Friday, September 19, 2008

Cost of Living

Just as a point of interest, I thought I'd outline some of the general costs of living here in KL, as I've discovered in my first couple of weeks. I've listed the prices in US dollars at the current rate of exchange.


  • Loaf of bread $0.35 to 0.55

  • Jug of milk (2 liters) $3.15 (about $6.00 per gallon)

  • Processed cheese (12 slices) $1.85

  • Grade A eggs (30 count) $2.50 ($1.00 per dozen)

  • Fresh fruit juice (1 liter) $1.55

  • Fresh shrimp (1 pound, head-on, 31-40 ct.) $1.30

  • Fresh produce (potatoes, carrots, garlic, Asian greens, etc.) Impossibly cheap (under $0.25 per pound)

  • KFC meal (2 breasts, rice, drink) $2.55

  • 92-octane gasoline (gallon) $2.79

  • Unfurnished 1,100 sq. ft. 3 bdrm. apt. $150.00-175.00 (unfurnished means bare -- no kitchen cabinets, no light fixtures, no A/C, nothing)

  • Fully-furnished 1,100 sq. ft. 3 bdrm. apt. in nice area $375.00 per month (includes all furnishings, applicances, multiple A/C units, etc.)

  • Fully-furnished 800 sq. ft. 2 bdrm. serviced apartment, KLCC (prime location, similar to living on the Upper East Side in Manhattan) $1,200.00 per month

  • One-hour massage $11.50-15.00

  • 32" LCD high-def TV, good name brand (Samsung, LG, etc.) $539.00

  • Live mature potted orchid $1.95 medium, $4.30 large

  • Meal for two, local vendor stall $5.00-7.00

  • Meal for two, nice sit-down restaurant $8.00-18.00

  • Bottle of French red wine, grocery store $10.00-12.00

  • Philips 400w blender/juicer/food mill $27.00

  • Average toll (a few highways have them) $0.45

  • Maximum fare on light rail system $0.60

  • New car, locally-built (includes insurance and road tax) $11,000.00-17,000.00

  • One-year membership in auto club, free towing and roadside assist nationwide $22.00

  • Maid service, full-time $140.00 per month

  • Maid service, part-time $55.00 per month (four 4-hour visits)
So you can see that some things, dairy products for instance, are quite costly here, particularly by local standards. Some things are laughably cheap and some things are on par with what they'd cost in the States. As evidenced by the price of massage and maid service, labor tends to be quite inexpensive, so the "do it yourself" revolution hasn't really gained any traction here. We had some workers come over to the house last week to do some electrical and plumbing work. They installed two new AC outlets (did a great job, too) and replaced a section of pipe and faucet (called a "tap" here, as in England) in the laundry room, and did some repair work to the water heater in my bathroom. They were here for three hours and the total cost for all the parts and labor was RM190, which is about $55.

As I settle more into a routine life here, I'll update the cost of living in KL with more examples.

1 comment:

Barb said...

Too long without an update...let us know what is going on!! Mom