OzBargainer Moving to Singapore - Tips?

I'm an Ozbargainer and I've recently been offered a job in Singapore which I intend to take and I believe I'll be heading over in a few months. Do you guys have any tips for me, in general?

I might post this on Ozbargain as well and see if I get much advice over there as it's obviously still quite a fair bit more active than here.

Here's what I'm curious about at this stage:

  • Banking - best transaction account? best high interest savings account (although I've heard interest rates are crap)? Someone did ask this earlier and there are some decent tips but things can change in a year :P
  • Credit Cards - I'm currently extremely familiar with the Australian Credit Card market (I kinda made the Credit Card Wiki on Ozbargain? haha). I'm aware AMEX has a transfer program for when you migrate to certain countries (and I know Singapore is one of them) so I do intend to explore this
  • Accomomdation - I'm aware of the options of HDB vs Condo and that condos are generally more expensive and have a gym/pool. Personally, I don't feel a condo is a necessity. I would probably even consider getting a cheaper HDB with an additional bedroom and Airbnb-ing out a spare room?
  • Phone plans - I'm a SIM slut in Australia. I kinda feel this won't be a thing that I'll be able to continue to do in SG.
  • Purchasing Electronics (TV, washing machine, microwave, etc.) - In Australia I would either look at paying on a Credit Card with extended warranty + points, or look at buying discounted 5% Woolies eGift Cards to buy JB Hi-Fi Gift Cards to then buy electronics. I would also look at price matching etc.
  • Furniture - similar to above. Or should I look for a furnished place..? Is there a gumtree equivalent? I know there's Carousell.
  • Investments - Given interest accounts have pretty low rates.. what do people normally do with their money?
  • Visa (looking ahead) - PR application, if I intend to stay long term? What should I consider?
  • Health Insurance/Medicare equivalent? - I've heard that medical care is quite expensive
  • Food hacks, booking portals, payment apps? I know hawkers are pretty cheap as it is.. but is there something like Dimmi, Qantas Restaurants, Liven, Groupon from Australia? I've heard of GrabPay and FavePay (FavePay is what replaced Groupon)
  • Discounts (or cashback/points earn) to top up EZLink? For example in Sydney, you can use discounted Woolies eGift Cards to top up your Opal card at a Woolworths
  • Anything you think I should do/get in Australia before leaving?

Thanks in advance guys!

Comments

  • +1 vote

    Hi illumination,

    I am an Aussie in Singapore for a few years, and do browse ozbargain and cheapcheaplah frequently. hope I can help you out on some below:

    BANKING: standard interest rate is about 0.10%, to be fair mortgage is only 1.7% currently. Lately mostly banks are offering interest rates near 3% if you achieve a few things, e.g. deposit your salary into it, pay 3 bills, use their credit to hit certain limit, or hold some investment product with them. Most caps the deposit this 3% applies to around $50-70k. You really need to do your own research on the suitable package, main banks to consider DBS, UOB, OCBC, Citibank, HSBC, Maybank, Bank of China.

    CREDIT CARD: if you are into miles, the equivalent of POINTHACKS in australia is milelion.com in Singapore, so check that out. Most banks here are pushing heavily on Paywave and Online transactions, for cashback cards, you can achieve around 5% rebate on them. In Singapore Paywave is PIN free below $200, so very handy. Here credit card companies generally separate the spending categories into Paywave, Online, Dining, Grocery, Entertainment, Government (no rebates), Hospital, Petrol, Foreign Currency. So you need to pick the one that suits your spending habit.

    ACCOMODATION: yeah, HDB not bad too, they can still have nice renovation inside. There is also Executive Condo, which is a HDB built to Condo standard.

    PHONE: Most companies have a company plan with telco's called CIS, which give you around 25% discount on the regular rate. Telcos here try to package sell pay tv and broadband. so get a package. interest is super cheap here and yet faster than nbn in australia. 3 main telcos Singtel (owns Optus), M1, Starhub, fee structure all very similar. TPG coming as the 4th telco soon.

    PURCHASE ELECTRONICS: Online shopping, Lazada, Amazon Prime, Qoo10. Offline Harvey Norman, Courts, Best Denki (they have a credit card for 8% off) TV is cheaper is Australia. Oh, if you use cashrewards in aus, the one in singapore is shopback.sg (which also recently expanded to aus and advertised on ozbargain). There is a big electronic fair at Expo or Suntec every quarter where you can find some promo bargains.

    FURNITURE: Yes, Carousell has overtaken gumtree by far. There are some malls dedicated for furniture.

    INVESTMENT: Goes back to the banking question, banks tries to tie everything together. You can always fx and deposit back into Aus too.

