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24 September 2018

Cost of Living Comparison between Australia and Singapore

Published by Jessica Anne Tay

The cost of living is one of many factors to consider for those planning an international move. Knowing what to expect when it comes to accommodation prices, food costs, transportation, school tuition and more can help alleviate some of the uncertainty that naturally arises when moving to a foreign country, making it easier to budget and plan for the future.


According to the Cost of Living Survey 2017 byMercer, Australia has the 12th highest cost of living in the world, while Singapore sits in 5th position. Generally speaking, living in Singapore is more expensive than living in Australia, but costs can vary significantly depending on where in Australia you reside.

Based on the most recent available data, consumer prices in Sydney are approximately 3% higher than similar costs in Singapore. Other major metropolitan areas of Australia are cheaper than Singapore, however, with consumer costs ranging from 2% lower in Perth to 7.5% lower in Brisbane, relative to Singapore. Adelaide and Melbourne also have lower overall consumer costs.

Groceries are more expensive in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth compared with Singapore, but Brisbane grocery costs are cheaper. Furthermore, the cost of eating out in a restaurant is higher across Australia than it is in Singapore.

Rental costs are more extravagant in Sydney than in Singapore, but this is an anomaly in an overall comparison – every other major Australian city has lower rents than Singapore.

Practical comparisons

Based on the current exchange rate (0.946 AUD / SGD) and the average Australian price, what follows is a brief breakdown of the cost of some common household items in Singapore, including groceries, housing, clothing, transportation, personal care and entertainment.

All prices mentioned are in Australian dollars (AUD).


A basic lunch with a drink in the Singapore business district will cost about $11, while a fast food meal costs around $8. A litre of whole fat milk is $2.97, a dozen eggs is $3.73, a loaf of bread is $2.19 and 500g of cheese is about $12.

A bottle of good quality table wine costs about $32, while 0.5 litres of domestic beer is around $5 purchased in the supermarket.


A 900-square-foot furnished apartment in an upmarket area of Singapore costs approximately $3,260 per month. The same size apartment in a more affordable area of the city is around $2,489 per month.

A month's worth of utilities — including heat, electricity and gas — for a family living in a 1500-square-foot apartment is approximately $200. You can also expect to pay about $38 per month for 8Mbps internet access.

Housekeeping or cleaning help in Singapore costs an average of $16 per hour.


To stock your closet, you can expect to pay about $100 for a pair of Levi’s jeans, around $60 for a basic dress at a high street shop like H&M or Zara, $134 for a pair of Nike trainers and about $160 for a pair of men's leather dress shoes.


If you own a car or plan to buy one while in Singapore, you'll pay $2.06 for a litre of gasoline. While owning a vehicle is very expensive in Singapore public transportation is very affordable. A monthly pass for public transportation is around $50, while an 8km taxi trip on a business day costs about $12.

Personal care

On a trip to the pharmacy for personal care items, expect to pay about $6 for deodorant, $8 for a 400ml bottle of shampoo, $3.80 for a tube of toothpaste and $2.93 for four rolls of toilet paper.

A visit to a private doctor costs about $50. Should you need medication, you'll pay around $24 for 12 doses of antibiotics or about $11 for a week's worth of over-the-counter cold medicine.

The average cost of a men's haircut in one of the city's trendy neighbourhoods is $25.


A casual night out for two might cost around $100, including $52 for dinner and $22 for two beers at a local bar, $23 for two movie tickets and $12 for cappuccinos after the show at a café.

Expect to pay more for a big night on the town: $106 for a three-course meal and wine at an Italian restaurant in the expat area, $159 for good theatre tickets and $40 for a couple of cocktails at a city bar after the performance.

A monthly gym membership costs approximately $137, while a 40-inch flat screen TV is priced at around $545.

These prices are intended only as examples of how costs in Singapore roughly measure up to the Australian dollar. What you can afford and the exact amounts you'll pay for expenses such as rent, utilities, clothing and food will depend largely on your Singapore income and where you live.

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The Australian International School is the only southern-hemisphere international school in Singapore that offers an Australian curriculum-based global education for students from the age of 2 months to 18 years.

This truly international education begins with the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) from Preschool to Year 5, Australian Curriculum for Years 6 to 8, Cambridge IGCSE in Years 9 and 10, and the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP) for Years 11 and 12.

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