Sunday, December 29, 2013

RM12k per month ... not enough?

When even RM12,000 a month isn’t enough to get by in M'sia

by MI Team

How much does it take to have a decent life in Malaysia? That has been the top question in the country in the past few years and a greater concern in 2014 as electricity rates and transport costs go up and subsidies go down.

While Putrajaya talks up proposals to help the people mitigate rising prices with cost of living labs and possibly even more targeted subsidies, most Malaysians are looking at the prospect of expenditure exceeding their monthly salaries.

One of them is Caroline Wong, who believes her combined household income of RM12,000 is not enough to sustain a living in Penang, famed for its beaches as much as it electronics manufacturing sector.

TEH : Enlighten me please ... how many percent of MALAYSIANS earning more than RM10k again?

The 34-year-old clerk lives with her husband, a sales manager and their young daughter are starting to feel the pinch despite earning an income that was once sufficient to live comfortably.

“We are always eating in at home now and we can no longer afford to buy goods like branded clothing,” Wong told The Malaysian Insider in Penang's capital city George Town.

TEH : Food is in our main expenses list. Eating at home is part of our lives. It is healthier than way too. But, I do spend some money into dining and nice food ... so, my main expenses is on FOOD. Branded clothing? Hmm ... this is too much for normal wage-earners like me. We could not afford any so-called branded items. Yes, I am doing quite good now(financially) ... but still way below that RM12k earners, so I do not see the logic in buying into branded items. I have changed my very frugal-living(they called it 'kiam-siap') ... and allowed some buying into some 'branded' shoes ... during 'cheap-sales'. I bought a 50% slashed Adidas jogging shoe(for me and wife) ... few more items, but with 50-70% discount.

According to Wong, every month the couple have to fork out RM4,000 for the house and car, RM1,500 on food and another RM1,500 on daycare, baby food and milk for their child.

TEH : Houses and car costing me RM2,200 monthly. For my girl's kiddie ... they have increased the fees to RM350 next year. Food, toys and etc for kids should be around another RM250 easily. Food should be around RM1.5k too.

On top of that, there is RM750 on insurance and a family medical card, RM700 on petrol, RM600 on phone bills, WiFi and broadband, RM120 on Astro, RM140 on water and electricity bills and RM110 on a weekly housekeeper.

TEH : I am under-insured. Costing me about RM500 per month on these, I will cover my family more when I am not so financially-tight. Petrol is RM250, RM350 for unifi, broadband and phones. No Astro for me ... RM150 for water-electricity bills, RM200 for weekly housekeeper. I do spend on newspaper/magz /book ....around RM150. That is mine.

“We put aside RM500 every month for road tax and car insurance. Come May next year, we will have to spend another RM1,500 a month on our second child when it arrives,” Wong said.

TEH : Road tax and car insurance is around RM1k per year, for my Proton. So, I shall say around RM100 per month then. I have two young kids, will not have third one as I could not afford. 

Her tale is just one of many who are living in Penang, the country’s most expensive city.

TEH : Perhaps ... move out of Penang City ... to smaller place in "pak-hai'?

Time for me to trim more of my expenses ... remain as frugal as I could.

A good article to remind me ... that even if I ever earn RM12k, it will not be enough if I do not remain content and humble.

Time to nap zzz


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