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Comparing 21 Household Items From Bread To Kitchen Towels: What Is The Price Difference Between Buying In Singapore And Malaysia?

The cost of goods in Malaysia is generally lower by 20% to 70% than in Singapore.


The rising cost of living, affecting everything from large-ticket items like property and motor vehicles to small-ticket items like everyday household items, has become a common talking point among friends and colleagues.

One often discussed solution is leveraging the favourable currency exchange rate for a pocket-friendly grocery run across the causeway. And with the Singapore dollar recently reaching a high of 3.507 against the Malaysian ringgit, it suggests that this could indeed be a savvy move. However, with prices similarly rising in Malaysia, it begs the question of whether buying all our household essentials there could really be cost-effective.

To find out, we compared 21 household items to deduce the price difference between buying the same item in Singapore and Malaysia so that we can finally answer whether we are better off enduring the long jams or sticking to our local supermarkets.

Read Also: Price Difference Of Popular Food Items In Singapore And Malaysia. Here Is How Much We Paid

Comparing Common Household Items Between Singapore And Malaysia

To make the comparison, we have chosen a mix of household items across the different categories. However, the list is not exhaustive and is intended for informational purposes only.

The prices used for the items are based on the latest online information from NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong (for Singapore) and myAEON2go and MyGroser (for Malaysia). We did not use the promotional or discounted price for the items.

The exchange rate used for the currency conversion from Malaysia ringgit to Singapore dollar is RM1:$3.50.

Bread & Cereal

Category: Bread & Cereal
Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Malaysia
Gardenia White Bread (400g) $2.50 RM3 (S$0.86)
Nestle Honey Stars (300g) $6.35 RM12.43 (S$3.55)

 

We compared two items under the bread & cereal category. The cost of Gardenia white bread in Malaysia is 65% cheaper than in Singapore. Similarly, children’s cereal is around 44% cheaper in Malaysia than Singapore.

Meat, Fish & Seafood

Category: Meat, Fish & Seafood
Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Malaysia
Frozen Whole Chicken $14.80 – 1.4kg
$1.06 (Per 100g)
RM21.26 (1.9-2kg w/o head & feet) (S$6.07)
RM 1.12 (Per 100g) (S$0.32)
Frozen Dory Fillet (800g) $8.60
$1.08 (Per 100g)
RM 12 (~S$3.43)
RM 1.50 (Per 100g) (S$0.43)
Frozen Boiled Scallop $11.09 (350g)
$3.17 (Per 100g)
RM 16.90 (300g) (S$4.83)
RM 5.65 (Per 100g) (S$1.61)

Under the meat, fish, & seafood category, we compared the cost of a frozen whole chicken, a dory fillet, and a pack of boiled scallops. Unsurprisingly, the three items on a per 100-gram basis cost less in Malaysia by 70%, 60%, and 49%, respectively.

Each individual is allowed to bring up to 5kg of meat (chilled, frozen, processed, or canned) and up to 5kg of fish products (except frozen cooked crabmeat, frozen cooked prawn meat, and live or frozen oysters).

Milk, Cheese & Egg

Category: Milk, Cheese & Egg
Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Malaysia
Milo Tin $28.81
$2.30 (Per 100g)
RM36.91 (1.5kg) (S$10.55)
RM2.46 (Per 100g) (S$0.70)
Cheese Slices $2.95 (100g) RM12.75 (250g) (S$3.64)
RM5.10 (Per 100g) (S$1.46)
Egg (Size A) – 30 pieces $7.10 RM14.95 (S$4.27)

 

Under the dairy category, we compared the cost of Milo, which was 70% less in Malaysia on a 100-gram basis. Even the cheese slices were around 50% cheaper in Malaysia. Lastly, we also compared 30 pieces of eggs, which were around 40% cheaper in Malaysia.

Fruits & Vegetables          

Category: Fruits & Vegetables
Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Malaysia
Malaysia Tomato (500g) $1.10 RM3.00 (S$0.86)
Sharp Spinach $1.06 (220g)
$0.48 (Per 100g)
RM2.70 (250g) (S$0.77)
RM1.08 (Per 100g) (S$0.31)
Cavendish Banana (1-1.25kg) $2.75 RM6.80 (S$1.94)
White Dragonfruit (1 piece) $2.25 RM4.90 (S$1.40)

 

Next, we compared the price of tomatoes and sharp spinach, which are readily available in Malaysia. The prices were only 22% and 35% cheaper in Malaysia. On the other hand, 1–1.25 kg of cavendish bananas were 29% cheaper in Malaysia than in Singapore, while a piece of white dragonfruit was 37% cheaper in Malaysia.

Read Also: Is It Better To Change Your SGD For MYR In Singapore Or Malaysia?

