Think twice…

I find it very depressing to hear or read in blogs the moans and groans about the rising prices of things and the finger-pointing that ensues blaming everybody but themselves. Well, if it is difficult for them, wouldn’t it be a lot more difficult for me?

As a pensioner, I get half of my basic salary (not the gross amount) which is around RM2,000 a month. Recently, it has been announced that every year, I would get an increment of 2% so that works out to an extra RM40.00 every month. I am sure all of you would agree that the meagre amount is hardly consoling…but still, something is better than nothing.

I was giving tuition these past few years so I had quite a substantial amount of money to splurge in any way I wished. As they say, easy come, easy go…but of course, I would have to be very careful when I had to use my pension. Now that I’ve stopped permanently, that is all I have and that calls for a change of habit and lifestyle. I just simply cannot afford to be so extravagant and such a spendthrift any longer.

At the hypermarts, I see people pushing their overflowing shopping carts to their cars and I wonder if they actually feel the pinch when they complain about the rising prices or whether they have a lot more money stashed up where it is coming from. I go to the classier cafes and restaurants and I see the crowd and it makes me wonder how they can afford it…and looking at the students in my tuition class and their sophisticated smartphones, I wonder why I cannot afford one.

But I’m not complaining. There are a lot of people who are very much worse off than me and with a little bit more care and thinking twice before spending, I am sure I have quite enough to get me through the day.

Like the other day, I saw this at a supermarket…

Special offer RM2.95

The offer price was RM3.39 instead of RM4.00 and at that particular place, they were selling it at RM2.95 only.  That worked out to 59 sen a packet of the instant noodles. Then, of course, instead of just grabbing it and heading straight to the cashier’s counter, I had to ask myself first: should I buy it? Did I need to buy it?

Bread is now RM2.80 a loaf here with approximately 14 pieces – 20 sen a piece…so if I have a sandwich (two pieces) for breakfast, that would be 40 sen and if that is not enough and I have two sandwiches, the total shoots up to 80 sen…which is more expensive than a packet of this particular brand of instant noodles for breakfast…and kampua noodles in the coffee shop is around RM2.50 a plate these days. All things considered, eventually, I did buy it.

Then I saw this pink guava juice mixed with orange…

Special offer RM2.00

…selling at RM2.00 a carton as the expiry date was about a week away. That was very cheap but it was not something that I just had to have. In fact, it was something I could do without…but seeing that it was so cheap and since I could afford it, I also bought it in the end. I still need to pamper myself sometimes…but sensibly.

Then it so happened that one day a week or so ago, there was no electric supply in my area due to some upgrading works. I spent the whole afternoon walking around the shopping malls mainly for the air-conditioning) but I ended up spending over RM200.00 on bedsheets and pillow and bolster covers. Shocking, you say? Well, the ones that I have are getting very old…and I would feel bad asking my guests to sleep on those faded rags but what made me decide to buy was the fact that they were on offer – at 70-80% discount, I could get a set of branded sheets for only around RM50.00 and that would be well within my means as I still had some money left from my tuition classes and I reckoned I could jolly well afford it…but I guess I will just have to forget about the the semi-SLR that I’ve been thinking of getting. No big deal – life’s like that. It’s all about needs and wants…and sacrifices.

I suppose if everyone spends within one’s means, everything would work out all right. The problem comes when people simply spend like there’s no tomorrow…and they swipe their cards till kingdom come knowing that they do not have the cash to pay when the bill comes…and basic economics teaches us that when demand increases, prices will rise.

The onus, therefore, is on each and everyone of us to spend smartly – think twice before you buy.