Clever ways to minimize transportation costs in MalaysiaVincent Tan
According to the Ministry of Finance in 2016, on average Malaysians spend 31.2% of their disposable income on food and food away from home; 23.9% on petrol, housing and utilities; and 14.6% on transport. This means that more than a third of Malaysian wages are spent just to be mobile and to commute to places. In more developed countries such as Australia, only less than 15% of wages are spent on transportation costs. As the overall cost of living continues to increase, here are some clever ways to minimize transportation costs in Malaysia:
Choose your home carefully
It is undeniable that houses nearer to the city and houses with public transportation nearby tend to be more expensive. However, there will surely be bargains and if the mathematics is correct, one can actually save more in the longer run if they were to stay nearer to their work place or be able to utilise public transportation more often.
Take the train
Public transportation in Malaysia is undeniably cheaper compared with that of private transportation. There are even special fare rates for senior citizens and students. Besides saving on petrol and car ownerships costs, taking public transportation is friendlier to the environment.
Assuming that you work in a place where utilising public transportation is totally not viable and that the only option is to drive. Try looking at common thread forums and even ask around your colleagues if there is a possibility of carpooling. The cost of travelling will reduce substantially when divided between two or more people. The only downside to this arrangement is that everyone’s timetable has to match.
E-hailing rides are as common, if not more compared with taxis ten years ago. The beauty about e-hailing or ride-sharing rides is that it somewhat eliminates the need of owning the car. Owning a car can be expensive. Besides the monthly hire-purchase commitment, there’s insurance, upkeep and running cost to think about. If utilising e-hailing rides is cheaper than owning a car, then go for it.
Use loyalty cards for fuel
Almost all, if not all major petrol stations in Malaysia have some form of loyalty cards. Be sure to sign for up them and be sure to fully understand and utilise the benefits. You could be pleasantly surprised just how much savings you can get from being a frequent patron of a particular petrol station.
Of course there are many other ways to cut commuting costs such as getting a new job, buying a newer more fuel efficient car, biking or scootering to work, shifting homes etc. However, in the Malaysian context some of these methods might not be economically viable or the safety aspects would not justify the costs savings. In essence, do your calculation and conduct some basic research on what works best for you.