Tips from shoppers on how to stretch the ringgit

JOHOR BARU: Consumers are making small lifestyle changes to save money as the cost of living continues going up.

With the ceiling price of chicken being removed from tomorrow onwards and prices expected to go up, one housewife’s recent switch from fresh chicken to frozen is certainly timely.

“When I found out that my usual poultry seller also sold imported frozen chicken, I decided to give it a try,” said the 55-year-old mother of teenaged children who wanted to be known only as Lim.

“I can get a whole frozen chicken for about RM10 compared with local fresh chicken which cost about RM16 each.

“Both types of chicken taste similar so as long as my children don’t complain, I will continue cooking it,” she said.

Lim is also looking for other ways to save money as she expects more items to get more expensive soon due to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and the drop in the ringgit’s value.

Undergraduate Norsyamini Mohd Nasir, 20, said she has had to sacrifice her love for instant Korean noodles now that she is no longer living with her parents.

“Previously, I did not think twice about spending close to RM30 on a pack of five.

“Since moving out earlier this year, I have had to plan my own finances. I decided to buy locally produced instant noodles, which are a fraction of the price at about RM8.

“I just add a slice of cheese to achieve the cheesy consistency that I enjoy,” she said.

For R. Chitra, cooking at home is a good way to stretch her ringgit.

“The key is knowing where to shop for cheaper groceries,” she said.

She makes it a point to cook dinner for her family every night after finishing work.

The 44-year-old said with the current state of the economy and weakening of the ringgit, every sen counts.

“For example, a siakap fish costs RM8 to RM12 each so if I cook it at home by deep-frying it or adding some simple veggies as toppings, it will not cost me much extra.

“A similar dish served at eateries is usually priced at RM18 to RM20 so I am able to save about RM10 by cooking it myself.

“I disagree when people complain that it is equally costly to cook at home as it is to dine out. You just have to know where to shop for cheaper ingredients and products such as sundry chain stores and hypermarkets.

“It is more work for me, but I do not mind as I want to ensure my husband and children eat well while keeping our expenses manageable,” said Chitra.

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