation.

Average Monthly Costs of Living in Singapore

Housing, food, transport, and education are the four estimated monthly costs that comprise Singapore’s largest share of a household’s budget. These costs can account for about 75% of the total expenditure.

Singapore is one of Asia’s most dynamic countries. Singapore’s cost of living presents a unique financial perspective. As of 2023, a family of four is estimated to spend around $4,100 monthly, excluding rent. However, an individual may expect costs near $1,137.3 per month without rent.

These figures reflect a living standard approximately 13.5% higher than in the US, with rent prices soaring at 65.2% more. These statistics, sourced from Numbeo, paint a vivid picture showing a high-quality life meets the reality of significant expenses.

Singapore’s Economic Situation

The Singapore dollar is the official currency of Singapore, and it’s divided into 100 cents. The exchange rate with the US dollar is about 1.35 SGD to 1 USD.

Singapore, the Lion City, is one of the top cities in the world. The city attracts expats and students. If you’re one of them searching for foreign education and jobs, you can consider Lion City.

As we mentioned before, the cost of living in Singapore is comparatively higher. Especially if you’re a student, it’s better to be cautious about your budget. Singapore, compared to other cities in the region and the world, is small but prosperous and modern. It has a high GDP per capita, a low unemployment rate,  and a high ranking in various global indices.

These are some of the foundations of Singapore’s economic freedom:

  • Strong protection of property rights
  • Effective enforcement of anticorruption laws

Besides these, tax rates are competitive, and the regulatory environment is transparent. 

Singapore is open to global commerce, and this boosts productivity. So, it’s also facilitating the emergence of a competitive financial sector.

Life Expenses in Singapore

The cost of living in Singapore is very high compared to other countries. Some of the main expenses and needs of people living in Singapore are:

  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Food
  • Transportation

Living comfortably in Singapore can be challenging for some people. However, the city also offers many opportunities and benefits, such as a stable economy, a safe environment, a diverse culture, and a high quality of life.

The daily living expenses in Singapore can vary depending on your lifestyle and preferences. Some common items people spend on are food, transport, utilities, entertainment, and personal care.

What are the Estimated Monthly Costs in Singapore?

Singapore Accommodation Cost

The housing market is competitive in Singapore, and accommodation is expensive. Plus, it’s not easy for foreigners to buy a property. However, when we’re talking about renting, we can observe flexibility, but it still can be costly. For Singaporeans, it’s a struggle to afford their homes. So, eventually, they may need to take on large loans and use their savings.

Private property in Singapore is a coveted asset, as it offers more freedom, privacy, and potential appreciation than public housing. However, private property is also very costly and subject to various rules and regulations.

Some prefer to test the market with short-term stays and discover how it can affect their budget. If you have a chance to do so, give it a try!

Rent per month in Singapore

Apartment (1 bedroom) in city center


Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of center


Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city center


Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of center


Apartment price for buying in Singapore

The price per square meter to buy an apartment in the city center



The price per square meter to buy an apartment outside of the center


Singapore Healthcare and Health Insurance Cost

Singapore generally has an efficient and widespread system of healthcare. It serves as the healthcare and medical hub of the region and offers Asia’s best healthcare system.

If you’re wondering about the not-so-positive side of the healthcare system, well, there’s not much to complain about. But it isn’t entirely free. And expats and digital nomads don’t have access to public subsidy schemes.

When we compare the expensive healthcare in Singapore, we can say that it still isn’t much you’d pay in the US.

Medical insurance is mandatory for all Singaporeans and permanent residents and covers basic hospitalization costs. However, some may buy additional private insurance plans for coverage and benefits.

Foreigners have also several insurance options in Singapore, which are as follows:

  • MediShield Life
  • Integrated Shield
  • Employee-sponsored plan
  • Expat insurance

According to Statista, the real per capita spending on healthcare in Singapore was forecast to increase continuously between 2024 and 2028 by $520.3.

Singapore Education Cost

Singapore is encouraging international students to come and study in Singapore. The country also offers tuition fee discounts and a permit to stay in Singapore. This is to remain in the country for up to three years with no additional work permit. However, the cost of studying in Singapore is high. So students without enough budget can consider one of the cheap universities as Singapore offers many of them.