Snacks

Category: Snacks
Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Malaysia
Ferrero Rocher – T24 (300g) $18.25 RM53.91 (S$15.40)
Lay’s Potato Chips Classic (170g) $5.29 RM13.85 (S$3.96)

 

For snacks, we compared the price of a Ferrero Rocher and Lay’s potato chips, which were similarly cheaper in Malaysia by 15% and 25%, respectively.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Category: Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Malaysia
Nescafe Classic (200g) $10.85 RM26.75 (S$7.64)
Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (1.5L) $2.80 RM4.04 (S$1.15)
Yakult Ace Cultured Milk (5x80ml) $4.30 RM5.30 (S$1.51)

Under the non-alcoholic beverages, we compared popular items like the Nescafe coffee power, which was 30% cheaper in Malaysia. On the other hand, a 1.5litre Coca-Cola bottle was 59% cheaper while a packet of 5 Yakult Ace drinks were 65% cheaper in Malaysia than Singapore.

Baby Products

Category: Baby Products
Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Malaysia
Baby Formula Milk – Similac Stage 1 Total Comfort $77.90 RM152.76 (S$43.65)
Huggies Dry Pants – L (9-14kg) 48 per pack $16.61 RM43.40 (S$12.37)

 

Other must-get items in Malaysia for local shoppers with young children are formula milk and diapers. The formula milk was 44% cheaper, while the diapers were only 25% cheaper in Malaysia than Singapore.

Household Items

Category: Household Items
Item Cost in Singapore Cost in Malaysia
Axion Lemon Dishwashing Paste (700g) $4.79 RM7.50 (S$2.14)
Scott Kitchen Towel Rolls
(8 per pack)
$6.00 RM15.60 (S$4.46)

 

Lastly, when comparing household items like dishwashing and kitchen towel rolls, the prices in Malaysia are cheaper by 55% and 26%, respectively.

Why Are The Same Goods Cheaper In Malaysia Than Singapore?

Based on our price comparison, the cost of goods in Malaysia is generally lower by 20% to 70% than in Singapore. But before we jump to the conclusion that we are overpaying for the goods in Singapore, we must note the difference in the cost of living between the two countries, excluding any government subsidies and the exchange rate.

In Singapore, land space is a prized commodity, which results in not only high rental costs but also contributes to the high cost of vehicle ownership (i.e., a Certificate of Entitlement) for businesses. Additionally, the cost of labour in Singapore is also higher compared to Malaysia. As of 2023, the median wage in Singapore is 68% higher at $5,197 (or RM18,189.50) than the median salary in Malaysia of RM5,810.

These factors, along with other regulatory and market-specific conditions like the Goods & Services Tax (GST) and import duties and taxes, influence the higher pricing of goods in Singapore.

Read Also: Shopping Across the Causeway: 12 Things You Can And Cannot Buy

Shopping Across The Border Is Not The Only Option To Save Money

Nevertheless, it does not mean that shopping across the causeway is the only way for us to save on our grocery budget. Considering that we are only entitled to a GST import relief amounting to $100 if we spend less than 48 hours outside Singapore, specifically crossing the border just to get our groceries may not be as practical. Also, we need to consider the food restrictions and limitations imposed on each person, as well as the time and cost of travelling to and fro.

Read Also: How Much Does It Cost For Singapore Cars To Enter Malaysia? And Is It Worth Your Time (And Money)?

Instead, we could simply make smarter choices when shopping at local supermarkets to stick within our budget. We could compare prices and know of the latest promotional offers for the items we intend to purchase at different supermarkets on Price Kaki – a price comparison app by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case).

We could also choose housebrand products, which are not only cheaper but may also offer better quality (or taste). Furthermore, we can take advantage of additional discounts and rebates, such as those available through Senior Citizen Discounts or credit cards like the DBS yuu Card or the Trust Card, that are tied to different supermarket chains for more savings.

These are some things that we can do to stretch our dollars while shopping at our local supermarkets. However, if we do intend to shop across the causeway, we could use multicurrency cards that give us a better exchange rate without the hassle of needing to change for physical cash.

Travel Tips

As more countries move towards a cashless society, we can now visit countries with less physical cash required. Cashless transactions are not only safer and more convenient, but would allow us to enjoy more competitive exchange rates as compared to traditional moneychangers.

If you do not have a multi-currency account or wallet, you can register for YouTrip, and receive a S$5 welcome credit when you use the DollarsAndSense promo code “DNS5”). In addition to making payments in over 150 foreign currencies, YouTrip allows you to exchange and store up to 10 currencies in your wallet.

Another great option is the Revolut Card, where you can receive a bonus S$15 top-up to your account when you sign up using the DollarsAndSense link. It offers a choice of three tiers of its card, with the free standard tier allowing you to hold and send money in more than 30 currencies.

This article contains affiliate links. DollarsAndSense may receive a share of the revenue from your sign-ups. You can refer to our editorial policy here.