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Day to day costs of living in Singapore

Post by pstanley » Fri, 12 Jan 2007 10:21 pm

Hi all,

Me and the missus are very seriously thinking of moving to Singapore next year and I'm trying to get an idea of what the costs are of living in Singapore against what we can earn (we dont have any kids). This is to see if we would actually be better off financially (or worse off) than living in London. (you can earn a better gross salary in London but I'm suspecting that the cost of living here is much higher than Singapore).

To give you an idea most of the monthly costs of living in England are:

Rent / Mortgage
Electricity / Gas
Land line phone
Mobile phone
Internet
TV Licence
Water charges
Council tax
Insurance (house, contents, life etc.)

Obviously rent is hugely different depending on where you live, but what sort of costs would I be looking at the others? Does Singapore have any Tax apart from income tax (like Englands council tax etc.)?

Any help with this would be great. Would especially love to hear from any English expats in Singapore out there.

Thanks
:D

Paul.

 



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Re: Day to day costs of living in Singapore

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 13 Jan 2007 12:27 am

pstanley wrote:Hi all,

Me and the missus are very seriously thinking of moving to Singapore next year and I'm trying to get an idea of what the costs are of living in Singapore against what we can earn (we dont have any kids). This is to see if we would actually be better off financially (or worse off) than living in London. (you can earn a better gross salary in London but I'm suspecting that the cost of living here is much higher than Singapore).

To give you an idea most of the monthly costs of living in England are:

Rent / Mortgage ($800 -10,000 per month [HDB Flat to Landed bungalow]) Mortage Pmts on $333K HDB Flat openmarket flat $1238/mo (14 yrs only)
Electricity / Gas / Water charges (100 ~ 1000/mo depending on aircon and how much/often) Average last year $200/mo
Land line phone (~$35/Quarter plus monthly charges for .007~.01.2/min local plus Long Distance vary on usage/IDD/vOIP/day/evening rates ) Average ~ $120/mo (including weekly 1 hr calls to mother on East Coast of US -019
Mobile phone (30/month decent basic upward to $100+/mo depending on usage) Average $35/mo
Internet ($45~140h/mo unlimited depedent on broadband speed) PacNet 1500 $89/mo
TV Licence ($110/year usually paid by property owner as it is usually included on their property tax bill - they may ask you to pay it though as you are the user) Laying on my desk with the property tax bill $110/year
Council tax (Conversancy charges - usually only if buying) 5 room (4 bedroom) HDB Flat $62/mo
Insurance (house, contents, life etc.) (Dependent on quantum) Various due to mortage - not applicable if renting


Obviously rent is hugely different depending on where you live, but what sort of costs would I be looking at the others? Does Singapore have any Tax apart from income tax (like Englands council tax etc.)?

Everything is taxed. Cars cost 1.5x the valuation of the car in taxes & permits only. GST (similar to VAT) current 5% slated to increase shortly to 7%. Income taxes are low, low, low however. Then there is road tax, Electronic Road Pricing (deducted from a cashcard in your cars dashboard mounted reader as the cars drive under gantries. Carpark charges. etc., ad naseum... Transport only costs me around 350/mo for both me and my wife (both work but use public transport) Sold my car when the COE system and MRT system started (1987-88)

Any help with this would be great. Would especially love to hear from any English expats in Singapore out there.

Thanks
:D

Paul.
Edited 1730 hrs 13/01/07 to include my personal costs in Red (We are talking about a family of 5 adults (MiL, Wife & I, 22 & 17 year old kids).

I am a PR (Yank) but my better half is Singaporean.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by sundaymorningstaple on Sat, 13 Jan 2007 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Loops » Sat, 13 Jan 2007 2:49 am

Rent - ours is just over $3,000 but it varies a lot (like SMS states above)
Utilities (gas, water etc) - about $250 per month
Phone - less than $50 (we use Phoenix cheap rate international after 9pm)
Mobile - less than $20 but I don't use mine much
Internet - comes with the Starhub package, works out about $120 per month for internet and cable TV
TV Licence - $110 (we pay our own)
Council tax - N/A
Insurance - really can't say - it depends on what you own and what you want to insure!

