How much can I save on 5500 per month?

Hey everyone,

I've been offered a job in KL working between KLCC and Bukit Bintang at a salary of 5500 ringgit per month. I'm just wondering how much will I potentially be able to save per month? I will be on my own and I'm not looking to pay any more than 1800 ringgit per month on accommodation. Taking that aside, with regards to going out I don't think it's something I would do a lot apart from excursions to different cities every now and then, maybe once or twice a month. With regards to food and shopping, I'm happy with going for cheaper options for most of the time. I will be travelling around the city quite often for work purposes. I'm just trying to get a rough idea of how much it may cost to live in KL based on these things? Apologies if there aren't enough details, I'm more than happy to answer more questions. I've visited KL before but I assume the cost of living is quite a bit different to just travelling there.

Also, with regards to accommodation, I was wondering what are the best areas to stay in considering my preferred limit of RM1800 per month? KLCC and Bukit Bintang are the areas I would be working and I would be happy to consider places that require a 40-50 min commute if that gives me more options. I would, however, need to stay in a place where public transport is easily accessible as I am not looking to drive if I accept the job. Will appreciate any help. Thanks!

Firstly bear in mind that for the first 6 months you will be paying 28% income tax so your take home pay will be under 4k per month. Once you become tax resident the deduction is under 200 rm per month.

There are some studios at May Tower if rented from the owner that may fit your housing budget. They are close to Cap Square and convenient for klcc. There are no studios in your budget in bukit bintang but you will get a room in a flat share for about 1500.

Take a look at for flat sharing and also For studios they will be advertised on the property portals such as iproperty, property guru, etc.

It's hard to suggest commuting locations because it depends where your work is. Klcc is served by different train lines to bukit bintang.

Basic living expenses will be about 1500 per month

Utilities, Internet and phone will be around 300. Transport allow another 300

Oh wow, that changes a lot. I was under the impression that tax was 1% the whole time. It seems like I would just be scraping through for the first 6 months. I guess I'll have to lower my limit for accommodation and see what's available and go from there. Thanks a lot Gravitas for the reply and putting things into perspective.

That's how it works for most new comers and tax is refunded when you file your income tax return when you complete 182 days.

If you have completed your 182 days in current year, then tax will charged as resident tax and the amount which was charge 28% as non resident will be refunded after deduction the tax amount remaining will be credited in your account, when  IT return is file to LHDN..

You can calculate your tax below is the link.

In "Maytower "you will get studio room and if you are looking for sharing  room then next to "May tower'' there is Plaza City One you can get better rental price for sharing.

If you are looking for higher range for rental in sharing room then can try "Capsquare condominium" which is opposite to LULU nearby.

To reach Office as mentioned KLCC there is bus hub near Jakel Mall bus number 300 goes to KLCC rapid KL bus.

Also there are option for LRT Masjid Jamek which goes to KLCC.

Hope it helps.

Thanks Expatind. Will take all that into account too. So it seems the first 6 months will be a but tough but after it should get better. Overall, do you think 5500 before tax is doable in KL?

If the job has another component which is Commission ie financial advisers, your expectations should be moderate plus expenses will be higher

I am not sure what your professional is how you maintain your lifestyle . If you staying in sharing room it might cost from 800 rm to 1200 rm include all electricity and internet but  it depend how your initial deal with room mates or owner.

Salary you mentioned 5500 rm after tax and all expenses not much will be saved but do able for single person sharing room and food and travel is not expensive also there are free buses in KL, the Route you mentioned it have "Green Line"bus which start from KLCC and goes via Bukit Bintang.

For more info on free buses can visit

When you submit your annual tax return for 2019 (in April 2020) any overpaid tax will be refunded ie difference between resident and 28% non resident deducted

I see. I have to make a decision by tomorrow but I'm quite unsure now. I appreciate the help though it's been really helpful. I'm going to some more research into accommodation as that's what worries me the most at the moment considering the tax situation

There is no guarantee you will get immigration approval for an Employment Pass even if you accept. Their policy is if a Malaysian can do the job then foreigners can't be hired.

Just to mention minimum requirements are  Degree +3 yrs relevant experience.  Diploma +5 yrs experience or Certificate +7 yrs experience

Just to make sure the job is real, it is advisable not to enter Malaysia until you have the official Approval Letter, even if you are British and can get a tourist visa on arrival

Reason behind that advice is to ensure that the work permit can be stamped in passport, an Approval letter is required. Some unscrupulous people don't bother to actually apply to immigration.

PS it is a very low salary.
PPS you would need some cash to get set up (such as deposits for accommodation) but at least exchange rate GBP to MYR is good

Yes Gravitas. I've checked and it is a legit job and my qualifications and experience match up to what you mentioned. Thank you for the heads up though. I do agree that the salary is quite low as I had been offered work in KL before for RM7500 per month. I really want to work in Malaysia but I'm not going to force it I do think it will be difficult on a salary of 5500 a month and I'm leaning towards declining the offer

An accommodation Facebook group

Hey again,

So I've been in touch with the company about my concerns and they mentioned to me that they can tax me 1% from the first month of my contract and if I was to leave before the 182 days are up, then I would be charged 28% and owe the government the difference. What do you make of this? With this in mind is RM 5500 still low?

Well it's breaking tax law. The company is mandated to deduct 28%. There are fines  for not paying tax on time as well.

It sounds like a very dodgy company to work for so I would avoid them. They are just saying what you want to hear. There is no guarantee they will do what they say because they know it is illegal

I guess if they don't respect tax laws they may not even bother to get you an employment pass either. Or they will get you a fake one. People with the mentality of breaking rules are not good to associate with. You can't ever trust them.

You can easily survive on 4k rm a month after 28% deduction. You will be refunded.

Hi Gravitas,

Yes this made me feel skeptical as well as everywhere I've researched mentioned what you said too. I'm not willing to work through a loophole if it means the law is being broken just for some extra money for a few months. I think I might just move on from this company after they mentioned this. Thanks for all your help. Looks like it may be a while until I find a job in Malaysia!

Hi Farhan.

Based on your preferred accommodation budget of RM1800 you will be lucky to get one near KLCC or Bkt Bintang.  However for that budget you are able to find a few areas such as bangsar south, bangsar and sometimes mont kiara. That is within the federal territory area. But if you dont mind petaling jaya there are plenty which fit the budget ( mutiara damansara, kota damansara etc) and best part of all is that the areas mentioned are all accessible via MRT & LRT which leads more or less to KLCC thereabouts. Tell you what, if you need further assistance just drop me a whatsapp message and i will be glad to help you out.


Moderated by Diksha 2 weeks ago
Reason : Please exchange contact details through private messaging. Thank you.
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

Hi Miqayeel,

Many thanks for your message and for suggestions regarding accommodation. Unfortunately I ended up turning the job down but I will definitely be in touch if anything comes up if that's okay. Really appreciate your help.

Hey Farhan.

Sorry to hear you turned down the job offer. Yeah sure just keep in touch and message me anytime no worries.


Am too late to advise you but RM 5500 would have been a little tight.  You will need at least RM 6500 to have a decent standard of living.  Initially you should just rent a  room thru AirBnB for a few days and then if you like the place negotiate a monthly rental.  Next time check out That Pretty White Room by Casa Rodriguez.  It is located near an LRT station that takes you straight to KLCC. You can catch a free bus to Bukit Bintang from there.  Contact me for further information.



New topic