Making every ringgit count to cope with rising costs


Lau’s son is pictured with groceries bought before July 1.

MIRI (July 4): Rising inflation is impacting the common folk, and trying to stretch every ringgit seems to be the new way of surviving.

Sofina Tan

Sofina Tan, a food hawker at Saberkas Night Market, told The Borneo Post that she has had to work out ways that would not result in her having to raise the price of her food by too much.

“I have not increased prices since I started in 2018 except for sandwiches due to price hike of bread in 2021. I have been absorbing the extra cost even when prices of raw ingredients and packaging have increased the past two years so as not to burden my customers.

“But the chain reaction now has affected my cost and profit. Therefore, a slight price increase is unavoidable,” said Tan, who had to adjust prices of some food items upwards by 50 sen to even out rising costs.

Tan has been selling cooked food for breakfast by the roadside and runs her hawker business at the night market since quitting her corporate job some years back.

Apart from inflation, she pointed out that shortage of certain food items must be resolved by the government before it escalates into a major problem.

“Though I have not seen any major panic buying at the places I frequent, the issue could spiral if left unchecked,” she said.

Meanwhile, mother of four Lau Sie Heng views the increment in her household expenses as the new normal, and that setting a budget for her monthly household expenses is crucial.

“I did some shopping at supermarkets before July 1 and spent RM1,500 to RM2,000 to feed my family of seven. I expect expenses to increase to around RM3,000 in the next few months as prices go up even more,” she said.

She shared that with four young children aged between two and seven, the family has had to cut down on eating out and are now cooking at home more.

“On the few occasions when my family of seven ate out, it had cost us more than RM200 just for breakfast. I could easily cook two hearty meals for 10 people for less than RM100.

“Eating out may no longer be affordable for many and some families may only be able to afford only one meal a day if prices keep going up,” she added.

For 60-year-old Chang who lives a simple life with her husband after their daughter got married and moved overseas, the rising cost of goods means letting go of some food which she considers less affordable now.

“Eggs, pork, chicken, fried food and some imported goods used to be must-have items in my refrigerator, but since the shortage and drastic inflation, I have no choice but opt for substitutes.

“I cannot imagine those with big families and young children to feed. Eggs were once the cheapest source of protein if meat was too expensive. Now, we have to ration eggs and everything else.

“Times are hard, despite everyone looking forward recovery of the economy hard hit by the pandemic,” they lamented.

She urged the government to seriously address the issues that have led to the country’s current situation as the people are suffering.