Living Cost For Students in Malaysia
The cost of living in Malaysia is not high especially for students as Kuala Lumpur has been ranked as the 2nd most affordable city to study in 2019.
Also featuring in joint 29th place overall in the best student cities this year, tuition fees at one of Kuala Lumpur’s five ranked universities will cost an average of only US$2,500 per year for international students. For those looking to live in the city center, a one-bedroom apartment will cost an average of US$500 per month (according to Numbeo). Kuala Lumpur also ranks well for affordability in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey, coming 141st of 209 countries in terms of expense.
For most students, a monthly budget of RM1,500 (about US$400) will provide them with a rather comfortable living in Malaysia.
You should estimate about RM300-600 (US$80-150) for your accommodation per month. The rental will vary depending on the geographical area, the type of accommodation (on-campus living in a hall of residence; or off-campus living in an apartment, condominium, single-storey house, double-storey house, etc.), the facilities provided in the house (e.g. with or without air-conditioning) and of course, the number of people sharing the room (or apartment or house).
Food and Housekeeping
Your food and housekeeping expenses are estimated to be around RM450-600 (approx. US$120-150) per month. This is based on about RM15-30 (US$4-7) for three meals per day. Naturally, it would be cheaper if you cook and share the cooking expenses with your friends. Food in the hawker centers are usually very affordable compared to food served in restaurants although do keep to a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and remember to drink a lot of water at all times as Malaysia’s weather is usually hot and humid.
Clothing and Laundry
Your clothing expenses like washing, ironing and dry-cleaning may cost around RM60 (US$15) per month. There are also many coin operated laundrettes available in major towns and cities.
Students who stay on campus or near campus may not incur any cost of travelling to and from classes. However, other travelling may cost approximately RM30-50 (US$8-12) per month.
Telecommunication / Mobile Phone Bills and Utilities
The mobile phone packages in Malaysia are very competitive. How much you spend will depend on your usage and the promotional package you choose. The average student may spend about RM50-150 (US$12-40) per month.
Books, Reading Materials and Stationery
The estimated cost of books and stationery should be around RM50-100 (US$12-25) per month, but it would largely depend on the course you have signed up for and the number and nature of projects in your course.
Medical and Hospitalisation Insurance
Although you may not need to pay for medical expenses every month, if you put aside RM50 (US$12) per month, it would be sufficient for you in case you need outpatient treatment at a private clinic during the year. This estimate does not include the amount you will have to pay for your medical and hospitalisation insurance of about RM500 per year.
Your monthly personal expenses largely depend on your personal lifestyle. However, the cost can be estimated to be between RM100 (US$25) and RM400 (US$100). This includes your socialising needs, toiletries, haircut, clothes, movie, etc.
Using the estimate above, the total cost of living for a student will average at RM1,500 (US$400) per month or RM18,000 (US$4,800) per year. It is important to remember that the above estimate is only a guide in planning your budget to study in Malaysia and geographical location and personal lifestyle should be factored in when planning your personal budget.