Many young Malaysians struggling to make ends meet


PETALING JAYA: Young Malaysians are confronted with financial challenges such as high monthly debts and commitments, a situation compounded by cost of living pressures.

They are having to cut back on their hobbies and discretionary spending, with some even resorting to surviving on instant noodles in order to be able to pay off their monthly bills.

A marketing specialist, who wanted to be known only as Chloe, 29, sees over half of her monthly income going towards paying off her debts and commitments.

She is only able to save 3% of her salary but admits having to dig into it towards the end of the month more often than not.

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“My take-home salary is about RM6,000 per month. I don’t have any credit cards but do have high PayLater bills for Shopee and Grab, which set me back about RM900 per month.

“My mortgage, student loans, car loans, insurance and phone bill cost me another RM2,600,” she said.

Chloe said that she spends the rest of her income on necessities such as groceries and petrol as well as allowance for her parents.

“I wish I could save more but can’t because food and groceries are so expensive. I often do not have enough at the end of the month,” she added.

For Nixon Lee, 27, one-third of his monthly income as a design engineer goes towards paying off his credit card bills, Shopee PayLater debt of about RM200 and a student loan of around RM500 while the rest is spent on food and other essentials.

Lee also said that to be able to be on top of the payments, he has had to make some sacrifices to his discretionary spending.

“I recently stopped the habit of buying games and reduced spending on my hobbies like trading card games (TCG).

“Having self-discipline and control is very important to managing my finances every month.”

Foreman and technician Asoka Heng, 24, said as much as 65% of his monthly salary is taken up by paying for his commitments.

He has not been able to pay for his insurance plan since July 2023 and recently ordered two boxes worth of instant noodles to keep his costs down.

“These could probably last me three months,” he said.

A sales executive who wanted to be known only as Edith, 25, said that 30% of her salary goes towards servicing her car loan.

“It was higher until I had a raise this year. I am able to survive because I live with my parents and I save on rent.

“I rarely buy new gadgets but love buying new clothes and stuff, though I still need to restrain myself. So I always opt for something more affordable or just control my impulse to buy.

“When eating out, I also try not to go to expensive places and will find somewhere cheap and nice.”

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