Study Abroad Budgeting 101: Singapore

As international students, we largely survive on a shoestring budget and rely heavily on funds from our families, student loans or even part-time jobs. As much as we want, it is one of the toughest task to save and spend more on wants than necessities!

Because in the words of a wise soap salesman:

We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like

However, is it really possible to survive on a tight budget as a young student in Singapore?

It is entirely possible, but sacrifices will have to be made. Here’s how it can be done!

Budgeting in Singapore



   Monthly Cost

Housing + Utilities

            Stay with a group+

       Utilities contribution

       $ 1500

Food Budget

           $3.50 per meal

            Meal prep

            Hawker food etc.

        $ 350

Public Transport

            Use transfers

            Sync errands etc.

        $ 70

Phone Bill

            $10 SIM Only

            Mobile Plan

         $ 10


           Amazon Prime Video

+ Free Things to do in Singapore

        $ 10


                Free online

                Condo gyms

                Hiking etc.

         $ 0

Treat Yourself

       Buy anything you want

       $ 60

Total Cost

        $ 2000


1. Housing And Utilities: $1500/Month

First up, you will need to budget as little as possible for your housing needs and the best way to do is to choose in campus housing or dorm rooms if you are lucky to have this option. Unless this option is not available to you for whatever reason, you should stay with your friends in a group so that you can save more, in which even utilities bill can be divided among housemates.

In a group and looking for the perfect accomodation near your campus?

Explore XACCO!

2. Food & Meal Budget

This one won’t be easy. But, it can be done.

We have allocated $350/month for the food budget, assuming you consume three meals a day. You should try prepping your own meals which would save you quite a bit! Also you could eat at hawker centres which are affordable and great quantity wise too.

You could buy a loaf of bread and some spreads to save on breakfast.

3. Transportation

To save money on this, you have to give up on taking cabs entirely. Navigating Singapore on a budget can be a breeze with these affordable transportation options:

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT): Singapore’s MRT system is efficient, clean, and cost-effective. You can purchase single-trip tickets or get an EZ-Link card for discounted fares on trains and buses.

Public Buses: Singapore’s bus network is extensive, covering almost every corner of the island. Fares are reasonable, and you can pay using the same EZ-Link card used for MRT rides.

EZ-Link Card: This handy card not only provides discounted fares on trains and buses but can also be used for payments in convenience stores, fast-food outlets, and even some vending machines.

Shared Bicycles and E-Scooters: Look out for shared bicycle and e-scooter services like GrabWheels or Anywheel. They offer a cheap and convenient way to explore the city, especially for short distances.

Walking: Singapore is a compact city, and many attractions are within walking distance of each other. Take advantage of the pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and stroll through neighborhoods like Chinatown or Little India.

Carpooling Apps: If you prefer door-to-door service, consider using carpooling apps like GrabHitch or Ryde. You can share rides with locals heading in the same direction, reducing costs and environmental impact.

Remember, planning your routes in advance and utilizing these affordable transportation options can help you make the most of your budget while travelling in Singapore!

4. Phone Bill:

Earlier mobile phone plans were about $40 a month and gave only a paltry 1GB. Now that we have SIM-Only plans, you can actually get about 6GB of data for about $10 a month.

With free wifi available mostly everywhere, you would be able to get by with minimum recharge!


It is something that has no limit if you don’t control! Believe me we’ve been there!

Want something to watch? You’ll find it with the many streaming services available.

One of the most affordable video subscription services; Amazon Prime! Also, you can Check out the list of things you can do for free here!

6. Fitness

Singapore has world class gym facilities, but the best part is you can get gyms, tennis courts and indoor game facilities included in your apartments so you don’t have to pay for any additional memberships.

Fun fact: Most of XACCO’s condos have gym, tennis club, pool and bbq pits along with them!

Also, you can consider going hiking around the island as well.

You can do stuff like:

• Go on the TreeTop Walk at MacRitchie Nature Reserve

• Take a guided nature walk conducted by NParks

• Go hiking at Mount Faber Park

• Catch the sunset from Henderson Waves @ Southern Ridges.

All for free.

7) Treat yourself:

Budgeting can feel like navigating a maze blindfolded, and adapting to significant lifestyle changes can be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It’s tough, no doubt about it.

That’s why we’ve carved out a cozy $60 from our budget to sprinkle a little magic dust on the situation. Think of it as our secret weapon, ready to smooth over any bumps in the road with a dash of financial fairy godmother goodness.

Whether you want to treat yourself to a fancy coffee, indulge in a guilt-free dessert, or perhaps splurge on a small trinket that sparks joy, the choice is yours.


As we wrap up our guide to budgeting as a young student in Singapore, it’s clear that financial responsibility doesn’t have to mean sacrificing all the fun🕺

Sure, there are sacrifices to be made, but with a little creativity and discipline, you can navigate the lion city on a shoestring budget.

From scrimping on housing costs to savoring budget-friendly hawker center delights, and from embracing public transportation adventures to discovering free entertainment options around every corner, there’s a wealth of experiences waiting to be enjoyed without breaking the bank 💸

And as we bid adieu, remember this: amidst the challenges of budgeting and adjusting to new lifestyles, a small treat can go a long way. So go ahead, indulge in that little something special. After all, you’ve earned it, budgeting champion! 🎉

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