Going Back To School Has Never Been So Expensive


As children across the nation scurry back to school, parents struggle to keep up with the various price hikes that the new school year presents.

These price hikes include the cost of school supplies like stationery and uniforms, tuition fees, bus fares and even canteen food.

Kuala Lumpur-based business owner, Tye Wuey Ping, 40, noted the 20% increment in fees for tuition classes.

Tye, whose children are in Standard Three and Standard Six, told iMoney, “Both my children attend a public school and the costs are still quite reasonable. However, I will be sending my elder child for extra tuition classes this year as she will be sitting for her UPSR.

“I will be sending my daughter to a private tutor to improve her Bahasa Malaysia. From what I heard from my friends, this private tutor has raised her fees from RM100 to RM120 this year.”

She added that prices of food sold at the school’s canteen have also increased. “One packet drink now costs RM1, compared to the previous 80 sen,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kavita Rajoo, whose three children – aged between three and 10 – currently attend an international school, said school fees have been increasing since 2015 and is expecting a 5% to 10% increment from year-to-year.

The 35-year-old business owner from Kuala Lumpur shared she has had to cut down on expenditures and lead a more frugal lifestyle in order to cope with these increments.

Families across the nation are becoming more prudent in their spending as well.

Adeline Ee, a 46-year-old homemaker told iMoney that she has decided to drive her children to and fro school herself to save on transportation fees.

Many parents could soon follow suit as the Federation of Malaysian School Bus Operators Association told Free Malaysia Today that bus operators will likely increase their fares this year due to the rising cost of operation and a lack of subsidy support from the government.

The picture is made even bleaker by some unscrupulous retailers who have been using the Goods and Services Tax (GST) (implemented from April last year), and the current economic situation as excuses to indiscriminately raise prices.

Some parents claim that prices of essential school items have risen by as much as 30% to 50%.

Ipoh-based housewife S. Logammal Leelavathy, 52, told The Star she was shocked that the prices of school uniform have gone up more than twofold.

The mother of two children, aged 15 and 17 said that a set of uniforms used to cost only RM30 per pair about two years ago. Now, the cost is RM75 a pair.

“I have to buy at least two pairs for one child, which means I am spending about RM300 on their uniforms alone,” she shared.

Bank manager Aaliyah Sharafuddin also lamented the sharp increase in prices of school essentials as she prepares her children for the new school year.

“Every year I have a budget but when I was shocked that the prices have gone up so much,” the 39-year-old told The Malay Mail, adding that she needs to spend more on items such as shoes, t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms this year.

Elsewhere, bank executive Wan Mazlan, 39, tells the The Malay Mail that parents have no choice but to purchase these items even with the massive price increments, since they are required for school.

In December, the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) conducted the nationwide “Ops Catut Back to School” operations to check on the prices of school items throughout the country and found several traders suspected of increasing the prices of school uniforms and other items in several states.

These traders have been issued notices and have to report to the KPDNKK office before January 1 to give a reason for increasing the prices of their goods.

If you think that the year 2015 has been a rough ride, don’t bank on 2016 being any easier. As a matter of fact, with higher electricity rates and potential toll hikes (yes, again), the cost of living may go up even more.

In times like these, it would be wise to step up your financial game to cope with any financial uncertainties headed your way.

Choosing the right financial product becomes essential to cope with these rising costs. Find out which credit card can help you save as you spend!

Image from The Malaysian Insider

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