Throwback Thursday - The RM10 Challenge 2 Years On

Its Throwback Thursday and we're revisiting a post that made quite a few people think. Two years on and we asked the question again; can you really survive on just RM10 daily in a post- GST Klang Valley?

Just two years ago, our article titled, 'Can you survive living in the Klang Valley with just RM10 a day?', created quite the uproar of mixed views and opinions amongst most working adults and students. From comments on-site to Facebook and even local forums, the topic was debated.

As a throwback Thursday special, we decided to re-look into the question. Where cost of living is concerned, much has changed over these past two years: the Goods and Service Tax (GST), electricity tariff, petrol, toll and even profiteering over something as simple as lady's fingers all seem to be the norm in daily newspapers. The cost of food continues to stretch our ringgit to breaking point.

Today we examine the lengths to which your red note can possibly stretch in a daily landscape of affordable meals where everything seems to be on the rise.

Stretching Your RM10 Bill

We first need to remind you that this assessment started off in good fun two years ago and should be treated such today. Inevitably, it has struck a chord in most of us about the rise in cost of living as well as to appreciate little that you have because someone else might not be as fortune favored.

Getting back on track; its almost impossible to utilise a RM10 bill to fulfill three meals a day in modern Klang Valley. Some agree, while others don't. The fact of the matter is RM10 for a day works more as a nutrition-jeopardising survival kit rather than a self-imposed way of life.

Like how the above statement is debatable, some actually find joy in eating cup noodles or even nasi lemak bungkus regularly while others see those consumables as red flags for health.

The table below will illustrate the steady ascension of price in these potentially hazardous popular and affordable foods which can be included in your meals. Bear in mind that these prices are in the form of averages, therefore they are presented in ranges rather than specific digits.

Food / Drinks Year & Price
- 2013 2014 2015
Nasi Lemak Biasa RM1.20 – RM2.20 RM1.40 – RM2.30 RM1.50 – RM2.50
Roti Canai RM1.00 – RM1.20 RM1.00 – RM1.20 RM1.10 – RM1.50
Thosai / Dosa RM1.20 – RM1.70 RM1.30 – RM2.20 RM1.60 – RM2.40
Maggie Goreng RM3.00 – RM4.00 RM3.40 – RM4.50 RM3.80 – RM4.80
Teh Tarik RM1.00 – RM1.30 RM1.00 – RM1.50 RM1.20 – RM1.80
Ais Kosong RM0 – RM0.20 RM0.20 – RM0.40 RM0.20 – RM0.50

*Prices may vary depending on establishment standards and areas outside of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

So, how much can you really afford with a RM10 bill for, let's say three meals in a day by having some of the popular inexpensive food and drinks above? Even at the cheapest item - an RM1.50 roti canai and RM0.50 ais kosong; you've hit RM6 per day and have just one of the multitude of food groups you need to survive. Contrast this with prices just two years ago? RM4.20 for the same meals.

Notice how steadily prices have increased every year? This means that in time to come, even affordable food and drinks will no longer be, well, affordable. And there most certainly are other counter measures to surviving on the given amount, but of course everything comes with a price. Cup noodles or packet noodles that are considerably cheap contain preservatives, which a lot of people see as a running medical tab while some believe its a small price to pay for an inflated credit.

Whilst at one time, we could eat cheap and unhealthy food to keep within budget - now even the cheap and unhealthy grow steadily out of reach.

Some would perhaps still suggest cooking at home but even regular groceries have not been spared the insidious price hikes. Considering the time and effort it takes to cook and pack lunches to take to work - will the effort really save us money once we factor how expensive basic goods have become?

At the end of our calculations for daily meals, it appeared we have little left to cover even a bus ticket. Such a far stretch of an RM10 note to even buy 3 meals a day made the thought of putting in a cost for commuting seem rather disingenuous. With petrol costing so much more and public transport fee hikes - there seemed no real way we could stretch that RM10 to factor transportation as well unless we all rode bicycles to the office.

Picture rights: the Malay Mail Online.

The Verdict: 2 Years Later

Whilst we said two years ago that it would be possible but tough; today we cannot. Although, GST was only supposed to be 6% - the cascading affect seems to have caused food prices to balloon 30-50%. A plate of wanton mee is RM5.50; a cup of teh-o RM1.40; and the once reliable pack of Hup Seng Cream Crackers cost a good RM4.80 per pack now. What was once a humble meal - is now rivaling the price of a sit down, air-conditioned diner.

Of course, the hawkers will decry this unfair assessment. Price increases have affected them too and they claim they are forced to increase their prices. Maybe this is fair; maybe it isn't.

