Speaking frankly about cost of living vs. my job offer?

Hello everyone,

I am starting to feel like I am doing a ton of the same sort of posts.:rolleyes: But please don't hold back, I am debating two other contracts besides this one (in Kuwait and Turkey, each at 2,500 a month.)

I am a first year teacher and have been offered a contract to work at an expat-mainly Kindergaten in Singapore. I would take the contract I am just not certain if it is a sound financial decsion.

The first year pay is 3,500 a month before tax and 4,000 the second year.

The company has asked me to arrive by the end of April, and in explaining to them that I am a new graduate and have not accumilated enough savings they have offered to pay for my flight and keep me in a hotel for two weeks until I have found housing.

The idea of taking an advance from my employer makes me feel a bit nervous...you thoughts?

I have several friends from Singapore and they believe that even trying to live modestly on 3,200 or so would be difficult. Housing seems to be the biggest issue as it is NOT included in the contract.

I live modestly but will have to pay about 450.00 USD towards my student loans and would like to save. Is this possible on the salary? I am not a very materialistic person but love to be social. My understanding is that these things come at a serious premium in Singapore too.

It seems to me because they want a person sooner than later that help with finding affordable secure housing perhaps should be built into the contract.

Your ideas? Thanks:)

From what it seems, is that you will be travelling into SGP alone. That helps coz you can manipulate where and how you stay, which in turn governs how much you might end up paying for a shared flat (full rented flats can start from S$ 1500/mnth upwards).

i had the same clause in my contract - 1 way (full family) airways taken care off with 2-3 weeks of paid hotel till i find a house.

i doubt they will help you finding a house, because it can lead to liability in case you dont like the flat or have issues with the landlord and end up blaming them for getting you the place in the first place.

you maye find "decent" flat shares from S$ 400 (hdb's shared) -$1500 (condo's shared), and put away S$ 800 for loan, plus $$ 1000 for expenses (bills + food + travel + phone) and end up saving the rest. google it ...

now what you choose to do with the rest is where your social life takes over. a pack of smokes is S$ 12 and pint og lager is $15 upwards...food can be cheap and costly depending choice and place.

hope this helps man...and pls do come in...this is a great place to live and very safe.


Thank you for the responses :) The good news is I am not a drinker, but imagine that expense might be replaced by having to get a gym membership.

Could you please provide some 'keywords' that might assist me in searching for housing outside of the more expensive CBD area?



[Moderated: Off topic]

So I am still negotiating with my prospective employer.

The good news is I am not a drinker (or serious party girl!) and already know that I will have to share a flat (or get a single room in a flat) to be cost effective. According to what I am seeing here on Gumtee:


I'd like to know if my prospective budget is on par with reality:

Housing (shared) electricity/utilities inc: 750-800 per month

Transport (mix of bus and train when necessary) 150.00 per month

Food ( I am very health conscious so I like to cook at home:) 150.00 (not sure about this one, I am a pescaterian)

Cell phone, I like pay as you go phones and am not certain about this one...30-50.00 a month?

'Fun': 100.00 per month

My student loan repayments  550.00 USD

Internet: no idea.

So I get a total of monthly of around 1,800.00

It seems to me that you can save a lot from 3,200 of this, but I do feel as if I am missing something :)

What do you think?



well, if you're up for an adventure I think you can survive on your salary especially if you're used to being on a student budget. Groceries are a little more than you have set aside there. I think even eating really cheap stuff (rice and local cuisine) I can't imagine spending under $200 a month. If you want to have packaged goods, especially anything familiar from home you might want to budget around 3-400. Internet is about $60, cell phone can be $50 or even less if you do pay as you go.

Remember to budget $700 Singaporean for your loan with the exchange rate. Also you'll be transferring money home for that so add a fee for a wire transfer.

The MRT is cheap, eating out is cheap if you stick with hawker stalls though if you don't eat pork and chicken hawker stalls are a bit tricky.

Cosmetics and hair stuff can be really pricey if you want brands from home.

I would settle your contract with 4 weeks paid accommodation - it's a negotiation so keep the ball going back and forth. They might say no but that's OK. You'll find out their limit.

Thank you guys for the continued responses.

Just a simple question, what is the bare minimum of money I should bring to Singapore if I take the contract, assuming my housing and visa are taken care of until the first paycheque?



Hello guys i had an offer for 4600 S$ and i have 5 years exp. +flight tickets and health insurance etc... on but no accommodation is it a good salary or better forget about it !!

It depends.
If your degree and experience is from a third world country, it might be a good offer. (If you have no degree or your degree is not from an institution approved by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, you will not get a visa.)
For a single person, it certainly allows a reasonable lifestyle, but if you have family, the rent alone will be above S$3000, leaving little to survive.

Thank you Beppi
but my problem is not in the experience or education coz i am already working in a multinational company based in the UK and going to a competitor based in HongKong, i just wanne know is it a good salary for a single and also for taking a senior position with responsibilities and if not which salary do u think will be suitable and must be my min. !!

