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Making the most of your NS allowance
nsf training

2 min. read

Your NS allowance helps to defray your living expenses as you serve the nation. Find out how to survive on it until your next payday. Learn why it's a good time to start getting insured.

National Service (NS) is a rite of passage for Singaporean men.

At the age of 18, many young men will leave the comforts of their home to undergo basic military training and hone their survival skills in rugged environments.

Their time in NS is their contribution to Singapore's defence, but on the personal development front, many leave NS more self-reliant and independent than before.

Your first NS allowance

Getting your first NS allowance may be a cause for celebration as you have worked hard and earned it.

However, you may be wondering:

  • How am I going to spend this money?
  • What food do I deserve when I book out of camp this weekend?
  • Where can I hang out with my section mates?
  • What shall I splurge it on?

After an entire week of tough training, you may feel the urge to reward yourself.

Save, splurge or stretch it out?

Before you start spending, remember what your NS allowance is for — to cover your living expenses as you serve the nation.

If you splurge it the way you dream of, you will almost certainly be left scratching your head (or rather, your helmet) wondering how to survive until your next “pay” comes in.

Choose your recreation wisely. Some of you may be introduced to the lottery or sports betting. Be aware of the risks involved. Gambling addiction may start from seemingly harmless social gambling. It is important to learn to differentiate between healthy recreational activities and others that may be harmful to your mental and financial well-being.

Making the most of your allowance

Take charge and set some limits so that the money will last you to the next "payday". Here are a few simple ways to do this:

  • Use the NSF EZ-link Card. Concessionary rates will help minimise your travel expenses, particularly if you get posted to a unit far from home.
  • Opt for stay-in at your camp, if you can. This can cut down unnecessary travel and food expenses (free meals are provided). If you are feeling restless, drop by the gym for a workout or head to the “Mess” for entertainment.
  • Work on your fitness level. You will get a monetary incentive if you ace your Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). The same goes for attaining the “Marksman” standard at live-firing.
  • Spend quality time with your family over the weekend. Use your short time at home to catch up with them instead of going out and spending money.
  • Create a budget and stick to it. Budgeting will help you live within your means.

Stay insured

Throughout your NS cycle, you are covered by the MINDEF & MHA Group Insurance Scheme. This low-cost policy provides financial support for your family should you meet any mishaps in or outside camp.

Consider extending coverage under this scheme for yourself and your spouse/children outside your term of service. You can also purchase additional coverage under the Voluntary Scheme, which comprises Group Term Life, Group Personal Accident, and optional riders such as Living Care, Living Care Plus, Disability Income, and Outpatient Medicare.


Use the Budget Calculator to help you keep track of how you manage your money.

Last updated on 23 Feb 2022