Imagine your driving your car then all of a sudden you hear a weird noise from your car and don't know exactly where the problem is? So generally you take it to the mechanic then he would provide a diagnostic of your car. After the long process of explaining what he'll do to fix it, he's gonna need to break down the interior of the engine to discover the exact location of the engine to fix the problem. So the same goes for your average living expenses and how we manage it.

Sometimes we think it's fine and we're good to go then unexpectedly we have no money left in our account. We figuratively 'breakdown' on what we spent our money on in the past couple of days and check our credit history and recipients only to figure out that it was our fault and we neglected to balance out what was important. But how much of your income should you spend on your home, vehicle, groceries, clothes etc? Below are some guidelines to give you a general idea and provide you with a starting point of your budget. This is based on your income, family circumstances, what part of the country you live in but of course this all varies with that type of person you are.

budget breakdown

Valeria Aksakova/

Housing Cost

housing cost

Africa Studio/

If you're thinking about where most of my income goes to the biggest expense, of course, is going for housing whether you're renting or buying a home. You should budget at least $700-$1,500 a month if you are renting and $1,500 to $3,000 a month if you're a Singaporean/PR buying a home and eligible to purchase HBD properly.

Renting Room in Singapore

rent room


If you are living single and renting a room in a shared HDB flat or public housing or a condo apartment (private) with a shared bedroom expect to pay about $700 to $2,000 each month.

But if you don't like to have roommates it will cost about $1,500 to $4,500 to rent a studio apartment or one bedroom unit in an HDB flat or condo.

The difference in cost depends on the property type. HDB flats are cheap but basic, whereas condo apartments are expensive and these usually come with gyms or pools.

Another factor affecting your budget could be where you live- the more centrally located you are in the city the more expensive it is. The public transportation is cheap but you could save money by renting a place on the outskirts of the city. Plus, neighborhoods outside the city have more character and cheaper dining experiences.

Transportation Cost

transportation cost singapore

No-Te Eksarunchai/

Monthly transportation cost can vary wildly depending on how far you need to travel each day and what kind of transportation you use. You are fortunate enough to be living close to your workplace and the city center you'll spend less money on transportation than someone who lives in Woodlands and has to commute to the CBD daily.

Unless you have tons of money coming into your income there's no need to buying a car in Singapore. Cars are famously expensive in Singapore and will set you back an extra $1,000 to $2,000 a month especially since you have to pay for car loan payments, gas (petrol) and parking.

Rely on a combination of public transportation buses and MRT's or a Taxi. Public transportation is affordable generally costing about $100 to $120 dollars a month.

Daily Expenses

daily expenses singapore

marilyn barbone/

This factor varies greatly because it depends on your lifestyle but here's a peak of what the following cost:

Groceries- This might be more expensive than in many different countries due to lots of goods being imported Milk, non-typical fruits and non-Asian products like cheese tend to be rather expensive. But if you cook at home every day you'll probably spend at least $200 a month in groceries.

Food- For example, a meal at suburban hawker centre can cost as little as $3-$4 (not including drink) but when it comes to going out to a dining experience you can expect to pay about $20-$30.

Heres a Breakdown of Cost of Living in Singapore in Budgeting Categories

Heres a Breakdown of Cost of Living in Singapore in Budgeting Categories

Housing: 42.9% of your income This includes: Mortgage/taxes/rent

Utilities: 3.5% Includes: Cell Phone/gas/electricity

Sports/Leisure: 5.7%

Markets: 22.4%

Transportation: 15.8%

Clothing: 2%

Restaurants: 7.7%

So now that we have seen how much we spend what are some helpful tips to manage my budget. One way to keep your spending habits in check is to create a budget and try to stay within the limits that you have set for yourself. Have you heard of the 50-30-20 rule? The rule advocates splitting your income into three categories:

  1. 50% should be spent on your essential needs 2. 30% should be used for discretionary spending 3. 20% should go towards your savings

Suppose you earn S$7,000 a month, after all the taxes and deductions. According to the rule, S$3,500 should be spent on your needs, S$2,100 should be used for your wants, and the remaining S$1,400 must be used for your savings and investments. Of course, this is easier said than done. But it is possible to follow this plan if you designate your money based on the bracket an item falls into.

Spending on your needs - 50% of your income

This includes expenses such as grocery shopping, housing society bills, Singapore Power bills, and fuel. This category also includes irregular and compulsory payments, such as annual life insurance premiums or car insurance premiums. Basically, your "necessary spendings" include everything you need in order to continue your regular life.

Discretionary spending - 30% of your income

Discretionary spending is the money you designate towards those activities that you enjoy, but don't need in order to survive. This expense cannot be classified as “essential". Items which fall into this category can include going to the movies or dining out.

For example, a monthly budget of S$2,100 for discretionary spending allows you to use up to S$70 per day. So be wise about where you spend your money. That amount may not go too far given that Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Make it a habit of keeping track of how much you've spent each week on these discretionary spending areas to help with your budgeting.

Savings, investments, and emergencies - 20% of your income

You can use the 50-30-20 rule to force yourself to designate 20% of your Income towards savings at the beginning of the month. If you wait till the end of the month, there may be little left over to invest.

The 50-30-20 Rule is a guideline to help shape healthy spending habits, and you could re-allocate funds between categories if the situation demands.

Examining a budget seems like a puzzle but once figured out, it can be easy and rewarding.