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Malaysians Share How They Are Coping With The Price Hikes And Ringgit Depreciation

Each week, we are greeted with an increase in raw goods such as chicken, flour and vegetables. Most recently, the suggestion that our electricity bills would see a spike too. Industry players have cited that the ringgit depreciation is the culprit behind a projected 2.2-3.3%[1] average inflation this year. 

With other ongoing national and global factors such as the continuing Russia-Ukraine war, the minimum wage policy, consumer demands superseding the supply due to migrant worker shortages, logistics issues and crops damaged resulting from flash floods – most Malaysians are feeling the brunt of challenging economic situations.

However, inflation affects everyone differently. We spoke to several individuals and business owners to get some perspective on how Malaysians are affected and ways they are coping with inflation.

How has the price hike, inflation or depreciation of the Ringgit affected you? 

Forking Out More Expenses Weekly

It affects our household spending. Previously one round of grocery shopping was around RM250 now the same items cost about RM300. Dining out these days can easily reach RM300 per meal. – Yen Leng, full-time mom of 4 in Selayang

Source: xtra.com.my

I have noticed an increase in the prices of food, even at hawker stalls. They’re telling me that prices of ingredients have gone up a lot and they have no choice but to increase the prices of their food. For example, a plate of char kuey teow a couple of months ago (perhaps at the start of the year) was RM7, now it’s RM9. – Carmen, Senior Officer, Kuala Lumpur

The regular shops we go to for food have increased, not by 50sen or RM1 but by around RM2 – RM4. Understandably the price of raw materials has increased too, plus the recent announcement of minimum wage. – Chrystin, Retail Owner, Sabah

Low-Income Households Are Feeling The Brunt

Things are getting expensive, I  need to spend more on groceries, utility bills and bank instalments. I’m a single mum with 4 kids. I’ve been infected with breast cancer stage 4 where I have to quit my job as a Grab driver, things are not getting any easier. – Alice, A single mum of 4 in Kuala Lumpur

The prices of the vegetables are going up,  oil packets are hard to find, and no one is selling them. Life is more difficult now. In the past, a bunch of kangkung was RM2 but now it’s RM3 for a small bunch.  Cabbages are small in size and are being sold for RM4.  Three Grade C eggs cost RM 2, one Grade B egg has increased from RM 0.50 to RM 1. – Stateless family of 5 in Sabah 

Small Businesses Are Alerted With Impending Price Hike

Source: Unsplash

Received multiple emails from suppliers, vendors and logistics companies that they are adjusting prices as they are increasing the price of products and services. – Chrystin, Retail Owner, Sabah

Honestly, it’s been a little tough for my business since I’m a baker and most of the ingredients I use have hiked up in price. That has caused me to increase my selling price which has caused me a couple of customers because my price has been regular for many years and to suddenly increase it, they couldn’t afford it. So I get less than what I usually do in income. – Baker in Selangor 

What are you doing in light of the rising cost? 

Getting By With Discounts

Leveraging Grab discounts whenever possible for meals. Also reducing travel to save on petrol expenses since that’s a controllable factor. I’ll admit the credit card helps but it’s getting harder to not live on credit. – Sarah, Content Specialist, Selangor

Source: Teh Talk

Finding Ways To Earn Money On The Side

I have directed some of my cash flow into investments and took up a part-time job to increase my income. – Yin Pei, Assistant Office Manager, Sabah

Take on more freelance jobs to have more cash flow when I’m less busy. And need to continue to be consistent with savings and investments. – Sarah, Content Specialist, Selangor

Work towards increasing income and investing more. – Chrystin, Retail Owner, Sabah

More Home-Cooked Meals

I will be reverting back to routine cooking and packing for lunch to at least minimise food costs and be able to have more control over my budget and what I purchase.– Carmen, Senior Officer, Kuala Lumpur

Try to cook and eat at home more instead of eating out. – Yen Leng, full-time mom of 4 in Selayang

Source: Unsplash

Trimming The Unnecessary

I am being more cautious in buying, looking for alternative options. However, we cannot avoid buying certain things. Also, learning to accept these changes. – Tharini, Teacher, Kuala Lumpur

We’re more careful with our spending than before. We’ve stopped indulging in little luxuries like craft pastries or going for weekend brunches at cafes. Eating more hawker food now. – Sarah, Content Specialist, Selangor

I would also need to cut down on certain grocery items to keep within my budget and do meal preps. It has also added to my concern if I would be able to achieve my goal to own a house of my own in the next few years. If the price keeps increasing, it will only get more difficult. – Yin Pei, Assistant Office Manager, Sabah

Businesses Would Have To Adapt

As for retail, we have no choice but to follow the new prices set by vendors and suppliers, as for our own products we have yet to increase. But shipping fees are really cutting into the margin. Planning a restock takes longer now as we will order in larger quantities and make arrangements for bulk shipping to save cost. – Chrystin, Retail Owner, Sabah

We have no choice but to increase our food price. – Hawker in SS3, Petaling Jaya

Increasing my selling price and finding other cheaper and affordable options for my business. – Baker in Selangor 

Think Twice Before Putting It In the Shopping Basket 

Source: Malay Mail

Reduce purchasing frequency; think twice and compare between different stores before purchasing. –Jia, Student, Selangor

Being more selective of items to purchase. – Chrystin, Retail Owner, Sabah

I am more aware of my spending and make more effort to stay within my budget.– Yin Pei, Assistant Office Manager, Sabah

Cover photo: New Straits Times

Explore our sources:

  1. R.S.Bedi. (2022). ‘Most people are complaining’: With food inflation higher at 4.1%, Malaysian consumers are feeling the pinch. Channel News Asia. Link 
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