Tips for budget family living in Singapore
Singapore has been named the most expensive city in the world. In a country with a high standard of living and a wide income disparity, is it possible to raise a family comfortably? Read on for tips on how to live a budget family lifestyle in Singapore.
Most expensive city
Singapore has retained its position as the world's most expensive city, according to research by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The small country is economically overpowering an elite group of famous cities, such as Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney.
According to data by the EIU, Singapore was found to be more expensive than London, New York and even Hong Kong. The study showed that the cost of living had increased dramatically in the past years due to exchange rate movement that resulted in rising expenses. Rising housing costs in the land-scarce city were also a cause for concern.
Tips to live a comfortable budget lifestyle
It would seem that living comfortably in Singapore may be out of reach to anyone other than the wealthy locals and expatriates, especially if you are trying to raise a family. But there are many ways to get around cheaply, just follow these tips.
They say Singapore is the Mecca of food. French, Italian, Japanese, Indian and Mediterranean cuisines have sprung all over the island boasting top quality fare. But the real treasure in Singapore lies in its local hawker food. Chicken Rice, Hokkien Mee, Nasi Briyani and Char Kway Teow are just a few of Singapore’s famous dishes, which are as tasty as they are cheap. And they are very cheap. Hawker centres and food courts sell their fare at prices usually ranging from S$3-5, well below the average price of a fast-food meal. Families can head over to stalls selling ‘zhi-char’, which comprises home-cooked dishes served with individual plates of white rice.
Singapore’s car prices are legendary. In fact before one can even purchase a car, one has to first a purchase an expensive Certificate of Entitlement (COE). Fret not, Singapore is already a small country where most places are relatively close-by. More importantly, Singapore has an established public transport system that includes an extensive MRT (train) network and a vast bus system. An average bus or MRT ride costs about S$1.60. The average commute to and fro work each day would only amount to S$3.20. If cab rides are expensive and bus rides are too long, one can reach a compromise by taking special buses that travel to the city from the heartlands during rush hour periods. Be prepared to pay around S$4 but you will find that the trip will be a fast one.
Singapore is a mixture of old and new. A knowledge based economy with towering skyscrapers overshadows the rows of shop-houses and an old but surviving Asian culture. In other first world countries, one purchases his goods from one of the local branches of a giant, international supermarket. In Singapore, these big conglomerates are still abound. Yet if you take a step into the heartlands, you will notice that there are many small to medium sized shops selling common household items and even groceries. These heartland shops lack tasteful interior designing or powerful marketing methods that are the hallmarks of big supermarkets. But residents still frequent these shops because of the low prices and the easy convenience of a shop that caters to the needs of the neighbourhood. Find these not-so-hidden gems and purchase your necessities there.