Keeping an eye on their budgets


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians have been keeping track of their spending to ensure they are well within their budgets.

They are buying only what they need and making smart purchases at specific places.

Dr Amirah Afiqah, 33, from Kuala Lumpur, managed to get her weekly supplies within her RM100-plus budget.

The dentist said she maintained her budget by buying only the necessary at selected shops.

“For example, I usually buy a tray of eggs at a certain hypermart because I know the price is usually below the market price.

“The reason we go there is because of its prices, but we are still concerned about the SST (Sales and Service Tax) hike affecting our livelihoods, especially the electricity charge,” she said in an interview yesterday.

Cathy Kow, 48, a freelancer, was also concerned about rising prices, especially after she bought medicine for her mother.

“The pharmacist told me that prices are likely to go up within two to three months. Currently, they are still selling the existing stock at the same price,” she said.

As a freelancer with limited income, Kow said she is carefully managing her expenses to ensure she can take care of her mother’s needs.

“Since my mum’s medical expenses cannot be reduced, I have to cut back on entertainment and explore other ways to increase my income,” she said.

Norazman Ahmad, 60, from Keramat, said he is making preparations ahead to ensure a sustainable life.

The retiree said he had expected the hike and as such, kept within his budget for weekly purchases.“Prior to this, we saw the implementation of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) and then the SST.

“For me, the main issue is following the hike, will there be an increase in salaries to match it?

“The government should do more to improve the income of the people because the burden of the lower- and middle-income groups must be considered,” he said.

A retired civil servant, who wished to be known only as PJ, 70, from Kemensah said prices of goods have been going up for some time, creating difficulties for the people.

“Because I get a pension, I don’t feel the pinch that much compared with others. Today, I managed to shop within my weekly budget.

“I foresee life will get difficult. For example, a family that I am helping with at a local church – they are unable to pay their rent or have a decent dinner,” she said.

Despite government aid being given to the less fortunate, one-off payments do not address the long-term necessities of the people, she added.

Another senior citizen, who only wanted be known as Madam Ker, 76, from AU3 Keramat, said consumers were at the receiving end most of the time.

“We have to just accept it and tread through, come rain or shine,” she said.

She also said it was unlikely she would be affected by the power tariff as she tends to be prudent with her electricity use.

From this month, the SST rate for most services, including overseas-based digital services, increased from 6% to 8%.

Only food and beverage, telecommunications and vehicle parking services are exempt.

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