M40 families caught in the middle

KLANG: M40 families seem to be caught in the middle during tough economic times – they are not entitled to the aid given to B40 households, but are still burdened by rising prices.

Mother of four Norliza Ismail, 44, said her husband would have to quit his job to venture into business.

“We cannot afford to continue depending on his monthly wage of about RM6,000 to make ends meet,” said Norliza, who lives in Klang with her family.

Her husband is an executive in a home appliance company. Norliza, a freelance graphic artist, runs a small-scale online printing business.

She said her family had to do away with expenses such as tuition classes for her children aged eight, 10, 14 and 15, because of their tight budget.

“Our plan now is to develop my printing business to a bigger scale, and since my husband is qualified in electrical and electronics engineering, we want to start a business in that field as well,” she added.

Bank employee M. Chandradevi, 38, said her family had cut down on outings.

She said she and her husband, who works in a telco company, bring home a combined monthly income of about RM14,000.

“Our expenses are high and we have to fork out almost RM4,000 to pay for our condominium and car,” said the mother of seven-year-old twins.

Chandradevi said she has to pay RM1,000 for their daycare and another RM1,000 for their tuition and extracurricular activities every month.

“Since I don’t like my children to eat outside food, it is daily home-cooked meals. That runs up quite a high tab as my growing children need quality food,” she added.

To counter the increase in the price of essential goods, she said they had to reduce their family outings and holidays.

“It will be unfair to the children, but we have no other choice,” she added.

Low Yoke San, 40, whose combined income with her college lecturer husband amounts to about RM14,000 monthly, reckoned she would have to slow down her hobby of baking.Baking is not a cheap hobby due to the high cost of the ingredients, as well as appliances and equipment needed, said the executive in a public-listed conglomerate.

“From now on, I must only focus on spending for what is necessary and omit the extravagances,” she said.

The mother of two teenagers, aged 13 and 14, said she needs to also pay for her children’s transport to school, as well as the babysitter’s transport fee due to the hike in petrol prices.

“The babysitter picks up my sons from the house after the school bus drops them off at home.

“They also have their meals at the babysitter’s, and because the price of essential goods is expected to go up, I will most certainly have to pay more for their food as well,” she added.

To stretch her budget, Low plans to go to several stores to make price comparisons so that she can buy essential items at the best prices.

“Life will be tough for families like mine who are stuck in the middle, not having too little, which entitles one to aid, but at the same time, not having enough to see us through,” she said.

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