Monday, September 29, 2008

Reader Mailbag # 4 : Cost of Living in Singapore 2008

Hi Sandeep,

we are planning to rent out this house at HDB Bukit Batok, 177 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8, Singapore 650177, The rent is SGD 1700/ month, you think it is a good area and a decent rent??


Bijal thanks for commenting on my blog.

Well, as I said earlier in my posts that all areas in Singapore are good in terms of accessibility, food options, grocery, shopping malls etc. So finally it comes to your choice of location in terms of commute to office and how much you want to pay as rent!.

So go ahead if the HDB flat is not too far away from MRT Station - may be 3-4 bus stops is a good idea.

About rent this looks like good rent for 3-4 room house. But again as I lack details in the question, can't comment on that. Again it depends sometimes, some people prefer small but well furnished flats and some prefer bigger flats like 3-4 bedrooms.

Hi Sandeep,

hope all well with you.
Could you please advice in which areas the rent is not high. Am a business men and planning to open a office in Singapore so would like to shell out less funds. I would be moving with my wife. Are the rents payable very month or its taken in advance for 12 months. Are there any security deposits while renting.

Sachin thanks for posting a comment. Rents are payable monthly most of the times unless its a lease(again I have not seen anybody personally doing so). Advance rent depends upon your contract terms, for 1 year rental agreement the advance would be 1 month rent in advance(wow that gives relief if you are coming from India where we pay 10-12 months rent in advance!)

The rent in advance itself is a security deposit. Most of the rent agreements has a clause to for either party to vacate or ask to vacate after 6 months by giving 1 month notice. So need to check the agreement carefully before you sign in.

About rent being high or low in areas in Singapore. You need to search based on your office location and commute time you want to spend. Once you decide on location for example Senkang, Ang Mo Kio, or Tampanies you can try searching flats in those areas and generally rent varies depending upon type of flat and renovation done.


Finally I have moved to custom domain for my blog !

Yes I have been thinking about this for long time!. But was not able to decide about the domain name for my blog. Essentially I was looking for something which means "Sharing". As mostly what I am doing at my blog is about Sharing Information what I have have or gathered. This helps my readers(I hope!).

So finally I decided about the name today while I was traveling in a Bus in the morning.

The name is :

The old blog name : remains too !



Friday, September 26, 2008

FREE VOIP Calls from Singapore and to Singapore too !

You must be searching in Google for "FREE Calls to India", "FREE VOIP Calls in Singapore", "VOIP Calls from Singapore to USA" or "FREE 2 way calls from Singapore to USA" etc etc ...

In this world of Microsoft and Google we want everything free ! .. Although Google Talk/Yahoo Messenger has given us a way to talk FREE by using our PCs. But again this puts us to the restriction of using PC to PC calls only. Well not right ..There is one more service called Fring which allows one to call Mobile to Mobile anywhere in the world just by using the Free WiFi or GPRS!...But we want more ! ..We want the convenience of traditional good old phone to phone dialing without worrying of setup's of WiFi / GPRS or complex setup of some Java based software in our Mobile.

In USA I know my friends were using Vonage to use this so called free calling to international destinations.

So now for Singapore what is the option ? ! ..I did some research and found out this :

  • PC to PC works the best
    • With Internet changing our lives, everybody with laptops and PCs with broadband. PC to PC calls using Google Talk/ Yahoo Messenger / Skype works the best in my opinion.
    • But we loose this option is either of the party is not having PC or not equipped to do the first time setup of installing software, using broadband, buying headset etc etc
  • Fring - Mobile to Mobile VOIP using WiFi or GPRS
    • This works good too in Singapore. As in Singapore we get to use Free WiFi Zones
    • Many Malls have Free WiFi Access
    • Most of the homes will have WiFi
    • I have tested this and it works great. Specially when using the good signal broadband connection at home. As any way you are trying to make FREE calls sometimes only when you are at home.
  • Free or subscription based VOIP Providers
    • There are plenty when you search google like :
    • Some offer free calls back to Singapore or other countries
    • But mostly they have charges like 6/7 cents per min to most of the destinations like India.
    • I am not very comfortable using these kind of services as they are not reliable and involves subscription which is higher or equivalent to what I can get via a Calling Card like Mustafa or others available in Singapore
  • 100% FREE Unlimited Calls to any destination
    • Now this is something worth exploring
    • I did some research in this area and found this company called Nexustel
    • I know few people in Singapore using this.
    • Although I am not sure whether this is legal to use this way in India
    • I called the person to check the details
      • You have to buy 2 VOIP Adaptor - Yes TWO
      • One you install at your home in Singapore with your broadband connection
      • Second you send to India or any other destination in world and install/connect to broadband internet there too
      • Connect normal Phone to the VOIP Adaptor at both ends
      • Now once you are connected, the person in India or any other destination can call the Singapore Nexustel Phone Number and the phone in Singapore will ring for FREE unlimited time.
      • The Cost of 2 Adaptors is I guess in the range of SGD 400-500. So this is the one time investment you are making.
      • There is monthly subscription also. As you will be making use of this VOIP Phone to make calls to Singapore Locally too which is around 2-3 cents per minute.
So with all these options you are set to explore the VOIP world in Singapore!.