Probably cheaper than London I reckon. We lived in the home counties and it is cheaper here for us than it was there.

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Post by Ma'am » Sat, 13 Jan 2007 2:47 pm

Wont go in to costs of rent etc (obviously I leave that to Sir :D ) but keep in mind that a lot can change if you go from a double income household to a single one. All of a sudden there is nothing to fill ones days but endless shopping, eating and drinking - all of which costs money and it actually gets mind-blowingly boring, a real downer for ones self-esteem. You can re-direct energy into charity or starting a small business but you still dont have the same amount of cash to rely on anymore.

We have found that - all in all - we are actually no better off. If you want a decent condo then you will pay stupid prices, going out can be cheap if you go to the hawker centre but honestly who wants to do that everyday? If you are accustomed to getting that daily starbucks coffee, popping down to the pub for a few pints or heading to the local Italian eatery once or twice a week then everything tends to add up in the same way. Comparing our many years living and working in central London to here has, overall, been a rather disappointing excercise.

Not sure if you are planning on having children but on the off chance you are then also keep in mind that you will pay for all of your own medical costs. We have 'decent' insurance provided by Sir's company and yet we spent a fortune (over $12,000 at a mid-cost hospital) last year as little was actually covered that we needed.

Also if you move into the region you will want to do a lot of travel, after all for many thats the second biggest reason for coming! So many great places to see but by the end of the year a few long weekend jaunts and a two-week trip will have used up quite a bit of dosh.

If you live frugally and dont enjy your time here then you can save lots. Similarly if you will both be working then things will look brighter. If not then come for the experience but dont expect to save heaps unless you get a VERY good package.

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Post by ksl » Sun, 14 Jan 2007 12:45 am

Mr PStanley, could you throw some London figures this way, so we can see a comparison, it would be interesting to compare UK. I know Council tax can be a killer these days, I have also heard gas and electric have almost doubled in one year. and rents have also shot up.

Even the old council house that I used to own up in Lancashire on one of the most infamous estates, are selling at 85,000 pound.
Average house prices are supposed to be around 175,000 in UK now, according to some reports.

There is no hope for first time buyers in UK especially in the lower income brackets, with minimum wages of around 5 pound an hour for unskilled workers, quite shocking how UK exploit, there workforce too, comparatively with Singapore to attract investment, although Singapore at least have something to show for it in 40 years, the UK unfortunately have no intentions of rewarding it's people or future generations, quite sad, to see the Country fall beyond repair, like this.

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Post by pstanley » Mon, 15 Jan 2007 7:18 pm

Ma'am wrote:Wont go in to costs of rent etc (obviously I leave that to Sir :D ) but keep in mind that a lot can change if you go from a double income household to a single one. All of a sudden there is nothing to fill ones days but endless shopping, eating and drinking - all of which costs money and it actually gets mind-blowingly boring, a real downer for ones self-esteem. You can re-direct energy into charity or starting a small business but you still dont have the same amount of cash to rely on anymore.

We have found that - all in all - we are actually no better off. If you want a decent condo then you will pay stupid prices, going out can be cheap if you go to the hawker centre but honestly who wants to do that everyday? If you are accustomed to getting that daily starbucks coffee, popping down to the pub for a few pints or heading to the local Italian eatery once or twice a week then everything tends to add up in the same way. Comparing our many years living and working in central London to here has, overall, been a rather disappointing excercise.

Not sure if you are planning on having children but on the off chance you are then also keep in mind that you will pay for all of your own medical costs. We have 'decent' insurance provided by Sir's company and yet we spent a fortune (over $12,000 at a mid-cost hospital) last year as little was actually covered that we needed.

