How Can Students Minimize the Impacts of GST

You must have all heard about it. The social media was frenzy about this for a while. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced on 1st April 2015 and all parties, business, entities, individuals and of course you as a student is required to prepare for the commencement of GST. So ready or not, you’re one of the country taxpayer.

Despite the concerns on rising prices of goods, there are several benefits that GST can offer to the development of our country. Now, I’m not going to discuss here the benefit GST has to offer but rather how you can minimize the impact of GST on your daily life as a student.

Before that, understands which goods and services will be taxed and which will be exempted so that you can carefully list out the stuff you need to spend less on.  I emphasized the points below as to which goods and services that are related to you as a student. So what will be taxed with GST and how you can save money?


Previously, only dictionaries, encyclopedias, references books and religious books were zero-rated under GST but then the Malaysian Book Industry Council then presented a memorandum to the ministry urging the government to reconsider its decision and fortunately all books will be exempted from GST so you wouldn’t have to worry about books. However, stationary or non-book items will be subjected to 6% GST.  Tips on spending less on stationary is to buy in bulk. Stationary such as notebook, pen and paper, paper clips, highlighters and all the essentials are available in bulk which usually available in hypermarkets such as Tesco, Mydin, Aeon Big or Giant. So list out the things you will be needing and go do wise shopping but remember stick to your list of required supplies!

You should also recycle and reuse where possible. If you are DIY-er person like me you can make your own pencil cases, laptop cases using fabric or other materials you already have.  It’s all about being creative in how your recycle and reuse items rather than throwing them

Petrol and Parking

If you live outside your campus and drive to your classes, the costs on petrol can take a toll on your wallet. Take note that only RON97 will be subjected to the new 6% GST but RON95, Diesel and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) will be exempted. Nevertheless, there are many ways you can spend less money on petrol and reduce your overall fuel consumption.
Consider the idea of carpooling and sharing costs on petrol and parking. Discuss with your friends or housemates on how you can share costs with sharing transportation to your campus.
Take care of your car cause a properly maintained car will run more efficiently and give you better mileage, which saves you money in petrol.

Handphone bill, broadband or Mobile Internet Bill

Previously, only the postpaid customers of cellular companies are charged with the 6% Sales and Services tax and absorbed the tax for prepaid customers but now standardization has been made so both postpaid and prepaid users have to bore the new 6% GST.

Here are tips for students to save money on this essential. Reduce call by using instant messaging app such as Whatapps, Viber, Wechat, etc. I believe almost everybody is using these apps and it proved to be cost saving than the traditional call or sms.

Use WiFi services whenever available or internet facilities such as computer lab provided by your university (these facilities are included in your university fees so it’s very wise if you utilize this) or if you are considering the option of using home broadband, care to discuss with your housemates on sharing cost for the monthly bill.

With the growing user of Android or iOS smart phones, mobile broadband or mobile internet becomes quite handy. Try to limit your usage of broadband data (if you are using limited broadband data) or pick the most affordable broadband plan that suits you as a student.

Electricity Bill

For student who lives outside the campus, you will have to include house rental and utilities bills in your budget. For electricity, the first 300 units of usage will not be imposed on the new GST but the following unit will be subjected at 6%. Fortunately, piped water is exempted from GST.
Even before GST, we all have our means on how to save on electricity bills. So with the commencement of GST it wouldn’t be any different. Switch off and unplug devices such as laptop and hand phone charges as some power adapters also consume electricity. Set your PCs to energy saving mode so when it is left idle it will automatically enter ‘sleep’ mode. Practice the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room and if possible, use energy saving or efficient light bulbs.


It is expected that there will be a price reduction in goods and services such as clothing and footwear as the new GST will replaced the 10% Sales and Services Tax.
But if you used to shop clothing online, you will probably be charged with GST (at Lazada, Zalora, etc.). But it also depends on whether the seller is registered for GST, they will definitely charge you 6% GST on the items you buy from them.

So carefully do some window shopping and compare price online or at a physical shop to which brings value to your money.


In order to know the extent of GST affects your daily meals outside, you need to consider whether the shops you dine in will charge GST. Any restaurant in a mall will definitely charge you GST. But previously, restaurant charge 10% Sales & Service Tax and when replace with the 6% GST there might be a cost reduction. For stalls and foodcourts, they will charged GST if it is registered.

For students who live outside the campus, I’m sure you are able to make a nice homecook meal once in a while. Basic food stuff such as oil, rice, salt, flour, egg, fish, meat, fresh or chilled vegetables etc will be exempted from GST.

Banking Services

For banking services such as withdrawal of money from your own bank ATMs no GST will be applied, but the 6% tax will apply on the RM1 MEPS fee when you withdraw from another bank ATM. For example you are a Maybank card holder and you withdraw from RHB ATM and the MEPS charge is RM1, the GST rate will be RM0.06. For some, RM1.06 is just a small amount of money, but what happen if you withdraw every weekend?  The amount of bank withdrawal services you paid plus GST is RM4.24. Now, you could save that on some stationary or food.

Now, I’m sure you can see the solution there on how to minimize the impact of GST, withdraw money only at your own bank ATM.

Tuition Fees

Since tuition centre are not categorized as educational institutions, the 6% GST will be imposed on tuition fees. So if you are taking extra classes outside, you might notice the increase in the fees. To minimize the impact of the rising fees, carefully pick out classes you really need tutoring on. Find other solution such as joining study groups with friends and make commitment to schedule it weekly or daily.

Even before the implementation of GST you must have heard about tracking your spending or budgeting right? The key to budgeting is being honest with yourself about what you’re spending money on. GST will surely signal a big shift in your life style as you will be more cautious with what you buy. You will plan better for sure. Good luck!