    VISA: PR status here is still very similar to a foreigner status, apart from long term residence, it allows you to have a superannuation account here called CPF and lowers your stamp duty on property purchase. that's pretty much it.

    HEALTH: I was worried about medical when first thought about coming, because in Australia we are covered by medicare. After I got here, all the companies purchase health insurance for employees as standard, which covers all GP costs, specialist with caps. So it is actually even cheaper than Australia, because I don't even have to pay for medicine cost. check with the hr on the coverage.

    FOOD: FAVE (ex Groupon), food delivery - Food Panda, Grab, UberEat.

    EZLINK: You can now use your MasterCard as Ezlink directly, so just shop for the best rebate you can get on your MasterCard. Alternatively some credit cards have discounts for Ezlink topups 1-5%.

    ANYTHING ELSE: Cash FX rates in Singapore is the best in the world, common currency bid/ask spread is within 1%. So don't change too much aud to sgd cash.

    •  

      Thanks so much for your input! You've been there for a few years? No plans to return?

      BANKING: standard interest rate is about 0.10%, to be fair mortgage is only 1.7% currently. Lately mostly banks are offering interest rates near 3% if you achieve a few things, e.g. deposit your salary into it, pay 3 bills, use their credit to hit certain limit, or hold some investment product with them. Most caps the deposit this 3% applies to around $50-70k. You really need to do your own research on the suitable package, main banks to consider DBS, UOB, OCBC, Citibank, HSBC, Maybank, Bank of China.

      Damn 1.7% is so low. I reckon get a home loan in Singapore for an Australian property.. or even a loan at that rate to put into an Australian High Interest Savings account! I'm sure this has been explored and probably isn't possible.. LOL. 3% interest for Singapore sounds really good though. I heard it was really low.

      CREDIT CARD: if you are into miles, the equivalent of POINTHACKS in australia is milelion.com in Singapore, so check that out. Most banks here are pushing heavily on Paywave and Online transactions, for cashback cards, you can achieve around 5% rebate on them. In Singapore Paywave is PIN free below $200, so very handy. Here credit card companies generally separate the spending categories into Paywave, Online, Dining, Grocery, Entertainment, Government (no rebates), Hospital, Petrol, Foreign Currency. So you need to pick the one that suits your spending habit.

      Yep, definitely into miles and milelion.com sounds like it'd be definitely interesting to me. Yep I did notice that the main difference appeared to be that cashbacks/rebates were a big thing through credit cards and often divided by category as you've described. I think I'm gonna end up with ~10 CCs (which I'm fine with…). Also noticed that the bonus points on sign up + meeting a spend threshold are much lower than Australia. Probably too many tightasses there!

      ACCOMODATION: yeah, HDB not bad too, they can still have nice renovation inside. There is also Executive Condo, which is a HDB built to Condo standard.

      Yep I think I'll be happy with HDB. Executive Condo so it's technically still a HDB? That sounds interesting.

      PHONE: Most companies have a company plan with telco's called CIS, which give you around 25% discount on the regular rate. Telcos here try to package sell pay tv and broadband. so get a package. interest is super cheap here and yet faster than nbn in australia. 3 main telcos Singtel (owns Optus), M1, Starhub, fee structure all very similar. TPG coming as the 4th telco soon.

      You know what, I'm considering not having home broadband and just having a high allowance mobile data plan, so kinda not thinking of a package. Would that be feasible? I'm not really interested in Pay TV lol. Don't think my partner will be either. Oh TPG coming? Interesting!

      PURCHASE ELECTRONICS: Online shopping, Lazada, Amazon Prime, Qoo10. Offline Harvey Norman, Courts, Best Denki (they have a credit card for 8% off) TV is cheaper is Australia. Oh, if you use cashrewards in aus, the one in singapore is shopback.sg (which also recently expanded to aus and advertised on ozbargain). There is a big electronic fair at Expo or Suntec every quarter where you can find some promo bargains.

      8% cashback with Best Denki sounds sweet.

      TVs are cheaper in Australia? You're surely not suggesting I buy in Australia and bring it over are you? LOL. I do use Cashrewards. Cool, I'll definitely look into Shopback.sg. That Electronic fair sounds pretty good.

      FURNITURE: Yes, Carousell has overtaken gumtree by far. There are some malls dedicated for furniture.

      Oh they actually have Gumtree over there? So it's really only Carousell in terms of private selling?

      INVESTMENT: Goes back to the banking question, banks tries to tie everything together. You can always fx and deposit back into Aus too.

      That last part - are you suggesting that as a form of investment? lol
      So banks try and get you to invest through them? I was thinking more in terms of stuff like property, bitcoin, shares etc.