But whilst we argue the fairness or lack thereof contained in the cascading effect of government consumer policies; the unfortunate lower income brackets ponder their next meager meal or which one to skip to make ends meet. The question of whether we are paid enough remains unanswered. One thing's for sure though, the impending doom of hikes in affordable food and drinks as well as cost of living is here to stay. We shudder at the thought of what prices will be like another mere two years down the road.

0 comments

Agree or disagree with this post? Questions? You also have your word!

  • Jessica

    now days transport to work also rm10 not enough. eat sand la like this :(

    Reply
    • Johnny

      well at least they increased the BR1M for some people.

      Reply
      • steven

        How much does that work out to aday its useless.

        Reply
        • aoa

          hey, is it increase RM 1 ~ 2 per day enough for you to cover all the other high rise expenses,... try to move your brain a bit, don't just let it stay in the jungle.

          Reply
          • sea

            to johnny from seamus that my msg to you

            Reply
          • seamus

            well guess you are the monkey who would like to be off on by some peanut , also you must be rich l think , so is doesn't matter to you, as long for you must be not problem , many Rayat out there is struggling, esp those living in the kampung

            Reply
          • Chua

            funny how i only get pay rise once a year in office but price of things look like they go up every month O.O'

            Reply
            • Sherry Ling

              My one-way to work fuel n toll already cost RM10!!

              Reply
              • mrTan

                when i was a student rm10 more than enuf.. now leh.. scared to look into the future lah

                Reply
                • anonymous

                  hey johnny, you think the br1m enough for the whole year???? please wake up

                  Reply
                  • anon

                    its enought if you spend it correctly

                    Reply
                    • FK

                      No it's not enough. It's ridiculous. 10 ringgit is equivalent from duke to LDP toll. Only toll. Doesn't include petrol and don't even start on the food for a day. Now petrol 20 ringgit also not even 10 liters.

                      Reply
                      • nonsense

                        you are so clever until you can spend it correctly ... so are you still walking to office daily ?/

                        Reply
                      • secret

                        my johnny said so.. :v

                        Reply
                      • Jaya Maruthan

                        People can't even write a short sentence correctly in English!...The banner should read as "PETROL PRICE SHOULD NOT BE RAISED" AND NOT "PETROL PRICE SHOULD BE NOT RAISED"..doesn't anyone check on the use of proper language anymore?

                        Reply
                        • Pls tell our mal edu minister how backward is our english language in malaysia as for today n he is still buat bodoh as he n the TDM had designed the edu policy to make their ppl stupid n only for their minister'$ children will all sent aboard for foreign studies?

                          Reply
                          • Anon

                            Wow, your sentence is a good example...

                            Reply
                          • Patsim

                            Too hungry. Cannot think straight.

                            Reply
                            • Anon

                              looks like you are the one not reading it correctly. The banner say "PETROL PRICE SHOULD BE (down arrow) NOT RAISED" which is correct. Also something is written inside the red arrow, I think it says reduced;.

                              Reply
                            • Jib Gor

                              donate RM10... also get back o0o G.G.

                              Reply
                              • kctan

                                HEY JOHNNY PLSE USE YOUR CALCULATOR PERFECTLY. IS BRIM ENOUGH?????

                                Reply
                                • #alahaiangjib

                                  it is not the house price yet ya know

                                  Reply
                                  • Sam

                                    Just show me where can I find a Roti Chanai and Teh Tarik with this price!!

                                    Reply
                                    • someone

                                      Jaya...

                                      The banner shall be read as ...PETROL PRICE SHOULD BE REDUCED.. NOT RAISED!!.

                                      The REDUCED wording was represented by pointing down arrow...

                                      Reply
                                      • Ganesh

                                        The government is the biggest joke. They should all resign

                                        Reply
                                        • Ary

                                          we are getting hell now days

                                          Reply
                                          • harry

                                            now i hear toll price gonna go up in August. Good job la!

                                            Reply
                                            • Jaguh Kampong

                                              so sad with the government today.

                                              Reply
                                              • Moss

                                                Just tell that to the PM. After all GST is to dig money from us for their entertainment and jetting around

                                                Reply
                                                • ssoM

                                                  116% price for food in most restaurant. what is life. what is life.

                                                  Reply
                                                • Kevin

                                                  'You are what you eat' - The consumption of nutrition-less foods adds to the eventual low quality of health, which could cost lives. The quality of life is already poor for majority of the people. Something has to be done about this government ASAP.

                                                  Reply
                                                  • Wong

                                                    Generally for 10 bucks, u'll get only half a meal.

                                                    Reply
                                                    • Your name

                                                      You damn rich guy, so you eat 20 bucks per meal?

