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Cost of living in Singapore

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undecided73
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Cost of living in Singapore

Postby undecided73 » Sun, 15 Dec 2013 4:57 am

I am planning to relocate from Europe to Singapore with my wife and 2 boys (2 and 5 y.o). The salary is $150 SGD gross and I would appreciate your feedback for the following:

a) what would be the net amount - If tax is 9% (not sure) then net amount is $11,250 per month.
b) my office will be close to Marina Bay - which areas are better to live in order to get there within 20 minutes max by public transport?
c) for a three-bedroom flat how much should I expect to pay? with a budget $2,5k -$3k it is important for proximity to public transport, shopping centers and schools.
d) we plan to sent the kids to public school - any ideas about the admission process - how easy is it?
e) a rough breakdown of expenses for food, utilities, transportation, medical insurance (not sure yet if it would be covered by employer) and any thing else I forgot.
f) crucial detail: I have to save $2500 per month so available disposable income falls to $8750.

Thank you,

Undecided73

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zzm9980
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Re: Cost of living in Singapore

Postby zzm9980 » Sun, 15 Dec 2013 11:24 am

undecided73 wrote:I am planning to relocate from Europe to Singapore with my wife and 2 boys (2 and 5 y.o). The salary is $150 SGD gross and I would appreciate your feedback for the following:

a) what would be the net amount - If tax is 9% (not sure) then net amount is $11,250 per month.
b) my office will be close to Marina Bay - which areas are better to live in order to get there within 20 minutes max by public transport?
c) for a three-bedroom flat how much should I expect to pay? with a budget $2,5k -$3k it is important for proximity to public transport, shopping centers and schools.
d) we plan to sent the kids to public school - any ideas about the admission process - how easy is it?
e) a rough breakdown of expenses for food, utilities, transportation, medical insurance (not sure yet if it would be covered by employer) and any thing else I forgot.
f) crucial detail: I have to save $2500 per month so available disposable income falls to $8750.

Thank you,

Undecided73


1) Tax is not withheld in Singapore. If your gross is 150k your net will be 150k/12 per month.

2) Use 'www.gothere.sg'. It will give you travel times for various options between points A and B in Singapore. With your budget this may be extremely difficult to do.

3) At that budget you're looking at renting an HDB flat. Use the various property sites to search in radiuses around various MRT stations. See my comment above.

4) Difficult. You can expect to pay $600-900 per month per kid even for public school, and as a foreigner you will not have priority in selecting the school closest to you. They may have a long commute to school.

5) We don't know what you eat, or anything else. One family of four may spend $300 a month for groceries, another $1500 per month depending on diet. Use the search engine on this forum and Google and do your own research if you're just going to ask generally broad questions.

6) Good luck with that one. You're going to need it.

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Re: Cost of living in Singapore

Postby Tanuki » Sun, 15 Dec 2013 12:12 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
undecided73 wrote:I am planning to relocate from Europe to Singapore with my wife and 2 boys (2 and 5 y.o). The salary is $150 SGD gross and I would appreciate your feedback for the following:

a) what would be the net amount - If tax is 9% (not sure) then net amount is $11,250 per month.
b) my office will be close to Marina Bay - which areas are better to live in order to get there within 20 minutes max by public transport?
c) for a three-bedroom flat how much should I expect to pay? with a budget $2,5k -$3k it is important for proximity to public transport, shopping centers and schools.
d) we plan to sent the kids to public school - any ideas about the admission process - how easy is it?
e) a rough breakdown of expenses for food, utilities, transportation, medical insurance (not sure yet if it would be covered by employer) and any thing else I forgot.
f) crucial detail: I have to save $2500 per month so available disposable income falls to $8750.

Thank you,

Undecided73


3) At that budget you're looking at renting an HDB flat. Use the various property sites to search in radiuses around various MRT stations. See my comment above.

5) We don't know what you eat, or anything else. One family of four may spend $300 a month for groceries, another $1500 per month depending on diet. Use the search engine on this forum and Google and do your own research if you're just going to ask generally broad questions.

6) Good luck with that one. You're going to need it.


