National Service

National Service (NS) is a rite of passage for most Singaporean men. At the age of 18, many will leave the comforts of home, undergo basic military training and hone survival skills in rugged environments. Many will leave NS more self-reliant and independent than before.

If you are still receiving an allowance from your parents, getting your first NS allowance will probably be quite meaningful for you. You have worked hard and earned it.

“How am I going to spend this money? What food should I get when I book out of camp this weekend? Where can I hang out with my section mates?” It can be mind boggling just thinking of how to splurge this allowance. After an entire week of tough training, surely it’s time for a reward?

Before you start spending, do remember that the monthly allowance credited into your bank account is meant to defray your living expenses as you serve the nation. If you splurge the way you dream of, you will almost certainly be penniless before you realise it. You will be left scratching your head (or rather, your helmet) wondering how to survive until your next “pay” comes in.

Survival Tips

  • Use the NSF Ez-link Card when travelling on buses and trains as you get concessionary rates which will help minimise your travel expenses, particularly if you are posted to a unit far away from home.
  • Opt for stay-in at your camp, if this is an option. This can cut down unnecessary travel and food expenses (free meals of reasonable standard are provided). If you are feeling restless, drop by the gym for a workout or head to the “Mess” for entertainment.
  • Make an effort to maintain or even improve your fitness. Do well for your Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) and you get a monetary incentive every year. 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.
  • Participate in the SAF Group Term Life Insurance Scheme. The policy provides cover for life insurance / personal accidents, giving financial support to your family should you meet any mishaps in or outside camp. Read more on the SAF Group Term Life Insurance.
  • Have a budget to help you live within your means.

These are some simple ways to stretch your allowance and make it last a bit longer. Take charge and spend within your limits so that the money will tide you over to the next “payday”, as NSFs fondly call it.


The above information is prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence.