These were my dinners since the last grocery run…
Sunday: Lamb slices, mushroom slices, bok choy, garlic and egg stir fry over some elbows.
Monday: 炒伊面 Fried Yee Mee (Egg Noodles) with lamb slices, bok choy, mushroom slices, tomato and garlic
Tuesday: 豆签 Dao Chim (Soy Bean Noodles) Soup with chicken slices, mushroom slices, romaine lettuce, tomato and egg.
Wednesday: Elbows, bok choy and chicken slices over prepacked Japanese vegetable curry.
Thursday (today, as I am writing this): A mug of BG22 oats with milk, an apple and an orange. Not worthy of a picture. I think the only meal that my mom would approve of is this meal without picture.
They all look lovely, don’t they? It would appear to most that I don’t seem too affected with GST. Except that if you know me, you would probably know that if things are that straightforward, I wouldn’t be blogging about it, would I?
You see, I lead a quite regimented lifestyle. I love to plan ahead for almost everything in my life, and that includes my meal budget. Over the past few years, I have been setting a budget of RM 500 per month for my dinners. This includes the cost of grocery for when I cook on most days, and the occasional eating out. I tend to budget higher for weekends and for eating out. To not bore you with details, let’s just say that I try to keep my home cooked dinners at a cost of between RM 10 – RM 12 per meal.
Now let’s closely scrutinize my meals. First thing I want you to notice is that there’s elbows, egg noodles, soy bean noodles, elbows again. All carbs. These are things that I usually have once or twice a week, not every day. But I had no choice but to use them if I want to keep the cost of my dinners same as pre GST times.
The lamb slices on my Sunday and Monday meals? It was a box of 6 slices of lamb. On pre GST times, I would use the whole box for one meal. In other words, the ingredients for Sunday and Monday meals would only be Sunday meal, without the noodles. But post GST, that box of lamb slices went from RM 7-ish to RM 11-ish. Plus the egg and vegetables and mushrooms and I would blow my budget by probably 50%. To not blow my budget by 50%, I had to split the ingredients in half and throw some noodles in to ensure that I do not starve.
Then you look at my Japanese curry meal. It looked alright, except that I only used half a piece of chicken breast. The other half went to the bowl of soy bean noodles soup the previous day. On better days, I would be using one whole piece of chicken breast. And I would add the mushrooms. And I would probably go overboard by adding a slice or two of bacon strips. There would also be only one third the amount of elbows used.
What I really want to say is, if you look at my post GST meals, they probably look much the same as pre GST and still pretty decent. And that is how (I think) the government wants us to look at things: look on the high level, everything seems okay, nothing’s changed, the rakyat (people) is still enjoying life as it is.
But if you cut through the bullshit and look into the details, then things are really NOT the same. And we are not talking about 6%, the real, final effect is way more than that. I think this round is much worse compared to the usual price hikes that come with petrol price increase.
I have two options next month. I would either have to start looking hard for cheaper alternatives, or I would have to start budgeting RM 800 for dinners. I really don’t fancy the first option, because the cheaper options are less yummy and if I buy those then I would constantly be angry thinking of how the PM always tell that big fat joke that we are going to be a high income nation by 2019. So I would probably go for the second option.
But there are some people who might not have the second option. For some families, RM 500 could be their monthly meal budget for the entire family. I worry for these families. I think for those of us that can afford it, we should really be on the lookout for ways that we can help our fellow countrymen that needs help.