Malaysia is one of the most affordable countries for international students. However, you should still keep in mind that your money is finite. As international students, saving and budgeting are crucial to better enjoy one’s stay in the host country. The last thing many international students want to happen is to have a difficult life during their last few months or years abroad because they have splurged their allowance or savings carelessly.
To help international students, here are some ways they can save money on food in Malaysia.
Apply for a Student Discount Card
Imagine being able to eat various Malaysian cuisines at a much lower price. You can do this by using discount cards such as the International Student Identification Card (ISIC) that is eligible for all international students. Moreover, since it’s an international ID, students can also use this in other parts of the world, not only in Malaysia. Aside from food, an ISIC or other Malaysian Student Discount Card can also give students discounts and promos on entertainment, recreation, books, gadgets, transportation, and even travel.
Buy Food and Ingredients in Local Street Markets
Instead of shopping in big supermarkets or malls for ingredients or food, or buying take-outs, why not check out local street markets? Not only is it cheaper, but it also gives students a better insight into the Malaysian culture through its street food and the variety of people you can meet there. In fact, you can even try haggling for some of the items’ prices. Street supermarkets in Kuala Lumpur such as the famous Petaling Street and Kasturi Walk offer plenty of useful things international students can buy at a lower price. These items include fresh ingredients, accessories, and other apparel.
Use Cash Instead of Credit Card
When eating out or buying ingredients or cooked food, instead of paying through credit cards, pay with cash. According to Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong, in 2017, more than 800 people aged 30 and above have declared bankruptcy due to their unpaid credit card bills. Using credit cards may sound more convenient because you can bring them anywhere, anytime. However, it is also more difficult to control and manage your spending, which often leads to huge debts. Try to use your credit card only for emergencies.
Dine-in Instead of Eating Out
If your accommodation allows it, instead of eating out, cook your own food and eat at home. Buying ingredients and then cooking them is much cheaper than getting take-out. Plus, you can buy your ingredients in street markets, which is cheaper than the ones from grocers and supermarkets.
Bring Home Left-Over Food
When you do eat at restaurants and you still have a lot of leftover food, ask the restaurant to pack them for you. Do not be embarrassed about it since it is also practiced by the locals. Moreover, not only are you helping reduce the world’s food waste, but it is also a great way to save money on food in Malaysia. The next day, instead of cooking a new meal, you can just reheat your leftover food from the restaurant.
Learn more about living in Malaysia as an international student by checking out MSM Unify’s article on How Much Does it Really Cost to Study in Malaysia.