Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

With rising costs and increased learning needs, financing our children's education is no longer a simple walk in the park. Discuss with other parents about how they are managing their finances to cope with their expenses.

Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby hokkiengirl » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:19 pm

Do you think a family of 4 (for example, a couple with two kids, one pre-schooler and one in primary school) can get by on 800 dollars a month, assuming that CPF has already been deducted? I hope this does not become a political topic; that is not the point of the question. Rather, I'm hoping for fellow forum-ers to share the best cost-saving methods for food, utilities, education, leisure, etc, and to see if it really is possible to live on 800 bucks.

I'm going to assume certain things: that only one parent is working while the other one stays at home, or the family unit comprises a single parent with two children and the kids need to go to childcare / student-care. I'll deduct 50 as allowance to parents, another 50 for medical bills and 100 for the breadwinner's transportation costs. So that leaves 600 as cash in hand. Fair? This is up for discussion and tweaking, too!

I'll start the ball rolling.

1) Don't use air-conditioning; utilities should be around 70?
2) Entertainment equals free-to-air tv and the radio.
3) Meals are home-cooked. (how much would the family spend you think?)

What say you? :smile:

hokkiengirl
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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby LOLMum » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:46 pm

huh,,,you posting here...you promoting or selling something that can help family in singapore to live on 800 bucks a month? and we are talking about S$ right??? :wink: :evil:

LOLMum
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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby hokkiengirl » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:39 am

Yes, LOLMum. Sing $. :smile:

Ha ha I'm trying to imagine what life would be like if I had these restrictions, so I'm thinking along the lines of an austerity drive. For example, eating mostly veggies and tofu instead of buying meat all the time, sending my kid to a PCF kindy, bringing the kids to the playground or parks instead of to movies and other expensive places, eating bread and drinking NTUC soya bean milk for breakfast instead of roti prata from the hawker centre. And getting all possible discounts, bursaries, etc, from all possible organisations.

So, nope, ain't selling nuthin', I'm afraid.

It really is a genuine question: CAN we survive on 800? I rather think it is possible. :smile:

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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby Funz » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:01 pm

Think LOLmum is asking cos you posted this under marketplace intead of recess time.

I know of a family of 8 living on a single income of about $1000/mth. They manage because they are getting financial aids. 3 of their 6 kids are in full day childcare. After all the subsidies, they pay only $5 per child. The father mentioned that they get additional funding for utilities and such. To make things even more challenging, the father is a diabetic who needs daily insulin jabs. The kids do not have school bags, they use recyclable shopping bags. They take a lot of hand me downs from relatives and from the community. No big birthday celebrations or fast food meals. The oldest child is in sec 4 doing her 'O' levels and working part time to supplement the family income. She hopes to be able to continue her studies and that is her father's wish as well but if his health deteriorates, she will have to stop her studies and start supporting her family.

But if you speak to them, you will not get any sense of bitterness from them. The father is grateful for all the help that he has been given. The children appear pretty sensible, especially the eldest. We gave them free water bottles that we get from buying Milo and Ribena and the kids were ecstatic.

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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby MrsSeah » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:45 pm

Yes I know a family income of $1000. They (4 persons) are staying in a 3 room flat which they brought it many years ago when the property are low.

Like Funz's friend, they get financial aid. They are very thrifty, their family outing is to go park to ride bicycle and they mostly eat home cook food. Their kids school fees, books and uniform are all financial aids by the school. Their youngest daughter also has diabetic who needs daily insulin jabs. All the medical fee are covered by social aid which will review yearly.

Some time I feel the low income earner are being well look after. I feel the people in Singapore who are in "hardship" are those middle income earner. Who salary are not high, not lower. Not high enough to survice in singapore and not low enough to get financial aid. :(

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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby meinteel » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:23 pm

Assuming that there are no mortgages for the flat, no grants/other sources of money/expenditure & education up till completion of Junior College is paid for by Edusave & likes.

Calculations are based on 30 days month. Since there are more 28days month, this means that the family can save some loose change here and there for rainy days.

