12 Things To Spend On In Johor Bahru (That Are Cheaper Than In Singapore)

12 Things To Spend On In Johor Bahru (That Are Cheaper Than In Singapore)

Due to the strength of the Singaporean dollar against the Malaysian Ringgit (SGD 1: RM 2.99), your money can stretch a lot further if spent in Malaysia. Luckily, Johor Bahru is just a car or bus ride away, and spending your money there could result in savings up to 50% compared to prices in Singapore.

Here are ten things worth spending on in Johor Bahru:

1. Groceries

Groceries in Johor Bahru cost a lot less (about 25% less, according to a cost of living comparison site), even in big supermarkets like Cold Storage, Tesco and Giant. Here’s how much groceries S$100 can possibly get you in Singapore compared to Johor Bahru:

PriceSingaporePriceJohor Bahru
S$2.441 cartons of 12 eggsS$5.373 cartons of 12 eggs
S$23.62 beef roundsS$23.583 beef rounds
S$1.971 loaf of breadS$2.162 loaves of bread
S$251 bottle of wineS$19.921 bottle of wine
S$2.341 kg potatoesS$3.993 kg potatoes
S$20.943 boneless chicken breastsS$15.924 boneless chicken breasts
S$3.142 heads of lettuceS$5.324 heads of lettuce
S$3.151 carton of milkS$4.62 cartons of milk
S$4.21 bottle of imported beerS$6.642 bottles of imported beer
S$17.261kg cheeseS$13.281kg cheese
Total : S$99.08
Total: S$100.13
Prices are accurate as of February 22, 2019

2. Infant milk

From the costs of giving birth, to the expenses involved in actually raising a child, having children in Singapore is financially draining. Infant milk powder alone can cost S$150 a month per baby, encouraging many Singaporean parents to go to Johor Bahru, where milk products may be only half the price.

Here is a price comparison for comparable milk products in Singapore and Johor Bahru:

Johor Bahru
FRISO Gold Stage 4 (900g)
Nestlé Nan Grow 3 (800g)
S-26 Progress Gold Stage 3 (900g)
Prices are accurate as of February 22, 2019

Despite the concern over fake milk products in Johor Bahru, Singaporeans are still choosing to cross the causeway for cheaper infant milk, with good cause – these products are significantly cheaper in Johor Bahru. Here are two precautions you can take to ensure that the milk product you are buying is genuine:

  • Look out for unusual packaging. Counterfeit milk products may be packaged differently. According to an official Facebook post by Enfagrow A+ Malaysia, counterfeit Enfalac A+ are packaged in tight-fitting foil with sharp creases on both sides of the package. Genuine Enfalac A+ packaging, on the other hand, is puffy and lack these sharp creases.

Image from Enfagrow A+ Malaysia

  • Make sure the packaging is in good condition. The packaging of the product should be in good condition – check for tears, tampered seals and dents.

3. Outlet store goods

Looking to buy premium goods but don’t want to fork out premium prices? Then you’ll want to head to Johor Premium Outlets, where you can find designer goods at attractive prices. The outlet shopping centre boasts a number of designer and sportswear brands, including Adidas, Coach, Gucci, Michael Kors, Nike and Tommy Hilfiger.

4. Cigarettes

Singapore is one of the most expensive places in the world to take up smoking. While you shouldn’t actually stock up on cigarettes to bring home to Singapore (they’re subject to an excise duty of 38.8 cents for every gramme or part thereof of each stick), if you go through a pack or more a day it’s worth buying them during your stay in Johor Bahru.

The average prices for a pack of branded cigarettes in Singapore and Johor Bahru:

Johor Bahru

5. Cosmetics and skincare

If cosmetics is your thing, it’s worth crossing over to grab a few items. The same cosmetic products in Sephora Singapore can cost a fraction less in Sephora Malaysia:

SingaporeJohor BahruDifference
Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Hi-Lustre
Lancôme Advanced Génifique Sensitive Dual Concentrate
Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
Clinique All About Eyes Serum
Prices are accurate as of February 22, 2019

However, be aware that some products can be more expensive or priced similarly in Johor Bahru. ZOEVA’s Plaisir Box Highlighter, for example, retails in Sephora Singapore at S$58, but is S$56.39 (RM170) in Sephora Malaysia. Before buying, it’s best to do a quick price check on Singaporean websites to compare prices.

