How to Save Money in Singapore: The Ultimate Guide 2024

how to save money

Singaporeans save about 31.5% of their income on average. However, it’s important to remember that this is not a one-size-fits-all benchmark, as for some, saving this portion may be unrealistic. 

For example, a young professional earning S$4,000 per month might aim to save S$1,200 (30%), while a family with higher expenses might target a lower percentage. The key is to find a savings rate that works for your individual circumstances and financial goals.

Learn how you can budget effectively, implement investment strategies, and adopt smart saving techniques for financial security. Plus, know how automated transfers can help you save effortlessly, set clear financial goals, and explore side hustles for additional income.

The Basics of Saving Money

To get started with effective financial management, establish SMART financial goals, create and stick to your budget, utilize budgeting apps and tools, and monitor and adjust your budget regularly.

1. Set Clear Financial Goals

Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) financial goals to set the foundation for successful budgeting. These goals could be saving a few bucks for a house down payment or building an emergency fund.

2. Create and Stick to Your Budget

A budget should detail the individual’s regular income and itemized monthly expenses, such as rent, groceries, and utilities. Prioritizing needs over wants and ensuring savings form a part of the budget are crucial steps. 

Average monthly costs for various categories in Singapore

CategoryAverage Monthly Cost (SGD)
Housing (HDB Flat)Rent: S$2,000 – S$2,500
Housing (Condominium)Rent: S$3,500 – S$4,500
Housing (Landed Property)Rent: S$4,500 – S$15,000+
UtilitiesS$150 – S$250
Grocery shoppingSingle: S$200 – S$400, Family: S$600 – S$1,200
Eating OutS$10 – S$15 per meal
TransportationS$100 – S$150 (public transport)
InsuranceVaries (S$50 – S$300 for health insurance)
HealthcareS$20 – S$50 (GP visit)
Personal CareS$50 – S$200
EntertainmentS$100 – S$400
ClothingS$50 – S$300
SavingsAt least 20% of income (recommended)


Please note that these figures are estimates and can vary based on individual circumstances and lifestyle choices.

Example Itemized Expenses & Saving Money

Here’s an example of how a single person might set aside money for a monthly budget based on the average income in Singapore of S$5,197:

Fixed Expenses:

  • Housing (HDB flat rent): S$2,000
  • Utilities: S$200
  • Insurance (health): S$150

Total Fixed Expenses: S$2,350

Variable Expenses:

  • Groceries: S$300
  • Eating Out: S$150
  • Transportation: S$120
  • Healthcare: S$30
  • Personal Care: S$100
  • Entertainment: S$200
  • Clothing: S$100

Total Variable Expenses: S$1,000


  • Savings (20% of income): S$1,039.40

Total Expenses:

  • Fixed Expenses: S$2,350
  • Variable Expenses: S$1,000
  • Savings: S$1,039.40

Total Expenses: S$4,389.40

Remaining Income:

  • Income: S$5,197
  • Total Expenses: S$4,389.40

Remaining Income: S$807.60

In this example, the single person sets aside 20% of their income for savings and allocates the rest for fixed and variable expenses. Adjustments can be made based on individual circumstances and priorities.

budgeting app

3. Utilize Budgeting Apps and Tools

There are numerous budgeting applications and tools designed to simplify financial planning. They can help users track expenses, categorize spending, and alert them when they’re approaching preset spending limits. 

Here are a few popular ones:

  • Mint: This app allows you to track your spending, create budgets, and set financial goals. It also provides insights into your spending habits and offers personalized recommendations.
  • You Need A Budget (YNAB): YNAB is a budgeting tool based on zero-based budgeting principles, which means every dollar has a job. It helps you prioritize your spending and gives you a clear picture of where your money is going.
  • PocketGuard: PocketGuard connects all your financial accounts to give you a complete view of your finances. It categorizes your spending, tracks your bills, and helps you find ways to save money.
  • Personal Capital: While primarily known for its wealth management services, Personal Capital also offers a free financial dashboard that tracks your income, spending, and investments. It’s a great tool for overall financial planning.
  • GoodBudget: GoodBudget is based on the envelope system of budgeting, where you allocate a portion of your income to different categories (envelopes). The app helps you stick to these allocations and avoid overspending.