Preschool (or kindergarten), full day, private, monthly  for 1 child


International primary school, yearly for 1 child


Singapore Food Cost

Singapore is more expensive than other Asian countries. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean you’ll not find affordable food. You can visit street food stalls and enjoy your meal for $5. Tasty and cheap options are worth trying! 

If you prefer eating in a restaurant, remember that tipping is not expected in Singapore. Instead, you’ll pay for a service charge that’ll be added to your bill. But it’s typically stated in the menu.

Fine dining restaurants in Singapore are plentiful and offer a variety of cuisines and experiences. Some of the most popular and acclaimed ones are Odette, Les Amis, Burnt Ends, and Jaan.

Restaurant Expenses in Singapore

Meal, inexpensive restaurant


Meal for 2 people, mid-range restaurant, three-course


McMeal at McDonalds (or equivalent combo meal)










Market Expenses in Singapore

Milk (regular), (1 liter)


Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)


Rice (white), (1kg)


Eggs (regular) (12)


Local cheese (1kg)


Chicken filets (1kg)


Apples (1kg)


Banana (1kg)


Oranges (1kg)


Tomato (1kg)


Potato (1kg)


Singapore Transportation Costs

Let’s start with the cheapest option, the buses. They’re inexpensive, easy to take, and cover almost every corner of Singapore. Operating from 6 am to midnight every day makes buses a good option for transportation in Singapore. Sightseers can also find bus routes available.

You can pay on the buses via contactless bank cards, mobile wallets, stored value cards, concession cars, or cash. So it’s convenient to travel by public transport as a newcomer.

Transportation Expenses in Singapore

One-way ticket (local transport)


Monthly pass (regular price)


Taxi start (normal tariff)


Taxi 1km (normal tariff)


Taxi 1hour waiting (normal tariff)


Gasoline (1 liter)


The numbers presented are based on data from a variety of sources, including Numbeo.

The Wrap-Up

Singapore has a distinctive landscape. When you decide to live in Singapore, you’ll be enjoying an excellent quality of life. But it comes with significant expenses. Housing, transportation, and food are important expenses to consider.

There are outstanding public services, healthcare, and a secure environment. A premium service comes with a premium cost. So there’s much to think about Singapore and what you’re expecting from living there. Regardless of the reason for your move, it’s important to plan your budget for these expenses to have an unforgettable time in Singapore.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, you might also want to take a look at “Singapore e-Residency Program: What To Expect“.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it expensive to live in Singapore?

Singapore is comparatively expensive, with a single person's estimated monthly costs being $1,133.2 (S$1,522.9) without rent. Rent in Singapore is, on average, 78.1% higher than in cities like San Antonio. The average monthly net salary after tax is around S$6,904.01​.

What salary is needed to live comfortably in Singapore?

Some individuals suggest a monthly salary of S$3,000 as sufficient, while others believe S$20,000 to S$30,000 is necessary to live comfortably in Singapore. Family size, lifestyle preferences, and personal financial goals significantly influence these opinions.

How much is rent in Singapore?

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center averages S$4,033.99, around S$2,900.91 outside the center. For larger families, a three-bedroom apartment in the city center averages S$7,597.23; it's about S$5,209.42 outside the center.

Is 7000 SGD a good salary in Singapore?

A salary of 7000 SGD is generally considered reasonable in Singapore, as it is slightly above the average monthly net wage of S$6,904.01. This salary should allow for a comfortable lifestyle, although individual financial responsibilities and lifestyle choices play a significant role.​

What is the average salary in Singapore?

The average monthly net salary in Singapore is around $6,904.

Why is Singapore so expensive to live?

  • Land scarcity and high population density.
  • Limited natural resources.
  • Rising property and rental prices.
  • High costs of owning a car.
  • Dependence on imported food.

What is the cost of living in Singapore for 2 people?

The estimated monthly cost for a couple without rent is about $3,045.8, based on the average monthly cost of $1,522.9 for a single person.

What is the cost of living in Singapore with rent?

A family of four's estimated monthly costs are $5,489.7 without rent. Adding average rent costs can range from $7,489.69 to $18,289.7, depending on the type and location of the rented accommodation.

What is the cost of health and personal care in Singapore?

  • The cost of healthcare in Singapore has been rising.
  • Average hospital bills range from $1,638 to $18,993 for surgical specialties.
  • Treating critical illnesses can cost between $100,000 to $200,000 annually.

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