Cost Of Living in Malawi

Average monthly spending for singles, couples, and families in Malawi

Whether you're living in Malawi or planning to move there, it is very important to know the cost of living and the prices of things. Here we list the average spending for the three main population groups.

Average Spending Per Month
All-inclusive

Single
130,000 MWK
average per month
33,000 MWK
Range
280,000 MWK

Couple
250,000 MWK
average per month
50,000 MWK
Range
400,000 MWK

Family
400,000 MWK
average per month
120,000 MWK
Range
590,000 MWK

Student
99,000 MWK
average per month
17,000 MWK
Range
210,000 MWK
The figures displayed here are inclusive of everything: housing, travel, groceries, healthcare, etc.

Singles

The average monthly expenses for a single person living in Malawi is 130,000 MWK. Expenses can range from 33,000 MWK at the minimum level to 280,000 MWK at the highest end.

Couples

The average monthly spending of couples in Malawi is 250,000 MWK. Expenditure can range from 50,000 MWK to 400,000 MWK per month.

Families

The average cost of living for families in Malawi is 400,000 MWK per month. Families spend anywhere from 120,000 MWK to 590,000 MWK.

Students

The average monthly expenditure for students in Malawi is 99,000 MWK. Students spend from 17,000 MWK to 210,000 MWK per month.


Spending behavior can change drastically from one person to another. It is best to consider the minimum, average, and maximum spending together.

Prices and cost of goods and services in Malawi

Dining, food, and beverages costs


Large bottle
of water

33 MWK

33 MWK
33 MWK

Fast food
combo meal

330 MWK

240 MWK
550 MWK

Restaurant
meal for one

1,100 MWK

870 MWK
1,400 MWK

Fine dining
meal for one

2,800 MWK

1,800 MWK
3,300 MWK

Soda
Soft Drink

28 MWK

28 MWK
28 MWK

Cappuccino
or latte

220 MWK

140 MWK
330 MWK

Grocery and market costs


Milk
large bottle

170 MWK

140 MWK
180 MWK

Loaf of
bread

24 MWK

21 MWK
28 MWK

12
eggs

170 MWK

140 MWK
210 MWK

Fresh whole
chicken

380 MWK

300 MWK
470 MWK

Beef
1 kg or 1 lb

430 MWK

370 MWK
550 MWK

Rice
1 kg or 1 lb

240 MWK

210 MWK
280 MWK

Tomato
1 kg or 1 lb

110 MWK

92 MWK
140 MWK

Apples
1 kg or 1 lb

120 MWK

100 MWK
130 MWK

Banana
1 kg or 1 lb

110 MWK

100 MWK
130 MWK

Commute, travel, and transportation costs


20 minutes
taxi ride

170 MWK

140 MWK
330 MWK

Average car
full tank

1,100 MWK

830 MWK
2,200 MWK

Average car
1-day rental

1,100 MWK

830 MWK
1,700 MWK

Average car
price

830,000 MWK

410,000 MWK
1,100,000 MWK

Bus ticket
one way

41 MWK

28 MWK
83 MWK

Car
Service

1,700 MWK

1,100 MWK
3,300 MWK

Utility cost (monthly)


