No big Raya spending for families as inflation bites

Diyana Ibrahim

Families are spending moderately for Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year amid the rise in prices of goods. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, April 10, 2023.

FAMILIES are spending moderately for Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year as they look at cutting down unnecessary expenses and purchases due to the rise in prices of goods. 

They told The Malaysian Insight they were on the lookout for bargain deals and places that offer cheaper prices so that they can spend within their budget.

Mohd Hafidz Rosni, 34, said his Raya allocation has remained the same in the past few years but this time the amount was not enough due to the increase in prices of goods.

He said the situation was very different last year because he was able to withdraw emergency funds from the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). 

“My budget is the same every year, usually about RM3,000. It was a little different last year because we can withdraw EPF money, so we could spend a bit more. 

“This year, I’m setting aside the same amount, but the issue is price increases, so RM3,000 is not enough,” he said. 

“If I increase the allocation, it will be a burden on me cause I have to use credit cards,” he added. 

Hafidz said he was forced to reduce spending or cut down on unnecessary things. 

“For example, if last year I bought six types of Raya biscuits, this year I will reduce them to only four,” he said. 

A recent UCSI survey showed 89% of respondents saying the cost of living was worrying following rising inflation. 

Inflation has increased by 0.8%, from 2.5% in 2021 to 3.3% in 2022, the Statistics Department said. 

The survey involved 1,031 people with 59% of them having a job, 12% unemployed, 23%, students and 6% retirees. 

The survey also found most Malaysians planned to reduce their spending this year.

Muslims buying food in preparation for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Muslims say grocery shopping is costing more due to inflation. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, April 10, 2023.

Entrepreneur Aznadia Azhar, 35, is also preparing a simple Raya celebration. 

Aznadia said she is burdened with her high festivity expenses this year due to price increases. 

She said the price hikes was not commensurate with the salary she earns.

“It’s quite difficult as this year’s grocery budget is really high because things are not cheap. 

“That’s just preparation for Raya food. We are also burdened with shopping throughout the fasting month because food is really expensive,” she said.

Aznadia said what costs more was the cost of going back home. 

“Because during Raya, you really need more money to go back to the hometown, including money for food, for car service and others.”

Pawning jewelleries

Sugar cane seller, Roslan Hamid, 40, said his priority was to prepare Raya for his three sons. 

Roslan said his financial situation had forced him to cut down on this year’s Raya spending as he had spent on school supplies and fees. 

“This time, the prices are all skyrocketing. Nothing is cheap. The prices of raw materials have also shot up,” he said.

He said he only allocated RM500 for this year’s Raya expenses because that was all he could afford. 

“My wife and I have not bought new clothes because we use the money on our children. 

“We don’t even want to buy any Raya biscuits this year. The allocation is only for children’s clothes.

“We also have to allocate some money to go back home,” he said. 

Gold shop owner Tengku Muhamimin Tengku Mahmud said many customers were looking to sell or pawn their jewellery to have extra cash for Raya. 

“As the price of gold has now risen to the highest level so far at RM2.70 per g, so many people are taking the opportunity to sell or pawn gold to get more money. 

“They want more money for Raya expenses because now all prices have gone up,” said the trader from Pasar Payang, Kuala Terengganu. 

He also said unlike previous years, business was a bit slow during the festive season. – April 10, 2023.

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