Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, in fact, it is the second most expensive after Hong Kong according to Mercer's 2023 Cost of Living Survey.

The good news is that taxes in Singapore are low, and professional salaries generally match the high cost of living. Expat packages also often include benefits such as transport, school fees and accommodation allowances. That said, amid increased competition for jobs, expats interested in working in Singapore may need to accept a salary without many of these additional benefits – although they should always at least try to negotiate with their prospective employer. If no benefits are forthcoming in contracts, expats must ensure they budget for Singapore's high cost of living.

Cost of accommodation in Singapore

Accommodation is the highest expense expats in Singapore will have to shoulder, but they can relieve some of this burden by opting for a private apartment or a government housing flat (HDB) rather than a lavish condominium. Although these homes frequently come with enticing recreational facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and playgrounds for children, there is usually a matching price tag.

Expats who choose to live in houses and bungalows can also expect to pay hefty costs. A large bungalow could cost SGD 35,000 per month, while a three-bedroom HDB flat may cost around SGD 3,500 per month. Costs vary wildly depending on the age, condition and location of the housing, and of course, expats will get more bang for their buck the further they live from the city centre.

Cost of food in Singapore

Depending on personal spending habits, shopping for groceries can be a modest or exorbitant expense. Expats fond of purchasing imported products from back home may be startled by how quickly costs can stack up.

Although Singapore offers many tempting choices of delicious cuisine, eating out can be an expensive exercise. There are alternatives though, and if expats stick to hawker centres rather than restaurants, sampling the local fare will be way more affordable.

Cost of transport in Singapore

Public transport in Singapore is efficient and significantly cheaper than driving private vehicles, with EZ-Link travel cards providing good value for money. Owning a car is a luxury rather than a necessity in Singapore and, thanks to the heavy taxes cars are subject to, plus parking costs, it can become a costly luxury.

Cost of international schools in Singapore

Many expats choose to send their children to one of many excellent international schools in Singapore, and these fees are sometimes included as part of their employment package.

Cost of domestic help in Singapore

The average cost of a live-in maid is between SGD 600 and SGD 1,000 a month, excluding the SGD 300 government levy. The employer will also provide accommodation and food as part of the package. It's also possible to hire part-time domestic workers for between SGD 10 and SGD 30 per hour.

Cost of living in Singapore chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for October 2022.

Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

SGD 3,314

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

SGD 2,395

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

SGD 6,663

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

SGD 4,170


Eggs (dozen)

SGD 3.63

Milk (1 litre)

SGD 3.26

Rice (1kg)

SGD 3.49

Loaf of bread (white)

SGD 2.53

Chicken breasts (1kg)

SGD 10.50

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

SGD 14.75

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

SGD 1.92


SGD 5.88

Local beer (500ml)

SGD 10

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

SGD 80


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

SGD 0.21

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

SGD 45.72

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

SGD 187


Taxi rate (per kilometre)


Bus/train fare in the city centre


Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

SGD 3.08