                                                      Reply
                                                    • East Guy

                                                      Does anyone come to the East to do a survey and check out the price here. Why should we pay extra while we are Malaysians. From food, price of car, property, air ticket, shipment, bank loans (interest) to insurance and many more, we are absorbing more than any place in Malaysia. Why the price difference? Aren't we Malaysians? Don't bull me with shipping cost. While the shipment can drop their cargo to east first before going to the west, why have to be Klang then only other places? What lah Malaysia.. Our city is not like Kuala Lumpur, with tall buildings and plenty of job opportunity. This is not making any sense.

                                                      Reply
                                                      • khai

                                                        yes during this fasting Ramadhan month can survive....

                                                        Reply
                                                        • Your name

                                                          good lie, sir. :D

                                                          Reply
                                                        • Apa Sudah Jadi

                                                          The pay is so low in this country and the cost of living so high. MYR asa currency is almost worthless. Very soon have to be like Zimbabwe and come up with RM 1, 000,000 notes!!

                                                          Reply
                                                          • UnleashYourPotential

                                                            Not that low, if you use it right.

                                                            Reply
                                                          • Hang Jebat

                                                            Are there somebody notice in the paper today, trade money will be exchange from USD to Remibi (China Dollar) if i dont mistaken... Greece also want to change their trade money from USD to other currency... Greece nowaday in bancrupcy situation.. are there Malaysian in the same way as Greece.. Hmmm

                                                            Reply
                                                            • Your name

                                                              my wallet

                                                              Reply
                                                            • Amirul

                                                              you can live with rm10 for one day if you spend your money smartly :)

                                                              Reply
                                                              • Your name

                                                                You can live with rm10 for one day if you make money from that 10rm.. ;)

                                                                Reply
                                                                • who make us suffer like this ho..... and why we have to suffer like this if we can have better lifestyle. just bcos we love the leader and allow him to buy luxury jet and etc........ funny funny prices they buy things properties jeng jeng jeng and so on and so on. its peoples money we talking about.. ???? its peoples money we talking bout its lifestyle we talking about.. huh!!! peoples have to bear the loss bcos our loves one make unhealthy buying and cause big loss .... kasih sayang lo

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                                                                • shan

                                                                  dont use car walk. dont eat at restaurant.cook. dont rent house sleep in sidewalk. dont wear pant wear sarung. dont donate but steal..........hahaha

                                                                  Reply
                                                                  • shan

                                                                    No, make pants with your sarung.. ;)

                                                                    Reply
                                                                    • Rajasingam

                                                                      yeah!! that's how most foreigners manage their daily expenses and manage to send billions back home, rice and dhall (lentil bean) for lunch/dinner x 6 days can keep you healthy. Did anyone noticed this foreigners during your lunch breaks. They do and behavior just like what shan just mentioned.

                                                                      Reply
                                                                    • TRUTH

                                                                      BS ATLEAST YOUR STUFF THERE IS CHEAPER IN SARAWAK 2 RINGGIT FOR 1 ROTI CANAI NASI LEMAK BIASA ALREADY 3 RINGGIT TEH TARIK ALREADY 2.20 WHAT MORE TO SAY ABOUT OIL YOU TAKE IT FROM US AND MAKE IT EXPENSIVE FOR US THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS AT LEAST MAKE IT FAIR TO THE PEOPLE

                                                                      Reply
                                                                      • TRUTH

                                                                        BUY WHITE RICE, COOK WITH ANY CAN(obj), DRINK ANY WATER YOU SEE, WHAT OIL? YOU DAMN RISH WANT SURVIVE 10 RM PER DAY BUT DRINK TEH TARIK HAHA.

                                                                        Reply
                                                                      • brandon

                                                                        it is sad situation. shame on our politician people.

                                                                        Reply
                                                                        • nobnard

                                                                          meanwhile politician when one complaint : it is sad people. shame on our their situation.

                                                                          Reply
                                                                        • Moslem

                                                                          Puasa la hari-hari

                                                                          Reply
                                                                          • UMMO

                                                                            BN tak runtuh... Rakyat mesti JATUH!!!

                                                                            Reply
                                                                            • OMMUommnomnomnom

                                                                              D:
                                                                              don't lar.

                                                                              Reply
                                                                            • Wong Kah Yuen

                                                                              Two meals a day ,rice and curry with plain water that come up to about RM 6.But don't follow its just for a time being.

                                                                              Reply
                                                                              • Wong Kah Yuen

                                                                                No nutritious,health will slowly becomes weaker

                                                                                Reply
                                                                                • Your name

                                                                                  can't expect nutrition for all meal with only 10RM.

                                                                                  Reply
                                                                                • Hai Lie

                                                                                  oh..malaysia ku..

                                                                                  Reply
                                                                                  • Liehai

                                                                                    ikr.. :v

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                                                                                  • Joey Kok

                                                                                    RM 10 is not even enough for food. If you eat at Ampang Park, a teh tarik cost about RM 2.50 - RM2.80 and Maggi Goreng is about RM 5 and above.
                                                                                    :(

                                                                                    Reply
                                                                                    • Joeyoey

                                                                                      Robber Park detected. enough if you eat cheap stuff.