My wife and I moved here from Seattle, and while the HDB's are indeed lower cost, we would never live in them as they don't have pools. The pool at our condo is a total life-saver. And I'm not even close to kidding about that one. When you get home soaked with sweat, a shower just doesn't cut it. The pool is a necessity. :shock:

We're in Tiong Bahru, and I have yet to see a neighborhood that has as much available as here. We can walk to 3 Fairprices, a Cold Storage and 2 wet markets with ease. Plus there are a plethora of small shops around. The wet markets can save you a fortune over the expat food stores, and the food hawkers can be your friend too. No idea about schools as we're empty-nesters. The transport is excellent here, with a wide variety of bus options plus the MRT is only a 10 minute stroll. It's all quite inexpensive. Taxi's are generally plentiful but they are getting less inexpensive with ERP updates, etc. When it rains you won't get one.

Medical is good in my case, though my wife has no dental or life coverage from it. But I pay nothing to go to a clinic. Yours could be different. The insurance I looked at on the web appears to be cheaper than the US. Lots of variables of course.

One hard part can be to adjust to living local vs trying to remain as you lived before. The kids may have it harder to change foods than you, or vice-versa. We tend to eat more local stuff, but buy a few "comfort" foods at relatively high prices, such as spinach, nice ham, etc. If you try to eat & drink the same as back in Europe, the money can disappear quickly.

A few thoughts...

Tanuki

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Postby Dert42 » Wed, 18 Dec 2013 3:10 pm

I have nearly the same profile as you.

I think your housing budget is low, but doable.
I agree with Tanuki about the pool. Especially with 2 kids.

Other people will say opting for a condo with a pool is not worth it over a HDB, but we use the pool several times a week.

I think your commute time is unreasable for your budget. I have a 12-15 minute ride on MRT which is short, but then I have a 12+ minute walk on the other end. Partially due to stop lights.

We're sending our 6 year old to private school. The 2 year old will follow in a few years. Costs a rediculous amount. Hopefully it pays off in the long run.
That was just the best option for us. Local schools seemed like a huge hassel. You're also at the bottom of the ladder, and have almost no control over anything. I prefer to call the shots.

Transportation runs us around $150 a month. We take mostly busses and MRT. A taxi once and a while. I was pleased with how cheap that was.

Utilities: Seemed to have settled down to about $300 a month for water and electricitiy. One bill was $180, another was $700. we had to acclimate to hot weather after the $700 one. ie. open windows instead of AC.

Medical: nothing. my company reimburses us for the first $1500 we spend. A trip to the dr yesterday for me was $28. So I expect medical will end up costing us near nothing. This could be wildly different for you.

Food: totally up to you. I think we're at about $1,000 a month. Stuff just costs more here. In the US we could get a gallon of milk for about $4. Here I think 1 liter is nearly $6. which is a lot lot less then a gallon. So I get real ticked when the kid spills it all over the floor. Anyway.. yes hawker centers are awesome. Also ovens are rare in condos, and may be completely absent in HDBs. So cooking at home to save money isn't really going to work.

So if you are able to find housing you like for your budget, and somehow get your kids into public school, it's do-able. Hopefully you get some kind of bonus on top of the salary so you can travel and have fun.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 18 Dec 2013 4:22 pm

Dert42 wrote:Here I think 1 liter is nearly $6.

Where do you buy your milk?!?
NTUC has several brands for below S$2 per liter!

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Postby kookaburrah » Wed, 18 Dec 2013 4:30 pm

beppi wrote:
Dert42 wrote:Here I think 1 liter is nearly $6.

Where do you buy your milk?!?
NTUC has several brands for below S$2 per liter!


Fresh milk? Not that awful marigold stuff? I doubt it.

Edited: Not marigold. Magnolia. And it's $6 for 2 litres (about half a gallon).

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Postby Wd40 » Wed, 18 Dec 2013 4:45 pm

Even fresh milk at NTUC(Meiji) is like $5.XX for 2 ltrs. Its like less than half of $6 that Dert is talking about.

http://www.fairprice.com.sg/webapp/wcs/ ... gory=10064

I always buy the cheapest UHT milk available $2.95 for 2 Ltrs(Cowhead/DutchLady). For our daughter we give her the super expensive Nestle NAN formula milk

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 18 Dec 2013 7:16 pm

1L of (random) fresh organic milk at Cold Storage is about $4, probably what Dert was referring to.