      VISA: PR status here is still very similar to a foreigner status, apart from long term residence, it allows you to have a superannuation account here called CPF and lowers your stamp duty on property purchase. that's pretty much it.

      Ah yes I've been made aware that only PRs and citizens can superannuation (CPF).

      HEALTH: I was worried about medical when first thought about coming, because in Australia we are covered by medicare. After I got here, all the companies purchase health insurance for employees as standard, which covers all GP costs, specialist with caps. So it is actually even cheaper than Australia, because I don't even have to pay for medicine cost. check with the hr on the coverage.

      Yes I noticed that because I've recently been given some of the specific details of my offer and I've been advised medical costs and dental will be 100% covered, which is cool! Don't know specific details yet and I would assume it doesn't cover my partner.

      FOOD: FAVE (ex Groupon), food delivery - Food Panda, Grab, UberEat.

      Sweet!

      EZLINK: You can now use your MasterCard as Ezlink directly, so just shop for the best rebate you can get on your MasterCard. Alternatively some credit cards have discounts for Ezlink topups 1-5%.

      That's really sweet. Will look at both.

      ANYTHING ELSE: Cash FX rates in Singapore is the best in the world, common currency bid/ask spread is within 1%. So don't change too much aud to sgd cash.

      Not sure what you mean by this. Are you just advising me to not change in Australia and take any cash I wish to convert from AUD to SGD to Singapore to change instead?

    •  

      Now that I'm here and have been here for 2 weeks, I've just re-read your comment and a lot of it makes so much more sense now!

      I'll share some additional responses and additional information for anyone else who might be moving here who might find this info useful.

      BANKING: Definitely noticed the ~3% interest for doing multiple things with your bank. I'm not too keen on picking up insurance, or investing through a bank though. Do you have any other thoughts on this?

      ACCOMMODATION: I've realised that many places here come furnished, which is both good and bad.

      Good: No need to buy your own, when you move don't need to take furniture with you
      Bad: Can't choose your own furniture. Don't have the feeling of "furnishing" your own home.

      Also come to realise though that you can often negotiate the furniture arrangements with the landlord, and potentially even ask the landlord for a budget to buy your own furniture. It's a lot harder to break lease here - not like Australia where you simply give 3/4 weeks notice. Minimum lease is 1 year, and landlords (understandably) prefer 2 years where in the second year you can only leave with 2 months notice if you're physically leaving Singapore.

      PHONE: I now know exactly what CIS is lol. I've also discovered other telcos (MNVOs, like Amaysim, TPG, Vaya in Australia): circles.life, MyRepublic, Zero Mobile, Zero1. I've learnt from posts like these. The $38.15 SIM fee and $10 registration fees are an absolute rort. I've come to realise that with the CIS agreements, you can often get these waived, but only on 24 month contracts. I'm absolutely not willing to sign one of those!

      I actually still haven't got myself a permanent number yet, but I think what I'll do is sign up for the $30/mth Zero1 plan with "Unlimited data" (up to 3GB) and then maybe port to circles.life to get 6GB for $28/mth.

      HEALTH: Yep as you said because of company arrangements it seems to be even cheaper. Free, I guess you could say!

      EZLink: I haven't looked into this in great detail yet but I definitely will be. circles.life and EZLink have this tie up where you can get 100MB (valid till end of the month) for every 10 trips you take. Haven't looked at the EZLink rewards in detail yet either but I know you get points.

      Ridesharing: Kardi, RYDE, Grab, ComfortDelGro. Haven't heard of half of these, but yea apparently there are more!

      Other: Singtel Dash, DBS Paylah!, DBS Lifestyle, Entertainer app (SG version of Entertainment Books), GrabPay, Fave, Mileslion (free 200 miles every 7 consecutive days of check-in) - these seem to be the apps that I often see promos for!

  •  

    Congrats on your job offer in Singapore! Is this like a secondment you're doing?

    I'll answer some of your questions :)

    Purchasing Electronics (TV, washing machine, microwave, etc.) - In Australia I would either look at paying on a Credit Card with extended warranty + points, or look at buying discounted 5% Woolies eGift Cards to buy JB Hi-Fi Gift Cards to then buy electronics. I would also look at price matching etc.

    As mentioned above by yarmun, Lazada and Qoo10 are some of your online giants that do have promotions frequently. Don't forget about Shopee as well.