Also if you move into the region you will want to do a lot of travel, after all for many thats the second biggest reason for coming! So many great places to see but by the end of the year a few long weekend jaunts and a two-week trip will have used up quite a bit of dosh.

If you live frugally and dont enjy your time here then you can save lots. Similarly if you will both be working then things will look brighter. If not then come for the experience but dont expect to save heaps unless you get a VERY good package.
Its 2007, the missus is working LOL. She works in finance so im hoping she will be able to bring in a decent salary as well. No we arent planning to have kids for quite some time (im 29, shes 26).

Travel - yes i love this area of the world (SE asia) - thats basically why i want to go there. The missus is Malaysian so obviously wants to pop back into Malaysia often (well, more often than the once a year we have been doing at the moment from the UK)

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Post by pstanley » Mon, 15 Jan 2007 7:47 pm

ksl wrote:Mr PStanley, could you throw some London figures this way, so we can see a comparison, it would be interesting to compare UK. I know Council tax can be a killer these days, I have also heard gas and electric have almost doubled in one year. and rents have also shot up.

Even the old council house that I used to own up in Lancashire on one of the most infamous estates, are selling at 85,000 pound.
Average house prices are supposed to be around 175,000 in UK now, according to some reports.

There is no hope for first time buyers in UK especially in the lower income brackets, with minimum wages of around 5 pound an hour for unskilled workers, quite shocking how UK exploit, there workforce too, comparatively with Singapore to attract investment, although Singapore at least have something to show for it in 40 years, the UK unfortunately have no intentions of rewarding it's people or future generations, quite sad, to see the Country fall beyond repair, like this.
Thanks for the replies people!

Can someone please confirm this is correct:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual ... _residents

I know its wikipedia but i nearly wet my pants when i read this LOL. I am SO going to Singapore now :D

In case people arent aware you pay 40% tax on incomes over about £33k (national average is about £17k). Oh and we all pay over 10% national insurance (back door tax) to cover our well-fair state. This is money I'm 100% sure I will never see again and so is hence a back door tax.

As for the UK, well...

Rent / Mortgage:
- i have a mortgage of £165k (quite small - the flat is worth a lot more) and pay about £690 a month in interest (thats about 4.9% and this does not pay any of the loan off). We live in a 1 bedroom flat in a nice area of West London. I also have to pay maintenance on the flat, that is about £120 a month.

Electricity / Gas:
- Now bear in mind we are a couple with no children in a 1 bed flat: last month i paid about £48 for electricity and £28 for gas. Yes energy is VERY expensive here. I dont own a car -- UK petrol is now offically the most expensive in the world.

Land line phone:
Land line rental is £10.50 a month. Plus then there are the calls on top. Probably another £10-20.

Mobile phone
I prob pay about £25 - I'm a low user. My missus pays over £50 usually.

Internet
This is about £20 for (a proper) 8mbps ADSL download connection.

TV Licence
This is about £11 a month.

Water charges
I think this is about 30 something. They were charging me £44 until i had a fit on the phone to them. UK water quality has dropped massively over the last 10 years and the price has gone through the roof (all thanks to greedy privatisation).

Council tax
I pay about £120 a month. I think our council is the 2nd most expensive in the country -- remember we are in 1 bed flat and council tax is based on the property bracket :-).

Insurance (house, contents, life etc.)
House is covered by the maintenance, contents: £15, life: £15 (my life is very cheap lol).


Also the average property in London is now over £250k to buy. The first time buyer market is disappearing. When I came to buy my current (1 bed) flat all the other buyers I met were rich people buying more flats up to rent. There was NO other people buying to live in them. I would guess the next generation most people wont EVER be able to buy there own house. I blame this on the rich-poor divide getting bigger and bigger -- after all the UK is supposed to be 3rd? 4th? maybe 5th? richest country in the world.

The growing situation in the UK does not really benefit me and neither does an in-efficent well-fair state. So I guess I will just have to become an ang moh
:wink:

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 15 Jan 2007 10:32 pm

Wikipedia? Basically correct.

