Singapore: high cost of living for expats

Hello everyone,

Whether you are planning to move to Singapore or you have already settled there, the cost of living will definitely be one of your major concerns.

According to ECA International report on the cost of living, Singapore remains one of the most expensive destinations for expatriates in 2016. Published on Wednesday 8 June, this report has assessed not less than 450 cities worldwide and reveals that Singapore has climbed 13 places over the last five years. Many other Asian cities now lag behind.

The survey took into account several criteria such as the price of food, basic amenities, as well as clothing, outings and eating out, consumption of alcohol and tobacco, among others. However, some costs such as rent, charges and school fees are not included as these are compensated otherwise, that is through expat packages. In fact, according to ECA International, expats are generally entitled to a cost of living allowance so that their purchasing power is not compromised.

In the case of Singapore, despite the low inflation during the last 12 months, a stronger currency against the Australian dollar and slightly higher inflation rate for international assignees for the same period propelled the City-State before several Australian and European cities having experienced lower inflation rates and the depreciation of their currencies.

Find more information here:

Feel free to share your views about the cost of living in Singapore.

Thank you in advance for your contribution.

Your cost of living  will vary depending on your own lifestyle. The best way to make it worth is whether your lifestyle can match the same way as your own lifestyle in your home country.

I strongly recommend you to download the your own personalized cost of living report using this calculator

Hi Veedushi,

Singapore is considered by many expats in Asia as the best place to live in Asia. This is because the expat benefits are general higher than most other places which can include housing, schooling for your children at an International School, car allowance and membership of a club such as the British Club or American Club as well as several others depending on the package you are offered,

For my own situation as an expat that lived in Singapore a rather long time ago, I received a housing allowance and annual plan ticket back home, medical insurance and a bonus on my salary which they called a "hardship allowance".  Today, the term would seem not to be appropriate since Singapore life doesn't include much hardship at all.

So, it your housing is paid for and your kids schooling is paid for then it shouldn't be a struggle to live well as long as you receive a reasonable salary.

But of course not everyone receives this kind of package, and those who are less fortunate may have to search carefully for an apartment within their budget, perhaps an old one. But overall, I don't think that the cost of living in Singapore is a problem unless you are considered as a foreign labour worker or perhaps a domestic helper or similar job types,  but even then, accommodation made be provided and the salary earned in Singapore will far exceed anything you could earn back in your own home country.

The lifestyle in Singapore does encourage you to spend, with amazing shopping malls, fantastic places to eat out and attractions such as the Singapore Zoo and Universal Studios and so many other interesting.

As for the currency and spending power, if in times of recession, most expats do not really get affected much. Life goes on, not just for expats but for locals too and there will never be a situation as severe as say in Venezuela.

So Singapore is a great place to be based as an expat. But be certain that your package includes accommodation, schooling, medical insurance, car allowance and repatriation costs, and you should have a wonderful time.


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