4 Things You Can Do by Not Driving in Singapore

Owning a car in Singapore is ridiculously expensive. But that doesn’t mean that we need to suffer while taking public transport. We are firm believers of making the best of what you have.

First, how do you determine if you can own a car in Singapore?

How much to spend vs how much you earn?

Cost of owning a car

How much does it really cost you to own a car. The figures below were calculated by The StraitsTimes in 2014. It considers everything from fuel prices to insurance and is a good benchmark to use.

Brand new Toyota Corolla     –  $1,960 a month
Second hand Toyota Corolla –  $1,600 to $1,800 a month

Here at Inspire-SG, we take a combination of buses and MRTs most of the time and the occasional taxi for the times we run late or are just plain lazy.

We’ve tracked our transport spend in 2014.
Here’s what we’ve found:

EZ Link Card spend – $87 (per month)
Taxi spend               – $120 (per month)

That works out to be about only $207 a month.

Your income

Let’s assume a transport spend of 15-20% of your gross salary. How much do you need to earn to own a car comfortably in Singapore?

Brand new Toyota Corolla     – $9,800 – $13,000 (per month)
Second hand Toyota Corolla – $8,000 – $12,000 (per month)

Take a moment here to do a quick calculation of how much of your salary goes to transport.
You’ll find that owning a car in Singapore might not be the most cost effective choice.

Good news is that breakdowns aside, we do have a decent public transport network. Plus, the time spent commuting can be put to very good use.

We try to be as productive as possible, and here’s what we do while taking public transport:

1. Sleep! 

How much sleep do you get a night?
Singaporeans get an average of about 6 and a half hours of sleep a night!

For now, since we’re still a few years away from the driver-less car, planning your MRT/Bus trip carefully could mean a seat and also, a much needed power nap before or after work. Taking a cab would mean catching more sleep during the day, too.

2. Stretch your dollar – How much is your time really worth?


There’s the assumption that owning a car saves you time. Is this really the case?

Let’s say you live in Clementi and work at Raffles Place (assuming both are near MRT stations for ease of comparison) and leave for work at 8am.

How do the numbers stack up?

Driving – 25 mins (OneMotoring)
MRT      – 26 mins (Google Maps)

If the nature of your work doesn’t require you to travel around the country much, taking public transport only takes a little longer but it’s very much cheaper.

This would make even more sense if your employer allows you to telecommute a few days a week.

Now, take a quick moment to calculate the cost per minute saved. Ask yourself if your time is really that valuable before heading down to a showroom.

3. Watch TV Shows/Movies

The money you save from not buying a car can be put into buying a tablet.

There are so many in the market today at reasonable prices. We recommend using a first generation iPad Mini (with a very decent battery life), it’s decently priced and serves it’s function very well.

Put in your favourite TV shows and movies.

Try it and you might even look forward to going to work!

4. Read, read, read! 

Habit of Reading

It takes us about 1 hour to get to the Inspire-SG office.
So how do we spend this time?

First 15 mins: News – we quickly catch up on local and the world news
Next 15 mins: Books – We are strong believers of life long learning, so we read a little everyday
Next 30 mins: TV shows (see point 3)

You can also check/reply e-mails, plan your day and start making phone calls. And if you’re a student, bring your notes!

2 hours a day of productive work accumulates overtime. You’ll find that by not driving, you not only save money but get so much done as the same time!

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