Press "Enter" to skip to content

Moving to Singapore: Essential Living Costs & Relocation Tips

Often referred to as the Lion City of Southeast Asia, Singapore is one of the most exciting places to relocate. Delicious food, breathtaking architecture, and the amazing culture are some of the island city-state trademarks that make it so attractive in addition to a great tropical climate, gorgeous beaches, and many islets to explore (62 to be exact). Moving to Singapore can be an exciting adventure.

The relocation process may feel daunting and exciting at the same time, but if you take the time to emotionally and spiritually prepare for this major life change, you can take some of the stress out of the equation. Start by preparing for the move well in advance and envision your life there as you make plans for your new life. Remember to focus on what’s positive and make sure you give yourself enough time to say goodbye before opening a new chapter in your life.

After that, you can begin exploring the practical side of moving to Singapore and learning about things such as living costs and ways to reduce daily expenses. To help you out, we’re listing some useful financial and relocation tips, so you know what to expect.

Relocating to Singapore
Photo by VH from Pexels

Choosing the location

With five regions and twenty-eight districts, Singapore has something for everyone’s budget. The rental prices tend to escalate as you near the center, while properties in the outskirts of the city tend to be much cheaper. Generally speaking, if you’re looking to find an affordable place to live in, you’re better off looking at rental properties in the northern districts than those in the central ones. You can find a three-bedroom apartment in the North District with a monthly rent of around $1900, while the same size apartment in Central District can end up costing you $5000.

It’d be best to look for short-term accommodation at first. You’ll give yourself enough time to explore the island and find something that fits your lifestyle and budget that you can commit to for longer.

Finding a job

After finding the place you want to move to, you’ll also have to consider the employment options that are available there. Given how Singapore is a major business hub, there are many industries you can work for that offer great salaries such as banking, accounting, and finances. Healthcare, IT, and the legal industry are also quite strong here, and the same goes for the infrastructure, energy, and tourism industry.

Salaries will vary depending on the job, with $4,056 being the average monthly income (2016). Expats looking to work in Singapore will need an Employment Pass. This is something your employer can help you with, and securing a job there prior to your move should make things go easier.

Tackling finances

While moving to Singapore can get expensive, life in this city-state often comes with a decent income. A little planning and budgeting go a long way, and if you know where to spend and how to shop wisely, you’ll have no trouble making your hard-earned dollars last longer. Saving money can be as easy as using public transport (buses instead of taxis) and grocery shopping in supermarkets.

Aiming to become a cashless society, Singaporeans generally prefer plastic to paper, and paying with debit or credit cards is pretty much the standard for them. If you don’t want to pay any credit card fees (who does?), having a credit card with no annual fee in Singapore is your safest bet, and it’s even more convenient. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the minimum spending amount to be able to get additional cashback.

Getting around the city

Getting around Singapore
Photo by Adhitya Andanu from Pexels

The hot and humid climate of Singapore also calls for efficient public transport services. Sweaty walks are easily avoided with the help of the island’s well-connected roads and inexpensive transport links. From taxis to buses to MRT trains, getting around the city-state and soaking in everything it has to offer is something that can be done relatively cheaply and efficiently. Some cards can be used for trains and busses that you can easily top-up (EZlink card), and there are also websites where you can see routes, timetables, and pricing (SMRT website).

Packing for the climate

Singapore’s tropical climate is made easier on its residents with affordable public transport, but it also calls for lightweight fabrics and footwear. Its proximity to the equator means temperatures are typically around 30 degrees, so flip-flops, shorts, and light dresses and shirts are staples here, along with a light wardrobe color scheme. Clothing prices are generally higher than what you’d pay in the US or Europe, with jeans costing between $70 and $150 while running shoes can cost up to $150. The more summery clothes you bring with you, the less you’ll have to spend when you get there. 

Another option would be to wait for shopping events such as GSS (Great Singapore Sale) to save money. You can also buy second-hand clothes and sell items you don’t wear.

City of Singapore
Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

Wrapping up

A multicultural and vibrant business hub, Singapore makes for an ideal city-state to move to. Before deciding to uproot and relocate to the Little Red Dot, it pays to read about its living costs so you can know what to expect and plan your budget accordingly. With these few tips in mind, you’re sure to make the moving to Singapore process go much more smoothly.

Featured Photo by Adhitya Andanu from Pexels