Financial Aid

5 Ways to Save Money as an International Student in Malaysia

Published by Afterschool.my on Aug 30, 2019, 04:53 pm

Everybody knows that being an international student is not a cheap feat. There’s the tuition fee, which is already higher than what local students pay, and the student visa that you have to pay for at the start as well as each year that follows. On top of that, there is, of course, the additional cost of living in another country. Although Malaysia is internationally known as the 2nd most affordable city to live in according to the QS World University Rankings, it doesn’t hurt to try to cut back on your expenses so you can fully enjoy your stay here!

1. Rethink your accommodation options

Paying rent is something that can cause stress even before you arrive in Malaysia to pursue your studies. While it is usually more convenient to live on campus in your first year of studying abroad, living off-campus significantly helps you save money. Hence, what we’d suggest is that you can split your time of study between on- and off-campus housing. For example, if you’re pursuing an undergraduate degree in Malaysia for 4 years, you can halve your time between on- and off-campus accommodation. Making use of both types of accommodation can help you organise and manage your expenses, as well as adjust to the surrounding before settling in on your own.

2. Buy second-hand textbooks

It can be comforting to know that this issue applies not only to international students. University textbooks are expensive! So, what can you do? Many students opt to purchase or rent used books. Instead of buying new books, check with your alumni or students from similar classes for options to buy their books second-hand. You may also be able to buy used books off online shopping websites at a much lower rate or see if your school library carries your textbook for you to photocopy as needed.

3. Eat less 'fancy'

No, we don’t mean cut down on fancy food completely! You can still have your occasional Starbucks or fancy food with your friends. But on a daily basis? Go for one of the local’s favourites, mamak shops! Cheap food all day long, and you bet you’ll chance upon your local friends there too. Besides that, if you have access to a kitchen, you can opt to cook meals for yourself! It’s often a lot cheaper than meal plans. On top of that, campus events also often provide free and are a great way to meet new people.

4. Book your flights ahead

Of course, as an international student you’ll be thinking a lot about travelling – not just to visit home, but also across Malaysia! Malaysia is such a vibrant country with beautiful islands and delicious food galore, that you’ll want to at least try to travel across the country before going back home. But we all know travelling can be expensive, even for the locals. Yet, it is possible to find great deals on flights and public transport. Make sure you do your research before jetting off to the islands in East Malaysia. There are also plenty of public transport options, such as the ETS, that is much more cost-worthy for you to travel across Peninsular Malaysia.

5. Use those student discounts

As an international student in Malaysia, now would be the best time for you to utilise your student discounts! A lot of businesses, especially in student cities such as Kuala Lumpur, provide special rates and discounts when you present your student ID card. You can save a significant amount of money on clothing, entertainment, food, coffee and more.

We’ve just provided the basics for you, but there’s definitely more that you can do to be conscious about your day-to-day spending. You can also download our FREE e-book about living in Malaysia on a budget by clicking the link below!

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