What are your monthly expenses?

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rachelgrr
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What are your monthly expenses?

Post by rachelgrr » Mon, 21 Sep 2009 12:13 am

Hi everyone,

I am interested in Singapore as a possible place to live. I have lived all over the US, the Dominican Republic, and am now in Peru. I am looking for my next place and am curious about the cost of living there.

Currently in Peru my expenses are $400 USD a month - that includes everything - food, rent, transportation, utilities. We (my husband and 3 1/2 year old daughter) live in a 3 bed 1 bath apartment that is okay. We like to keep things as economical as possible. While we want to live in a good neighborhood (meaning parks for my daughter, things to do, etc) we also want to keep expenses down.

So what areas do you all live in and what are your monthly expenses?


Thank you so much,
Rachel

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jpatokal
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Re: What are your monthly expenses?

Post by jpatokal » Mon, 21 Sep 2009 8:08 pm

rachelgrr wrote:Currently in Peru my expenses are $400 USD a month - that includes everything - food, rent, transportation, utilities.
Completely and totally impossible in Singapore. You'll get a wide range of answers for what you need to get by in Sing, but S$1000/mo is about the bare minimum of existence (rented room in the boonies, utilities, transport, food) and few expats would be willing to entertain anything under S$3000/mo.
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Post by starline » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 4:16 am

Taking this question from another angle:
We are about to relocate to Singapore. I'm taking a bottom up approach for building the budget, and I'd like to get some feedback from experienced expats:
Just as a background, we plan to live in a 4-5 bedroom aparment in district 10 or 11. (School, Rent and Car leasing is paid by the firm).
Did I miss something? Probably the entertainment spending when having 3 kids (6,8,11) - How much could that cost?

fuel $400.00
Grocery $2,000.00
parking $100.00
Cable TV $100.00
Internet $100.00
Mobile Phone $100.00
Restaurants $1,000.00
Taxis $1,000.00
Electricity $800.00
School Bus $500.00
Total (Temp) $6,100.00

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Post by road.not.taken » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 6:25 am

starline wrote:Taking this question from another angle:
We are about to relocate to Singapore. I'm taking a bottom up approach for building the budget, and I'd like to get some feedback from experienced expats:
Just as a background, we plan to live in a 4-5 bedroom aparment in district 10 or 11. (School, Rent and Car leasing is paid by the firm).
Did I miss something? Probably the entertainment spending when having 3 kids (6,8,11) - How much could that cost?

fuel $400.00
Grocery $2,000.00
parking $100.00
Cable TV $100.00
Internet $100.00
Mobile Phone $100.00
Restaurants $1,000.00
Taxis $1,000.00
Electricity $800.00
School Bus $500.00
Total (Temp) $6,100.00
Hi Starline:

I think Parking is a bit high, I drive a fair amount & park all over Orchard. Maybe $75/month
Mobile phones X 3 (you and 2 of the children) might be a bit low,
$1,000 a month on taxis. Yikes! That's a lot. Will your husband commute everyday via taxi? Using other mass transit should bring this cost down as well.
Our cable bill is a bit higher but it includes every English channel and internet
$1,000 for restaurants sounds generous but if you eat out once a week at a Western type restaurant... I hate to say it, but Chilis, California Pizza Kitchen, Hard Rock will all run about $150-$200 for the 5 of you.
What about a maid?
Club fees?
Kids allowance/incidentals ? (lunch, school supplies, birthday gifts for friends, uniforms, sports fees, other extra curriculars, books, movies. About $250/month per child is a low estimate.

Good luck with your move.

**just checked, the cable bill is $178/month and then there is iTunes. Another $100 at least I'm afraid...
Last edited by road.not.taken on Tue, 22 Sep 2009 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What are your monthly expenses?

Post by road.not.taken » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 6:30 am

rachelgrr wrote:Hi everyone,

I am interested in Singapore as a possible place to live. I have lived all over the US, the Dominican Republic, and am now in Peru. I am looking for my next place and am curious about the cost of living there.

Currently in Peru my expenses are $400 USD a month - that includes everything - food, rent, transportation, utilities. We (my husband and 3 1/2 year old daughter) live in a 3 bed 1 bath apartment that is okay. We like to keep things as economical as possible. While we want to live in a good neighborhood (meaning parks for my daughter, things to do, etc) we also want to keep expenses down.

