The Working Girl’s Guide to Surviving Singapore on a Budget


For most Johorians and Malaysians in general, securing a job opportunity in Singapore spells a massive transformation in career progression and financial stability – especially in terms of the triple earning power when compared to earning in Malaysian Ringgit.
Despite that being the case, most Malaysians working in Singapore find a constant struggle between juggling their salary and surviving the renowned expensive lifestyle of Singapore. With that in mind, savings platform Cuponation Malaysia lists down a guide to surviving everyday life in Singapore for working class Malaysians on a budget.

Housing on a budget
Buying property can spell a major dent in your bank account hence the next savvy option would be to stick to renting out a home to make your daily work commute more convenient. Ideally, living in Johor and crossing over to Singapore every morning seems like the cheaper option, however let’s be realistic – this option will have you burnt out in less than a month.

• Rent HDB flats
One way to go around this is by renting a HDB flat for around MYR1484 to MYR 2375 monthly. You can always check out platforms like iProperty to find suitable rooms or apartments within your budget and preferred location.

• Sharing is caring
If you are alright with living with strangers, you can opt to share a room. Check out some options on Easy Roommate where you can further split rental costs. However, bear in mind the fact that renting out in prime locations closer to town can really cost you. If extensive commuting is a concern, then let’s check out the following point:

Commute with Public Transport
Getting around in Singapore is considered extremely convenient with punctual and efficient public transport. You can live practically anywhere around Singapore (not necessarily prime locations) and still be able to get to your office with public transport.

• Monthly Transit Passes
Knowing that you will be commuting on a daily basis with MRT and buses to save cost, consider investing in a monthly pass so you don’t end up overspending on your daily commute.

• Be Active
Singapore is one of the most pedestrian friendly cities. We may have similar climates but walking is made easier to get from one bus or train station with proper paths and pedestrian traffic lights.

Yes you can still shop!
Living and working in Singapore may provide the impression that you might have to make certain financial sacrifices for example cutting down on those shopping trips.

• Check out hidden gems
Instead of shopping at high-end outlets, check out thrift stores and smaller boutiques around Chinatown and Little India for unique and affordable clothes. Not only are you shopping savvy, you can also be a trendsetter with threads you can barely find at commercial outlets.

• Shop smart
Go online with your shopping efforts in terms of getting extra discounts with discount codes and special first time purchase promotions. Also consider buying items from apps like Carousell.
DIY Meals
Eating outside constantly for breakfast, lunch and dinner will definitely be the death of your bank account. One solution is to evaluate your food spending habits:

• Meal Prep
Grocery shopping in bulk at grocers like Giant Singapore or even in Johor Bharu during the weekends will definitely help you save cost and if you meal prep for the rest of the day, you can continue to save on the usual sum of cash spent on eating outside.

• Eat outdoors – for cheap
That being said, it does not mean that you cannot eat outside at all. In fact opt for the wide range of hawker centres and food courts which offer meals within the range of MYR18 and less.