Then VS Now – 5 Things that have gotten more expensive in Singapore


Ever heard older Singaporeans mutter under their breath about how things are so expensive these days? Are they just grumpy old cynics or is there really some truth to
how much more expensive living has become here in Singapore? According to a study by Statistica, the inflation rate is projected to be in the 1.04% to 1.45% range from now until 2022. Let’s take a closer look at prices of food, transport and other common commodities in Singapore over the past decade. Let’s start with the one thing we all love complaining about public transport! As of December 2018, bus and MRT fares went up by 4.3%. Sounds like a lot? That’s because it is – 4.3% is the maximum increase allowed by the public transport council. Now, $0.06 might not sound like a lot, but if you were to spend at least $100 on public transport each month, this would translate to an extra $6 monthly! This fare hike is for EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay and ABT bank card users only. If you pay cash, you’ll pay $0.10 more. Think that just because you drive you’re spared the inflation? Well, think again. We all know that global oil prices have been soaring. In October 2018, prices were already at US$80 a barrel, nearly double that of the US$40 price tag in 2015. And rising oil prices don’t just affect petrol. The upwards trend would apply to gas and electricity prices too. Currently, electricity costs 25.52 cents per kWh, but in 2005, it was a whopping 35% cheaper at just 16.70 cents per kWh. -=Since 2010, the prices have consistently hovered in the 20c range, so it’s unlikely that the price of electricity would drop back to what it was 10 years ago. And if you are a diesel car owner, take note that as announced in Budget 2019, the excise duty on diesel will be doubled from $0.10 per litre to $0.20 per litre. As our population goes up and our available space goes down, it’s almost a certainty that the price of housing in Singapore will continue to increase. Now, even the government acknowledges this: In July 2018, property cooling measures were implemented to try and halt the upward spike in house prices. In the year 2000, a 3-room resale flat in Ang Mo Kio cost roughly $160,000. In 2014, a similar flat in Ang Mo Kio cost at least $300,000! Same space, same location… but double the price. Now, what about a quintessential Singaporean hawker meal of chicken rice and coffee? In 2009, you could get a cup of coffee at Maxwell Road Food Centre for 60 cents. 10 years later, the exact same coffee is at least $1.20 per cup. Now, that’s an annual inflation of 3.33%! Similarly, a plate of Chicken Rice used to cost just $2.50, but right now, it’s about $3.50. That makes an annual inflation on a plate of chicken rice about 2.86% each year. Going to the movies has always been one of Singapore’s favourite past times. 10 years ago, a weekend movie ticket was $7.25. Today, that price has risen to $13.50 – almost double the price! With everything getting increasingly expensive, what’s the best way to beat inflation, you ask? Well, we can’t really say for sure but your best bet is probably in investing. Instruments such as REITS, ETFs, the Singapore Savings Bonds, or similar instruments, could be a good option.

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