Electricity
and water bill
Single

7,900 MWK

2,000 MWK
17,000 MWK

Electricity
and water bill
Couple

9,900 MWK

2,500 MWK
20,000 MWK

Electricity
and water bill
Family

16,000 MWK

3,500 MWK
18,000 MWK

Internet
and cable

1,700 MWK

830 MWK
2,200 MWK

Mobile phone
charges

1,100 MWK

660 MWK
3,300 MWK

Leisure and activities costs


Movie
ticket

550 MWK

410 MWK
830 MWK

One month gym
membership

1,700 MWK

1,300 MWK
3,300 MWK

Cloths and accessories costs


Pair of jeans
or pants

1,400 MWK

970 MWK
2,100 MWK

Woman
dress

1,300 MWK

920 MWK
4,100 MWK

Woman
shoes

1,200 MWK

870 MWK
2,800 MWK

Men
shoes

920 MWK

750 MWK
1,800 MWK

Men
suit

1,000 MWK

830 MWK
5,500 MWK

Regular
t-shirt

550 MWK

410 MWK
1,700 MWK

Housing costs / monthly rent


Studio
apartment

21,000 MWK

14,000 MWK
55,000 MWK

1-bedroom
apartment

33,000 MWK

21,000 MWK
83,000 MWK

2-bedroom
apartment

41,000 MWK

28,000 MWK
110,000 MWK

Housing costs / Buying


Studio
apartment

4,100,000 MWK

2,800,000 MWK
8,300,000 MWK

1-bedroom
apartment

5,500,000 MWK

3,300,000 MWK
21,000,000 MWK

2-bedroom
apartment

17,000,000 MWK

5,500,000 MWK
33,000,000 MWK

Furniture Costs


King Size
Bed

21,000 MWK

17,000 MWK
28,000 MWK

Double
Bed

17,000 MWK

11,000 MWK
21,000 MWK

Single
Bed

13,000 MWK

9,700 MWK
17,000 MWK

Living
Room

24,000 MWK

18,000 MWK
83,000 MWK

Dining
Table

11,000 MWK

8,300 MWK
21,000 MWK

Sofa
or Couch

15,000 MWK

11,000 MWK
33,000 MWK

Electronics Costs


TV
Set

17,000 MWK

11,000 MWK
33,000 MWK

Fridge
or Freezer

15,000 MWK

9,700 MWK
21,000 MWK

Washing
Machine

18,000 MWK

13,000 MWK
33,000 MWK

Stove
or Cooker

15,000 MWK

12,000 MWK
21,000 MWK

Mobile
Phone

17,000 MWK

14,000 MWK
24,000 MWK

Laptop
or Computer

18,000 MWK

15,000 MWK
33,000 MWK

How do people spend their money in Malawi?

We asked thousands of people about their spending habits and expenditure breaks. Below are their answers.

The percentage figures in this section are percentages of total spending not income. If you would like to see the percentage of expenses as related to income or salary, see additional sections below.


Single
Spending habits, consumption analysis, and expenditure patterns for a single person living in Malawi

Housing36%

36% of total expenses on average (27% to 42%)

LOW12,000 MWK
AVERAGE48,000 MWK
HIGH100,000 MWK
Per Month

Utilities, Electricity, Water6%

6% of total expenses on average (2% to 9%)

LOW2,000 MWK
AVERAGE7,900 MWK
HIGH17,000 MWK
Per Month

Transport, Fuel8%

8% of total expenses on average (3% to 11%)

LOW2,600 MWK
AVERAGE11,000 MWK
HIGH22,000 MWK
Per Month

Food and Groceries16%

16% of total expenses on average (9% to 22%)

LOW5,300 MWK
AVERAGE21,000 MWK
HIGH45,000 MWK
Per Month

Healthcare9%

9% of total expenses on average (5% to 14%)

LOW3,000 MWK
AVERAGE12,000 MWK
HIGH25,000 MWK
Per Month

Leisure, Shopping5%

5% of total expenses on average (2% to 9%)

LOW1,700 MWK
AVERAGE6,600 MWK
HIGH14,000 MWK
Per Month

Education2%

2% of total expenses on average (1% to 4%)

LOW660 MWK
AVERAGE2,600 MWK
HIGH5,600 MWK
Per Month

Other Expenses18%

18% of total expenses on average (15% to 21%)

LOW5,900 MWK
AVERAGE24,000 MWK
HIGH51,000 MWK
Per Month


Couple
Average monthly living expenditure breaks and spending patterns for couples in Malawi

Housing33%

33% of total expenses on average (30% to 43%)

LOW16,000 MWK
AVERAGE82,000 MWK
HIGH130,000 MWK
Per Month

Utilities, Electricity, Water5%

5% of total expenses on average (2% to 8%)

LOW2,500 MWK
AVERAGE9,900 MWK
HIGH20,000 MWK
Per Month

Transport, Fuel12%

12% of total expenses on average (7% to 15%)

LOW5,900 MWK
AVERAGE30,000 MWK
HIGH48,000 MWK
Per Month

Food and Groceries14%

14% of total expenses on average (7% to 19%)

LOW6,900 MWK
AVERAGE35,000 MWK
HIGH55,000 MWK
Per Month

Healthcare11%

11% of total expenses on average (5% to 14%)

LOW5,400 MWK
AVERAGE27,000 MWK
HIGH44,000 MWK
Per Month

Leisure, Shopping6%

6% of total expenses on average (3% to 10%)

LOW3,000 MWK
AVERAGE15,000 MWK
HIGH24,000 MWK
Per Month

Education2%

2% of total expenses on average (1% to 4%)

LOW990 MWK
AVERAGE5,000 MWK
HIGH7,900 MWK
Per Month

Other Expenses17%

17% of total expenses on average (14% to 20%)

LOW8,400 MWK
AVERAGE42,000 MWK
HIGH67,000 MWK
Per Month


Family
Average monthly expenses and break out of spending for families living in Malawi

Housing32%

32% of total expenses on average (27% to 38%)

LOW37,000 MWK
AVERAGE130,000 MWK
HIGH190,000 MWK
Per Month

Utilities, Electricity, Water3%

3% of total expenses on average (2% to 7%)

LOW3,500 MWK
AVERAGE16,000 MWK
HIGH18,000 MWK
Per Month

Transport, Fuel8%

8% of total expenses on average (5% to 10%)

