Cost of Living in Singapore for OFW

I work and live in Singapore for the last 13 years of my life. This is my 2nd destination country after 3 years in Taiwan. Between the two, I prefer Singapore for a lot of positive reasons.

I consider this country as my 2nd country. This is where I started a family and enjoy my life to the fullest. I am working a great company who provided me everything me and my family needs and beyond.

Singapore is considered to be the most expensive city to live. This is actually part true, but not all the time. I’ve been in several countries and cities around the world, and some place I’ve visited are far more expensive than here. Like Switzerland, I’m sure it’s more expensive to live there than Singapore.

If you are an OFW who are considering Singapore to be your destination, here’s something to help you plan.

Cost of Living in Singapore for OFW


For ordinary workers like us, we have the option to rent in an HDB (high rise public housing) or a condo (high rise housing with private amenities). Same with the rest with regards to rental properties, rent is determined by the location. The better the location close to the city area, the more expensive it is. But for a start, try to live outside the city area for cheaper price. A typical HDB is composed of several rooms, known as master bed room or common room. Master bed room has his own toilet and bathroom inside, while the common room share these amenities with the other common room. In short, master bed room is more expensive than a common room. A typical average common room is around $600, while a typical master bed room can be around $800 or more depending on the location. In Singapore, there is a an ordinance wherein only a maximum of 6 people can reside. If room sharing is allowed, you can also opt to share with other tenant for half the price on the room rental. This can help you save a lot on the monthly rental fee.

cost of living in singapore for ofw housing


House rental is one thing, utilities is another thing. This needs to paid separately unless otherwise stated on your contract with the main tenant. Utilities includes water, electricity, gas and internet connection. Sometimes, cable connection is an option. Typically, for a month each needs to budget around $50.


Having a phone is a must in Singapore. This is more than just a normal talk and text function. This can be your source of entertainment. Buying a sim card or buying a phone will require your passport copy as they are very strict here with regards to mobile numbers. If you want just a pre paid sim card, you can buy for around $12 and just then top up once the load runs out. It usually includes data for your internet use. If you opt for a phone line with phone included, it could be more expensive depending on the data plan you choose and the mobile phone you want to get.


The higher the person earns, the higher the tax he/she needs to pay. As a professional working in Singapore with S pass qualification,  you are entitled to at least $2,400 monthly salary. Base on the 2017 tax rates, the first $20K earning is free of tax. On the first $30K, the tax rate is around $200. On the first $40K, the tax rate is around $550. The rate goes up with regards to your salary.


Eating outside can be both cheap or expensive, depending on where you eat. Everywhere there’s a place called hawker where you can buy your food. It’s like a big cafeteria where you have varieties of menu to choose from. Average meal can be around $5 or more if you choose the high end one. Plus drinks can cost you around $2 additional. If you are on a tight budget, just bring your water. Or, if the house allows you to cook, just buy a grocery and cook your own food. It can be cheaper for sure. Typical eat in a restaurant can cost you around $25 a meal. With the inflation and continuous rise of food cost, this will surely add to the cost of living in Singapore for OFW.


Singapore has a very efficient transport system. This is a combination of trains, buses and taxis. Minimum fare for a short journey is around 97 cents and will increase as the travel distance increases. They charge the passenger base on distance, even if you transfer from train to bus or vice versa. A typical 1 hour ride will cost around $2. Fares can be made via a card called EZLINK. It’s a prepaid card for transportation, accepted by both bus and trains. Convenience stores also accept payment via this card. Monthly budget for transportation really depend on where you stay and work. For example, my place is just a walking distance from the office so I can save a lot from transportation cost.


This part is for those other things you want like toiletries, clothes, Netflix membership, etc. Some are needs, some can be wants. The cost is not much, unless you want more of them. Just prepare for your budget. It’s subjective depending on each of our own needs and wants.

There you have it, a brief idea on cost of living in Singapore for OFW. If you have more questions, just leave a comment below and I’ll try to get back on you as soon as I can. Make sure you do your research before deciding which country you want to settle for work, whether Singapore or other countries. Each of them have their own pros and cons, make sure you get the right information to come up with the right decision. While Singapore is a great place to work, it’s not an ideal place for a family. It’s not easy to get a dependent visa with increasing salary cap, plus the cost of education in Singapore is quite high for foreigners.

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