In this post, I broke down how I spent my RM3500 salary while living in the heart of Kuala Lumpur (PWTC area, to be precise). It remained one of my popular blog posts. I also wrote about the average cost of my meals (RM2.86) and how I managed to rent a master bedroom for RM150.
Some of you know that I moved to Ipoh 6 months ago, more or less. Even though I can’t make direct comparison with current data (1 year vs 6 months), I thought it would be interesting to show the breakdown anyway and how my living expenses have changed. I want to know which lifestyle allows me to save more money – a social worker in KL or a freelance writer in Ipoh.
Enjoy this table, with an analysis whether my spending in particular categories has increased or decreased.
(P/s – All expenses were tracked via this app)
|KL life (per month, on average)
|Ipoh life (per month, on average)
|Donations & Gifts
|Increased. Mostly donated to my sister’s wedding as well as zakat.
|Utilities & Rent
|Decreased. Not much home repairs here.
|Decreased. PTPTN debt repaid.
|Decreased. Interesting, considering I’m on a keto diet and now have cat-related expenses.
|MASSIVELY decreased. No smoking + less shopping in general
|MASSIVELY decreased. No friends in Ipoh lol
|Insurance & Medical
|Increased. Included gym costs.
|Increased. WTF did I eat.
|Expense eliminated. No more bizz
|MASSIVELY Increased. No more reimbursement from work + a lot of Ipoh/Klang trips
|MASSIVELY increased. Paying for mobile data via prepaid.
|Parking & Tolls
|Increased. Still peanuts.
|MASSIVELY increased. Bought new theme and 2-year hosting.
|AVERAGE COST OF LIVING IN KL AND IPOH PER MONTH
|Decreased by 200 bucks
Self-reflection on spending habits since moving
Nice. As you can see, I can provide proof that moving to Ipoh saved me about RM200 per month in expenses. I managed to decrease my expenses in most categories, which is great (except for less social activities, so that made me sad). Note: I’m not saying you should move to Ipoh because it’s cheaper. The salary scale here is actually really sucky. I’m lucky to earn more as a freelancer.
I’ve also taken on (and paid for) more health-related expenses. I have gym and fitness costs now. I used to pay for unlimited CrossFit classes (for RM120 a month) but now go to the gym instead and lift weights there (RM50 for 10 passes, which usually lasts 1.5-2 months). I also have a yoga mat and skipping rope, and do a lot of body weight exercises at home. Look at my Tabata record from Jan-March below heheh.
Ipoh, all in all, is a place for me to focus on my work with less distractions. Work-related expenses are cheap – working at home means no more need to upgrade my work wardrobe (although I enjoy thrift shopping here) and no more LRT cost (I moved right after the LRT price hike).
What I can improve on: food cost. Dammit what the effing eff did I eat????
Self-reflection on saving habits since moving
You’d think that I can now put in more money in the ol’ savings account, but this turned out to not be the case at all. I think I force myself to do this. I like freelancing, but I hate that I will no longer receive EPF contribution.
Also, I because I get paid in mostly bitcoin and USD, I kinda like to just leave the money in those currencies for its potential rise in value. I’m one of the few people in Malaysia who actually hated it when MYR strengthen against USD recently – my pay is now worth less. Selfish reason, I know. As for bitcoin, I’m not going to cash out until at least June/July (everyone in Bitcoin community is waiting for it).
I really enjoy doing these comparisons. Someday, I hope to become a full-fledged digital nomad and move from country to country for the heck of it. I’m thinking Poland, because I’ve heard that the cost of living there is cheap. Those will make awesome reference for ‘actual cost of living’, don’t you think? 🙂
(Do you or anyone you know is living overseas and interested to collaborate with me to make these posts? Contact me!)
People living in KL or Ipoh, care to chime in? Comment here or tweet me at @surayaror 🙂