Well some points to take care before you jump

  • Always use good company for VOIP as once the subscription is done you are locked with the company if the voice call quality is bad.
  • As we are talking about Digital Voice here, the broadband connection reliability matters most here - any compromise on this will frustrate you !
  • Check the legal terms on using VOIP in your country before opting for any options.
  • GPRS is expensive!
  • Check call rates or plans for calling international destination with your Mobile or land line service provider first to see you get any good plan
enjoy VOIP !

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cheap Phone Calls to India : Airtel Call Home !

Airtel is ringing Singapore NRIs finally!. I have been tracking various players in this pre-paid card business for last 2 years. Airtel and Reliance started their India calling services in USA. But in Singapore we were limited to Mustafa Calling Card(which offers the best rate of 120 minutes for SGD $6.90). There are other pre-paid cards too but most of them will cheat you on minutes and hidden connection charges. I hope Airtel will do its best to get maximum attention from Singapore NRIs.

Check the page for Airtel Call Home for the offer of 70% extra talk time. So for $10 pre-paid card purchased you get 162 minutes of talk time which comes to 6.2 cents per minute. This is great!.

I have been getting marketing calls from some Indian Companies too which offers 7 cents/minute for India calling - both land line and mobile. Which is good too. But we need to remember following points before we jump and take the offer!:

  • Check your local Mobile plans for any offers for FREE IDD rates
    • e.g. Starhub now offers FREE IDD for India too! - so that means you only pay local charges for calling India. Depending on the plan that could be 7 cents/minutes too.
  • Make sure that the prepaid card does not charge any connection fee
  • Check whether it allows PIN less calling - Phoenix Card in Singapore allows that. It makes life easier.
  • When you use prepaid card you also pay the call charges from your landline and mobile. Landline is pretty cheap but mobile means more 7 cents/minute apart from prepaid. So you end up spending 14 cents/minute for a India call.
  • Some cards have different charges for mobile and landline in India.
I know many use Google Talk or Yahoo Messenger for calling India, which is the best option if PC is there on the both sides. But for many occasions we still need some IDD or prepaid card service to call India.


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Reader Mailbag #3 : Cost Of Living Singapore 2008

I am getting more comments for the cost of living post and I am making efforts to answer them. Readers please post comments to share your ideas too to help these people in their decision. Again as mentioned earlier, you need to do your own research before taking any decision. As moving from one country to another country involves lot of cost and also other factors like change in job, culture, climate and many other things. Also for most cases the decision once taken cannot be changed very easily in short duration. I am glad that I am able to provide some help in this process. enjoy reading!

Hi Sandeep,

Thanks for the information.

I have got an offer of 5000 SGD per month from singapore. I am bachelor and I would like to know whether this is a good salary or not? I am an S/W engineer having around 4 years of experience.

Please let me know.

Rahul, I like you read the following post of mine here. In my personal opinion SGD 5000 is a good salary to save enough money if you are going to share the apartment with few more bachelor's like you.

Best of luck !


I am a software engineer with 5 years of experience. Recently I got an employment offer from a Singapore based company.

Basic Salary : SGD 2850
Accommodation : SGD 350
Transportation : SGD 100
Meal Subsidy : SGD 150
Customer Services Subsidy: SGD 50

Total Salary per month will be SGD 3500. I am also entitle to AWS in year end, equal to or prorate of 1 month basic salary, upon confirmation of employment.

Q1)Is it a good offer comparing to the Singapore standard ?

Currently I am working in Bangalore,India and drawing a salary package of Rs-8,50,000 per anum. I'm able to draw around Rs-53,000 in hand per month (after tax). I am a newly married and my wife also earns around Rs-20,000 a month. Normally our family expense (rent Rs-10000, food and travel) wont go beyond Rs-22,000 per month.

In Singapore, I would like to go for a HDB flat (minimum 1 bedroom, 1 living room, kitchen and toilet) and I don't want to share the accommodation.

Q2)From the given data, Whats your opinion on my relocation to Singapore? Is the offer financially beneficial for me?

