We are living in the expat part of town. Yesterday I went to the Tanglin Mall where all the expat moms and their children hang out. I noticed that everything seemed expensive. A pint of ice cream $8 and mephisto flip flops S$208 (like birkenstocks).
At the Tanglin Mall a motorized childs car costs S$1 a ride and at the hawker station at similar ride costs s$.20. Lula doesn't care which one she rides.
The key to living on one salary - a teachers salary at that, will be to embrace to local culture, markets, food and live like a local. This morning I went to the outdoor produce markets (are these hawker stands or is that limited to prepared foods?) purchased lots of beautiful vegetables (it is too difficult to carry the children all the groceries AND a camera I will probably get a point and shoot for my outings with them) I got miniature asparagus, baby bok choy, sweet peas, carrots, prawns, bags of noodles, a huge bag of peeled garlic gloves, and more.
I am not good with math so I haven't ruled out pretending that everything is U.S. dollars in order to curb my spending. The desire to spend a lot is high while starting out in a new country. It eases the challenges -- taking taxi's versus learning the buses and subways etc. (In this case the savings not always clear since I never travel in a group smaller than 3 - depends on the cost for kids and the distance etc. Attractions usually charge for children over 3 years old at a reduced rate.)
I haven't figured out how to make or buy a cup of coffee to my liking. I think they mix the coffee with something because I made the darkest coffee I have ever made and its still not strong. It still looks black when I added milk.
Some of the pastries I bought are very pretty but not necessarily to my liking.