Many cutting down on leisure activities to manage

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are planning to recalibrate and re-prioritise their spending for leisure activities after factoring in the extra expenses that they would have to incur following the 8% service tax hike that comes into effect today.

Some are willing to make lifestyle changes to adjust to the potential increase in expenses.

A mother of four who only wanted to be known as Hana said she would need to tweak her budgeting for her “me-time” and family activities.

She said this includes going to spas, watching movies and taking kids to theme parks and indoor playgrounds.

The 37-year-old business consultant from Petaling Jaya said she needs to find alternatives for quality family time that do not require much spending per person.

“We could perhaps ramp up more outdoor activities such as cycling or doing trails as a family.

“I may reduce spending unnecessarily on eating out where possible to save for payable activities,” she said.

She added that she would still spend for her “me-time” activities as it is still a minimal increase for what she considers necessary for her mental health.

Learning and development manager Heshwinder Oon Chee Eng said his travel plans may be redirected to South-East Asian countries as it would be the cheaper option than travelling locally once prices hike.

“I am a firm believer of supporting local. I love to travel and I have been to absolute gems in this country but it’s becoming increasingly more appealing to go abroad.

“After taking into account all costs such as food, accommodation, travel, entertainment and others, it’s cheaper for us to visit our neighbouring SEA countries,” said the 31-year-old from Bangsar.

A moderate increase in hotel room rates can be expected with the hike in SST from 6% to 8%, which may impact local travellers.

Data analyst Harris Ahmad, 29, said his main concern is the tax imposed on maintenance and repairs, as it may affect servicing cars.

“My workshop did not release an early notice on the taxes,” he said.

“Every time I service my car, I have to pay around RM200, but now it will cost more.”

Harris also frequents karaoke joints to release stress.

However, that will now have to be reduced given the higher taxes.

Content writer Tan Ah Wah, 32, said he will make some lifestyle changes.

“I will try my best to dine less outside as it is taking up most of my expenses. I’m trying to upgrade my kitchen so that I can spend more time cooking in there.

“The rise in cost of living has been steeply increasing since the pandemic happened and salaries aren’t increasing in tandem for most, including me.

“Perhaps I will have to delay my plans on signing up for a gym, as the RM250 a month membership fee can be better spent on groceries,” he added.

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