Milo go up by 20 cents ah!? DIE lah!

Everything went up in a short period, but nothing went down. Although you don’t hear the phrase of Milo’s price is going up by x-Cents as often as you do during the 1999 crisis, you can now hear rambles of more expensive lifestyle in our beloved Malaysia.

Saving on groceries is no easy task, especially at this period of time when the price of everything skyrocketed a few months back due to the fuel hike. Restaurant chefs are grinding their teeth to reduce costs and increase volume, engineers tremble in fear as raw materials get expensive, the supermarket ‘tau-keh’ pulls out his golden tooth to pawn it for half the original price so that he can supplement his quarterly losses, and the poor habitants in the kampung comes back with $1.00 instead of $10.00.

Japan has declared recession and it’s 13-year low, Hong Kong was slapped in the face after Singapore’s downfall; Malaysia has already felt it coming – Some of us already went berserk, some took the fall. There are ups and downs in every market, and usually there will be several entities who will gain economic growth during recession and also those who fall down on their knees and to take a bullet or two in the head. A good example is Prudential.

So how do you save on your groceries?


  1. Don’t shop when you’re hungry.
    Shopping when you’re hungry makes you purchase more. Seriously, it’s an instinct many of us have and find it hard to combat. You’re more likely to purchase snacks, chips or whole foods to fill that growly stomach of yours. Eat up before you go shopping – You may just save even more.
  2. The advertisement can be funny, but not necessarily good for your wallet.
    Advertisements can be flashy, cute little things. Fun to watch. Ever seen that cute little mint advertisement where it replicated James Bond or the entertaining 20-second minty cool mint sweet ad? We’re worried you get addicted to it, and drop by the store the next time you’re going to the laundry.
  3. Make and bring a shopping list – Then STICK to it.
    Not bringing a shopping list = Allowing your mind to go wild. At one point, your mind will select a wildcard and it’ll usually end up in the ‘I crave for this’ section. Make a list of all the important groceries you need to purchase, then STICK to it. Nothing’s worse than dropping your jaw when the bill shows up.
  4. Collect brochures/flyers or check on line to stock up on marked-down prices.
    Shops like Tesco, Giant and Guardian run sales all year round. Be sure to look for their brochure, flyer, advertisement or sales ‘pitch’ when it’s marked down. Identify those goods, then buy it when the price is low. Again, STICK to the ones that are on sale only.
  5. Set your shopping theme – Groceries only, NOT clothes.
    The problem with many people is that they’re drowned with convenience and a wide variety of selections. It’s not entirely good or bad, but it may get out of hand. Set your goals for your shopping day – If I buy groceries today, it’ll only be groceries. I won’t linger in the panty shop to get myself a new set of lingerie or that cutesy panties I’ve been dying to own for the past 10 years.
  6. GILA sales aren’t for every item. BODOH sales is.
    Ever heard of GILA sales? It usually isn’t very GILA, but there are great bargains during times like this. The Malaysian Mega Sale is a good time to start, and if you have that extra cash to spend, you can budget a little for the extras. Don’t be fooled by the BODOH sales – If there is a sale, not all items are on extreme-bargain-buy-now-or-never-get-this-price-forever-sale. That will be BODOH sales.

  7. Check your receipts.
    Cashiers make mistakes. Some are trained to make mistakes. Always check your receipt and items purchased before you leave the cashier area, or face a slap on the face with those extra bills. This applies not only to hypermarkets and stores nationwide, but also to restaurants and pharmacies. Make sure you get everything right before leaving the counter.
  8. Compare prices – More expensive doesn’t equate better quality.
    Tesco olive oil may compromise a little on quality as compared to Colavita’s. Store-brand products aren’t all that bad – Some get these prices out of bulk produces, or clever sways in the recipe. Try them out – It’s not all THAT bad.

  9. Don’t pay for convenience.
    7-11s’ are convenience stores. Some items in there can be more expensive of than your nearby hypermarket. Always plan your shopping well, and get everything (on your perfectly-written, concise and beautiful wallet-breaking-heart-stopping shopping list) at one shot. You don’t want to run all the way to a convenience store and pay an extra RM0.30 for an item which you can get previously when you were shopping at Giant.
  10. Avoid pre-cooked, frozen and convenience food.
    If you take a basic business course, you’ll learn that charges on everything is thrown back to the end-user. Same goes to restaurants. Frozen/Convenience foods are usually more expensive – They charge extra for pre-cooking it, blast-freezing it and sometimes, re-packaging it into newer, nicer boxes.

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