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Melbourne to Singapore ... Is this a good package?

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ameraussie
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Melbourne to Singapore ... Is this a good package?

Postby ameraussie » Sun, 28 Oct 2012 1:43 pm

Hello! I have found this site to be extremely useful in planning our possible move to Singapore, and am hoping you all can provide some feedback on our particular situation.

We are a family of four, two kids under 5, with a modest lifestyle. For our holidays, we tend go for camping, staying in hostels or cheap hotels; we tend to cook at home or eat cheap and cheerful, rarely splash out for flash restaurants; in Melbourne I drive an ancient, dented used car that would probably resell for about $1000. In short, it is more important to us to save and have excellent life experiences than to live the high life. Get the picture?

So. Package is not quite S$200K, but on local terms (except relocation). In Oz, we're on about A$150K (with taxes, that's about S$119K NET). Given Singapore's much lower taxes, OH will net about A$145K per annum (S$180K).

Based on my research we are looking at the following big expenses:

1. A nice 3-br condo with good facilities in a good location (not super central, but not way out in the boonies either): S$48,000 per year or about $4000 pm. I realise it's probably possible to do it for less, but with two small kids, facilities like a swimming pool and playground seem kind of essential.

2. Education. This is the biggie, and it KILLS me because we have great public schools here in Oz: S$50,000 per year for the two kids. Maybe more? How much more?

3. Currently, we spend about S$1800 a month on groceries. How does this compare to Singapore?

4. Not planning to have a car in Singapore.

5. Would like a maid, live-in or other to help with the kids and the housework. How much is this? And how much child care can you reasonably expect from a maid?

So, my main question is this: Given this salary, and given our tendency to live frugally (more "wet markets and food courts" than "fancy Euro groceries and club memberships"), do you all think there is much prospect for savings on a S$198K salary?

I know this salary will seem grossly huge to some people, and in the scheme of the world, it certainly is. It's just that, in Australia, living frugally, we are able to save about S$50K a year. All I am trying to ascertain is how much it is to live comparably in Singapore, and whether we will have to kiss our expectation of savings goodbye.

Many thanks in advance for all your help!
:D
Last edited by ameraussie on Sun, 28 Oct 2012 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

offshoreoildude
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Postby offshoreoildude » Sun, 28 Oct 2012 3:39 pm

Yes you should be able to continue to save. Is your employer not meeting the school costs directly? IF not, and if the transfer is not permanent but for a few years; you could consider putting your kids into a local school. It is much cheaper although places can be hard to find.
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offshoreoildude
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Postby offshoreoildude » Sun, 28 Oct 2012 3:42 pm

PS Maid costs are about $1000 to $1400 per month depending on the nationality and experience. Better educated Filipinas are the most expensive and yes - you can expect them to be able to care for children a lot.
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ameraussie
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Postby ameraussie » Sun, 28 Oct 2012 4:49 pm

Thanks oildude. Yes, we are liable for the school costs. We really like the idea of the local school option, and will probably angle for that when No. 1 turns 6, provided we can get into a place that's close to where we live and it's a good fit. We are not concerned so much with school "ranking" as we realise these schools get filled with SCs and PRs well before EPs get a look in. But I'm not interested in schlepping to a school one hour across town in peak hour traffic. I can do that here in Oz!

The position is permanent but expect to be moving on before the kids hit high school. One idea perhaps is local school for the early years and intl school later on. Dunno. Depends on the kids. Obviously, if that works out, there's our savings problem solved. But we feel we need to factor the cost of intl school into our budget, though. Just in case.

As to the other expenditures (food and whatnot) do those look about right? Thanks!
Last edited by ameraussie on Sun, 28 Oct 2012 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Sun, 28 Oct 2012 4:52 pm

ameraussie wrote:Thanks oildude. Yes, we are liable for the school costs. We really like the idea of the local school option, and will probably angle for that when No. 1 turns 6, provided we can get into a place that's close to where we live and it's a good fit. We are not concerned so much with school "ranking" as we realise these schools get filled with SCs and PRs well before EPs get a look in. But I'm not interested in schlepping to a school one hour across town in peak hour traffic. I can do that here in Oz!

The position is permanent but expect to be moving on before high school. One idea perhaps is local school for the early years and intl school later on. Dunno. Depends on the kids. We feel we need to factor the cost of intl school into our budget, though. Just in case.

As to the other expenditures (food and whatnot) do those look about right? Thanks!


Pretty much. $1800 will feed you all for sure. Utilities will be about $300 max per month btw.
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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 28 Oct 2012 10:12 pm

offshoreoildude wrote:Pretty much. $1800 will feed you all for sure. Utilities will be about $300 max per month btw.


I dunno about that utilities number. Electricity costs almost S$0.29 per kilowatt hour in our lovely town. I hit about S$280 using only aircon at night in my master bedroom, once a week in the living room, and 5 hours a week on the dryer.

Costs will/would explode with additional usage.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Mon, 29 Oct 2012 8:53 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
offshoreoildude wrote:Pretty much. $1800 will feed you all for sure. Utilities will be about $300 max per month btw.


I dunno about that utilities number. Electricity costs almost S$0.29 per kilowatt hour in our lovely town. I hit about S$280 using only aircon at night in my master bedroom, once a week in the living room, and 5 hours a week on the dryer.

Costs will/would explode with additional usage.


True - it does depend on Aircon. I run at $200 a month - no dryer and 2 older aircons at night but I also run a dishwasher daily (which eats water and electricity). In my last place where I had good aircons (newer Inverter types) and no dishwasher my bill was $140. It depends very much on your level of usage obviously.
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ameraussie
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Postby ameraussie » Mon, 29 Oct 2012 9:41 am

Thanks all. As a stay-at-home/work-at-home parent of two small dirt-magnets, I think we are probably likely to be at the higher end of the usage scale than a working single or couple. I imagine that usage depends in part on the efficiency of the building and the air-con units too. In Australia, we currently pay about S$162 per month, using a dishwasher daily, or twice daily, and a dryer occasionally. No aircon, though. I'm budgeting for about S$300-400/mo.