    Food hacks, booking portals, payment apps? I know hawkers are pretty cheap as it is.. but is there something like Dimmi, Qantas Restaurants, Liven, Groupon from Australia? I've heard of GrabPay and FavePay (FavePay is what replaced Groupon)

    • For the Dimmi alternative, use Chope, HungryGoWhere, Eatigo, Quandoo.
    • Definitely use Fave (they are the Groupon of SE Asia), they have heaps of offers for dining and practically promo codes everyday. And a bunch of merchants have cashback offers if you pay with FavePay (through the Fave app).
    • If you're going to sign up for a DBS bank account, they have a payment app called DBS PayLah!. Some past promotions if you're curious.
    • Another payment app is Dash by Singtel, and you get 5% cashback on your purchases from a few supermarket giants (FairPrice, RedMart, Cold Storage etc), Watsons (pharmacy), taxi rides (Comfort/City Cab & Prime Taxi). Though you can only get cashback on one transaction per day, and it's capped at $2.50.

    Phone plans - I'm a SIM slut in Australia. I kinda feel this won't be a thing that I'll be able to continue to do in SG.

    Haha :) Yes they'll record your passport details just for buying a SIM. An addition to the main telcos is Circles.Life (virtual like amaysim in Australia).

    If you plan to go prepaid you can get discounted top ups for the main 3 telcos (Singtel, StarHub, M1) through Lazada. Up to 10% off now, as opposed to the fixed 10% off they were offering for many months. But you can always head to Shopee and get your top-ups there and combine with promo code/cashback offers.


    FOOD: FAVE (ex Groupon), food delivery - Food Panda, Grab, UberEat.

    As you know about Uber leaving SE Asia it'll be GrabFood that takes over Uber Eats. But anyhow, there's also Deliveroo, honestbee Food Delivery, WhyQ and CutQ as well. Many do run promo code offers time to time. Lots of western food on these platforms but a little expensive, maybe okay if you start getting a bit bored of hawker food.

    Downfall of leaving Australia is cheap pizza! Pizza (Domino's/Pizza Hut) in Singapore compared to Australia isn't cheap…


    Discounts (or cashback/points earn) to top up EZLink? For example in Sydney, you can use discounted Woolies eGift Cards to top up your Opal card at a Woolworths

    Not directly answering this but I also recommend getting a NETS card as there are NETS exclusive promotions there from time to time. You can also use this on public transport, and can be used at some card terminals (I've used ez-link at Maccas without problems and do recall seeing the option to pay with NETS as well, however NETS seems to be more widely accepted).

    You can earn points travelling with your EZ-Link card however. See their rewards program.


    If you are after discounted gift cards, check out Fuzzie. Technically, you buy gift cards and your "discount" is a rebate/cashback thing. Then you can use your cashback to fund your next purchase. If you want to cashout your balance instead, you'll need a Singaporean bank account.

    And as mentioned above by yarmun, your Cashrewards equivalent in Singapore is ShopBack. Definitely sign up to them as you'll be able to get cashback from Fave, Grab, HungryGoWhere, Eatigo etc.


    Anything you think I should do/get in Australia before leaving?

    Maybe bring in some snacks if you like, you really almost never see anything at 50% off compared to what you see in Woolies/Coles :P

    A packet of Tim Tams is like $4 in Singapore (price from FairPrice) but they often go for just under $2 at Woolies/Coles.

    •  

      Congrats on your job offer in Singapore! Is this like a secondment you're doing?

      Thanks!

      Nope not a secondment actually. It's a permanent position and I'll be sponsored by work (visa-wise) to have the right to work in Singapore. Are you located in Singapore too? I always got the impression you were Australia-based.


      I've responded to a lot of the things in my above comment to yarmun so I'll keep this shorter by responding to be a bit less (I am no less appreciative of your replies!)

      • For the Dimmi alternative, use Chope, HungryGoWhere, Eatigo, Quandoo.
      • Definitely use Fave (they are the Groupon of SE Asia), they have heaps of offers for dining and practically promo codes(cheapcheaplah.com) everyday. And a bunch of merchants have cashback offers if you pay with FavePay (through the Fave app).
      • If you're going to sign up for a DBS bank account, they have a payment app called DBS PayLah!. Some past promotions if you're curious.
      • Another payment app is Dash by Singtel(cheapcheaplah.com), and you get 5% cashback on your purchases from a few supermarket giants (FairPrice, RedMart, Cold Storage etc), Watsons (pharmacy), taxi rides (Comfort/City Cab & Prime Taxi). Though you can only get cashback on one transaction per day, and it's capped at $2.50.
      • Thanks for the Dimmi alternatives!
      • Cool. Will keep using Fave (I have used them previously haha)
      • Hmm seeing the volume of the PayLah! promotions I'm going to assume that's probably something similar to ING 2/5% cashbacks? Seems like they've got quite a number too!
      • Dash sounds sweet too. $2.50 cap is pretty piss poor though lol.

