There's money to be made elsewhere

  • Living
  • Friday, 28 Feb 2014

As the inflation rates rise and times get hard, many are finding other ways of adding to their income – from discarded items, selling cosmetics and even offering their services.

With the rising inflation rate eroding take-home pay, experts are noting a trend where working class Malaysians are turning to alternative means to supplement their income.

Financial information and comparison website co-founder Lee Ching Wei said there are easy ways to raise your income.

“A busy parent can earn some extra cash by providing transportation to his or her child’s school mates in the neighbourhood.

“It doesn’t involve extra work and still can subsidise on the petrol cost. For individuals who don’t have the time to earn extra income, try to cut back on spending,” he said.

Lee added there were also sites like where people could offer services of any kind and charge by the hour suited to their own schedule.

“Most retirees try to help out the family by offering babysitting services. This can be turned into a lucrative business.”

In Petaling Jaya, babysitting a child from 8am to 7pm, Mondays to Fridays, can cost up to RM800 a month.

“Another way to earn some extra cash is to cook extra dinner every night and provide catered dinners to neighbours. Some charge about RM160 a month,” Lee said.

Some working mothers have opted to cook in batches and portion out meals to avoid food wastage. Teacher Elizabeth Colin, 39, says that batch cooking is an economical and time-saving way to prepare meals while helping to save on essentials.

“Preparing in large batches helps to save time and slash your grocery bills. . Soups can be made in advance too. Try to double the recipe and store in the freezer. It does wonders when your children are in a hurry for a quick meal,” said the mother-of-two who has been preparing batch-cooked meals for over five years.

Scour the Internet for local workshops/classes that provide a platform for experts to share tips. Websites such as Plateculture ( gather likeminded individuals who may be able to share tricks of their trade. One might even find a home to dine in, meet interesting people and eat authentic food.

Besides cooking to make ends meet, there may be other creative solutions.

Retiree Balan Maruathan, 55, and his family have started their own “business” of turning trash into profit to supplement their incomes.

“We’ve been doing it for about three-years now. My son and brother go around in their lorries to flats and collect plastic bottles, newspapers and scrap metal that gets thrown away.

At home, I organise them, take them apart and sell them to different companies. Every week, other family members come in to help when they finish their day jobs,” said the former printing company worker.

Balan said they could earn up to RM6,000 a month collecting and selling recyclables. It has also taught him how to stretch profits.

“If someone throws away a table fan, we can take it apart, sell the plastic and metal for a few sen, the motor for RM5 and the copper coil for RM17. It is tough but it is rewarding and helps us buy food and other essentials,” he said.

For graphic designer Liew Kar Wai, 34, the few hundred ringgit she earns in direct selling cosmetic and skincare products to friends in her free time is a big help in settling her monthly utility bills.

“I started about six-years ago using the cosmetics myself and when people saw improvement in my complexion, they started asking me to recommend products for them.

“So from there I started buying some well-known direct selling cosmetic brands from warehouses at retail prices and selling to friends and their friends at customer price,” she said.

Though her pool of customers are few and varies from month to month, this side venture requires little effort on Liew’s part as she sells whenever opportunity knocks.

“Since I already have a full-time job, this is just something extra,” she said.

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