Cost of living in Singapore as an Expat

The cost of living in Singapore is amongst the highest in the world, so there are a few things to consider before moving to Singapore to ensure that the salary is sufficient for your costs and expectations. We have listed some examples in this article to help you estimate the expected costs better.

Rental Costs Singapore

Rental prices in Singapore are very high and can vary drastically depending on the accommodation type and location. Singapore has 3 different types of accommodation: HDB, condo and landed properties.

HDBs are government-subsidized apartments that help Singaporeans buy their own homes. These apartments are the cheapest (considering the price per square meter) in the housing market.

A 3-room HDB can cost between 2500 SGD and 5000 SGD. The cost is, of course, influenced by the location, accessibility, and condition of the apartment.

Condos (condominiums) are private residential units that are generally more expensive but also have pools, barbecue areas and gyms in the building. 3-bedrooms start from 4500 SGD and can get much more expensive depending on the building facilities' size, location and level of luxury.

Landed properties are detached houses such as villas, townhouses, and normal apartment buildings, which are Singapore's most expensive way of living. Smaller terraced houses start from around SGD 6000 and offer more space than other housing types.

Grocery Costs Singapore

Food costs in Singapore are affordable to earnings if you know where and how to shop properly. There are some big supermarkets such as Fairprice, Giant and Sheng Siong where you can shop very affordably. But if you are looking for the cheapest alternative, the"wet markets" are the best option. These are markets where you can get very good prices for fruit, vegetables, meat and groceries.

The average cost for groceries for a family of 4 per month is between 600 - 900 SGD; depending on the type of food or special needs, this can be higher or lower.


Public transportation in Singapore is among the cheapest and most efficient. The majority of people living here do not own a car as the public transportation network is really well connected to everywhere.

There are 2 modes of public transportation in Singapore: buses and MRT (metro). Both buses and MRTs are very clean and efficient. Delays are rare.

The average transportation cost per person is 100 - 150 SGD per month.

If you want a car, you can buy or rent one, but the costs are very high in Singapore. You should expect to pay between 1000 - 3000 SGD per month or easily over 100000 SGD to buy a basic car.

Insurance for Expats in Singapore

In Singapore, you and your family should have good private health insurance, as medical treatment can be expensive. The medical system in Singapore is one of the best, and its reputation is very good. If your stay in Singapore is longer, consider private pension insurance. The price of insurance can vary depending on the coverage and package.

School fees in Singapore

School costs are also a major factor for expats, as most public schools have very limited places for foreigners. Therefore, most expat children enrol at international schools in Singapore.

School costs can vary depending on the type of school and grade.

Annual school fees on average

  1. Lower Cost 15000-25000
  2. Mid-range 25000-35000
  3. Premium 35000+

Income Tax

Income tax should also be included in the costs. The tax rate can vary depending on your income. Here is a list:

Gross income (SGD) Tax rate
Up to 30,000
30,000 – 40,000
40,000 – 80,000
80,000 – 120,000
120,000 – 160,000
160,000 – 200,000
200,000 – 240,000
240,000 – 280,000
280,000 – 320,000

Social activities and costs

Finally, the topic of social activities and costs. In general, the fees for sports memberships in Singapore tend to be more expensive due to the costs and rents. On the other hand, eating out can be cheaper if you don't necessarily want to go to a 5-star restaurant.

There are many ways to have fun without spending a lot. These include visiting Sentosa Island and enjoying the beach, visiting East Coast Park, visiting Pulau Ubin Island or hiking in the forests of Bukit Timah. These are some leisure activities that cost almost nothing and offer great alternatives at the weekend.

Singapore offers a lot of activities and plenty of opportunities to do alone or with the family. In general, you should expect monthly costs of 200 – 500 SGD per month for one person.


Finally, we list all the costs in a table. This gives you an overview of the possible costs.

Expenses per month Amount (SGD)
3 Bedroom Condo
Groceries for a family of 4
Transportation cost for a family of 4
Insurance for a family of 4
School fees for 2 children

The budget can vary depending on lifestyle and family size, but we've put together the main expenses for you here. Some expats receive ‘expat packages’ in which the company that sends them to Singapore covers costs such as schooling, accommodation and transport. So, if you are currently negotiating your salary and benefits package, consider these points and plan accordingly before moving to Singapore.

More advice for choosing an international school in Singapore

We hope that you found this article useful! If you have any further questions, our experienced admissions team will be happy to help you. At GESS International School, we support families in choosing the right international school in Singapore for their child. Click the button below to book a no-obligation school tour or online study consultation meeting with our admissions team.