      Haha :) Yes they'll record your passport details just for buying a SIM. An addition to the main telcos is Circles.Life (virtual like amaysim in Australia).

      If you plan to go prepaid you can get discounted top ups for the main 3 telcos (Singtel, StarHub, M1) through Lazada(lazada.sg). Up to 10% off now, as opposed to the fixed 10% off they were offering for many months. But you can always head to Shopee and get your top-ups there and combine with promo code/cashback offers.

      Yea damn I guess SIM slutting days are over!! Circles.Life sounds interesting. Will look into it when the time to move gets closer! The discounted prepaid top ups sound reasonably attractive too.

      As you know about Uber leaving SE Asia it'll be GrabFood that takes over Uber Eats. But anyhow, there's also Deliveroo, honestbee Food Delivery, WhyQ and CutQ as well. Many do run promo code offers time to time. Lots of western food on these platforms but a little expensive, maybe okay if you start getting a bit bored of hawker food.

      Downfall of leaving Australia is cheap pizza! Pizza (Domino's/Pizza Hut) in Singapore compared to Australia isn't cheap…

      Hm nah I think Hawker will have enough variety to keep me engaged! Oh hmm interesting about pizza. I don't love it, but that's good to keep in mind!

      Not directly answering this but I also recommend getting a NETS card as there are NETS exclusive promotions(nets.com.sg) there from time to time. You can also use this on public transport, and can be used at some card terminals (I've used ez-link at Maccas without problems and do recall seeing the option to pay with NETS as well, however NETS seems to be more widely accepted).

      You can earn points travelling with your EZ-Link card however. See their rewards program(ezlink.com.sg).

      Ok will look into NETS. It looked to me like it was like an EFTPOS equivalent of Singapore from times I've been there.
      Will look at that rewards program! I can't imagine the return would be good though considering what I would imagine would be inelastic demand for public transport…

      If you are after discounted gift cards, check out Fuzzie. Technically, you buy gift cards and your "discount" is a rebate/cashback thing. Then you can use your cashback to fund your next purchase. If you want to cashout your balance instead, you'll need a Singaporean bank account.

      And as mentioned above by yarmun, your Cashrewards equivalent in Singapore is ShopBack. Definitely sign up to them as you'll be able to get cashback from Fave, Grab, HungryGoWhere, Eatigo etc.

      I'm sure I'll have a Singaporean bank account considering I'm going to be moving over and earning a salary in SGD so that cashback/rebate sounds like a discount to me!

      Yep will look into ShopBack for sure!

      Maybe bring in some snacks if you like, you really almost never see anything at 50% off compared to what you see in Woolies/Coles :P

      A packet of Tim Tams is like $4 in Singapore (price from FairPrice) but they often go for just under $2 at Woolies/Coles.

      Hmm nah I didn't mean it so much in that way :P Sorry, I meant more like..

      Anything that I can only get here in Australia with an Australian salary that I should maybe look at getting before I leave? For example, I'm looking at getting a particular Bankwest Credit Card before I go because I otherwise won't be able to get it once I leave! Another example (albeit much bigger example) would've been like buying a property here first before leaving.

      •  

        Nope not a secondment actually. It's a permanent position and I'll be sponsored by work (visa-wise) to have the right to work in Singapore. Are you located in Singapore too? I always got the impression you were Australia-based.

        Nice one! Nope, I'm Aussie based as your impression has been so.


        Hmm seeing the volume of the PayLah! promotions I'm going to assume that's probably something similar to ING 2/5% cashbacks? Seems like they've got quite a number too!

        I take it's a mix and not really like the ING cashbacks completely. Some offers are the type where you pay full price, and get rebated back a certain amount while others are discounted on the spot provided you just PayLah! it.


        Ok will look into NETS. It looked to me like it was like an EFTPOS equivalent of Singapore from times I've been there.

        I have thought the same thing too!


        Anything that I can only get here in Australia with an Australian salary that I should maybe look at getting before I leave?

        Okay sorry for the misinterpretation - other than credit cards or bank accounts etc I'm not too sure what else you could get :P

        I guess maybe an Aussie number/SIM you might want to take with you if you're using services that have 2FA and only accept Aussie numbers? Although I couldn't really think on the top of my head what sort of services do so (in Singapore there are indeed a bunch of sites out there that only accept Singaporean numbers, including that Fuzzie gift card cashback site I mentioned).

        •  

          Nice one! Nope, I'm Aussie based as your impression has been so.

          How do you know so much about the SG market? Is that just from your experience posting deals here?