I just mentioned the degree requirement to warn you that you might have problems if your university is not on the MOM-approved list (see MOM webpage!).
I cannot judge if the salary is appropriate without knowing the job title, responsibilities and industry. You might consult online salary surveys for this!
In any case the money is enough for a single person expecting a reasonable (by UK standards) but not extravagant lifestyle. If you want private accommodation, half of your salary (or so) will go towards rent. If you're o.k. with a room in a shared flat, around S$1000 is sufficient.

Thank you man,
and if i didn't find it there is work experience certificate for 5 years enough ?

man am sorry to say your words are Wrong !!!!!
Check this

http://www.mom.gov.sg/foreign-manpower/ … tions.aspx


MOM does not have a list of approved institutions. Possessing an acceptable qualification does not automatically guarantee a successful Employment Pass application, as the applicant may need to satisfy other criteria, such as qualifying salary or professional skills.
Similarly, applicants who do not possess an acceptable qualification may not necessarily be rejected for Employment Pass. MOM will consider, on a case-by-case basis, applicants with proven track records and exceptional skills-set, but who may not have the qualifications required by the enhanced Employment Pass framework.
To assess if you are eligible for an Employment Pass, please use the Employment Pass/S Pass Self-Assessment Tool.

Oh, this is NEW!
I will investigate what this means, am curious myself now.
In any case the requirement for a degree was not removed, they are just more flexible (or more opaque?) about which institutions these degrees can be from.
The only way to get an EP without degree (I don't believe this actually changed) is if you earn above S$8000/month or if you have "exceptional skills" that Singapore needs. You cannot replace a missing degree with normal work experience.
You can use the EP self asessment tool linked to at the bottom of the page you mention. It is usually pretty accurate.
But keep in mind: Even if you qualify for an EP, you will only get it if your employer is allowed to employ a foreigner (there is a quota system) and if there is a lack of locals that could do the job.

O.k., here's the result of my investigations:
MoM's own list of institutions seems to be abolished in favour of using external rankings (as mentioned in the link). They won't publish where the cut-off is (i.e. which institutions from these rankings qualify for EP and which not) and this will probably also change from time to time due to policy changes.
Q1 and P2 passes still require a degree (and a minimum salary of S$3000 for Q1 and S$4500 for P2). P1 pass can be had without degree, but with a salary of min. S$8000.
Those with only a diploma ort even lower educational qualifications might get an S-Pass (salary min. S$2000), but the quotas for this was just reduced so chances are low.

angeloyounes wrote:

hello all, i'm Younes from Algeria, i'm comming to Singapore, end of march, and i'm looking for rent a small room in Bukit Panjang, is there anyone who can help me with that?!!!!
hope to hear from you soon.


Heya Younes,

It might be abit late, but it is better then never. you still need any help?? btw u gotten ur WP/EP papers ready yet?

Hi, I have got a offer from Singapore IT Company thr' consultancy. I am married guy and will be coming to singapore with wife. Wanted to know how much of avg salary would be required to lead to decent life. i don't party or drink. My Office is in Orchard Road so i would like to stay somewhere nearby atleast for next 1 year so that i am familiar with city. I am not a gadget freak. Also, i read that HDB flats are only given for localities ? Your suggestions will be helpful.


Dear Vinod,

Your question is difficult to answer, due to very difficult ideas of what a "decent life" is. Some people are happy on S$3000/month for a couple (which happens to be the threshold below which you will not be able to get a dependent's visa for your wife), some complain at S$20000/month! Please browse this forum and other sources on the Internet to see what the price level for certain things are in Singapore and add up the things you want yourself. If you then still have specific questions, come back here and ask them.
Your biggest single expense by far will be rent. Orchard road is the commercial centre of town and thus rents near there are the highest possible. There are no apartments in the vicinity below S$6000-8000/month. I recommend you live further afield, where you can find a reasonable place for half of this or less. Since Singapore is small and has a good transportation system, your commute time will still be reasonable (i.e. 30-60min one way).


Thanks Beppi. I was looking at multiple forums and blog. I found that some ppl say 5000/month for rent and it will be travel of 20 -30 mins. So my concern was if i am staying around 30 mins travel from Orchard road and have a salary of 10K/month would that be sufficient with avg of 1-2K savings? I have read that rent & utilities are something expensive in Singapore. Is there any website which can give avg cost of each utilities, vegan food cost, cable TV, internet. Are HDB flats available for non-localities?

Vinod K

As I said, it depends on what your want or need:
Rent can be from S$2000 to S$20000/month.
Utilities S$100 to S$600/month (depending on aircon usage).
A meal S$3 to S$300.
Etc. etc.
One point of reference: The average Singapore household income is around S$5500/month (but the average local doesn't pay rent).
Some HDB flats can be rented from their private owners (check with HDB if permission to rent out was given, otherwise it's illegal!).

I am Rafeeq from india currently working in Bahrain. I am a 3D Visualizer I got offer one Company in Singapore Their asked me expected salary i don't know there salary range and Accommodation rent ,food etc... I am married person please help me i want knows about this.............


THANK YOU DEAR ..........

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