 6. Ikea furniture

If you’re entering Johor Bahru via a private vehicle with plenty of boot space, then you might want to check out Ikea Tebrau, where prices may be significantly cheaper.

Even if lugging bulky furniture back to Singapore doesn’t interest you, you can still pick up smaller items like kitchen appliances or decorative pieces at a discount.

ProductSingaporeJohor BahruDifference
KONCIS Roasting tin
Loft bed frame
ANRIK Coffee/tea maker
Bench w panel+ shelves, outdoor
Prices are accurate as of February 22, 2019

However, not all items may have a significant price reduction, so make sure to check prices on the Ikea Singapore website for comparison.

7. Petrol

Petrol prices in Malaysia are about three times cheaper than in Singapore, so remember to fuel up before heading back home.

Here’s a price comparison for average prices of petrol in Singapore and Johor Bahru:

SingaporeJohor Bahru
95-Octane: S$2.20
RON 95: RM1.98 (S$0.66)
98-Octane: S$2.54
RON 97: RM2.28 (S$0.76)
Diesel: S$1.84
Diesel: RM2.18 (S$0.72)
Prices are accurate as of February 22, 2019

If you’re pumping 30 litres of 95-Octane petrol, you’ll potentially save S$44.10 by fuelling up in Johor Bahru instead of in Singapore.

 8. Over-the-counter medications and supplements

Medicine and supplements are a lot cheaper in Johor Bahru, so making the trip north to stock up on your monthly supply could be well worth the effort.

Here is a price comparison for several products in Guardian Singapore and Guardian Johor Bahru:

Johor Bahru
Panadol Actifast 20 caps
Prospan Cough Syrup 100ml
Blackmores Buffered C, 90s
Prices are accurate as of February 22, 2019

9. Movies

If you prefer a more relaxing trip (as opposed to the gotta-catch-em-all frenzy of trying to cram everything into your shopping cart before the day ends), then head across the causeway for a movie marathon, as the average price of a movie ticket in Johor Bahru is about two times cheaper:

Johor Bahru
Prices are accurate as of February 22, 2019

10. Dining

There is plenty of hawker food to be had for just a couple of Singaporean dollars per meal. From banana leaf rice, kuey teow soup, mee rebus, to durian puffs and other traditional desserts, Johor Bahru is the perfect place to unleash your inner glutton.

If your tastes incline towards the finer things in life, Johor Bahru offers a selection of upscale restaurants as well. If you’re in the mood for buffet, try Makan Kitchen’s Minangkabau Buffet Dinner (RM118 or S$39.14). Alternatively, head to Tosca Italian Trattoria for rustic Italian food. Their 3-course lunch sets are an affordable S$18.24 (RM55) before taxes.

11. Festive goodies

Festive seasons can blow a hole in your budget. To cut expenses, consider buying your Chinese New Year goodies or Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes across the causeway. One whole lotus mooncake, for instance, can cost as little as RM16 (S$5.31) in Johor Bahru, while a similar one can cost around S$16 in Singapore.

12. Clothing

You don’t have to visit outlet stores or go thrift shopping to get the best clothing deals. Brands like Nike, Uniqlo and H&M can cost a fraction less. Just remember to do a quick price check before adding them to your cart, as certain items may be too similarly priced to be worth the purchase.

ProductSingaporeJohor BahruDifference
Nike Air Max Dia SES$199RM495 (S$164.20)17%
Uniqlo Ultra Stretch Skinny Fit JeansS$59.90RM149.90 (S$49.72)17%
H&M Sports shortsS$44.95RM109.95 (S$36.47)19%
Prices are accurate as of February 22, 2019

So, is it worth the trouble?

A resounding yes – spending in Johor Bahru can help you save significantly. However, in order to make the trip worth it, you’ll probably want to stack up things to do or buy during your stay, so that your savings outweigh your transportation costs.

This article was originally published on January 16, 2018.


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