My wife is .net/C#/VB software engineer with 1+ years experience in an MNC.
Q3)Whats her chance of finding similar job in Singapore?
Q4)What salary range she can expect in Singapore ?
Q5)With the double income option, Whats your opinion on my relocation to Singapore?

Please send me your reply to

Thanks and Regards,


A1)As you might know,there is nothing called as Singapore Standard or for that matter India/USA standard when comes to salary package , it all depends on various factors like company you are joining, your skill level, need by the company and your negotiation skills for getting good salary package. You can have an idea about Singapore Wages here :

A2) This is an average salary. You need to define your goals for savings in Singapore as compared to what you are saving in Bangalore. I believe savings of around of Rs.50k(Rs.72k salary - expenses of Rs22k) is considered good in Bangalore. You should consider some other companies in Bangalore or in India to see what is being offered for your exp.+ skills. This will help you to take the decision better.

A3) Yes she can get job with some time of searching.

A4) Salary range could be checked in the report I have provided link earlier.

A5) Yes double income surely helps!

Hope this helps.Best of luck!


I would request readers to comment in more details, in case they are looking for any specific information. This would help me to provide better feedback. Also whatever I write is my personal opinion and cannot be taken granted. DYWR(Do You Own Reseach!)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Reader Mailbag #2 : Cost Of Living Singapore 2008

Hiii sandeep ur blogs have been highly informative and are a great help. i wanted to know about tax filing in singapore and India. Are u required to file returns only in Singaore or also in India how do u manage to do it??? 

Thanks for the comments Bijal. It is a very good question. I believe most of the people who get relocated to the new country from India must be thinking about this. Well the simple answer to this question is that you need to file Income Tax in Singapore as long as you are eligible for it. For more information checkout the informative website : Singapore Income Tax Website. Regarding Income Tax in India. You need to file returns with Indian Income Tax authority and pay the required Income Tax if you have any income in India. This is also applicable for people who have NRI status. 

Now with India providing various ways to file returns electronically it is much easier to file IT returns in India. Please read more about this at : RBI on NRI Rules on Income Tax

Hi Sandeep, many thanks for this information. Really you are doing a great work.I am planning to move to Singapore in Dec 08 along with my spouse. I would like to know more about master room (facilities, area, access to this room, cooking facility etc). Whether cooking is allowed? Thanks 

I assume you are talking about renting only the Master Bedroom out of 3 Bed Room HDB Flat or a Condo. Well generally speaking this kind of arrangement is more suitable for bachelors. But there are couples also who share HDB/Condo flats like this. Generally it requires lot of understanding between 2 parties sharing the flat and also requries some flexibility from everybody who is sharing the flat. The Master Room is the one which is having attached bathroom and toilet. Three bed room HDB flat have 1 Master room with attached bathroom and toilet. The other toilet is either near the Kitchen or having access via the living room(this is mainly true for new HDB flats which are less than 6-7 years old). Whether cooking is allowed or not depends on the owner of the flat. Most of the times the kitchen is well equipped with Fridge, Microwave Oven, Rice Cooker and some utensils too if you are lucky!..Best of luck for your house search !!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Cost of living in Singapore 2008 : For Bachelors / Single !

I have been getting lot of comments from my bachelor readers to find out what is the "Cost of living in Singapore for Bachelors".Most of them will start like this "hi...i have received an offer of S$3050 from a PR firm in Singapore and m thinking of relocating. I'm currently single and would appreciate your advice on whether it is possible to live comfortably on this salary... - Anonymous"

My blog post about "Cost of Living in Singapore 2008" get around 1-2 comments from people asking questions like this. My idea of sharing this information is to give some understanding for people who are trying to relocate to Singapore. I hope they get some idea from these posts. But most important thing to note is that I am not trying to advice here about anything. What I am putting is my frank personal opinion about "Cost of Living in Singapore". As I said before too, this depends on your lifestyle and how you continue to live here in Singapore. Also things might change over a period of time either on -ve or +ve side of it. So please do your own assessment before you take any decision.

With this let me explain about how much an bachelor would need in Singapore $ to live comfortably. Again this would depend now many things like,whether you are sharing the accommodation or not, how much do you spend on lifestyle products like iPhone!, how many times and where do you go out for eating etc etc.

Here is the sample chart to show how much an bachelor will probably spend here in Singapore for living.

  • 4 Bachelors / Singles living together in HDB Flat!
  • Sharing Grocery Expenses
  • Cooking at least 1 meal daily at home !
  • If a single person not living in Shared Accommodation - then the cost increases - But its a matter of preference for many. Remember it is good to live the life the way you want rather than savings some bucks :)

So for a Single it turns out to be very good as they can save good amount of money!. Again in this one needs to add a cost of travel for holidays or back to home country needs to be included. But that another post !

Enjoy Singapore!

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