Business and Finance

7 Money-Saving Tips for International Students in Malaysia

Credit: Shahjehan /

Travelling and living in Malaysia is generally quite affordable. However, as a student you will always be searching for ways to save money. Here, Malaysian saving platform Cuponation shares seven money-saving tips to help you enjoy your life in Malaysia.

1. Get a student discount card

Every student in the country is entitled to a Malaysian Student Discount Card which is free of charge. With the card, you will be able to enjoy discounts on food, apparel, entertainment, books, health and recreation services, restaurants, transportation and even flight tickets. It can save you between 5% to 60% when you spend at any of the 2,600 participating outlets. So don’t delay and apply for a student discount card at

Bonus: for expat full-time teachers and professors, the International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC) is an internationally recognised card that offers discounts and savings, at home and abroad.

2. Make use of educational resources

Many educational resources provided by universities in Malaysia are available for free. Normally, you don’t have to pay for an access to their materials. So make full use of that advantage and study at your university – use the Internet to research as much and as long as you need, instead of paying membership fees in public libraries. In addition, universities tend to organise free additional lectures, training and events. Don’t hesitate to attend those as well.

3. Check out free entertainment

Many of KL’s public activities are free, such as the guided walking tours organised by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, which highlight the local architecture, food, shops and history of Malaysia. Also, every Monday at The Stage in Publika Square, a free open-air film screening takes place.

There are many free galleries and museums, such as Bank Negara Museum and Gallery, Galeri Petronas and Wei-Ling Gallery, and peaceful and quiet spots at tropical Perdana Botanical Garden and KLCC Park.

As a student, you can get discounted tickets for many theatres, cinemas, attractions and clubs – even if it’s not stated anywhere, it never hurts to ask.

GoKL City Bus
GoKL City Bus | Credit: TK Kurikawa /

4. Use public transport

The GoKL city bus service will be very useful if you travel within the Central Business District of Kuala Lumpur. It serves four lines. They are free and convenient because bus stops are close to tourist attractions, shopping malls and entertainments. In addition, you will find free WIFI network there. In case you are going to use the transport on a regular basis, it’s best to buy a monthly pass for the public transport system in the city which costs only RM149 in Kuala Lumpur.

If you are planning a round-trip journey to some neighbouring countries, like Singapore, for example, buy tickets in Malaysia where it’s a lot cheaper.

5. Shop at the right places and right time

First of all, shopping in local street markets will save you a lot of money. In Kuala Lumpur there are plenty of them and the biggest are Petaling Street, Kasturi Walk and Chow Kit Market. At these markets, you can find various things from fresh groceries to apparel, accessories, jewellery and more at fair prices. A trip to the market also offers a fascinating insight into authentic Malaysian culture, with the essential haggling included.


Next, take advantage of shopping during sales – there’s almost always a sale happening somewhere in Malaysia. Here are some of the big shopping seasons in Malaysia in 2017:

  • Malaysia Super Sale (March 1, 2017 – March 31, 2017)
  • Mid-year Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival (June 16, 2017 – Aug 31, 2017)
  • Malaysia Year End Sale (November 1, 2017 – Dec 31, 2017).

On these shopping festivals, you can enjoy discounts of up to 75%.

6. Cash vs credit

According to the Department of Statistics in Malaysia, almost half of the Malaysian population under 30 years old are bankrupt. A common reason for this is that they rack up huge debts on a credit card, the reason being that many people, especially students, have trouble controlling their spending.

So, using cash to pay for everything will help you to prioritise what you buy because the physical act of handing over cash is more significant than paying on plastic. With credit cards, you won’t feel like you’re spending all your cash! So plan your budget ahead and take only as much cash as you need.

7. Prioritise your needs over your wants

A simple tip for everyone when it comes to spending money is to find the line between what you truly need and what you just want – or, even worse, making an impulse purchase that you didn’t even want that much.

The best way to stay in control is just to take your time. Before making an actual purchase and spending money, especially a big amount, always take a minute to consider its necessity. Extra time will allow you to come up with a rational answer and decision. The final step of course is to then stick to your decision – we have all been guilty of simply ignoring the line between our needs and wants and that’s the epitome of wasting money.

So, remember these tips and be prudent with your money!

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