Nuffnang Add

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tightening purse strings in 2014

Published: Friday January 3, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM 
Updated: Friday January 3, 2014 MYT 8:45:52 AM
Fewer patrons?: Nightclubs could become more quiet in 2014,
with 3,211 respondents willing to give up entertainment
THE time has come for us to mind our wallets and keep up with that nagging “B” word — budgets.

With the rising cost of electricity tariffs and highway toll fees as well as the impending Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2015, we all need to tighten our belts to get through the year.

In this week’s Star Online poll, a whopping 22,638 people responded to our question that asked them the top three things they would be willing to give up to save money.

The luxuries included maid services, eating out at expensive restaurants, expensive coffee, gym memberships/personal trainer, holidays overseas, broadband services, salon/spa indulgence, gadgets (upgrading smartphones, gaming consoles, etc), buying new festive decorations and entertainment (clubbing, cinema, karaoke, etc).

According to the poll, the top three luxuries people were willing to give up were dining in expensive restaurants with 5,008 respondents (22%), entertainment (3,211 respondents, 14%) and gadgets (2,568, 11%).

Participants from 62 countries, the top five being Malaysia, the United States, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong, took part in the poll.

A total of 2,504 respondents (11%) said they would cut back on expensive coffee. This is not surprising, as one has to pay between RM6 and RM15 for a cup of coffee or coffee-flavoured beverage at popular cafe chains.

Having just ushered in the New Year, the next round of festive seasons will kick off soon and we all know that decorations are not cheap either. As many as 2,108 respondents (9%) said they would cut back on buying new festive decorations.

Splurging on holidays overseas and salon/spa services were neck-and-neck for the number of votes, coming in at 2,039 respondents and 2,022 respondents, respectively.

Luxuries such as gym memberships/personal trainers and maid services garnered 1,671 votes (7%) and 1,363 votes (6%), respectively.

According to a financial daily, the middle-income group makes up 40% of the country’s workforce and these are people who earn between RM2,300 and RM7,000.

The daily said because they are mostly taxpayers and not entitled to financial aid from the government, they are the ones who will feel the pinch of increased costs of living.

As we are in the digital age, broadband services are something not a lot of us are willing to sacrifice. Only 315 respondents (1%) said they would give this up.

We took the results of the survey to our Facebook followers and some of them had this to say.

“I will cut down on eating out at expensive places as well as coffee... I will cook more at home and enjoy fresh milk coffee from India,” one of them said.

“I would cut back on expensive restaurants. This is why rising bills hurt the economy. It cuts consumer spending,” said another follower.

Another follower said she would sacrifice dining at expensive restaurants.

“Also, purchasing new clothes because I have stuff I haven’t worn yet. I am trying to simplify life with less possessions.”

One expatriate said he would try to avoid toll-operated highways.

“Expensive coffee, dining at expensive restaurants, salon/spa indulgence and unnecessary shopping, sadly,” said another follower.

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