So what areas do you all live in and what are your monthly expenses?


Thank you so much,
Rachel
What jpatokal said is unfortunately true. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Singapore on a budget, but $400 a month is about half of what you'll need just for rent.

This can be a very expensive place to live.

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Post by starline » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 2:16 pm

Adjusting the budget per your comments:
Adding a maid visiting twice a week at $350?
Cut down on taxis to $800 and adjusted the mobile bill to $300 (This is quite a lot)
Are there any other bills I forgot? Any leisure activities I should take into acount ?
How can people in singapore live with $3000 which should also cover rent?
More feedback from other experienced expats is welcomed.

fuel $ 400.00
Grocery $ 2,000.00
parking $ 75.00
Cable TV $ 100.00
Internet $ 100.00
Mobile Phone $ 300.00
Restaurants $ 1,000.00
Taxis $ 800.00
Electricity $ 800.00
School Bus $ 500.00
Maid $ 350.00
Total (Temp) $ 6,425.00

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Post by Nath21 » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 3:08 pm

fuel $ 0.00 (dont have a car - MRT/bus about $100
Grocery $ 2,000.00 (I spent this early but you learn new places and change your eating habits this should drop, im currently at $950 but you will probably spend that in your first few months)
parking $ 75.00 (no car)
Cable TV $ 100.00 My package is about $70
Internet $ 100.00 Free at my condo
Mobile Phone $ 300.00 agree
Restaurants $ 1,000.00 depends on your lifestyle
Taxis $ 800.00 (no way even if I caught a taxi every day to and from work it would only come to around $600 per month
Electricity $ 800.00 (averaging about $350 for four ac units that seems high. I think the deposit was like $900)
School Bus $ 500.00 no school age kids
Maid $ 350.00 (I dont have a maid but I though they were $250-350 pay and then government of $350 as well plus your upfornt agency fee if you use one, plus a few other expenses, gift, flight home, medical. Also consider if you need to get an extra room for them or not.
Total (Temp) $ 6,425.00

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Post by starline » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 3:48 pm

Thanks Nath,
So no school age kids means lower grocery expenses. Changing my kids eating habits - I doubt it :-). However I agree, we would probably lower it a little.
Electricity - from my reading through various forums, it seems that it is closer to 800 than it is to 350.
BTW, how can you manage without a car during the weekend when you want to travel around, go to some parks taking the bikes with you. Ho convenient is it using cabs when having three kids.

I also thought of adding babysitter fees when we want to go out during evening. Any ideas on costs?

Maid - Do I need to pay to the government even if I have maid comming over on a hourly basis?

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Post by Nath21 » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 4:20 pm

The bus, MRT cover this whole island especially the parts you will visit so you just get a charge card to use its so cheap and efficient compared to any western country. The car is good for groceries except I found out they home deliver anyway now so thats not even a problem. A lot of expats get the fruit and vegs, meat and seafood delivered through companies that cater to expats here. Or you just go to the wet markets and local places, part of the fun of living here.

Tha car to me would only be useful for school runs or visitng malaysia (watch out there - can read other posts about how safe that is) or if you choose to live far from public transport like in a landed property.

It also depends where you live im next door to Harbourfront MRT, which is 200m away, is next to two shopping centres, next to Mt faber which has a 15km trail, is next to the marina if you like to sail, is next to sentosa the fun island and its less than 10 min from the business district by bus and 2-4 stops to the main areas like chinatown, clarke quary, orchard etc.

We use a maid- local singaporean then there is no extra cost - between S$10-15 per hour. Usual is about S$12. You have to make sure they are local or you can get a fine (some lady who went through an agency even got fined S$17k and that was an agency!). Have to ask for there papers for proof. As you can imagine a lot of maids work on the side as other maids, side jobs or even in orchard towers from all reports. The maid we have cleans and babysits as we only have one child. Some only do one or the other but I would say most do both. Same price. Sometimes they might ask you for transport money like S$5 as well.

