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Housewives have been shouting slogans. The breadwinners of families have been approaching their managements for a rise and there are others who are moonlighting with part-time jobs. All this hue and cry is due to higher food prices and fuel costs. The recent hike in both these commodities has everyone fuming. While the government has explained its stand in raising the food and fuel prices, there are but a few simple ways that one can adhere to in their daily lives to save on these items. As the saying goes, saving is rewarding. But how is one to save? One has to eat daily as well as use vehicles to travel for work and from one place to another.

There are very simple ways a person can save on groceries and transport costs. Make a list. Do not shop without a list. When we are pushing a trolley in the supermarket alleys, we tend to get carried away with food items that catch our fancy or something that we crave for, even though this item will never be on our wish list for the month. I tend to get carried away with the various soft drink bottles on display or the chocolates. With a list, it is easier to identify what is needed and avoid buying items on a whim. So, scrutinize your shopping cart before paying. Many supermarkets display toys and other small items to entice shoppers even on aisles designated for items such as canned food, oil and rice. The purpose is to attract shoppers to impulsive shopping. Be aware of this strategy. Before you push your trolley to the counter, spend a minute to survey your trolley and eliminate the `wants' from the `needs'. Snacks, titbits and all unwanted food have to go.

I think the simplest way to save on groceries would be to compare prices. Make a list of commonly bought items in a notebook, then spend some time comparing prices between supermarkets in your free time. Look out for bargains by identifying items on sale. Spend time reading those pamphlets they send out to your house. You can also buy own-brand product as they are always cheaper than other branded items. As for quality, generally, it does not make much difference. You should consider using own-brand products if they can fulfill the same functions. But at the same time, loyalty cards can be a double-edged sword. If there is a sale being organized for card members, identify the items you need to purchase beforehand and avoid buying anything else, even if it's cheaper than it usually is. Also read the labels of items and take note of quantity as well as price. Some items may be packaged to appear to have more quantity than they actually hold.

Plan your shopping trips to minimize fuel usage. Making two to three trips a week could easily be reduced to just one if you have a decent-sized refrigerator. Also, if you shop at more than one outlet to take advantage of differing prices, plan your route to save time and fuel. It maybe worth delaying an unimportant errand if you will be following the same route on another errand the next day. In addition, avoid traveling at peak hours. Traffic jams can result in very poor fuel efficiency and increased costs.

As for saving on fuel, use public transport whenever possible. While the Malaysian public transport still needs a lot of improvement, there are many routes which are efficiently serviced by either rail or bus. Although using a personal car is nowhere near as efficient or cheap as a bus or train, using a mixed mode of transport can help you save your money. You can try parking your car at the KTM Komuter station instead of driving it all the way to Kuala Lumpur. You can also try riding a motorcycle as it is much more economical than a car, and yet it can travel at similar speeds and has a similar range. Motorcycles are most effective in the city, where they can take you where you want to go quickly while other motorists are stuck in traffic jams. However, riding a motorcycle can be very risky on certain routes. Evaluate your daily commute and see if riding a motorcycle is worth considering.

Carpooling is another alternative to saving on fuel. While it seems like the simplest thing to do, yet many Malaysian drivers go to work driving empty cars which could carry four other passengers. Today, carpooling is even easier with the Internet. Another alternative would be to move closer to your workplace. Some people are willing to pay slightly cheaper rent, yet spend over two hours on their daily traveling. Consider paying higher rent, if it results in savings on your transport bill. Getting stuck in traffic jams is stressful and tiring as well as expensive and time-consuming.

Saving money on food items and fuel is something all of us can do if we set our hearts and minds on it. It is worth giving a try.

   
Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1.

From paragraph 2,

a) how is a shopping list useful ?

b) in what ways do supermarkets attract shoppers to impulsive buying ?

  2.

From paragraph 3,

a) why are own-brand products considered impulsive buys ?

b) why are loyalty cards considered a 'double-edged sword' ?

  3.

How are bigger refrigerators useful in saving on fuel during shopping trips ?

  4.

a) From paragraph 5, how are motorcycles considered economical compared to cars ?

b) From paragraph 6, why would it be advisable to move closer to one's workplace ?

  5. Why, in your opinion, carpooling is considered not a viable choice by Malaysian drivers ? Give two reasons.
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Answers
 

1.

a) It is easier to identify what is needed and avoid buying items on a s whim.

b) The supermarkets display toys and other small items to entice shoppers even on aisles designated for items such as canned food, oil and rice.

 

2.

a) they are cheaper than other branded items.

b) Shoppers may buy unwanted items as they may be cheaper.

 

3.

By buying and storing as this reduces the number of trips to the supermarket.

 

4.

a) They can travel at similar speeds and have a similar range.

b) It would save on fuel and time.

 

5.

i) It is more convenient to go at our own time and speed if we are alone.

ii) Considering the crime rate in the city, it is risky to carpool with strangers.

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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