LOW9,200 MWK
AVERAGE32,000 MWK
HIGH48,000 MWK
Per Month

Food and Groceries18%

18% of total expenses on average (12% to 23%)

LOW21,000 MWK
AVERAGE71,000 MWK
HIGH110,000 MWK
Per Month

Healthcare8%

8% of total expenses on average (6% to 12%)

LOW9,200 MWK
AVERAGE32,000 MWK
HIGH48,000 MWK
Per Month

Leisure, Shopping5%

5% of total expenses on average (2% to 9%)

LOW5,800 MWK
AVERAGE20,000 MWK
HIGH30,000 MWK
Per Month

Education14%

14% of total expenses on average (11% to 18%)

LOW16,000 MWK
AVERAGE55,000 MWK
HIGH83,000 MWK
Per Month

Other Expenses12%

12% of total expenses on average (8% to 15%)

LOW14,000 MWK
AVERAGE48,000 MWK
HIGH71,000 MWK
Per Month


Student
Cost of living and expense breaks for students in Malawi

Housing24%

24% of total expenses on average (18% to 31%)

LOW4,000 MWK
AVERAGE24,000 MWK
HIGH52,000 MWK
Per Month

Utilities, Electricity, Water4%

4% of total expenses on average (3% to 7%)

LOW660 MWK
AVERAGE4,000 MWK
HIGH8,600 MWK
Per Month

Transport, Fuel7%

7% of total expenses on average (5% to 9%)

LOW1,200 MWK
AVERAGE6,900 MWK
HIGH15,000 MWK
Per Month

Food and Groceries20%

20% of total expenses on average (16% to 24%)

LOW3,300 MWK
AVERAGE20,000 MWK
HIGH43,000 MWK
Per Month

Healthcare6%

6% of total expenses on average (3% to 9%)

LOW990 MWK
AVERAGE5,900 MWK
HIGH13,000 MWK
Per Month

Leisure, Shopping5%

5% of total expenses on average (2% to 9%)

LOW830 MWK
AVERAGE5,000 MWK
HIGH11,000 MWK
Per Month

Education19%

19% of total expenses on average (17% to 24%)

LOW3,100 MWK
AVERAGE19,000 MWK
HIGH41,000 MWK
Per Month

Other Expenses15%

15% of total expenses on average (12% to 17%)

LOW2,500 MWK
AVERAGE15,000 MWK
HIGH32,000 MWK
Per Month
This section breaks down and compares expenses for all population groups: singles, couples, students, and families. If you want to see details for a specific group, please see the previous section. We asked thousands of people about their spending habits and expenditure breaks. Below are the results.

Housing Expenditure

People living in Malawi typically spend from 26% to 39% of their total monthly expenditure on housing with 31% being the average. The average spend on housing is 70,000 MWK with expenditure ranging from 17,000 MWK and 120,000 MWK. This cost mainly goes for rent but it also includes other accommodation-related expenses. Housing costs are highest for families and lowest for students as expected.

Utility Bills and Payments

On average, utility expenditure like electricity, water, and gas in Malawi ranges from 2% to 8% of total expenses with 5% being the the average. The average monthly cost of utilities is 9,400 MWK with 2,100 MWK and 16,000 MWK being the upper and lower limits.

Transportation Cost and Fuel Consumption

Fuel consumption and cost of transport depend heavily on whether you live near your work or school, but roughly speaking you would expect to spend from 4,700 MWK to 33,000 MWK on commuting with 20,000 MWK being the norm for most people in one month. This means that money spent on transport constitutes about 9% of total spending on average but can go as low as 5% or as high as 11%.

Cost of Food and Groceries

The average outlay on groceries in a month in Malawi is 37,000 MWK. The cost of groceries can range between 9,100 MWK to 63,000 MWK. People spend on average about 17% on food and groceries with upper and lower bounds of 11% and 17% respectively.

Cost of Healthcare and Medical Services

People in Malawi allocate 5% to 12% of their total monthly expenditure to healthcare including health insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses. The average spending is around 9%. The range of medical expenses range from 4,700 MWK to 32,000 MWK with 19,000 MWK being the norm.

Leisure and Shopping

This category mostly contains discretionary or non-essential expenses but also some non-discretionary spending like furniture for example. The monthly expenses range from 2,800 MWK to 20,000 MWK with 12,000 MWK being the average. Speaking of percentages, that equates to 2% to 9% of total expenses with an average of 5% for most residents.

Cost of Education and Schooling

Spending on education can vary drastically between different people. While working singles can spend 0% on education, families and students' expenditure can reach up to 22%. On average, education constitutes 9% of the monthly expenditure with 8% and 13% being the lower and upper bounds respectively. The average reported education cost is 20,000 MWK per month with 5,200 MWK being the minimum spent amount and 34,000 MWK being the maximum.

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