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
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.