05 Feb

Living in Singapore as an Expat: How to Minimise Your Expenses

With Singapore having a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in the world, one of the most common issues foreigners have about living in this Southeast Asian country is dealing with expenses. If you’re not careful about how you spend your money, you might end up with an empty wallet. On the upside, however, living in Singapore as an expat gives you access to a low tax environment and allows you to enjoy great safety, excellent government services, and political stability.

To enjoy your life in Singapore without emptying the contents of your pockets and wallet, here are some important tips you must consider.

1. Look for a diplomatic clause when renting property
When renting a property, make sure that the contract has a diplomatic clause, especially if you have a lease exceeding 12 months. In case you were retrenched or transferred by your employer, this clause will enable you to terminate the lease on two months’ notice without having to worry about paying penalties. By using this clause, you can get your security deposit from your landlord.

2. Find out where the locals eat and drink
When it comes to food, copy the locals. If you keep eating at restaurants or cafes, or going to trendy bars, expect to spend at least $75 a day. The good news is that Singapore is a food hub. Here, you can find food joints that serve meals as good as or even better than those served in restaurants for as low as $3. By finding out where the locals eat and drink, you can save a great deal of money on food.

3. Check online before buying
Sure, Singapore may be a shopping paradise, but mark-ups in local stores can be pretty high, especially for high-end brands and touristy areas like those shops along Orchard Road. If you’re looking to buy designer bags, clothes, or shoes, you might want to go online first. There’s a huge chance that you can get them at a much cheaper price back home or from online stores.

4. Consider a regional insurer
If you need private health insurance while living as an expat in Singapore, go for a regional insurance company or choose global insurance policy. Many local insurers will terminate your policy once you leave the country, while some of them may not want to provide you with coverage if you often go in and out of Singapore. While it can be expensive at first, choosing a regional insurer or getting a global policy may be more cost-effective in the long-run, depending on your situation.