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Cost of Living in Singapore Going Up – 5 Things That Will Get More Expensive in 2019

ZUU Online SG logo ZUU Online SG 21/11/2018 Molly Joshi
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The song about “cost of living going up” and all its related sentiments will be properly danced in 2019 especially after the 2018 budget was read. Any expat who has been to Singapore the last few years can attest that the Singapore economy is no joke. For instance, water prices which have not seen a hike for the past 17 years hit an increase of 30% in July this year.

However, it’s not all that bad for expats. An expat whose exclusive compensation package includes favors like car allowances, school fees, transportation allowances, childcare, entertainment allowances, housing, and other work-accompanied benefits does not feel the pinch of the economy. They will only suffer a high consumption tax. Such benefits aren’t rare in Singapore and can make life quite comfortable. Even if your package isn’t that extensive, you can always work yourself with what you have and still manage to pull a more affluent lifestyle.

While we tend to blame the government on these increments, unfortunately, a wide range of these increments are caused by specific global factors and are entirely beyond the ministries’ control. Therefore, the best way to handle the expensive life is to know why they happen and learn to be prepared financially. Below are the five major things that will get expensive in Singapore in 2019 that we thought you should know.

MRT and bus fares

From 29th December 2018, the MRT and bus fares will rise with a 4.3% margin. This is according to an announcement made by the Public Transport Council in Singapore. However, 4.3% is the maximum, which means that consumers will not get exaggerated rates from some stations. These fare increases are mainly for those traveling with ABT, EZ-Link or NETS FlashPay bank cards.  For commuters using cash, the fare hike is much steeper with about S$0.1 per journey. The ongoing discount of getting in the MRT stations before 7:45 am during weekdays remain untouched.

You probably are asking why these fares are only rising this year when they were actually reduced during the past fare revisions? Well, there are several general understandable and logical reasons given like an increase in labor and energy costs. MRT operators also gave their views on why they need to have the fares increased.

They complained of spending lots of money on train maintenance and constants repairs. For now, it looks like we all have to adjust to the new rates or find jobs that are relatively close to our homes.

Electricity, fuel, and gas

If you thought you are on the safer side because you do not commute with the MRT, then this will have to shock you. The cost of fuel is not exempted from going up in 2019. In fact, the hiking of fuel is no longer a Singapore issue, but a global rise. It is the new worldwide phenomenon that countries will need more time to purge. Oil is a solid product for any country, and without it, a lot of things go wrong.

So why are oil prices increasing?  Oil comes from far; it undergoes quite a number of processes before getting exported. Oil mining countries face a number of challenges which involves the complex demand and supply. These challenges never go away and may keep repeating themselves consequently, rendering the prices of oil unstable. Currently, oil is facing political trouble between Iran and US. It is not yet known how long Singaporeans may have to wait for sanity to be restored in the fuel prices.

Electricity is also affected when the global energy prices hike. Well, we still have energy companies fighting for the same, but until then, we will have to put up with the increased costs till the market stabilizes.

Water and food

The rising of water prices is not any news in Singapore anymore. While most households have not been heavily affected by the prices—thanks to productive initiatives such as U-save—Private corporates like the local Kopitiam, have had it rough and have since passed the pinch to the consumers. In simple terms, Kopi prices have gone up.

Gas is to be blamed for the high cost of water. Naturally, energy is required for water to get pumped which means that electricity also counts. That’s not all. According to a TodayOnline report, another element to blame is; the weather. Many regions are expected to experience adverse weather conditions including some major regions that Singapore rely on for food. Such countries include Australia—the principal source of dairy.

In fact, the report states that the ongoing hike is expected to maintain through the first half part of 2019. Other causes include trade tensions between the US and its partners, oil, and inflation.

Hiring foreign house managers

Maids are an essential group of people in a household. Without them, the birth rate would be critically lower than it is already, as they are the main helpers when it comes to house chores and children. However, from 1st April 2019 onwards, the cost of hiring a maid will go up for some employers.  Persons with children under the age of 16years, older people of above 67 years, or people with disabilities of any age will continue with the standard discounted rates for up to two maids per home.

For all the other households, families have to think through the drastically increased levies and determine whether getting an hourly helper is cheaper compared to getting a foreign maid or not.


Planning to travel next year could be a bad move expressly to a Singapore resident who has been diligently saving to get adequate funds for the trip. This is because both global hotel and airfare costs are expected to hike by a 2.6% rate come next year. The rise was catalyzed by the increased fuel prices or rather oil costs across the globe—another oil disadvantage. Operating expenses, fluctuation of flights as well as competition all add up to the cause of hiking airfares. Well, as this is a global crisis, it’s only wise that we brace ourselves for worse times next year.

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