          Okay sorry for the misinterpretation - other than credit cards or bank accounts etc I'm not too sure what else you could get :P

          I guess maybe an Aussie number/SIM you might want to take with you if you're using services that have 2FA and only accept Aussie numbers? Although I couldn't really think on the top of my head what sort of services do so (in Singapore there are indeed a bunch of sites out there that only accept Singaporean numbers, including that Fuzzie gift card cashback site I mentioned).

          That's ok - I can understand how it could've been interpreted how you interpreted it!

          Yes I've thought of the whole having an Aussie SIM with 2FA. I'll probably put my number on some kind of long expiry (6 month) prepaid.

          I've got a Singapore SIM from Starhub ;) So Singapore number-wise I'm sweet. Haha

        • +1 vote

          @illumination:

          How do you know so much about the SG market? Is that just from your experience posting deals here?

          Yes the experience is pretty much posting heaps of deals here.

          Yes I've thought of the whole having an Aussie SIM with 2FA. I'll probably put my number on some kind of long expiry (6 month) prepaid.

          amaysim is good for a year's expiry on their PAYG plans and can be extended with top ups. $3 cashback from Cashrewards for new customers too.

  •  

    Extra questions I've got now:

    • I've got strong ties to Malaysia and I can foresee myself flying there regularly (maybe once a month)? Would any of you happen to be aware of how this might help me live more frugally in Singapore as well? e.g. using a Malaysian mobile plan with cheap roaming for cheap data, or Malaysian CC with specific Singapore discounts, or even buying some electronics which are known to be cheaper in Malaysia than Singapore?
    • Not planning on living in Johor Bahru and commuting, although I am aware that is kind of an option LOL. Unless there's a way to bring that commute time from 1.5 hours to say, 1 hour or less, I don't think I'll entertain this at all.
    • Can foreigners buy property in Singapore (and is it worth looking at)?
    • Transferring money between Singapore and Australia through a platform like CurrencyFair? Would that be the best/most efficient way?
    •  

      Singapore custom is quite against bring good in from Malaysia, think over $400 you need to pay GST. Cars are searched on the way back when crossing custom to check how much you are bringing back.

      Foreigner additional stamp duty on property is 15% at the moment.

      CurrencyFair & TransferWise works. But if you transferring property purchase amounts, think there are better platforms that saves you more money.

      Circling back to your earlier credit card questions, yes Singapore's signup bonus is horrible when compared to Aus. But the banks are more open to annual fee waivers. Pretty much all card except for the high end, you can get annual fee waivers. So it costs nothing to hold multiple cards.

      Executive condo is like a HDB in the sense it can only be sold to local citizens originally, but it is a cooperation between government and private sector building. After 5 years, it can be leased and sold to anyone.

      I am using M1 for home broadband, $29 for 300Mbps unlimited, comes with a free home phone line and 1GB/mth sim card. For totally unlimited mobile broadband, think Circle is offering it at $3/DAY on top of a normal monthly plan. So home broadband is a good choice.

      I feel TVs is about 30% cheaper in Australia. If your company is paying for relocation shipping and you are getting a big TV, it can be considered. Alternatively you can just rent a place that is furnished.

      Investments, Singapore bans gambling including online betting. Everything else is allowed. FYI, no capital gains tax here :)

      Health insurance, you should check with HR, seeing your dental is 100% covered, the plan sounds like a good one. So a good chance they might cover your partner too.

      Another site to recommend for read up is www.hardwarezone.com.sg , it is equivalent to whirlpool in Australia.

      Foreign Domestic Workers (maids) is an excellent option here if you are thinking to establish a larger family down the track.

      •  

        Singapore custom is quite against bring good in from Malaysia, think over $400 you need to pay GST. Cars are searched on the way back when crossing custom to check how much you are bringing back.

        Really? I've flown between the two countries plenty of times and I've never gotten the impression that they were particularly strict on things being brought back and forth. I've heard stories of people going to Malaysia to get petrol though and how they are strict with that.

        Foreigner additional stamp duty on property is 15% at the moment.

        High. Too high. lol

        CurrencyFair & TransferWise works. But if you transferring property purchase amounts, think there are better platforms that saves you more money.

        Ah, have you got any examples? Probably won't be transferring amounts that huge.

        Circling back to your earlier credit card questions, yes Singapore's signup bonus is horrible when compared to Aus. But the banks are more open to annual fee waivers. Pretty much all card except for the high end, you can get annual fee waivers. So it costs nothing to hold multiple cards.

        Yes I've heard that it's much easier to get Credit Card waivers too. Was the AMEX migration program something you looked at too?

        Executive condo is like a HDB in the sense it can only be sold to local citizens originally, but it is a cooperation between government and private sector building. After 5 years, it can be leased and sold to anyone.

        But I assume the 15% foreigner stamp duty tax is still there.