4. Monitor and Adjust Your Budget Regularly

A budget is not set in stone; regular review and adjustments are key to coping with financial changes. Individuals might need to modify their budgets in response to a pay raise, unexpected expenses, or changes in investment returns. Keeping the budget aligned with current financial circumstances ensures it remains effective and realistic.


  • Establish SMART financial goals to lay the foundation for successful budgeting.
  • Create and stick to a budget by detailing income and expenses, prioritizing needs over wants, and ensuring savings are included.
  • Utilize budgeting apps and tools like Mint, YNAB, PocketGuard, Personal Capital, and GoodBudget to simplify financial planning.
  • Regularly monitor and adjust your budget to align with changes in income, expenses, and financial goals.

Saving Strategies

Adopting effective saving strategies is essential for financial growth in Singapore. These methods not only help in accumulating wealth but also ensure sustainable financial health.

1. Automating Your Savings Account

One can start saving money effortlessly by automating their savings. This involves setting up automatic transfers from one’s checking to a savings account, immediately after receiving their paycheck. The process is seamless, reducing the temptation to spend the money elsewhere.

2. Allocate a Percentage of Your Paycheck to Savings

A disciplined approach involves allocating a set percentage of one’s paycheck to savings each month. Whether it’s 10%, 20%, or more, consistently setting aside significant savings before addressing any other expenses can build a savings habit and grow the nest egg over time.

3. Implement the 50/30/20 Rule for Budget Allocation

For structured budgeting, one might consider the 50/30/20 rule, where 50% of income goes to necessities, 30% to wants, and 20% is earmarked for savings. This can help balance between enjoying the present while being prudent about the future.


  • Necessities (50%): S$5,197 x 50% = S$2,598.50
    • Rent or Mortgage: S$1,500
    • Utilities: S$150
    • Food and Groceries: S$500
    • Transportation: S$200
    • Insurance: S$100
    • Other Essentials: S$148.50
  • Wants (30%): S$5,197 x 30% = S$1,559.10
    • Dining Out: S$300
    • Entertainment: S$200
    • Shopping: S$400
    • Travel and Leisure: S$300
    • Other Discretionary Expenses: S$359.10
  • Savings (20%): S$5,197 x 20% = S$1,039.40
    • Emergency Fund: S$300
    • Retirement Account Savings: S$300
    • Investments: S$439.40

This breakdown is just an example and can be adjusted based on individual circumstances and financial goals.

4. Saving Windfalls and Bonuses

When receiving unexpected financial gains, such as windfalls and bonuses, it’s wise to transfer a significant portion directly into savings. These funds can provide a substantial boost to one’s savings objectives without affecting the regular budget.


  • Automating savings through automatic transfers from checking to savings accounts helps save effortlessly.
  • Allocate a set percentage of your paycheck to savings each month to build a savings habit and grow your nest egg.
  • Implement the 50/30/20 rule for budget allocation: 50% to necessities, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings.
  • Save windfalls and bonuses by transferring a significant portion directly into savings to boost savings objectives.

Expense Reduction Techniques

Now that you’ve learned how to begin allocating your income towards monthly living expenses and savings, it’s wise to reduce your monthly expenditures. This includes cutting down on unnecessary spending and being mindful of utilities and transportation costs.

1. Shop Smartly and Take Advantage of Discounts

Shoppers in Singapore can save money by utilizing discounts and promotions. Making use of loyalty programs, comparing prices online, and purchasing during sales events are practices that lead to noticeable savings. 

For finding significant discounts, promotions, and loyalty programs in Singapore, you can explore various websites and platforms. Here are some popular options:

  • Coupon and Deal Websites: Websites like Couponify, ShopBack, and SGDTips offer a range of discounts, deals, and cashback offers for various retailers and services in Singapore.
  • Loyalty Program Websites: Many major retailers and brands have their own loyalty programs. You can visit their official websites or apps to learn more about the rewards and discounts they offer. 
  • Price Comparison Websites: Websites like PricePanda and PriceRunner can help you compare prices across different retailers to find the best deals.
  • Credit Card Rewards Programs: Credit cards often offer cash rebates and rewards programs that allow you to earn points or cashback on your purchases. 

Cards like the Citi Rewards Card and the American Express True Cashback Card are popular choices in Singapore for their rewards programs. 

