Living in Malaysia on Less than $25 per day - Johor Bahru and Singapore

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We are a traveling nomad family that lives on a budget of $1,000 per month per adult - which is roughly $32.88 per adult per day. The expenses outlined below are for 2 people and are in United States dollars (USD). So, as a couple our budget is set for $65.75 per day or $2,000 per month. That number is a LOT to some people, and almost nothing to others - but it’s a decent budget for us to show you that traveling forever really is possible, even without a million dollars!

  • This isn’t money that we’ve saved up to travel the world either - it’s money that we earn each month from methods that we teach in our Nomad Guide. So, as the money comes in each month, we use it to pay for our travels - and you can do it too!

We learned a lot during our first year of travels, which is probably the best year to reflect upon if someone is trying to transition to a nomadic lifestyle themselves (the transition is more in-touch with where you are now).

  • You can learn more about the years that follow by checking out our “Living in…” series which cover our budgets and a few interesting stories that we’ve had while traveling in these countries.

Apart from earning money from blogging and investment dividends, we also earn money from a few social apps and have learned how to save money quite well while traveling. These methods can be learned here:

Without further ado, here is our Johor Bahru, Malaysia and Singapore budget breakdown and how we lived on less than $25 USD per day per adult. Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions.

Accredited Online TEFL

Johor Bahru, Malaysia & Singapore

April 30, 2019 - June 29, 2019

Total Number of Days

61 days (61 nights, technically that means we had 62 days)

Total Expense

$2,815.36 USD + $427.47 USD = $3,242.83
NOTE: $2,882.04 not including airfare to Malaysia - why mention this? Because everyone’s airfare to Malaysia will be dependent on where they are from. The other expenses - while in Malaysia - should be comparable for everyone.

Average Daily Cost per Adult

NOTE: $24.57 per adult WITHOUT airfare to Malaysia.



Because we spent most of our time in Malaysia, with a few days in Singapore, we have split this budget to show expenses for each. The first number is Malaysia, the second is Singapore, and the third is the total.

Transportation (airlines, taxis, trains, subways, buses, etc.)

$437.54 + $84.59 = $522.13

  • Airlines: $245.55 + $0.00 = $245.55
    The airline tickets to get to Johor Bahru, Malaysia from Bangkok, Thailand were fairly cheap, but they still took up 56% of our Malaysia transportation expense and 47% of our total transportation costs.

  • Taxi’s and Grabs (like Uber): $219.65 + $47.14 = $266.79

  • Buses: $8.34 + $23.88 = $32.22

  • Metro (MRT, ARL etc): $0.00 + $13.57 = $13.57


$1,267.21 + $0.00 = $1,267.21

  • Airbnbs: $1,267.21 + $0.00 = $1,267.21
    Our entire time was spent at this Airbnb in Nusajaya, Malaysia. That’s 61 nights for this price - which was so amazing especially considering everything that was nearby and that this place had a resort style pool and workout room included - plus it was almost right next to Legoland. We were actually really sad to leave this Airbnb and are already planning to return to Malaysia due to how much we enjoyed it here! NOTE: Hostels, hotels, and serviced apartments who list on Airbnb are completely legal for any term of stay, while private residence Airbnb’s are only legal in Singapore for 3+ month stays - or a shorter duration with special permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority - however, we did not stay overnight in Singapore. Instead, we chose to cross over the border on 4 separate occasions instead (thanks to Bearly Here for the additional information).


$978.61 + $131.97 = $1,110.58

  • Groceries: $531.17 + $0.00 = $531.17

  • Fast Casual Type Restaurants and Food Courts: $16.59 + $91.25 = $107.84

  • Dine-in (table service) Restaurants: $346.73 + $23.37 = $370.10

  • Pastry Shops / Cafe’s: $71.17 + $7.68 = $78.85

  • Convenience / Street Food: $12.95 + $9.66 = $22.61


$23.14 + $177.35 = $200.49


$72.86 + $33.57 = $106.43

  • Hygiene items / Bathroom supplies: $18.87 + $0.00 = $18.87

  • Laundry Machines & Soap: $3.87 + $0.00 = $3.87

  • Phone SIM & Data: $40.45 + $33.57 = $74.02

  • Other Items: $9.67 + $0.00 = $9.67


What does this not include?

  • Life Insurance 

  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Insurance + Medical (annual cost of $328 for a family of 3 - ask us how)

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card Annual Fees for additional Insurance & Airport Lounges (annual net cost of $150 annually - ask us how)

While these are costs associated with our travels, they are not country-specific, which is why they are not included in this expense report. 

Accredited Online TEFL

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