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                                                                                    • macai

                                                                                      Its all thanks to BN supporters n macai.. your vote has made everyone 'papa kedana'.

                                                                                      Reply
                                                                                      • TongKoi

                                                                                        Stupid PM stupid GST stupid BR1M.

                                                                                        Reply
                                                                                        • TongKek

                                                                                          Stupid GST stupid PM stupid brrmmm brrmmmm.. ngeng ngeng..
                                                                                          but i wonder why PM come up with such idea..

                                                                                          Reply
                                                                                          • lol

                                                                                            why aren't you mentioned stupid malaysians who vote for PM? or BN?

                                                                                            Reply
                                                                                        • Margaret Rose

                                                                                          Yes if you don't drive ..walk to work..can survive with 10 RM. ..I di it with 5RM.. Just cook sumthing simple..tapau to work!

                                                                                          Reply
                                                                                          • Starving dude

                                                                                            gud jop. gas, rice, water, food resource? egg + rice +- 10RM/3 days 3 meals a day

                                                                                            Reply
                                                                                          • kc

                                                                                            Why we have to live RM10 per day but govn waste thousand / million a day?

                                                                                            Reply
                                                                                            • POOR AND STRONG

                                                                                              Hahaha YOU ALL SHALL BE POOR! Why do you ask? Well its simple since BN always win with morrons, macai's, Kroni,bought election,No freedom of speech whatever etc what is opposition for? You already know who is the winner in a GE its always BN. I rather be a Robin Hood for the poor haha

                                                                                              Reply
                                                                                              • I live in Sg Buloh, work in Shah Alam
                                                                                                For petrol only, need to spend RM10/day
                                                                                                Tol-RM1.40
                                                                                                B'fast - Milo 3in 1 (own self)
                                                                                                Lunch - RM3 (Canteen coupon RM1.50)
                                                                                                Dinner - cook at home
                                                                                                So, for normal day, I spent RM14.40 - Easily more than RM10

                                                                                                During Ramadhan, I can save RM3, so RM11.40 - Also exceed RM10
                                                                                                So, which part RM10 is enough per day?

                                                                                                Reply
                                                                                                • Anny

                                                                                                  the complaints of civil and reporter from the newsletter were just a wasting time..... if the government taking this issue in serious... I guess they have estimates the issue before 15 years ago.... the government face is so thicker .... anyhow still do not want to let it go to opposition in charges of MALAYSIA

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                                                                                                  • Vindan

                                                                                                    The damages was done long ago by the former PM TDM... I was told that RM 1 = SGD1.60 in 1967??? and 1 = 1 in 1980s....
                                                                                                    1 SGD = 2.4 MYR in 2004??? Now sendiri kira TDM...

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                                                                                                    • Don't eat and drink after 1 week solve your problem forever. Write note, please donate my body for research. What problem ?

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                                                                                                      • freakcrew

                                                                                                        Talking about BR1M, technically the government did its calculation and its enough as it covers the 6% that those within that group spend. Plus it becomes a form of 'gift' to a popularity contest we call election.
                                                                                                        But studies have proven that one off payments is a drag to the economy because people don't change their consumption habits but instead resolve to buying things that they once want. Technically the government gave RM650 or something like that and they end up spend on repairing their car so they have a peace of mind when they go to work... Nobody saves it over the year and buff up their consumption to keep the economy going...

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                                                                                                        • RBNSN

                                                                                                          There are plenty of people who deserve aid from the government. For example, people with intellectual disabilities, like autism, people who are on SOCSO payments. If you want to buff up the economy, then there should at least be an RM250 hike in the Welfare Deparment payments for the former, RM300 hike for the latter. FYI, whilst pensioners are subjected to nearly annual reviews of the payout, these two groups have not been revised.
                                                                                                          As for BR1M, the payout is one off, hence people treat it as a gift that needs to be spent wisely, so they either save up or spend it extremely careful. It is not going to be the stimulus to drive domestic consumption.

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                                                                                                        • SambarSepuluh

                                                                                                          u crazy ah 10 bucks for a day.. wait la, one more surprise hike coming in August.. haihhhh

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                                                                                                          • Andy

                                                                                                            Breakfast 5,lunch and dinner 15,just meal only 20 how about transport at least another 6 .so for one to go to work at least spend $26 /day . A month 676(26 days work). Room rental plus utility 400 and communication ,wifi ,mobile min 60 ,total 1136,and how about off day add another 150 for 4 days off ,almost 1300. How about insurance and others loan ? How much a after school earning now?can survive???

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                                                                                                            • Hom

                                                                                                              You can live with RM10 per day. If you go to children's Primary School to eat.

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