SINGAPORE — Despite Singapore’s reputation as the world’s joint most expensive city, 27-year-old civil engineer Jonathan Lim claims that it is possible to live on a shoestring budget of about S$10 a day here for food.
Still, the Malaysian acknowledges that he does not live frugally every day, and occasionally splurges on a restaurant meal costing as much as S$23, which in a relative sense, is a lavish meal for him.
In various TikTok videos, Mr Lim’s tips on how to keep costs down have gone viral.
Singapore was found to be the world’s joint costliest city to live in in a 2022 survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit. New York City was ranked equally as expensive.
In one TikTok video, Mr Lim — who lives in Kulai, Johor and has been working in Singapore for more than three years — said that he works from his employer’s office in Singapore on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
He works from home in Malaysia for the rest of the week.
He travels for three hours from his home in Malaysia to the Singapore office on Monday mornings and goes back on Wednesday evenings.
On the first three days of the week, he opts to stay in a capsule hotel during the working week, which he says he tries to keep below S$35 for a night’s stay. TODAY was not immediately able to verify if this is possible.
Mr Lim said that the hostel provided a free breakfast as part of the deal, which means he saves on breakfast costs. Breakfast provided by hostels is usually coffee, toast and cereal.
In his most-watched video to date, Mr Lim breaks down his spending in a day. The video, posted on Aug 29, had received more than 240,000 views and more than 8,000 likes as of Thursday (Sept 7).
For lunch, Mr Lim spends S$3.60 on economic rice or cai fan. He says that this is his meal of choice given the price and various choices of dishes available.
After work, he buys a S$1.50 bun and walks to a public stadium for a jog, which he considers the “best choice compared to a gym” since it is free for the public.
Mr Lim then gets a “giant” grilled chicken for S$5 from an NTUC FairPrice supermarket as dinner.
In total, he spends a little over S$10 in total on food for the day.
@jonlzx Part 6: Is spending 10dollars enough for a day working in SINGAPORE? #sgvlog #worklife #minivlog #fypシ #simplelife ♬ 千与千寻 口琴版 – 口琴伟宝