Food Price Hike Part 2

In 2015, I posted about food price hike in Kuching. Recently, I noticed 2 of my favorite bun (also know as pao locally) stalls also increase their price. The first one is my favourite steamed white bun stall, in which last year I paid RM1.70 for my favorite meat bun. Few months later, the price increased to RM2.00, then recently it is RM2.40. The second one is my favorite baked meat bun, which was RM1.80 per piece. Then, the price increased to RM2.00, followed by Rm2.20 and now is RM2.40 per piece. Within 1 year, the price increase by about 30%.

For the baked meat bun, the owner had earlier shared with me she is having a hard time due to price hike in all her ingredients such as cooking oil, butter and meat filling. She has no choice but to gradually increase her price to maintain the operation. One good point is that her baked meat bun still has the same quality and quantity.  I noticed there are other stalls which increase the price and reduce the size of their buns.

It is a bit scary because within 1 year, the price increase by 30%. Wondering what will happen if the cost of raw ingredients keep increasing like now.

photo credit: Đam Mê Ẩm Thực CÁCH LÀM BÁNH NGÀN LỚP VỚI PHÔ MAI VÀ MỨT MƠ NƯỚNG – BAKED BRIE IN PUFF PASTRY via photopin (license)

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EPF@KWSP – EPF Declares 5.7 Percent Dividend Rate For 2016

On Sunday, EPF@KWSP declared a 5.7% dividend for the year of 2016. Compared with last year, in which the 2015 dividend was 6.4%, 2016 dividend percentage has dropped about 0.7%.
Of course I am hoping for higher dividend, but I am happy with EPF@KWSP 2016 dividend rate. Last year has been a challenging year globally and locally. So, I am grateful for 5.7% dividend rate.
I logged-in to my EPF@KWSP i-Akaun on the same day and my 2016 dividend has been updated in my statement.
You may read the new here on The Star Online or on EPF@KWSP website.

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How to Stick To Your Budget


The budget that you set for yourself should be realistic. It’s not something you can do overnight, it’s a process you have to get used to on a regular. Your budget should not feel as if you’re keeping money away from you but a means to secure yourself a better future. Once you are finished creating a budget, following through is the next step. Read on below to find out how to stick to your budget.

1. Use Visual Reminders
Visual reminders helps you see the bigger picture which is, investing in your own future. Whether it’s a photo of your dream car, a place you want to travel to, a house, anything else that you are saving up for. It can also be as simple as a piggybank where you keep loose change and maybe loose bills as well. Seeing how much you are able to save or what you are saving up for can help you focus on sticking to your budget.
2. Make it a Game
Depending on your budget plan, you can accomplish your desired amount of money saved by challenging yourself. You can set to save x amount of money per day, week, or month. There is that rush when you don’t want to lose, especially to yourself; and that rush when you are able to achieve a goal.  You’ll be surprised how much you can save if you see budgeting as a game.
3. Take Your Budget with You
You may have it all figured out in your head but it makes a huge difference when you plot it on paper or a computer. Another way you can follow your budget is writing it down. By doing this, you can cross check all purchases, bills, debts, etc. against it anytime and anywhere. Reviewing it weekly or monthly can also help you stay on track and from falling through the cracks
4. Don’t Deprive Yourself
In the end it still boils down to realistically planning your budget. You can drastically cut your budget to reach your goal faster but it can lead to budget burn-out. If you feel deprived, you are more likely to overspend. Allot an amount for fun stuff each month (i.e. eating out, watching movies). You work hard for your money so it’s just right that you spend wisely on yourself as well. is dedicated to raising financial literacy in our country and to helping everyday Malaysians make smarter and well-informed financial decisions in life.

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When Should You Get A Personal Loan And Not A Credit Card?

If you’re looking out for some extra cash, both personal loans and credit cards can be great financial tools to help you get the funding that you need. But the first thing is for you to be clear on what you’re taking a personal loan or getting a credit card for. Essentially since you are borrowing money that you don’t have yet and that can lead to some serious financial repercussions.

However there are times when a personal loan trumps a credit card and here’s what you need to know before you choose which one you want.

