While Singapore basks in its glory of expat-endorsed business and luxury lifestyle paradise, the cold hard fact that cuts through the blunt delusions that emerge as side effects out of this materialistic pursuit is that the concept of a satisfactory frugal living is becoming alien to us. Singaporeans are residents of a prosperous city; however, the prosperity comes at a cost, i.e. the growing struggle to contend with the extremely high standards of living there.
But what if the promise of tomorrow was to reveal nothing more than financial sorrow? Would you be able to survive the fall from financial security to a minimum wage lifestyle, or will you cash your chips in and bail out to make a living elsewhere? The answer is too terrifying to contemplate in a real life situation, but since we’re fortunate enough to not suffer from this nightmare, it helps our fascination outweigh our fear and objectively devise a nifty frugal living scheme for keeping our boats afloat.
So we conducted a life hacking experiment to find out the leanest and meanest budget diet a Singaporean can adopt in order to get the utmost efficiency out of the bare essential means needed to keep our life flying turbulence-free on auto-pilot.
Breaking Down the Frugal Life Essentials
Average Monthly Expenditure Chart
As a resident of one of the world’s most expensive cities, it is rather grueling to own or rent property in Singapore. For expatriates moving here for work, the option of renting an apartment is a no-brainer. In case you’re a single expat, then you can squeeze in the cheapest possible housing deals by renting a shared room in an apartment or staying as a paying guest at a local family’s house.
However, if you’re a Singapore resident, then it is recommended to overlook the extravagantly priced private properties available in favor of public housing.
The ideal apartment hunting ground for you to target would be the suburban Housing Development Board, which can help you nail some highly cost-effective housing deals at various locations in Jurong and Pasir Ris. The average monthly rent for an HDB flat falls in the range of $500-$800.
Although purchasing bulk processed supermarket junk food may seem like a viable ultra-frugal food budgeting strategy, it’s not necessarily an effective one since the nutritiously benign value of this food is bound to take a serious toll on your health. Hence, learning to cook simple and healthy dishes like beef noodles, veggie stews and dumplings is a perfectly balanced frugal diet option that will only set you back by approximately $30 on a weekly basis.
For those looking to occasionally refresh that tingling feeling in their tastebuds by experimenting with other cuisines, there are a massive number of fast food street hawkers that offer delicious food for bargain prices. A scrumptious steak dinner with sides will only cost you $15.
Thanks to the abundance of public water fountains available for use all over Singapore, you can save up on all costs by rationing it for daily use from such places.
Believe it or not, but an uber Spartan approach to electricity and gas conservation with minimal utility of all major appliances like air conditioners and microwaves can allow you to get away with a mere $100-200 monthly utility bill.
Opting to own and maintain your own car in Singapore is a decision that can firmly derail your frugal lifestyle budget and put a nasty dent on your wallet. Fortunately, Singapore has one of the most streamlines and well-networked public transport infrastructure where trains, buses and taxis are all great cost-effective ways to get around the city. Chart out an optimum route to take for your routine travel hotspots using these transport modes for the best prices. A smart way to save up to 20% off your public transportation expenses is to purchase monthly passes instead of daily passes. Signing up for a credit card like Citibank SMRT gives you 10SMRT$=S$10 voucher. This way, you can convert your points to get free rides all around.
You can also check whether the company you work for provides free shuttle services as part of its employee benefits policies to help you save more money and time.
For further financial wisdom and tips to enrich your lifestyle by helping you save more and sacrifice less, visit imoney.sg.
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