Cost of Living in KL

Table of Contents

RM2500 salary should be enough for fresh grads, even those staying in KL, says experts.
Taken from the Star 7 October 2014

Full article: RM2,500 salary should be enough for fresh grads, say experts

Experts say RM2,500 should be enough for fresh grads, I beg to differ.

Picture this scenario

Here you are, a fresh graduate, found out that you got the job in KL. You’re all excited, BUT, you realise that you need a place to stay, transportation to and fro work, food etc… How much will all these cost? Will your salary be able to cover all these expenses?

Read also: Investment Options in Malaysia

Malaysian Ringgit

EPF: 11% of your salary

Before we begin, EPF will force you to contribute 11% of your salary to their scheme, something like forced savings for retirement. If you’re earning RM2,500, about RM275 will go to EPF, meaning your nett salary should be about RM2,225. That’s not all though, you’ll have to pay SOCSO too. But you’ll need not worry about paying these, your company’s payroll team should be handling these complications for you.

Rent: RM275-RM1,500

The rental for rooms for rent varies according to the size of the room, and location. In Selangor / KL, if the location of the room to let is near to a LRT, or mall, expect rental rates to be higher. But generally, a small room in Petaling Jaya (PJ) would cost you anywhere from RM450 to RM550. A medium room would cost you about RM550 to RM700, and the master room would cost you at least RM800. Mind, I’m not talking about those relatively new condos (i.e. finished in 2010 and above, such as Ameera Residences, Five Stones Residences, where a room would cost anywhere from RM1,500 and above).

Of course, if you don’t mind sharing your room (usually middle and master bedrooms) with a friend or stranger, than you would be able to get a room from RM275 onwards.

Utilities: RM30-RM75

Free electricity? Don’t expect your rental to include utilities. The cost of electricity generally depends on how much air-cond you use, or how inconsiderate your housemates can be. Sometimes, when it is agreed upon that the electricity bill be equally split among the number of bedrooms, an inconsiderate tenant might abuse the situation by using electricity excessively. And oh, usually the water bill is free.

Internet + Mobile Phone: RM28-RM150

Sadly, it is rather costly to stay connected in Malaysia. The cheapest data plan I could find is U-Mobile, which offers only 1GB of quota, and it’s definitely not enough. Usually, at your rented place, tenants would pool together and subscribe to UniFi, Streamyx or Time Internet for unlimited data and faster speeds, which would cost you about RM50 a month.

Parking: RM150-RM735 [optional]

If you have a car, and drive to work, you’ll have to pay for parking at work. And depending on the type of room you’re renting, you might have to fork out a little extra for parking. For example, if you’re renting a room in a condo, parking isn’t usually provided unless you are taking the master bedroom. To rent a parking lot in a condo will usually cost anywhere from RM100 to RM150.

Parking at work, however varies according to the location of your office. Parking in KL ranges anywhere from RM6 to RM35 a day, which means anywhere from RM126 to RM735 a month, assuming that you work 21 days a month. If and only if Malaysia’s public transportation system were better.

Fuel: RM 100-RM300 [optional]

This expense is only incurred if you’re driving, depending on the car you drive.

Toll: RM50-RM300 [optional]

Sucks to be driving in a big city like KL right?

Food: RM400 above

This will probably the largest expense to anyone. This cost varies as it depends on your eating habits. For example, if you’re the type that is lazy to eat in and prepare food to work, lunch at office would typically cost you at least RM5 for a decent plate of rice (without meat) in KL. Dinner would be around that price if you can find a cheap hawker stall to buy from. But typically, at food courts these days, a plate of char kueh teow costs RM5.50, and chicken rice RM5.50-RM6.

Groceries: RM100 above

You’ll need to allocate money for detergent, bathing soap, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. You don’t wanna go into the office smelling unpleasant in a dirty office attire right?

Loans: Varies

How about your study loan? Car loan? Etc.

Incidental Costs: RM50 above

What about car maintenance? Hair cuts? Dentist visits? Unexpected car / phone repairs? etc. A visit to the dentist would cost you at minimum, RM50 per visit. An unexpected phone repair will easily cost you RM100. Everything costs money. Nothing is free in this world.

First Month Costs: RM1,000 above

When you first move into a place in KL, they usually require you to give them a deposit of 2 months rental (in case you run away, or fail to pay rent). So, if you room rental is RM450 a month, prepare to fork out RM900 just to move in. Certain owners would also require a utilities deposit, there goes another RM50.

Most rooms these days are unfurnished. This means you’ll need to prepare money to buy a bed, a cupboard, some cooking equipment, etc. Mind, a mattress ain’t cheap in Malaysia. It can cost anywhere from RM200 above (if you have back problems, you’ll need a good mattress which would cost you at least RM700).

So, living in the city ain’t cheap right? Are you still keen to work in the city?

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