Are S'poreans spending too much?

Two male shoppers with shopping bags along Orchard Road.
Two male shoppers with shopping bags along Orchard Road.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The latest Household Expenditure Survey, based on data collected in 2017 and 2018, showed that Singaporean households spend an average of $4,910 a month (Household incomes, living standards have gone up, Aug 1).

Are Singaporeans spending too much when compared with their income?

Based on statistics from the Ministry of Manpower, the median gross monthly income for full-time employed residents, including employer contributions to the Central Provident Fund, is $4,437.

This could explain why most young families need double incomes in order for them to survive, and this indirectly results in the low fertility rate in Singapore.

One of the common reasons cited by couples for not starting a family is the cost of living in Singapore.

In the latest survey, most of the spending was on housing, food and transport. Combined, they made up 62 per cent of monthly household expenditure. Could it be that costs in these three areas are too high?

What concerns me most is the recent announcement by the Transport Minister that public transport fares will have to go up, as well as the planned hike in the goods and services tax rate in the near future.

All these will increase the cost of living further.

I hope the Government can look into these three areas of expenditure and look at ways to help reduce them.

Leong Kok Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2019, with the headline 'Are S'poreans spending too much?'. Print Edition | Subscribe