Believe me you will change there eating habits you cant get everything you want here and when you can it can be expensive. Everything is basically imported here and if you stick to brands you love they will be doubly expensive. Also the kids will start liking some of the food here its hard not to like there is a food shop for everyone.

With the ac I have two bedrooms full bore at night, one on 23 and the other on 25. During the day the other two are on at 24, water here is cheap and that costs as I say around S$350. Your place will be bigger so better safe than sorry on the budget anyway. You have to decide here whether you want your room really cold at night and a thicker doona or sleep with just a sheet and have it warmer. I have experimented and I just need to do the cold with a doona over me. sounds weird but only way I can sleep. Other people dont even need ac just go fan and maybe sheet or not.

If you want a tip from every bed here is super hard even the hotels and bed shops. we bought mattress protectors for the beds, really thick ones from IKEA.

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Post by maybemover » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 9:28 pm

what about insurance for your household / camera ?
costs for school books
and clothing

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Post by durain » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 9:42 pm

to add...

air-cond servicing and tv license.

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Post by jpatokal » Tue, 22 Sep 2009 10:44 pm

starline wrote:How can people in singapore live with $3000 which should also cover rent?
There are families with kids subsisting on incomes of under $1000, and a friend of mine had a monthly budget of $200 after rent while he was a student... :o

Ways to cut costs:
- Use public transport. You'd really have to try to rack up even $100/month in bus and MRT fares.
- Cook local food, or at least adapt your recipes to use local ingredients. Western food (processed meats, cheese, imported veggies, dry cereal etc) costs much more than the local stuff.
- When eating out, eat local food. $5/person at the hawker centre is a lot less than $20/person at midrange restaurants.

If you have a car and a school bus, I don't really see why you'd need to allocate $1000/mo to taxis? Most journeys are under $10, so that budget is enough for more than three rides a day!
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Post by starline » Wed, 23 Sep 2009 6:11 am

Reason for Taxi budget the way I see it is for the wife to go from place to another during daytime and with the kids during afternoon. We own two cars today so totally switching to public transportation is not realistic at the first months.

As for Air-Con service? Why should it be in the budget in the first place? how much are we talking about here?
TV license !@?

I've added a leisure section for the cost of activities we as a family should be doing in our free time (weekends mainly), such us zoo, parks etc. It seems that there are almost total of 4 month in school vacations in Singapore. Makes me want to be a kid again. How much should I allocate here?

Clothing ?

So here is the updated table. (Question to the Forum manager: Can we make this table as a working template for the benefit of future expats. A little bit of excel work, and we can share a great tool for planning

fuel $400.00
Grocery $2,000.00
parking $75.00
Cable TV $100.00
Internet $100.00
Mobile Phone $300.00
Restaurants $800.00
Taxis $700.00
Electricity $800.00
School Bus $500.00
Maid $350.00
Babysitter $200.00
Air Cond Service ?
TV License ?
Leisure ?
Clothing ?
Total (Temp) $6,325.00

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Post by road.not.taken » Wed, 23 Sep 2009 6:34 am

starline wrote:So here is the updated table. (Question to the Forum manager: Can we make this table as a working template for the benefit of future expats. A little bit of excel work, and we can share a great tool for planning

fuel $400.00
Grocery $2,000.00
parking $75.00
Cable TV $100.00
Internet $100.00
Mobile Phone $300.00
Restaurants $800.00
Taxis $700.00
Electricity $800.00
School Bus $500.00
Maid $350.00
Babysitter $200.00
Air Cond Service ?
TV License ?
Leisure ?
Clothing ?
Total (Temp) $6,325.00
I am not a Forum Manager, but I can tell probably 1% of the population and maybe 5% of expats live this way. If I were setting out to budget, I would factor in travel as well.

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Post by starline » Wed, 23 Sep 2009 12:08 pm

5% live this way? What would be the avarage of the top 30% expats? :???: This is where I'm heading.
Assuming we cut the food by $500 (still a family of 5), and Taxi by another $500, you still have all the rest in the proper range. Add to that the missing items and you can easily get to the $8K range and up.
Am I missing something? This post is for getting some feedback on the real life in singapore so your feedback is highly appreciated.

Travel is something I'm planning as well, but I will keep it out of the this discussion at this point as it can really alot between location

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