2. Reduce Utility Bills and Household Expenses

Households can cut down on utility bills by adopting energy-efficient appliances and habits, such as switching off lights when not in use and reducing water consumption. 

Here are tips to reduce utility bills and household expenses:

  • Use Energy-Efficient Appliances: Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. The National Environment Agency (NEA) encourages the use of appliances with the Energy Label, which indicates their energy efficiency. 
  • Unplug Electronics When Not in Use: Many electronics consume energy even when turned off. Unplug devices or use a power strip with an on/off switch.
  • Switch to LED Bulbs: LED bulbs are more energy-efficient and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Reduce Water Usage: Install water-saving devices such as low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Fix leaks promptly and avoid leaving taps running unnecessarily.

3. Opt for Cost-Effective Transportation Options

Public transportation in Singapore is a more economical option compared to private vehicle ownership. Individuals are encouraged to make use of buses and trains.. Carpooling or biking are alternatives that not only save money but also promote sustainable living.


  • Shop smartly and take advantage of discounts, promotions, and loyalty programs to save money.
  • Utilize coupon and deal websites, loyalty programs, price comparison websites, and credit card rewards programs.
  • Reduce utility bills by using energy-efficient appliances, unplugging electronics when not in use, and switching to LED bulbs.
  • Lower household expenses by installing water-saving devices and fixing leaks promptly.
  • Opt for cost-effective transportation options such as public transportation, carpooling, or biking to save money and promote sustainable living.
increasing income

Increasing Income

Boosting your financial status may require additional income streams. Strategic steps like engaging in side hustles, enhancing career skills for higher-paying roles, and establishing passive income avenues can lead to considerable financial improvement.

1. Explore Side Hustles and Part-Time Jobs

You may enhance their earnings through various part-time jobs or gig economy roles, such as ride-sharing or food delivery, which offer flexible schedules. Websites like FastJobs present numerous opportunities for part-time positions. Creative individuals might sell crafts, products, or services on platforms like Carousell.

2. Invest in Skills Development for Career Advancement

Investing time in learning new skills or earning certifications can lead to career advancement and higher income. For example, you might pursue courses in digital marketing or project management to become more valuable in your field. 

Initiatives and institutions offer opportunities for upskilling and career advancement:

  • SkillsFuture Singapore: This local institution provides various upskilling opportunities, including courses in digital marketing, project management, and other fields. 
  • Continuing Education and Training (CET): CET centers in Singapore, such as the Continuing Education & Training Centres (CETC), offer a wide range of courses and programs to help individuals acquire new skills and knowledge.
  • Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs): ITMs are industry-specific roadmaps developed by the Singapore government to help businesses and individuals in key sectors acquire the skills needed for the future economy.
  • Online Learning Platforms: Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer a wide range of courses in various fields that can help individuals upskill and stay competitive in their careers.
  • Workshops and Seminars: Attending workshops and seminars in your field can provide valuable insights and networking opportunities, helping you stay updated with the latest trends and developments.

3. Seek Opportunities for Passive Income

Passive income can be pursued through investment in stocks and real estate. One option is to learn about dividend-paying stocks, which can provide regular payouts. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are a potential avenue for income through property investment without the need for direct management.


  • Explore side hustles and part-time jobs for additional income, such as ride-sharing or selling products online.
  • Invest in skills development for career advancement by taking courses in digital marketing or project management.
  • Take advantage of opportunities for upskilling and career advancement provided by institutions like SkillsFuture Singapore and Continuing Education and Training (CET) centers.
  • Consider seeking passive income through investments in stocks or real estate, such as dividend-paying stocks or real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Smart Banking and Investment

Maximizing your financial potential involves smart banking decisions and investment strategies. It’s essential to choose bank accounts with high interest rates, understand diverse investment options for long-term benefits, and recognize the power of compound interest.

1. Choose High-Interest Savings Accounts

One can significantly boost their savings by opting for a BOC SmartSaver account, which offers competitive interest rates. However, obtaining the optimum benefits requires meeting specific criteria to maximize returns.

