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F.A.Q.: Frequently Asked Questions - Cost of Living PDF Print E-mail
Frequently Asked Questions - Cost of Living

Question : I am relocating and would like to know what things are expensive in Singapore? I’ve read that driving a car is extremely expensive. Someone in this board mentioned 80 – 100K for a 5 year old used car. What about cost for an apartment? Is there anything that’s cheap in Singapore. Can we buy non-Asian food easily, like cheese, milk, coffee, potatoes? Can I opt for paying Singapore income tax? Would that make sense? Any further tips for a complete beginner, pushed onto a career trip?

Answer: Go for it: living in Singapore is a great experience, even if it's just for 9-12 mths. You might not want to return home afterwards anymore, though! It's fairly easy to meet other people from everywhere and if you're up to the challenge you can have a great time here. Make sure that both of you are ok with the move, as it's very difficult when the partner is not happy. Groceries - you can find everything you might need in Singapore, asian or non-asian. There is a Swiss Butcher, Swiss Bakery and a German supermarket and German Bakery here so you don't have to miss out on the good bread. My guess is, that you will miss the availability of products here when you move away from Singapore and not the other way around. Taxes - I think you are required to pay income taxes here, but coming from Germany that would only be beneficial to you. Income tax is much lower.

With S$80-100K can get you a new 1.6L Japanese car. 5-yr-old car will cost about S$50K.

Some other tips regarding negotiations: Will the company provide you with an apartment or a serviced apartment? If you're going to live in an apartment - will it be furnished? If not, are you going to ship your own things (a container from Europe, incl. packing/unpacking costs around DM10.000) or does the company give you a budget to buy things here - make sure your contract says they pay for the move back as well! Apartments can be rented for all kinds of budgets - nice ones can be had from S$2500-S$5000 and above. I know a few people here where the company also pays for the telephone connection and airconditioning costs - if the airconditioning runs day and night it can be quite expensive.We use fans, not because of the finances, but because we like it much better than living in a fridge. Household and health Insurance - will the company pay? How about home leave tickets - normally they provide one a year. Have you been to Singapore before? Will your company give you time off and tickets to check out the city before you decide to take the offer or not? Will you be entitled to German public holidays or Singaporean? Cars are very expensive, but taxis are very cheap compared to Europe. Have a look at this page:
www.ExpatSingapore.com/getting/first.htm

The food is great here, and it is way easier to get decent german style food than in the US. It is easy to get decent bread or sausages, which is almost impossible in the US. You can also get good beer, but all alcohol is pretty expensive (4 DM for a can of beer in the supermarket).

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