Sen­si­ble choices

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FAMILY - By LEE MEI LI star2@thes­tar.com.my

Norhashidah harmi and her hus­band Muham­mad da­nial ad­nan adore their 17month-old daugh­ter, but they will most likely de­lay hav­ing an­other child.

Tak­ing on the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of be­ing par­ents has meant chang­ing their life­style. Their pri­or­i­ties have changed and so have their spend­ing habits. it is mostly be­cause this young cou­ple is find­ing out just how costly it is to raise a child in Kuala Lumpur, es­pe­cially with the re­cent price hikes.

Norhashidah, 25, is a com­pany sec­re­tary while Muham­mad da­nial, 27, works as a hu­man re­source ex­ec­u­tive.

“When we first got mar­ried, our com­bined in­come was enough for the two of us. We even had rM100 or rM200 ex­tra that we could use as spend­ing money. But now, with the baby, we have to spend on milk and di­a­pers.

“i was into ex­pen­sive make-up brands but now i will only buy rM10 com­pact pow­ders,” says Norhashidah who only shops for clothes once a year for hari raya now.

sav­ing money is a pri­or­ity these days. They have worked hard to jug­gle their fi­nances and make prag­matic changes.

With the in­crease in fuel price eat­ing into the fam­ily’s budget, Norhashidah has stopped driv­ing to work, and now de­pends on her hus­band for lifts on his 10-year-old sec­ond­hand mo­tor­cy­cle.

“Even on a mo­tor­bike, it takes over an hour for my hus­band to send me to work, and an­other 45 min­utes for him to travel to his workplace. it’s def­i­nitely more time-con­sum­ing, but this helps us save at least rM200 to rM300 on petrol each month.

“We only use the car on the weekend when we bring our baby out, but we’ve been do­ing that less and less now. Each visit to the shop­ping mall will in­cur ex­tra cost for food, so we limit our out­ings to only twice a month.”

The in­crease in elec­tric­ity tar­iff has also af­fected them as they now have to fork out rM50 more for their monthly util­i­ties. To ac­com­mo­date this additional cost, Norhashidah down­graded her mo­bile data plan.

“My hus­band and i both use the same plan now and it’s been work­ing fine for us so far. of course, the in­ter­net surf­ing speed is much slower, but who are we to com­plain? as long as i can still re­ceive calls and mes­sages, and view my in­sta­gram and Face­book, that will have to do for now.”

The cou­ple also make it a point to limit their gro­cery-shop­ping to once a week at the morn­ing wet mar­ket, and the oc­ca­sional hyper­mar­ket visit to buy toi­letries or items on their baby’s check­list.

“all these news about price hikes have re­ally kept us on edge. Just last week, i was buy­ing some prawns and i got a shock when the price came up to rM30. Cook­ing at home helps with our sav­ings, but still our gro­cery bill comes up to rM500 per month. For lunch, i can only af­ford to spend rM10. so, when­ever i can, i’d pack my own meal to work.”

“our in­come is not ris­ing on par with the cost of liv­ing. hav­ing to sup­port a fam­ily in this day and age is hard work,” says Norhashidah.

The cou­ple has been ex­plor­ing other means of mak­ing money. For three months now, Norhashidah has been sell­ing beauty prod­ucts on­line, which gen­er­ates up to rM200 monthly. some day, they’d like to set up their own busi­ness to gen­er­ate more in­come.

“We don’t want to be overly stressed out over our fi­nances. For now, we’re just go­ing with the flow,” says Norhashidah.

Penny wise: With a baby to care for, Norhashidah Harmi and hus­band Muham­mad da­nial ad­nan have had to cut down on trips to the mall as they can’t af­ford to eat out as of­ten as be­fore.

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