Sunday, 15 July 2012

Cost of living in Penang

One of the most important factor to consider before making a decision to move is the cost of living. This is one of the first questions many expats will have in mind. I will share with you the cost of living for a family of 4. Two adults and 2 children. The biggest expense you will have will most likely be for renting of a home. You might either choose to stay in an apartment or landed property. Many expats choose apartments over landed houses because of security reasons as apartments offer 24 hour security in a gated community. And not to mention the facilities of pools, gym, landscaped gardens, children's play grounds, laundry and other facilities depending on the place you choose. Apartments are a good choice if you travel a lot, keeping the house unoccupied for a long period of time. In an apartment complex you will most likely be bumping into your neighbors more often and make lots of friends within the complex itself.

Landed houses are ideal for people who have pets and like large gardens. There are gated and guarded landed houses with a range of other facilities too in Penang. Renting a 3 bedroom apartment of around 1000 sqf  in the north of the Island will cost between around RM 2,500 to 3,500. Other areas are slightly cheaper.

Eating out is considered quite cheap and there is plenty of variety to choose from. Penang is famous for its hawker food, which can be found very easily. The food might look unusual but tastes delicious! A meal per person at a hawker center can be around RM 10 including a drink.

Electricity too is not too expensive and can vary from about RM 100 to 150 with air condition. Water is very  cheap at around RM 30 to 40 per month. Gas cylinder is around RM 28 which will last for about 4-6 months depending on how much you cook at home.

Another big expense if you have children is school fees. Fees for international schools are quite high, with the minimum per month being about RM 1000+. At kindergarten it will cost around RM 350 - 500 for the 3.5 hour program.

Groceries per month for a family of 4 can cost up to RM 1500+. All prices here are based on my personal experience and can vary from person to person greatly!

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