How to survive on a monthly salary of $2-3K in Singapore?

You might be living a simplistic life right now, with just S$2000 to S$3000 for a salary. You would be overly satisfied too as long as you have a tv set or a laptop. You might want to take heed of the following golden advice.

life in sg

Every year, Singapore’s work industry will absorb a significant number of graduates from overseas. As they start their new jobs, harboring great expectations, little would they realise that their seniors are actually jaded about their future.

What does the future hold? How long will they last in their jobs? When will their work permits be rejected? When will they get the golden handshake?

When you step into a Singapore factory, you will discover the world you live in is actually a miniscule one. Your daily routine is basically: work, rented place and supermarket. Your everyday job at the production line is mundane.

Except for getting to work and sleep, your most important activity is to go the supermarket and buy daily necessities. Your social life is mainly restricted to knocking some beers with your colleagues, play a poker game or two.


Without your parents by your side, you have to eke a living on your own. When you need help to take care of your own needs and wants, you will discover you are actually on your own.

Your social circle is really that limited.

One day, you decide to leave for greener pastures. You gradually lose contact with the colleagues you have known, and you have to start all over again at your new company.

That uncertainty keeps on repeating itself. All year long, your uniform might change, but you will discover you have not.

In the local people’s eyes, you are just here to earn a living. If you are a cheery person, you might treat the uniform as a form of benefit, maybe two each per summer winter. From Monday to Friday and Saturday, you wear it and realize there isn’t a real need to get new clothes.


The canteen will also provide a basic meal allowance, maybe ten dollars or so. Some companies might deduct this meal allowance from your salary, but some will make it absolutely free! Alas, the food provided isn’t quite fit for human consumption: bread that is moldy, potato skins not fully peeled off and yellowish-looking vegetable, and food cooked in poor quality oil…etc!

While those living in a rented flat can often go out dining, those staying in dormitory don’t really have a choice.

Four room, eight people crammed in – that’s what the company will provide for you. Of course, the living conditions can’t be compared to your university hostel. Everybody fancying some private space will rather spend S$300 or more to get a 10sq metres room.

This is also essentially where you cook and clean up here. It’s really no difference from a prison cell!

work in sg

Soon, you might fancy some simple furniture – table, stool or clothes hanger. But the biggest luxury has to be the air conditioner. But where to put it? The room size is just too small!

Some married couples will also live in a room like this – but their furniture will be more compact. Still, it is far from home sweet home. You really have to think deep when you consider buying new stuff to store in your room. When the landlord wants to increase rent – you are put at ransom. This is the kind of problem that affects deep!

What about finding true love in your workplace? Maybe one factory got 30 singles, just like you. They may be looking for marriage, but just can’t find their Mr Right.

It’s not whether there will be a new flat or not. It’s not whether you have the ability to bring up children or not. When thinking of it, you tend to feel a bit remorseful, isn’t it?

If you are married, the problems that will bug you will be your children’s education, and caring for your aged parents. You only live here temporarily, hence your children can’t get to study in a top-notch school here.

A good education will help change your children’s destiny – but when the money issues pop up in your mind, you can’t help but still keep them with your parents back in your homeland.

work in singapore

Every weekend, phoning back home is your biggest source of happiness. No matter how tired you are, all these will go away as soon as you hear the laughter from your children! You pray for your loved ones to be healthy because any terminal illness could put you in financial crisis.

To carry on with life, you leave a homeland you have lived for twenty years, but you can’t build one in this foreign land. The roots just can’t settle in.

You come here in hope of getting out of poverty, and give a better life for your next generation. But your personal value is depreciating by the day as well. You are no longer younger, and when the city waves goodbye to you, you go back sad to your homeland unable to improve on what you started ten, twenty or thirty years ago. You don’t have the strength anymore to change your life destiny, but can you guarantee your children a good university education? You stop and pause. Maybe in 15 or 20 years later, the situation might change a little?

Is it really bad to be retrenched or out of a job? When it comes, you feel the whole world has let your down. When you are still looking for a job at the age of 40, with no income, how are you supposed to face your family? The city is big and wide – there are limitless opportunities. Are you prepared to embark on a journey that will help you avoid the route to destruction?

If you are a sensible person, you might want to consider your future. Do you want a simple life based on an easy pay packet? Or do you want one that you want to chase your dreams and ambitions? The society out there is uncompromising. Those who have been there have told us of their life experiences. No matter how big our aspirations are, they can still be destroyed here easily.

Why not you take a moment now and think:

  1. What is it your aspiration?
  2. What is your next target?
  3. What do I have to do to make it happen?

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