How To Save Money Living In The Most Expensive City In The World

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You must have already heard that Singapore’s the most expensive city to live in the world. We’ve topped the charts for many things, and I’m not sure we’re proud that we’re first on the list for the world’s priciest city for 4 consecutive years.

While of course many of us may not feel the pinch on a daily basis; after all, you can eat a meal for as cheap as $3 in a hawker centre. In fact, the government has actually done their best to quell negative public sentiments by publishing a post to say that it is only expensive for expatriates.

To be fair, the survey is slightly skewed for Singapore largely due to the exorbitant price of owning a car here – the most expensive in the world. In fact, the Toyota Corolla Global Price Index showed that it costs about $136,000 to own one here, as compared to just $23,000 in the US. Well, you can actually own a Mercedes-Benz there with the amount you pay for the Corolla in Singapore.

Obviously, another bone of contention is the cost of housing here. Well, where can you find a million-dollar public housing anywhere else in the world? But then again, we all know that the standard of HDBs here is on an entirely different level with the ones from other countries. SO instead of complaining about things we can’t do anything about, can we make peace with it and focus on how to cut the cost/save on some of the most expensive things in Singapore?

Of course you can, with a little help from Moneyline.

1. Housing

We all have our aspirations – a 5-room flat, a private condominium maybe? But seriously, your mortgage loan is likely to be the biggest debt you’ll pay in your lifetime. So why make yourself miserable every day with a heavy debt burden just to live in a nice house?

So our advice is to choose something affordable, which translates to having less than 30% of your salary going towards mortgage repayments every month. If you can split this cost with your partner, even better!

Other than choosing an affordable housing, one way to cut your housing cost is to choose the right mortgage loan. It is surprising how many people still choose a HDB loan with a significantly higher interest rate as compared to a bank loan. By choosing a bank loan, you save up to 1% of interest based on current rates. 1% may not sound much, but compounded over the long term, your savings can be quite substantial. This is also why so many people take up refinancing of their loans after the lock-in period as well.

2. Clothes

Yes, you will be surprised that the Economic Intelligence Unit survey listed Singapore as the second priciest city for clothing. Well, this explains why Singaporeans are willing to take a budget flight and go crazy shopping for clothes in Bangkok over a weekend.

Shopping for clothes in the likes of Orchard Road with International brands like Gap and Zara is hardly the cheapest way to buy clothes. If you can’t afford the time or don’t want to make a trip to Bangkok for clothes-shopping, going online is perhaps the best way.

These days, there are endless choices online to get cheap or cheaper clothes compared to buying them in physical stores. Know what’s better? Using the right credit card to help you save more! Here’re some of the best credit cards you can use for online shopping:

Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum Visa – 7% cashback on eligible online purchases
ANZ Optimum World Mastercard – 5% cashback on your choice category with no cap on cashback or minimum spend
OCBC Frank Card – 6% rebate on online expenses

3. Car

Can’t really help with this one, except to say that Singapore has a great well-connected transport system. Yes, there are occasional train breakdowns but have you tried the ones in other countries yet?

Moreover, those who take regular routes of commute now have much more choices of getting some “premium” bus services that take you to and from work where you will be guaranteed a seat. Or you can always use Grab.

4. Alcohol

OK this is not usually considered in the basket of goods used to calculate how costly it is to live in a city, but we all know how ridiculously expensive alcohol is in Singapore. While you may not drink it regularly, it can still come up to a few hundred dollars spent a night while out partying. Here are some quick tips to help you enjoy your occasional tippy without burning a hole in your pocket:

You see us right there at the top?

Hold your party at home and buy wholesale alcohol – buying your beers from supermarket can already save you about 30-40% off drinking at the bar.
Buy your alcohol at the Duty Free shop when you happen to go overseas
Try out online alcohol delivery merchants like Liquorbar, Drink2Connect or even Redmart!
And of course, using the right credit cards that offer you discounted drinks and party entries, like:

UOB Yolo Card: 8% cash rebate on weekend dining and entertainment (3% on weekdays) local and overseas

CIMB Visa Signature – 10% Cash Rebate On Wine & Dine
Amex Platinum Credit card – the card comes with a free Far card membership which gives you 20% off total bill at selected bars.

You can definitely live better and save on even the most expensive items in Singapore. Follow us on Facebook to get more money-saving tips!

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