        I am using M1 for home broadband, $29 for 300Mbps unlimited, comes with a free home phone line and 1GB/mth sim card. For totally unlimited mobile broadband, think Circle is offering it at $3/DAY on top of a normal monthly plan. So home broadband is a good choice.

        $29/mth sounds cheap! $3/day isn't cheap though, but as you said it's mobile broadband. 3x the cost for mobility… nah..

        I feel TVs is about 30% cheaper in Australia. If your company is paying for relocation shipping and you are getting a big TV, it can be considered. Alternatively you can just rent a place that is furnished.

        Haha that is hilarious. I can't imagine doing this but sure, sounds like a reasonable idea (I know work is paying for some freight). Haven't decided whether I'll do furnished or unfurnished.

        Investments, Singapore bans gambling including online betting. Everything else is allowed. FYI, no capital gains tax here :)

        Would VPN work for online gambling? :P Yea I've heard of no CGT!

        Health insurance, you should check with HR, seeing your dental is 100% covered, the plan sounds like a good one. So a good chance they might cover your partner too.

        Nope not covering the partner! I've checked. But I've been told the large majority of companies arrange health cover for their employees so it doesn't sound like too big a concern.

        Another site to recommend for read up is www.hardwarezone.com.sg , it is equivalent to whirlpool in Australia.

        Ah cool. Looks like a good site!

        Foreign Domestic Workers (maids) is an excellent option here if you are thinking to establish a larger family down the track.

        Yep.. I'll think about that later down the track :P

        Do you mind sharing what industry you're in? You have no plans to move back?

        •  

          Flying from Malaysia is fine, although there is some additional control over buying alcohol at Changi when your departure country is Malaysia.

          I didn't use the Amex migration, I just redeemed all the Australian miles into KrisFlyer directly.

          I am in financial software industry. You?

        •  

          @yarmun:

          Sorry I realised I never replied.

          I have found out a bit more about the AMEX Migration and I do not intend to do this anymore as it requires me to close my Australian AMEX which I do not plan to do. I am still happy to pay the annual fee on my Australian AMEXs, and it seems it'd be particularly useful for those who wish to close their cards to not pay an annual fee and keep their points.

          I'll be in the transport industry.

        •  

          @illumination:

          Oh? I’m in transport too. Sea transportation thou.

  •  

    Definitely go for home broadband option. On 2 year contract, you will get 1 Gbps at $40 pm including free router and other freebies like landline with unlimited calls and sim card with free 1 gb data.

    If you want to buy food items like biscuits and chocolates for cheap, there are few Valu$ shops spread around which sell branded items for reasonably cheap price. Do check them out at least once.

    Don't know about money transfer from Australia to Singapore. But for money transfer from Singapore to Australia, remit services from DBS are really really good. Transfer within 90 minutes if you do it before 12 pm Singapore time. Otherwise it transfers next business day morning. They don't charge service fee for these remit services irrespective of amount you are transferring.

    For electronics purchases, I will suggest to hold off until major electronics consumer fair etc. Most prices at fair are not that cheap but you can score a good deal on some of them. You can price match with local store like courts, HN etc. to have peace of mind.

    •  

      On 2 year contract, you will get 1 Gbps at $40 pm including free router and other freebies like landline with unlimited calls and sim card with free 1 gb data.

      That all sounds ok (and pretty cheap actually) but a 2 year contract to me sounds like there might be some termination fee(s) if I move around within the 2 years, which I feel is a possibility.

      I'm getting the impression that electronics are probably cheaper to buy from Australia, or at the very least, from Ozbargain deals lol.

      •  

        Not entirely true. There are IT shows every year with pretty good deals (http://thesmartlocal.com/read/it-shows-2018). HardwareZone.com covers all the sales before hand and I suggest doing research before hand. Those IT shows can be a real battlefield.

        Also MyRepublic has mobile bundles now too which is worth a look.

        Home broadband wise it’s possible to negotiate with the landlord. Get him to sign up for it and pay him the diff = no lock in.

  •  

    So I posted this back in April 2018 and I've found something. It doesn't work for me personally, but for someone who lives in Malaysia and travels around specific parts of Asia/Australia at least once a month, this could be worth considering.

    Specifically, I'm referring to this.

    I've got strong ties to Malaysia and I can foresee myself flying there regularly (maybe once a month)? Would any of you happen to be aware of how this might help me live more frugally in Singapore as well? e.g. using a Malaysian mobile plan with cheap roaming for cheap data, or Malaysian CC with specific Singapore discounts, or even buying some electronics which are known to be cheaper in Malaysia than Singapore?

