By now, most of us parents should already know that it can be very expensive to raise a child in Singapore. Despite the government providing an extensive range of child subsidies that amount to more than $150,000 per child, parents should still expect to spend a significant amount of money on their kids.
In this article, we will detail the various costs we can expect to incur as we raise a child in Singapore.
How much we spend to raise a child in Singapore can vary significantly. Similar to the cost of living we incur as an adult, the lifestyle choices and education options that we choose can substantially increase the cost of raising a child in Singapore. For example, if we want to bring our kids on annual holiday trips, take expensive enrichment classes or attend international pre-schools, our costs will increase significantly.
In this article, we strive to include child-related expenses that are typically deemed necessary or difficult to avoid. The calculations are based on our conservative estimates.
Stage 0: Pregnancy-Related Cost
Before our little one joins us, there is already pregnancy-related cost to bear. Depending on whether we choose to go public or private, we can expect to spend anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000 to deliver our baby.
For example, in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the median bill size for Class A ward (Vaginal Delivery) is $5,110. If we deliver in Mount Alvernia a 1-bedded ward (via Caesarean Delivery), the median bill size is $12,415.
The government provides a baby bonus cash gift that is between $8,000 to $10,000. While this amount is given out over 18 months, they do offset pregnancy-related costs that we incur to an extent.
Estimated Cost – $5,000 to $15,000
Stage 1: Baby To Toddler (Year 0 to 4)
Now that the pregnancy is over, the real ‘fun’ starts. Not only would we suddenly feel that 24 hours a day isn’t enough to care for our baby, get our work done, and still have enough personal time to exercise and rest, but we will quickly realise that budgeting just got much harder.
Consumables: We will find ourselves regularly spending on diapers, formula milk, baby wipes, baby detergent, baby food and baby lotions. Depending on how quickly our baby consumes these items, we should expect to spend about $2,000 to $3,000 a year on these items.
* Calculation assumes baby is breastfed for first 6 months
Non-Consumables: Besides that, we should also expect to spend on non-consumable items such as pram, baby carriers, cribs, clothes and toys. The cost can vary significantly, depending on whether we choose to buy them brand-new or get hand-me-downs from family and friends. It’s reasonable to budget about $2,000 a year for these items.
In total, we estimate that parents can expect to spend about $5,000 a year on their child for consumables (milk, food, diapers) and non-consumable items (clothes, toys). This works out to be about $400 a month.
At this age, the other big-ticket expense for most working parents will be infant/childcare arrangements. For our calculation, we will assume that both parents are working and will need to engage help to look after their kids instead of relying on grandparents.
|Infant Care Option||Expected Monthly Cost||Cost Per Annum|
|Domestic Helper||About $1,000 per month. Read more here.||$12,000|
|Full-Time Nanny||About $1,500 to $1,800||$18,000 (using $1,500 as a benchmark)|
|Full-Day Childcare Centre||$720 (assuming Anchor Operator)||$8,640|
Assuming that parents choose full-day childcare at an Anchor Operator, the cost will be about $8,640 per year. When you add this to the cost incurred for consumables and non-consumables, parents can expect to spend about $13,640 per year for their child in their first 4 years.
Estimated Cost (Year 0 to Year 4) – About $13,640 per year
Stage 2: Kindergarten (Year 5 to Year 6)
While compulsory education only starts from Primary 1 onwards (age 7), it’s advisable for kids to attend kindergarten. If we opt for an Anchor Operator, monthly fees will be capped at $160 per month.
If we assume 1-2 additional classes such as art, sports or music classes, it’s reasonable to set aside a budget of about $100 for our child at this age. We can expect to spend about $260 per month on education-related classes, or about $3,120 a year.
Our kids won’t be in diapers at this age but we will still need to spend money on food, books, toys and clothes for them. For this, we continue to assume a conservative monthly expense of $300 a month, or about $3,600 a year.
In total, parents can expect to spend about $6,720 a year on their child from age 5 to 6.
Estimated Cost (Year 5 to Year 6) – About $6,720 a year
Stage 3: Primary, Secondary School, Junior College (Year 7 to Year 18)
The good news is that for Singaporeans, primary school fees are free. For those in secondary school and Junior College, it’s at a nominal $5 and $6 per month. This means that unlike childcare and pre-school education, parents do not have to worry about school fees during this period. Of course, we will still need to buy textbooks, exercise books, uniforms, bags and stationery.
Our (growing) child will continue to require clothes, food, transports and even electronic gadgets at this age. Similar to their younger days, it will be prudent to budget at least $300 a month for these expenses. On top of that, we will likely give them an allowance as well. Assuming a weekly allowance of $25, this will add up to $100 a month.
Enrichment lessons or tuitions may also be required as they become older. If we assume group classes, it might be advisable to set aside a budget of about $200 a month for these classes.
In total, we can easily expect to spend about $600 a month per child at this age. If you add in an extra $500 a year for school items, this will be about $7,700 each year.
Estimated Cost (Year 7 to Year 18): About $7,700 per year, per child
Total Cost Of Raising A Child In Singapore (From Age 0 to 18)
From the numbers illustrated above, here’s how much we can expect to spend on each child, from when they are born to age 18.
|Life Stage||Estimated Annual Cost||Estimated Total Cost|
|Pregnancy-Related Cost||$5,000 to $15,000||About $10,000|
|Baby To Toddler (Year 0 to 4)||$13,640/Year||$54,560|
|Kindergarten (Year 5 to 6)||$6,720/Year||$13,440|
|Primary, Secondary School, Junior College (Year 7 to 10)||$7,700||$92,400|
If the number above doesn’t seem too high, do note we have not included additional expenses such as insurance premiums and tertiary-related school fees that we will incur if our child goes to a Polytechnic or the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Also, if they pursue their degree, this will also be a high cost as well.
Our calculation above is a conservative estimate that does not include additional child-related expenses we will likely incur such as bringing our kids out for leisure activities, overseas holidays, pursuing their hobbies or taking up private tuition or enrichment classes. It also assumes that we do not engage external help such as hiring a foreign domestic worker once our kids start full-day kindergarten.
In all likelihood, we can expect to spend about $1,000 a year on insurance premiums, $1,000 for a simple overseas trip, $500 a year on leisure activities within Singapore and $500 on celebrations and presents for your child. This adds up to an additional $3,000 a year, or $36,000 over 18 years.. So our total cost is likely to easily be about $200,000 per child till age 18.