Yes! We’re number one! Oh, wait…
This was bound to happen sooner or later. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit’s annual ranking, Singapore has leaped from sixth to first in the list of the world’s 131 most expensive cities.
It’s been a meteoric rise as the cost of living goes through the roof on the island – just a few years ago, we were in a relatively low 18th place. Now we’re above Paris, Oslo, Zurich, Sydney and last year’s number one Tokyo for this unwelcome accolade.
So, what’s happened? Firstly, Singapore rode out the worst of the turmoil that was the world financial crisis, and has increasingly been seen as a safe place to keep your money and do business. As more people come to Singapore – our population has been steadily rising – it’s forced up property prices, commodity prices, everyday costs.
All of a sudden, life’s got expensive here. Singapore’s strengths, such as our dollar which is riding high, has turned against us, which makes even the most basic things – such as filling up your car – a truly eye-watering event as you watch your money disappear from your bank account.
So, what can you do to keep costs down?
Firstly, and I’m sure we’re all becoming experts at this, keep a strict eye on your finances. With the cost of living creeping up, you need to follow every last cent to make sure you don’t get into trouble.
Second, shop around for deals. Which leads to our third, which is “use your credit cards wisely”.
If you’re a driver in Singapore, you already know how expensive it is to fill up. You’d be a fool not to have a motorist’s credit card that offers – and let’s not mince our words here – MASSIVE discounts on fuel at many of the island’s filling stations. Look on our website, because they’re waiting for you.
Take, for example, the HSBC Visa Platinum Card. While there’s a S$180 fee, you’ll easily cover this in no time at all with 14% discount and 5% cash rebate at Shell, and 18% at Caltex.
It’s the same with other costs that make up your everyday life. You’ll probably find there’s a credit card that offers the same thing cheaper. Shop wisely, and Singapore’s nowhere near as expensive as the world thinks it is.
Review by Jason Taylor – [email protected]