Car rates

Would you trade your car journeys for bus journeys? Here’s what one family is doing to ride out rising prices

SINGAPORE: Mr Paul Lee usually commuted from his home in Marine Parade to his office in Yio Chu Kang in the comfort of his car, with his favorite radio station on, occasionally making business calls requiring privacy.

For the past three months, however, he has traded his car trips for one-hour bus rides most days to save money on gas.

Noticing that his family’s expenses were exceeding their monthly budget, Mr. Lee decided that they needed to take steps to reduce their expenses.

“During February we started to see costs go up because of the (Russia-Ukraine) war. I started hearing news about rising inflation, interest rates will probably increase,” he said. .

“As a result, I started looking for different options to save money.”

For Mr. Lee’s family, their biggest expenses were for gas, restaurants and groceries.

In the past, he filled his car’s 60-litre tank every two weeks, which cost him S$125. But now he pays closer to S$160 for the same amount of gasoline.

Fuel prices rose amid supply shortages, conflict in Ukraine and inflationary pressures. In Singapore, prices for the most popular 95-octane gasoline have fluctuated between S$3 and S$3.42 per litre, down from around S$2.80 before the invasion of Ukraine in late February.

By switching to public transport on weekdays and minimizing the use of his car on weekends, business development manager Mr Lee now saves around S$150 a month. He also saves the 14 Singapore dollars he would otherwise have had to spend to park in his office building.

“I only have to take two buses…and it actually stops at the bus stop right outside my place of work,” said the sole breadwinner who has three young sons.

EAT MORE AFFORDABLE

Singapore’s core inflation hit 3.6% year-on-year in May, the highest in more than 13 years, driven by higher food and utility prices.

Core inflation, which excludes accommodation and private transport costs, is expected to reach 3-4% this year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said on July 14.

Mr. Lee felt the pinch with rising credit card bills, mostly from eating out.

While dining out has become more expensive, it’s a luxury his family is reluctant to deprive themselves of. Instead, Mr. Lee is looking for more affordable options.

Previously, a meal out could cost them S$120.

“Now we are selecting restaurants where the total will be S$50, S$60 Singaporean,” he said.