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Can You Live Comfortably In Klang Valley On RM5,000?

Can You Live Comfortably In Klang Valley On RM5,000?

It requires careful financial planning and may not allow much flexibility.

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Imagine this: you’ve just received your monthly paycheck of RM5,000. The question arises – can you, as a Malaysian, live comfortably on this amount?

Let’s break it down and see what living on RM5,000 a month looks like in major urban areas in Malaysia, notably Klang Valley.

Housing Costs

Housing costs are typically the most significant part of a monthly budget.

In Malaysia, this can be a mortgage payment if you own your home or a rental payment if you’re renting.

In major cities like Kuala Lumpur, a decent apartment or condo can cost anywhere between RM1,500 to RM2,500 per month.

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This cost can vary greatly depending on the property’s location, size, and amenities.

However, renting a room is much more affordable if you’re single or willing to share living space.

Renting a room can range from RM300 for a basic room in an older apartment to RM800 for a master bedroom in a newer condo.

Food Expenses

If you’re eating out every day, the cost can add up quickly.

A meal at a hawker centre or kopitiam can easily cost RM10.

If you prefer dining in restaurants, the cost per meal can easily go up to RM20 or more.

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Let’s consider an average scenario where you eat out for lunch and dinner and have a simple breakfast at home.

If each meal costs around RM10, you would spend RM20 daily, up to RM600 monthly.

However, the cost can be significantly lower if you cook at home.

The price of groceries can vary, but on average, you might spend around RM400 to RM600 monthly for groceries.

This includes staples like rice, vegetables, meat, and spices.

So, if you mix eating out and cooking at home, your monthly food expenses could average around RM1000 (RM600 for eating out + RM400 for groceries).

Utilities and Internet

In Malaysia, utilities primarily include electricity and water.

The cost of electricity can vary greatly depending on the size of your home, how much you use air conditioning and your overall electricity usage.

On average, a household might spend around RM200 per month on electricity.

Water bills in Malaysia are generally lower than electricity bills, and the average household’s water bill might come to around RM30 per month.

The cost of the internet is another important factor to consider.

In today’s digital world, having a reliable internet connection at home is almost necessary.

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The cost of home broadband in Malaysia can vary depending on your chosen speed and data package.

On average, you might pay around RM100 monthly for a decent internet package.

So if we add these up, the average cost for utilities and internet in Malaysia could be around RM330 per month (RM200 for electricity + RM30 for water + RM100 for internet).


Transportation is another significant monthly expense, especially if you own a car.

The cost of owning a car in Malaysia can vary greatly depending on the make and model of the car, as well as whether it’s new or used.

Consider a scenario where you’ve purchased a moderately priced car, such as a Perodua Myvi, one of Malaysia’s most popular cars.

A brand new Myvi can cost around RM50,000.

If you’ve taken a car loan with a term of 7 years (which is quite common in Malaysia) and an interest rate of around 3.5%, your monthly instalment would be approximately RM700.

On top of the car instalment, you also need to consider the cost of fuel, which can vary depending on how much you drive, but let’s say it averages out to RM200 per month.

Then there’s the regular maintenance and insurance cost, which can add another RM100 per month.

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So, if you own a car, your total transportation cost could be around RM1000 per month (RM700 for the car instalment + RM200 for fuel + RM100 for maintenance and insurance).

Public transportation is cheaper, but let’s budget around RM400 for transportation.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Other expenses include phone bills, insurance, entertainment, and unexpected costs.

These can vary greatly, but we’ll allocate RM600 for these miscellaneous expenses.

If we add these up: RM2000 (housing) + RM1200 (food) + RM300 (utilities) + RM1,000 (transportation) + RM600 (miscellaneous) = RM5100.

This total is slightly above the RM5,000 monthly income we started with.

It’s important to note that this is a rough estimate, and individual costs can vary significantly.

For example, if you use public transportation instead of owning a car, your transportation cost could be as low as RM400, bringing the total down to RM4500.

However, even with careful budgeting, a monthly income of RM50,000 may not leave much room for savings, unexpected expenses, or financial goals like home ownership or retirement.

On the other hand, the lowest possible total cost could be RM300 (housing) + RM400 (food) + RM100 (utilities) + RM100 (transportation) + RM200 (miscellaneous) = RM1100.

Work to live or live to work?

This very frugal lifestyle may not be comfortable or feasible for everyone. It also leaves little room for unexpected expenses or savings.

However, it does illustrate that with careful budgeting and lifestyle choices, living on a lower income in Malaysia is possible.

Remember that we haven’t factored in costs like children’s education, medical emergencies, or retirement savings.

So, how much do Malaysians truly need to live comfortably in a month?

The answer depends on your lifestyle and financial commitments.

As the cost of living rises, we must manage our finances wisely.

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