    Below, I'll be making numerous mentions to prices in RM. You can divide by 3 to get a good estimate of the cost in SGD.

    Malaysian Mobile Plans that may be useful in Singapore

    I stumbled upon Digi Postpaid Plans. The main two plans that caught my attention were..

    Digi Plans
    • Digi Postpaid 58 - 10GB (5GB peak, 5GB off peak), unlimited Malaysia calls, RM35 to get a "Roam Like Home" (total RM93 or ~$31.37 SGD)
    • Digi Postpaid 80 - 20GB (10GB peak, 10GB off peak), unlimited Malaysia calls, RM15 to get "Roam Like Home" (total RM95 or ~$32.04 SGD)

    The Digi Postpaid Family 150/250 option is also potentially worth considering if you require more data and if you know someone who is in a similar situation who requires a similar plan. It ends up being RM185 for two people with a total of 60GB (30GB peak, 30GB off peak) to share between two people with a separate 5GB roaming allowance per month each.

    They also have some sort of 5% off for the first 6 months if you enable automatic payments from a Credit Card for the Family plans.

    The Digi Postpaid plans also come with some sort of Shopee voucher.

    "Roam Like Home" add on
    • 5GB data
    • 60 mins of roaming voice calls (i.e. calls you can receive and make in the participating countries)
    • 60 mins of international calls from Malaysia
    Applicable Countries
    • Australia
    • Brunei
    • China
    • Hong Kong
    • Indonesia
    • Myanmar
    • Philippines
    • Singapore
    • Taiwan
    • Thailand

    There is no contract so it's quite handy in that way. The fact that it includes so many countries including Australia means you're able to use the same SIM in all these countries!

    Potential issues/concerns with using this as a primary Singapore SIM:
    • It's a Malaysian phone number - not exactly friendly for local use in Singapore. People in Singapore would need to be willing to make an international call to a Malaysian number to call you.
    • I don't know what the requirements are to actually sign up for this Digi plan. I assume you may actually need to be a Malaysian local and/or have an employment visa plus a Malaysian bank account to be able to open this up
    • It's still only 5GB of data. If 5GB is enough for you, then no real issue, but if it's not then you'll either have to pay as you go (expensive) or purchase a Roaming Pass in addition.

    Solution to the Malaysian number issue? Use a Dual SIM phone and have this SIM in the secondary slot so you still have a "permanent" Singapore number on which you're able to make and receive calls, along with your 5GB from your Malaysian plan. This will give you a total of 6GB of data per month in Singapore where 5GB can also be used in multiple other countries for RM93 or RM95/mth.

    Comparison to Singapore local plans around $30/mth?
    • Zero1 - $29.99/mth, 3GB data at full speed (throttled afterwards but apparently still useable with Google Maps and WhatsApp), 200 mins calls (incoming not charged) and 200 SMS
    • circles.life - $28/mth, 6GB data, 100 mins (incoming charged)
    • MyRepublic - $35/mth, 7GB data at full speed (throttled afterwards but apparently still useable with Google Maps and WhatsApp), 1000 mins calls (incoming not charged), 1000 SMS

    I probably won't bite the bullet but I'll consider doing it in the future if my circumstances change.

    Other decent Malaysian roaming deals
    • U Mobile have an unlimited data option for RM10/day in multiple countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia - which is cheaper than purchasing portable WiFi. Supposedly only available until 31 Dec 2018 though, and there's a "Fair Use Policy" of 500MB data limit per day. If you exceed the data, it says data will still be available at a "reduced speed which will be managed in accordance with our Fair Usage Policy".
    • Hotlink prepaid has a similar option also at RM10/day but for less countries and with no 500MB Fair use limit specified. More information here. Does not include Australia, but includes Myanmar, Brunei.
    • Certain U Mobile Postpaid plans have an included amount of international data, similar to the Digi one I pointed out above but not as good value. These options are shown here
    • Xpax have a RM1/day roaming option for some South East Asian countries including Singapore only for WhatsApp/WeChat usage

    I also noticed an interesting "free flight within ASEAN" on Celcom plans with a 12 month contract. Didn't look into it in detail but it was certainly interesting!

    Potential replacements for StarHub Happy Roam? Maybe.. RM10/day for "unlimited" (500MB/day) is actually not bad. If the RM35 for 5GB data and some calls could be had as a standalone, I'd say it's definitely a potential replacement for StarHub, but it's gotta be tagged onto a Digi postpaid line.

    Might consider posting this as a deal. Hopefully there are enough Malaysian visitors here that might be able to benefit from this! On second thoughts, it could be particularly good for commuters that live in Malaysia (Johor) but commute to Singapore for work. Damn - this would indeed be good for them.

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