Here's the poop from the horses mouth as it were, plus a host of other information.

Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore - Individual Income Tax

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Post by lost_canuck » Tue, 16 Jan 2007 8:39 am

SMS: do you really pay 120 just for your phone? do you use skype to call america? we got our parents on broadband and now call home for free :) and use skype out at like .01p/pmin to anyone else.

and as for london I won't rant, pstanley let's just say we are on a single income right now, as I am on a dependents pass, but in time I hope to work and we are here to travel and save money, it can be done. Are you coming out on your own or on a package? local terms are certainly different than company packages. Of course we've only been here for a month and a bit so I may change my tune later Image

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Post by ScoobyDoes » Tue, 16 Jan 2007 5:08 pm

lost_canuck wrote:SMS: do you really pay 120 just for your phone? do you use skype to call america? we got our parents on broadband and now call home for free :) and use skype out at like .01p/pmin to anyone else.
That was my thought too...... if you have broadband you don't need a separate IDD provider. Skype, SkypeOut, VoIPBuster or any of the other ones give free or nearly free calls worldwide. No point in paying for the same thing twice, after all most of the cheap IDD providers are just doing VoIP anyway so may as well cut out the middle man.

I put broadband in my parent's place back in the UK too and we Skype every week. More than save enough money to pay for the broadband.

I don't even have a telephone line coming into the apartment here, broadband and mobile though i rarely use the mobile (compared to most others anyway).

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Post by pstanley » Tue, 16 Jan 2007 6:22 pm

lost_canuck wrote:SMS: do you really pay 120 just for your phone? do you use skype to call america? we got our parents on broadband and now call home for free :) and use skype out at like .01p/pmin to anyone else.

and as for london I won't rant, pstanley let's just say we are on a single income right now, as I am on a dependents pass, but in time I hope to work and we are here to travel and save money, it can be done. Are you coming out on your own or on a package? local terms are certainly different than company packages. Of course we've only been here for a month and a bit so I may change my tune later Image
Hi lost_canuck,
Package? I should be so lucky :) Just me and the missus, she is Malaysian, are planning to just jack it in here and move somewhere else. I want to do something as England is boring me to tears now (I was born, raised, and lived here all my life). We are planning to look into an actual move for 2008 (we cant leave this yr for various reasons).

We had thought about moving to Malaysia, but people are paid less and they have some weird attitudes to technology there (in my opinon -- im a senior software developer). So Singapore seemed like a more interesting choice - plus its next door to Malaysia so we can pop over very easily (see family etc.) -- floods permitting!

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 16 Jan 2007 8:25 pm

ScoobyDoes wrote:
lost_canuck wrote:SMS: do you really pay 120 just for your phone? do you use skype to call america? we got our parents on broadband and now call home for free :) and use skype out at like .01p/pmin to anyone else.
That was my thought too...... if you have broadband you don't need a separate IDD provider. Skype, SkypeOut, VoIPBuster or any of the other ones give free or nearly free calls worldwide. No point in paying for the same thing twice, after all most of the cheap IDD providers are just doing VoIP anyway so may as well cut out the middle man.

I put broadband in my parent's place back in the UK too and we Skype every week. More than save enough money to pay for the broadband.

I don't even have a telephone line coming into the apartment here, broadband and mobile though i rarely use the mobile (compared to most others anyway).
I used Dialpad years ago when it first came out and was free but connections were very early voip. I later used CellNet which was a ripoff MLM that I stupidly got involved with. Haven't bothered with skype as a $12 an hour phone call doesn't really seem that bad. Just had a look at last months bill. One call to my mother down on the farm was $10.64 for 56 minutes.