1) Personal Loans Have Lower Interest Rates Which You Can Use For Larger Purchases
If you need to borrow a large lump sum of cash which you can’t pay off quickly, you should get a personal loan. This is because personal loans offer lower interest rates that most credit cards For example, the interest can vary from 4% to 9% p.a. for personal loans versus 8.88% to 18% p.a. for credit cards. Think about it, if you can’t pay the money back immediately, you’re going to be looking at some very hefty interest charges on your credit card.
2) Personal Loans Can Be Used To Consolidate Debt
A personal loan can be a means for you to get a fresh start on your finances. By consolidating your debt with a personal loan that offers a much lower interest rate than paying multiple loans and credit cards at the same time, you get to simplify your debt and regain control of your financial situation. While you CAN do this with a credit card (0% balance transfer, cash advances and etc.) you might want to consider the following facts first.
3) You Can Only ‘Borrow’ As Much As Your Credit Card LimitMost credit cards have a credit limit which is set for you by the bank based on your credit history and your level of income. So depending on what your credit limit is that’s only as much as you’re going to be able to use to fund whatever it is you want to do with the money. And that’s not to say that personal loans will instantly loan you the money, as the banks will still evaluate your debt service ratio to ensure you can pay them bank before they disburse the loan.
4) Credit Cards Require Much, Much More Discipline
Imagine this: you’ve made your purchase and now you’ve spotted something else that’s caught your fancy. You’ll just add it on to the credit card’s bill and pay it all off later, right? Wrong! Just because you aren’t literally handing over cash for something, doesn’t mean you’re not spending it.  From a psychological perspective, a personal loan makes you feel the pinch more than when you’re out and about freely swiping a credit card. After all that’s cash that you’re taking out of your account, whereas with a credit card, you’re just adding debt by spending money that you don’t have. And make no mistake; if you let your credit card spending get out of hand, you face the risk of falling into major debt.

There you have it! Those are the reasons why a personal loan can be a better financing option than getting a credit card. Why not check out this free personal loan comparison tool by to find the best personal loan deals in Malaysia today?

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Gen Y: Three Simple Tips To Improve Your Financial Responsibility

In the Malaysian society, there are vast opportunities for job employments and innovative business start-ups for Gen-Y. You just need know how to follow the money. With that being said, it should be a breeze to stash away your funds right? No! There are hidden bills, costs, expenditures and the declining rate of the ringgit currency (RM) doesn’t help either. The hope of earning your first million before your thirties may slowly fade away. The transition towards adulthood may be exasperating, especially for young adults who have not mentally prepared themselves for the financial responsibilities that awaits them. But fear not! Here are 3 tips to be the financially-savvy Gen-Yer that you are meant to be.

1) Increase earning power
Getting a job with good growth prospect can push forward your earning power. Once you have a steady income, the more you can afford to spend. Learning is never-ending, so remember to constantly pick up new experiences and knowledge throughout your job tenure. It is important to fit your goals and values to the business direction. Not only will your job satisfaction increase, your performance at work will also show a significant improvement. This increases the chance of a job promotion too! On the other hand, if you are looking to be an entrepreneur, a start-up is a proven method to push up your ability to make money. However, bear in mind that starting up your own business is a 24/7 job that requires drive, passion and skills. It will not be easy but the benefits reaped are definitely worthwhile.

2)  Own a credit card

According to, William J. Schroer mentioned that one in nine Gen-Yers owns a credit card co-signed by a parent. The significance of credit cards is highlighted in this world full of technologies. Without it, many people suffer paying huge expenses by cash. You need to know your spending habits to be a financially responsible adult. For example, you prefer to redeem weekly rewards after swiping your card. Getting the best rewards credit card in Malaysiato gain points and enjoy rewards for each transaction you make. Besides earning reward points, reward credit cards give you great cashback too! Disclaimer: Do keep track of your daily spending to avoid swiping your card too frequently.
3) Take measured risks