2. Explore Investment Options for Long-Term Growth

Passive investing is a viable option for individuals seeking to grow their wealth with minimal involvement. The utilization of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) caters to this approach by offering a diversified portfolio with a single investment. For those with a smaller risk appetite and starting capital, options like Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs) and Regular Savings Plans (RSPs) are recommended to lower risk while participating in the market.

3. Understand the Benefits of Compound Interest

Compound interest is the interest earned on both the initial principal and the interest that has been accumulated over previous periods. This can have a significant impact on savings growth over time, effectively creating a snowball effect where your savings generate more savings. Hence, always consider the frequency and rate of compounding when selecting a savings account.


  • Choose high-interest savings accounts like BOC SmartSaver to boost savings.
  • Explore passive investing options like ETFs for long-term growth.
  • Understand compound interest to maximize savings growth over time.
  • Consider frequency and rate of compounding when selecting a savings account for optimal benefits.

Debt Management

Effective debt management is essential for saving money and achieving financial stability in Singapore. It involves strategies such as prioritizing debts, avoiding high-interest traps, and consolidating multiple debts.

Here are the steps to increase debt payments and avoid high interest rates:

  • List Outstanding Loans: Make a list of all your outstanding loans, including credit card bill, personal loans, and any other debts.
  • Prioritize Repayment: Prioritize repayment starting with the debts carrying the highest interest rates. These are typically credit card debts, which often have interest rates exceeding 20% APR.
  • Allocate Additional Funds: Review your budget and allocate additional funds towards debt repayment. Consider cutting major expense or finding ways to increase your income to free up more money for debt payments.
  • Make Timely Payments: Ensure that you make debt payments on time to avoid late fees and further interest charges. Set up automatic payments or reminders to help you stay on track.
  • Pay More Than the Minimum: Avoid paying only the minimum amount due on your debts, as this will prolong the repayment period and result in higher interest charges. Whenever possible, pay more than the minimum to accelerate debt repayment.
  • Consider Debt Consolidation: This is an effective method for managing multiple debts. It involves combining multiple high-interest debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate, making repayments more manageable and straightforward. Resources like the Debt Management Programme can assist individuals in these efforts by facilitating repayment arrangements.


  • List all outstanding loans, including credit cards and personal loans.
  • Prioritize repayment, starting with debts with the highest interest rates.
  • Make timely payments to avoid late fees and further interest charges.
  • Pay more than the minimum to accelerate debt repayment.
  • Consider debt consolidation to combine multiple debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate.

Psychological Tricks and Habits

Employing psychological tricks and forging disciplined saving habits can significantly enhance one’s financial wellbeing.

Set Saving Challenges and Rewards

Creating saving challenges adds an element of fun and competition to financial discipline. For instance, one might challenge themselves to save a specific sum every week.When targets are met, small rewards can incentivize consistency and commitment to saving goals.

Here’s a sample of how you can set saving challenges and rewards:

  • Weekly Savings Challenge: Challenge yourself to save S$50 every week for a month. If you meet this goal, reward yourself with a movie night or a nice dinner.
  • Monthly Savings Challenge: Aim to save 20% of your monthly income for three months. If you achieve this, treat yourself to a budget friendly getaway.
  • Long-Term Savings Challenge: Set a goal to save S$5,000 in a year. If you reach your savings target, consider rewarding yourself with a smart buy, such as gold or silver jewelry, which can be both a meaningful purchase and a valuable investment.

Moreover, using visual aids like charts or vision boards helps to keep financial goals at the forefront of one’s mind. This can be as simple as a hand-drawn graph tracking savings progress, or a Pinterest board full of images representing your financial aspirations. This serves as a daily reminder and motivator to persist in saving efforts.


  • Set regular saving goals and reward yourself to celebrate and enjoy significant savings accomplishment.
  • Use charts or vision boards to keep your financial goals in sight.


Singapore’s high cost of living necessitates a strategic approach to saving money. This section recapitulates the essential money-saving tactics, underscores the need for starting with manageable steps, and reminds of the substantial long-term rewards of financial prudence.

Keep in Mind:

  • Creating a budget is fundamental, as it brings spending habits into focus and identifies areas for reduction. 
  • Essential measures include setting up a savings account and making incremental changes, such as downsizing where feasible to save significant amounts. 
  • Automating your savings for everyday savings can ensure consistent account growth without the pain of manual transfers.

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