My parents are in their 80's (not together) and my mom lives on my farm where unfortunately, there is no broadband service yet so I'm stuffed there! :(

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Post by lost_canuck » Wed, 17 Jan 2007 10:25 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
I used Dialpad years ago when it first came out and was free but connections were very early voip. I later used CellNet which was a ripoff MLM that I stupidly got involved with. Haven't bothered with skype as a $12 an hour phone call doesn't really seem that bad. Just had a look at last months bill. One call to my mother down on the farm was $10.64 for 56 minutes.

My parents are in their 80's (not together) and my mom lives on my farm where unfortunately, there is no broadband service yet so I'm stuffed there! :(
well I can understand that one then, you could look at skype out tho, anyway I am not a share holder or anything, so I won't push it but I can see trying to get my grandfather who is 87 on to it as a tad difficult so I totally understand. and 10$ is not so bad.
pstanley wrote:Hi lost_canuck,
Package? I should be so lucky Smile Just me and the missus, she is Malaysian, are planning to just jack it in here and move somewhere else. I want to do something as England is boring me to tears now (I was born, raised, and lived here all my life). We are planning to look into an actual move for 2008 (we cant leave this yr for various reasons).

We had thought about moving to Malaysia, but people are paid less and they have some weird attitudes to technology there (in my opinon -- im a senior software developer). So Singapore seemed like a more interesting choice - plus its next door to Malaysia so we can pop over very easily (see family etc.) -- floods permitting!
I think you could make a fairly good living here if you are both working, I don't really know what the pay scales are like as I am here on a dependents pass , and my husband is here on a three year contract. I am considering trying to get a work permit as I can see the next few years as being pretty dull without something to do.

It is a very different lifestyle here and things range from unbelievable cheap to holy crap expensive. Which has been a bit of a shocker, Rents have gone up exponentially over the last year, we have a friend who moved here 1.5 years ago and got a flat for 1800, and now you are looking at over 2,500.

Do you think you would want to stay permanently? They seem to be in the we want to attract foreign talent at the moment in a big way.


Scooby I think it is the way to come soon, I have a friend in the states that is the same, a mobile and skype that's it. It seems pretty versatile as well. I was considering getting a local number in canada so the rest of the family can call me for cheap too. we have a land line here but never had one in england, well mostly because we lived on a boat but well...*l* [/b]

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Post by ScoobyDoes » Wed, 17 Jan 2007 11:33 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote: My parents are in their 80's (not together) and my mom lives on my farm where unfortunately, there is no broadband service yet so I'm stuffed there! :(
One word...... SkypeOut, if you have broadband, as lost said.

It allows you to call any conventional telephone anywhere in the world. Most rates are at Euro0.017 per minute meaning your 56min call to the US would be Euro0.952. So a USD1.25 call is a lot different from $10.64 (at ~USD6.95) and if you do that every week then the savings have basically paid for your entire broadband.

I'm only advising about SkypeOut because i've been using it for years with little problem. There are alternatives but those looking at costs should look for something like this.

If you have a mobile then, with using SkypeOut or similar you take out the fixed line from your apartment too and save there :wink:

I know for some people we are "only" talking a few dollars but for others in a month this can all be a significant saving.

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Jan 2007 12:38 pm

Hey Scoobydoes,

Thanks for the tip! :D

While I have heard about SkypeOut I really haven't looked into it all that much as my Mom is 'bout the only one overseas that I call regularly (tho my wife has been calling her brother in the UK a lot recently due to his poor health). You are talking about $40 to $50 a month savings which would allow me up upgrade my PacNet 1500 to 6500 without any cost differential. Worth looking into as every buck counts anymore. Wife just turned 60 so her CPF contributions took another hit which means our cash topup on our mortgage every month is now around 4 digits! :(

I will definitely investigate. (I guess I never really paid that much attention as I was here from a time when calls to the US cost me well nigh $200/hour some 24 years ago. (from that perspective $10 looks good!)

Thanks.
sms

Edited to add: SkypeOut should work great then using my dopod 900 then right? It's running Win Mobile 5.0.

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