Looks like Australia is pretty well on par with Singapore for expense, maybe even a little more expensive overall, just as the cost of living comparison charts suggest. The only exceptions are rent (maybe, depending on what you're after) and private schools, if you choose to go down that route.

Beyond expense... How do people find Singapore for young families? Easy to make friends/meet people?

Thanks again everyone!

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Postby offshoreoildude » Mon, 29 Oct 2012 10:02 am

ameraussie wrote:Thanks all. As a stay-at-home/work-at-home parent of two small dirt-magnets, I think we are probably likely to be at the higher end of the usage scale than a working single or couple. I imagine that usage depends in part on the efficiency of the building and the air-con units too. In Australia, we currently pay about S$162 per month, using a dishwasher daily, or twice daily, and a dryer occasionally. No aircon, though. I'm budgeting for about S$300-400/mo.

Looks like Australia is pretty well on par with Singapore for expense, maybe even a little more expensive overall, just as the cost of living comparison charts suggest. The only exceptions are rent (maybe, depending on what you're after) and private schools, if you choose to go down that route.

Beyond expense... How do people find Singapore for young families? Easy to make friends/meet people?

Thanks again everyone!


The expat population is very transient and of course there's several million tourists - so while it's easy to meet people becoming friends with someone for the long term is not so easy. We are active in our church which is a social centre as well as of course a spiritual centre.
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Postby offshoreoildude » Mon, 29 Oct 2012 10:04 am

PS - before you leave;

1. Notify your private health care insurance provider that you want your status put on hold while you're overseas. They have to hold it for seven years so you can resume where you left off.

2. Do the needful with ATO to inform them that you will be ex resident for tax purposes. There's a post on this forum somewhere outlining the steps.

3. Update your scripts for medication and get a six month refill - some medicines are not available and are certainly not subsidized.
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Postby col311 » Mon, 05 Nov 2012 7:15 am

Ameraussie: Sounds like your calculations are pretty right. We're moving there in February (from Sydney). I have 2 kids as well.. a 3y.o & a 7y.o. The 7 y.o will go to AIS (Australian International School) whilst we're planning to have a maid look after the 3y.o as well as 2-3 days in a day care center for extra stimulation & learning (we don't want her growing up with a Filipino accent & learning Filipino english!).

Where are you planning to send the kids to school? If you want to get into an International School you need to apply ASAP as there are limited places. Even though fees are highway robbery most expats will want to put their kids in these schools.

I've factored in $AS26k for per annum school fees plus there is an upfront admin cost of $3k + an extra $3-5k "infrastructure fee". Most independent schools have something similar. You also need to factor in uniforms + other expenses - laptop, excursions (this can be quite expensive as the excursions aren't to Melbourne zoo or the local museum, they go overseas!), & other incidentals. Altogether I put in around $S30k p.a per kid + upfront fees. Nice huh?

Getting into local schools is VERY hard for expats & also depends on where you are going to live.

In regards to the not having a car, that was my thought too originally, but I have a lot of expat friends with kids living in Singapore & every single one of them says that that thought lasts about 2-3 months max.. not having a car with kids (even with cheap taxis & great MRT system) is a huge hassle. So I've now factored in a buying a 2nd hand car by month 6 at the latest (probably earlier if we can). Whilst it won't be as cheap as the ancient you are driving now, it's also not too bad if you factor in really cheap finance costs in SG.

In regards to meeting people, my expat friends tell me that there a good expat clubs where you can meet lots of people. Of course if your kids go to an International School you can also meet parents of that school.

Since I travel to SG every month, I've made a lot of friends already plus I was originally born in SG (left when I was 3) & so still have relatives there.

All the best..

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Postby BillyB » Mon, 05 Nov 2012 10:54 am

Strong Eagle wrote:
offshoreoildude wrote:Pretty much. $1800 will feed you all for sure. Utilities will be about $300 max per month btw.


I dunno about that utilities number. Electricity costs almost S$0.29 per kilowatt hour in our lovely town. I hit about S$280 using only aircon at night in my master bedroom, once a week in the living room, and 5 hours a week on the dryer.

Costs will/would explode with additional usage.


I think someone is tapping into your supply, SE!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 05 Nov 2012 11:18 am

Mine's about the same, but I don't have any aircon at all! BUT I do have a house full of people (8 adults & a 5 year old). So my electricity bill is pretty high due to a dryer but my water bill is ridiculous.

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Postby JayCee » Mon, 05 Nov 2012 4:27 pm

[quote]as well as 2-3 days in a day care center for extra stimulation & learning (we don't want her growing up with a Filipino accent & learning Filipino english!).
[\quote]

If your kid having a different accent and speaking a bastardized version of English is a bit worry then boy did you choose the wrong place to move to :lol:

Good luck trying to stop your kid speaking singlish after a year or two here
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Postby ameraussie » Mon, 05 Nov 2012 5:50 pm

OK. This wasn't the crux of my original post, but now you've got me thinking. Do people hang their clothes out to dry in Singapore, or mainly use dryers? I imagine space and humidity might be an issue, but the electricity costs of a dryer can be heinous. (Do most condos have, like, a laundry room?)

As for me, I'm cool with my kids speaking Singlish, just as long as they can still speak the bastardised American-Australian English their British-Australian-American parents have been teaching them from birth. It's a truck, no it's a ute, no it's a lorry! What the hell. It has wheels. LOL. :D
Last edited by ameraussie on Mon, 05 Nov 2012 6:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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