Â The cost of living in Malaysia has skyrocketed. That’s a fact that has to be endured by almost everyone in Malaysia, despite of the countless claims by the ruling government that the economic growth in Malaysia is doing pretty well. SO WELL THAT THE CITIZENS HAVE TO SUFFER!
Sadly, the so-called economic growth is not giving us more value to our ringgit or improves our living quality. The poor and the middle class people are really feeling the pinch of the raising price of basic necessities, especially food. Eggs price may have been lowered a week or so before the 2008 general election, but what good does it do to us, when the price of other basic goods more or less remains either the same or increases? Especially when the government announce the new fuel price on 4th June 2008, effective 4 hours later. Haha, and that gives us time to prepare for the slap.Â
Let us take a look at the recent rice crisis. The government may have ensure us that there will be enough supply for Malaysian, and the rice price will not be raise in short notice, but I guess, it’s bound to happen sooner or later, whether directly or indirectly. Even if it doesn’t, people in the food industries are bound to take advantage of news like these anyway.
And yes, the fragrant rice has been lowered down by what? 10% and yet we are told to expect other essentials to be raise by 10% by 1st July 2008. *snort* People should learn not to trust what the government say. They play dirty. Not even one person in Malaysian politics should be trusted. They tend to say one thing,and mean the other.Â
Â We may be able to enjoy a basic pack of nasi lemak (without side dishes) at a minimal price of RM 1.00, but one of these days, I daresay it’s going to be raise to a what?Â Â RM 1.20 per pack? Either that or the nasi lemak portion will be reduced a little so that the seller could earn a little bit more.
Unfortunately for us, the consumers, we can’t do much to stop goods from raising price, no matter how we vent, boycott certain product or even go on riot. We’ll only get ourselves into trouble with the authorities. Aiyah! Nevermind lah! Just let them do as they please. Let them get richer and let us be poorer.
But, there’s one thing we can do to save our pocket from getting on fire for overspending, which is make do with less and living frugally. For those who are not familiar with the word ‘frugal’, frugal living is the practice of acquiring goods and services at minimum cost, achieved through economical restraints or creative measures. By living frugally, we can conserve some of our money for other things we deem more important.
Here’s what we can do to live frugally:
Eat out less, go for home cook foods. But then again, sometimes, cooking at home for meals can be expensive, if the ingredient for certain recipe is too elaborate. It’s understandable that cooking can be pretty frustrating and time consuming too, if you’re just a mediocre cook. Go for simple, easy to cook budget recipes that need five or less ingredients to make. And if you’re used to buying fragrant rice, why not try the normal ones? They taste almost the same even though not as fragrant. Cutting up meat and vegetables into small bite sized pieces instead of cooking them in big whole helps in saving too. Or cook one pot dish, where everything is inside. (Like rubbish right? Haha. But then again, it’s affordable)
Good savers always plan their groceries well, so plan your groceries and always be on a lookout for cheap items on sales. Compare prices and only buy what’s necessary.
Major supermarkets in Malaysia are quite competitive when it comes to pricing their goods, and they put up good offers every now and then. Keep your eyes peeled for weekly or even daily offers through newspapers or catalogue. Buy your groceries according to your needs, and not what you want, and stock them up to avoid having to shop too often.
One thing about Malaysian is we’re too scared of people labeling us as cheapskate. There are a lot of supermarket and fast food restaurant giving away coupons. Personally, dear readers, the only thing that probably kept me going for a quick lunch or dinner in McDonalds once in awhile is because of their superb coupons giveaway. These coupons can be obtained through newspapers and at the outlet itself. All I need to do is present the coupon to the cashier in charge, and I get a meal item worth more than RM4 for free every time I purchase their value meal. Every now and then, I do get odd looks from their staffs and onlookers, but then again why waste good offers if it do you more good than harm. While using coupons takes some effort and planning, it can shave anywhere from 25-40% off of your shopping bills. Don’t ever be embarrassed to use promotional coupons. Using promotional coupons doesn’t mean you’re a cheapskate, it merely meant you’re giving more value to what you buy, and this way, you’re making more out of less.
Boys and girls, ladies and gentleman, now is a good time to cut on your movie trips at the cinema. Watch em online. Plenty of good movie site allow you to watch for free. Hidup Pirates, haha. Oh well, you’re gonna have to sacrifice the thrill you get when you watch them at cinema with the surround system and stuff. You can save more than RM10 by not going to the cinema to watch em.
Cut down on trips back to hometown. It is good to be filial to your elders and visiting them often, but too much trips back to your hometown can burn a big hole in your pocket, especially if you’re driving. Instead of going back weekly for a visit, trying cutting it down to twice a month visit, and use a more economical method in showing your love and concern towards your elders by calling them and smsing them more often. If you’re a student, make use of your student’s status to get cheaper fares for your trip back to hometown.
Children these days take things for granted, as adults in this era tend to simply buy them things that they want. Just look around. Ten years back, it’s hard to see children at a tender age of twelve using cell phones, but these days, it’s just common sight. I’m aware that cell phones are some sort of a necessity in this hi-tech age, however children must be taught to earn what they wanted, not merely giving in to their whims. I’ve seen many parents simply giving their children what they requested without telling them that they have to earn it if they want something. This is definitely not a healthy trend.
There are a lot more ways to give more value to your money. Those written above are merely basic stuff that can be done to live frugally. It is important to remember that we should teach our children to live in moderation and not waste the resources that they have. It’s crucial to start early in order to promote frugal living.