Coming to a new country can be difficult. Not only do you have to deal with the infamous with-holding tax and lose access to 28% of your income for at least half a year, but you also have to learn a whole new set of legal and financial norms.
But that’s okay, because you got this. You have the list of all the best options so you don’t have to go around figuring it all out yourself.
So let’s get right into it!
Coming from Canada, I’m used to really expensive cell plans. So it was a breath of fresh air when I saw how cheap cell plans can be here in Malaysia. The best company to work with is UMobile. They have a RM 30 plan known as GX30 that gives you unlimited data on your phone (no real call or sms features, but isn’t that what WhatsApp is for?)! You also have 3GB of hotspot capabilities so if you ever need to connect your laptop to the internet, it’s an option. Crazy huh?
Broadband Plans (Internet Plans)
I don’t know about you, but I’m used to calling my home internet as internet, but here they call it broadband. Anyway, broadband plans in Malaysia are a little more expensive, but have made huge strides in price reductions. Right now the best broadband plans are with TM and Maxis.
TM has just announced their RM79 plan that gives you 30Mpbs and 60GB of data. This is enough if you do not end up watching Netflix for more than 1hr/day. However, if you want unlimited data, Maxis has a RM89 plan that will give you 30Mbps and unlimited data.
If you think this is expensive, the cheapest plan used to be with another company (Time) which costed RM149! So a 40% reduction is pretty good.
Actually, I still think that Time will release their own cheap plan soon so if you’re interested in knowing when that happens, subscribe to the weekly personal finance summary ?
I hope this doesn’t happen to you, but I definitely didn’t bring enough cash when I first came here and needed to transfer some over. I used Transferwise to exchange Canadian Dollars to Malaysian Ringgit at a 1% fee – probably much cheaper than any alternatives. Transferwise supports most currencies but you can always check their site to see if they support yours.
After some time, you may want to transfer Malaysian Ringgit to some other currency. Unfortunately, Transferwise doesn’t support this but there is a local start up which does called Money Match[https://transfer.moneymatch.co/]. Their exchange rates are slightly higher, but it is definitely cheaper than some sort of bank wire transfer.
Speaking of all this transferring back and forth, you will most likely take advantage of being in this part of the world and do a lot of travelling. Having some local currency is always important, but there is a way to pay no foreign exchange fees when using a MasterCard. The company is called BigPay and it’s been covered at . Long story short, you can use the card anywhere where MasterCard is accepted and it will deduct the equivalent in Malaysian Ringgit with no added fees. If you do sign up, you can use the promo code B7D3YNZPGO to get an additional RM 10 free.
The biggest banks in Malaysia are Maybank, CIMB and Public Bank. They all have ATMs everywhere so it’s probably easier to deal with them. However, once you start having some savings, we recommend putting it in OCBC’s 360 Account. You can get up to 4.10% interest which is way higher than the 0% that the other banks offer.
This is meant more for those who work in the Bangsar area. Finding a place to live can be a huge pain. Especially since most places require you to pay 3.5 times your monthly rent as a deposit. However, if you work for Mindvalley, you can get an interest free loan to help cover this cost (talk to HR and they’ll give you more information).
Subscriptions to take advantage of
Of course now that you’re living here, you might as well get the best deals and start paying less for your subscriptions. For example, did you know that the Spotify premium is only RM14.90? More importantly, the Spotify family plan is only RM22.40.
Or take Netflix, which starts at RM33 for the basic or RM51 for the premium.
For the people who love organising their thoughts, Evernote also has localised pricing (RM11/month). But if you can, wait for their specials such as Black Friday, where the price falls even more!
Getting settled can be a long process, particularly when it comes to getting your finances in place. However, with the best options already presented, all that’s left is for you to check it off and enjoy everything that Malaysia has to offer!