Last week on March 4th, the EPF published an expenditure guide called ‘Belanjawanku’, which is ‘My Budget’ when translated from Malay. When I heard the news I knew it would be a lightning rod attracting criticism.
And indeed it did. For example, people mocked that it’s impossible to find a rental room in the Klang Valley for RM300 or a house with a mortgage of RM870.
What they miss is that the expenditure guide only reflects the minimum monthly needs in the Klang Valley. It does not mean that the average house mortgage is RM 870 for a family of 4. It means that a family of 4 that is living in low and medium cost housing pays an average mortgage or rent of RM 870. Similarly the RM 1,040 expense for transport is for the ownership of a 1000 cc engine car like a Perodua and not a Honda or Toyota.
Those that mock the ‘Belanjawanku’ are evidently not part of this group and it is not fair for them to comment how unrealistic the budget it. If they are having a hard time saving and investing, then they should come up with their own personal budget instead.
The fact of the matter is that how one spends his or her money is very personal. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Find the big rocks and variable expenses and realistically budget for them.
Even with the limited budget in ‘Belanjawanku, it still suggests a savings of 6%-13% at the end of the day. Now that is a good financial habit to learn, even if you do not agree with the rest of stuff in ‘Belanjawanku’.