What does it take to be financially independent? You need to define your own goals and achievements. 90% of the Gen-Yers are assumed to have savings account since a young age. Despite so, keeping money in the bank does not guarantee financial success. Step outside of your comfort zone and invest in valuables you deem worthy such as properties, gold, shares and education. Yes, you heard it right! Education is a long-term investment that gives you a well-rounded aspect in life. Quoting Nelson Mendela, he reiterates that ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. Do plenty of research before taking the risk and you are destined for financial success! With these pointers in mind, create your own set of objectives in life and put your plans into action. If you want to invest, never put your eggs into one basket, diversify your investments and get a good financial mentor. If you a searching a credit card that provides you with rewards and gifts, get a rewards credit card that gives you the best of both worlds – saving money while you spend! That is all it takes to be a financially stable Gen Y adult. What are you waiting for? 

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EPF@KWSP – EPF Declares 6.4 Percent Dividend Rate For 2015

Today, EPF@KWSP declares 6.4% dividend for 2015. This is lower than 2014 dividend rate which was 6.75%.
Upon reading, the news on The Star Online, I log-in to my i-Akaun and I can see the 2015 dividend already credited to my account. So, for i-Akaun users, you can check your 2015 dividend now. For those without i-Akaun, you can obtain your latest statement from your nearest EPF@KWSP kiosks or branches. 
You may read the full news here and here.

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Can We Control Price Hike?

Last week, one of the hot topics discussed was about the rising cost of living in Malaysia. Many complains about price hike in good and services. Some of these price hike are really unreasonable. There are news about milo iced sold at RM4.20 at food court locally in Kuching.

The question is, can we do something to control these price hike? Yes, we can. Because as consumer, we are the one who determine the price of the goods and services offered. 

According to my relative in Taiwan, most business are providing reasonable price now because they have to fight for the market share. If the price is above average, most probably, this shop will be handling less customers. Other than the reasonable price, they also provide friendly and excellent customer service to all customers, hoping that the customer will come back again.
Here in Malaysia, I didn’t see this yet, or at least in Kuching. What I see is that businesses keep increasing their prices and customer still come back to them, even with poor quality of service. I think it’s time for all of us, to learn to become a smart consumer. Try not to ‘encourage’ business to increase their price. We must learn to create a situation whereby businesses are trying hard to earn our money. We must create a competitive market for them. We must make them come out with excellent customer service if they wish to have a repeated sales from us.
As a consumer, we are the one who will decide the market price, not those greedy business owners. But, we can only do this if most of the consumer are smart enough when making their purchases. I don’t think there will be any business which can survive without customer. Start from today, we must make smart choices in our purchases and daily life. We can’t keep complaining on price hike and still continue to support these greedy business owners. We need to adjust our own lifestyle and sacrifice here and there if necessary. 
So, YES, we can control price hike.

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More Job Cuts!

Today on The Star Online, I read the news of another job cuts. It seems like the situation is really not that encouraging at the moment. The job cuts will definitely affect the life of many, whether directly or indirectly. 
Towards the end of Dec 2015, I also read about cost reduction strategy by oil and gas companies.  These oil and gas companies are reducing cost by ‘readjusting’ their office space. 
Hoping that the situation will be better soon.

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Having Enough For Retirement

In Oct 2015, I was reading this article ‘Having enough for retirement‘ on The Star Online. It is worrying that most of KWSP contributors on the verge of retirement do not have enough savings for their retirement. This is also a sad situation that 68% of this group has less than RM50K KWSP savings. With some simple calculation – RM1000 for every month, RM50K can only last for 50months which is slightly more than 4 years. How about the life of these retiree after 4  years? 
One of the many reasons for this insufficient retirement fund is limited financial literacy among the contributors. Most contributors were not aware of the impact of limited fund for retirement  and the importance of retirement planning. With proper financial literacy, contributors should be able to plan ahead for their retirement at a younger age.
The other reason will be low salary package of the wage earners. With about 23% deduction from monthly salary, with estimation of 30 years of working years, the total savings should be quite a huge amount and should be enough to cover the next 20 years of retirement. But, with low salary package, this 23% savings is not going to produce a good amount for a financially-worry-free retirement.
So, are you having enough for retirement? Let us take some time from our busy schedule and evaluate our retirement planning.

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