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Re: Cost of living in Singapore

Postby Beeroclock » Wed, 18 Dec 2013 11:04 pm

zzm9980 wrote:
1) Tax is not withheld in Singapore. If your gross is 150k your net will be 150k/12 per month.


While that's true, you do of course have to pay tax eventually and a lot of people get caught out when if finally catches up or when they leave. If you take the "giro" monthly installments it will effectively become like a net monthly pay from the second year onwards, ie employer will pay you gross and iras will direct debit a monthly tax installment from your bank account.

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Re: Cost of living in Singapore

Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 19 Dec 2013 7:28 am

Beeroclock wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:
1) Tax is not withheld in Singapore. If your gross is 150k your net will be 150k/12 per month.


While that's true, you do of course have to pay tax eventually and a lot of people get caught out when if finally catches up or when they leave. If you take the "giro" monthly installments it will effectively become like a net monthly pay from the second year onwards, ie employer will pay you gross and iras will direct debit a monthly tax installment from your bank account.


Right. My point was more that OP should use this as a planned savings he must undertake. I guess that got lost.

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Postby Dert42 » Thu, 19 Dec 2013 8:31 am

hmm my milk price may be wildly off.
i was pretty sure it was close to $6 though.

will check again. it's not organic or fancy.. it just the blue label milk you see everywhere.

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Postby Steve1960 » Thu, 19 Dec 2013 8:39 am

A little bit of balance. I live in HDB housing.

The kitchen has a nice oven, we cook a lot at home and shop at the wet market 5 minutes walk from the apartment. Saves money.

The local public swimming pool is 10 minutes walk. It has two full size pools and a kids fun pool and costs less than 3 dollars for all three of us to get in.

Been here 20 months and never felt the desire to live in a condo.

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Re: Cost of living in Singapore

Postby Beeroclock » Thu, 19 Dec 2013 9:45 am

zzm9980 wrote:
Beeroclock wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:
1) Tax is not withheld in Singapore. If your gross is 150k your net will be 150k/12 per month.


While that's true, you do of course have to pay tax eventually and a lot of people get caught out when if finally catches up or when they leave. If you take the "giro" monthly installments it will effectively become like a net monthly pay from the second year onwards, ie employer will pay you gross and iras will direct debit a monthly tax installment from your bank account.


Right. My point was more that OP should use this as a planned savings he must undertake. I guess that got lost.


Yup exactly... Just trying to clarify it for this budgeting exercise, so as not to fall into the trap some people live like kings for the first year and then suffer thereafter

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 19 Dec 2013 10:01 am

kookaburrah wrote:Fresh milk? Not that awful marigold stuff? I doubt it.
Edited: Not marigold. Magnolia. And it's $6 for 2 litres (about half a gallon).


Yes I agree, Magnolia is not to my taste either. It's UHT but by what ever means, such that a material amount of the lactose must get converted into maltose; hence the rather out of place 'toasty'/malty flavour it seems to have.

We buy Farmhouse brand (from NTUC, and NTUC Express). Australian, in a blue and green carton. Low fat, despite which it tastes pretty good. I don't recall the price (which speaks volumes!), but NTUC online have another kind of Farmhouse brand milk, and that's $2.10/L.

p.s. Gotta love how you can buy milk here branded as 'Fresh, UHT' ... :lol:

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 19 Dec 2013 10:12 am

Steve1960 wrote:A little bit of balance. I live in HDB housing.

The kitchen has a nice oven, we cook a lot at home and shop at the wet market 5 minutes walk from the apartment. Saves money.

The local public swimming pool is 10 minutes walk. It has two full size pools and a kids fun pool and costs less than 3 dollars for all three of us to get in.

Been here 20 months and never felt the desire to live in a condo.


I concur. Been living in HDB housing for 14 years. Our local pool is a little further away but can be walked in 15 minutes. I've got wet & dry & NTUC/Giant all within a 3 minutes walk along with an assortment of Restaurants and Kopitiams. Also, NEX is only a 25 minutes stroll away or 10 minutes by bus.


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