Grocery Experiment 2: How Many Fresh Seafood, Meat & Poultry Items Can You Get with RM50?

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Grocery Experiment 2: How Many Fresh Seafood, Meat & Poultry Items Can You Get with RM50?

Image source: u_rt5bpvly/Pixabay

With GE14 wrapping up, Malaysians are still waiting anxiously whether the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be abolished or not. Despite having the lowest GST rate in ASEAN and one of the lowest in the world at 6%, most Malaysians are still feeling the pinch.  

This is mainly because of the rising cost of living, which leaves quite a lot of us unable to make long-term savings and investments. Top that off with the decline in purchasing power due to wages being too low.

In its 2017 Annual Report, Bank Negara points out that the expenditure of the bottom 40% (B40) of Malaysian households has expanded at a faster pace compared with their income. Meanwhile, about half of working Malaysians only earned less than the national median of RM1,703 in 2016.

While we wait for the official announcement regarding the abolishment of GST, we should continue to keep track of our expenses and budget accordingly.

Essential food items such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, chicken, fish, meat, and others, including medicine, books as well as RON95 petrol and diesel are all zero-rated or exempted from the GST.

In the first grocery experiment, I tried purchasing essential cooking ingredients with a budget of RM50. This time, let’s see how many fresh seafood, meat, and poultry items I can get with the same amount.

My shopping mission

Image source: Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay

I’m cooking for four people on a daily basis, so I need to find out whether the RM50 budget is enough to get the fresh items in the quantity I want that will last for a week.

Although seafood, meat, and poultry are already tax-exempted, I wanted to know whether I can save more by checking out the promotions available on Tesco’s e-Shop.

At the time of shopping, there were two promotions under the fresh foods category, which were: Norwegian Salmon for RM2.99 (before was RM9.99) and Whole Chicken plus Head and Feet for RM5.99 (before was RM8.29).

I decided not to get them as I don’t normally eat salmon, and I don’t need the whole chicken.

Related: 7 Things You Should Never Skimp on to Save Money

So, here’s a list of fresh seafood, meat, and poultry that I purchased with RM50:

With RM50, I managed to get 8 items, and the total of my purchase was RM49.95:

Here’s a list showing all my purchase details.

Items

Price

Australia/New Zealand Lamb Shoulder

RM3.20/0.1kg
Qplus Large Farm Fresh Egg 6pcs

RM2.69/carton

Chicken Wings

RM4.63/0.37kg
Australian Chilled Beef Minute Steak

RM17.39/280g

Flower Crabs

RM7.45/0.3kg

White Squids

RM8.54/0.36kg
Medium-sized Shrimps

RM6.05/0.22kg


If we include delivery/service charges (mine was RM8) the actual amount would be RM57.95. If you shop for groceries online at Tesco, there will be delivery/service charges of about RM3 to RM10. Book in advance or a nighttime delivery slot to save more.

Screen grab of my online purchase

Related: 11 Clever Hacks That Will Help You Save Money at the Supermarket

Fast and easy meals you can cook with the fresh foods

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Since I’m always pressed for time, I’m only able to cook dishes that can be done in 30 minutes or less. I work from home, and these are the fast and easy meals that I’m able to cook on a daily basis using the items bought:

  • Black Pepper Mutton – 30 minutes (20 minutes for prep, 10 minutes for cooking)
  • Plain Omelette – 10 minutes
  • Chicken in Soy Sauce – 30 minutes (15 minutes for prep, 15 minutes for cooking)  
  • Ginger Beef – 30 minutes (15 minutes for prep, 15 minutes for cooking)  
  • Tom Yum Seafood – 30 minutes (15 minutes for prep, 15 minutes for cooking)

Related: 5 Simple Hacks to Deal with Malaysia’s Rising Cost of Living

How long do they last?

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Since I cook every day, the items lasted for five days. To be honest, the quantities are not enough for four people.

It seems I need to have a bigger budget in order to actually get the items I need in the quantity I want, which could last at least two to four weeks in the freezer.

If I were to shop for fresh items with a RM50 budget, I’d have to do a weekly shopping, and that would be inconvenient.

Personally, I prefer to spend on such fresh products with a bigger budget and do the shopping once a month. It allows me to save more.

Related: Eat Healthy, Save Environment: 6 Organic Boxes Under RM100 in Malaysia

Save more on fresh products by following the right storage times with a freezer at home

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With the right freezer and storage time/method/temperature, items like seafood, poultry, and meat could last for months.

If you want fresh items to last longer (which allows you to save more), keep them in a freezer at -17° Celsius or below. Check out how long they can last in the freezer:

Category

Food Item

Freezer Storage Time

(-17° Celsius or below)

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork

Steaks 6 to 12 months

Chops

4 to 6 months

Roasts

4 to 12 months

Fresh Poultry

Chicken or turkey, whole 1 year
Chicken or turkey, pieces

9 months

Seafood

Fresh fish, lean 6 months

Fresh fish, fatty

3 months

Smoked fish, packaged

3 months

Scallops, raw

3 months

Squid, raw

3 months

Shrimp, raw

6 months

Other shellfish, raw

3 months

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