Morning Bread - 1 Loaf/day (10 slices) $1.70
Wholemeal is more nutritious & helps you feel fuller longer.
- Children 2 each, Parents 3 each maybe?
Kaya, Butter, Nutella Choose 1 bottle/month
Whole family's breakfast should costs no more than $55.

Kid's Saving $30/child, $60 monthly.
- Important for university education (thru JC route) or poly.
- Covers only first year's fees. Second & third year can be borrowed from bank & repaid after graduation. Children should also raise the sum partially through home tuition (during poly/jc/ns & uni itself) - should be able to raise 3000-12000 a year minimally.

Electric & Gas Bills $200
- Guessing it could be lower but I think $200 is a safe limit?

Phone Bills - Prepaid for breadwinner $22/50days.
- Luxury for such low income

Fruits $63/month
- I consider this important, to have fruits everyday esp for kids. Can help to save on medical bills and ensure they are more healthily esp variety of food they eat will be much lesser. Apples & bananas are cheaper & can cause them to feel full.

This leaves $200 for entire family per 30 days or $6.66 per day.
Skip lunch, dinner eat mostly mixed boiled vegetables/corns etc with bit of rice. Add in tofu to make sure there is enough nutrients & protein.

Water parade, every 1 hour must drink 550ml of water (1 bottle). Assuming that the kids are awake for 12 hours a day, 5 hours in school (where they would barely drink any water) that leaves you with 7. Just about the right amount of water kids should be drinking in a day.

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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby hokkiengirl » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:21 pm

Oops! I get it now, LOLMum! Sorry to have posted it under Marketplace. I'm a computer klutz and I didn't even know there are different domains! Thanks for clearing it up, Funz. :smile:

Great stories you guys shared. I really salute people in such situations who live life gracefully to the best of their abilities. But what is the cheapest childcare centre around, after subsidies, etc? Does anyone know? I only know that PCF kindys are very affordable to low-income families after subsidies. Just a few dollars a month, I think. And is the level of care the children get in these childcare centres reasonable?

Looks like if education is to be the great leveller, then primary schools may really have to reverse the trend of expecting the kids to know too much too soon. Too bad for the early starters who are already reading classics in Primary One. They'll just learn to entertain themselves while the teacher goes through basic stuff for the sakes of their less fortunate counterparts. Pity it's not like that nowadays. Sigh.

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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby hokkiengirl » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:48 pm

MrsSeah wrote:Yes I know a family income of $1000. They (4 persons) are staying in a 3 room flat which they brought it many years ago when the property are low.

Like Funz's friend, they get financial aid. They are very thrifty, their family outing is to go park to ride bicycle and they mostly eat home cook food. Their kids school fees, books and uniform are all financial aids by the school. Their youngest daughter also has diabetic who needs daily insulin jabs. All the medical fee are covered by social aid which will review yearly.

Some time I feel the low income earner are being well look after. I feel the people in Singapore who are in "hardship" are those middle income earner. Who salary are not high, not lower. Not high enough to survice in singapore and not low enough to get financial aid. :(


Hi, Mrs Seah!

Yup, I see this perspective pretty often. Assuming the middle-income group earns between 2k to 4k (is that about right?) per household, why would they find it harder than, say, the lower-income group? I understand the bit about not qualifying for financial aid, but why wouldn't it be high enough to get by in Singapore? Is it a question of lifestyle choices?

And where does most of the money go? On food and utilities and such necessities, or tuition and enrichment for kids? Is the latter where the crunch? Do you or anyone mind sharing your views? :)

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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby MrsSeah » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:41 am

hokkien girl. I have a few colleague who earned $3000+++. Their wife is not working because not very educated. If they work, they earn $1000+ only, still need to put kids to childcare etc, after some calculating, they feel not very worthwhile.

After deducting the cpf, getting home is $2000+++, need to give parent who are not staying with them. Paying school fees, housing, electrical bills etc etc... they don't have saving. They told me every month-end, their bank is dry. :(

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Re: Can a family in Singapore live on 800 dollars a month?

Postby UncleLim » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:01 pm

I would think it is possible to "get by" with that kind of income. But that is it. Getting by means not having the resources to help your kids get ahead other than what the school offers them.

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