Shopping Experiment 1: How Many Toiletries Can You Get with RM100?

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Shopping Experiment 1: How Many Toiletries Can You Get with RM100?

Image source: freepik

During the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, toiletries or personal care items were mainly taxed at 6%. Now that we’re currently enjoying a rare tax holiday, prices of such items are much lower than usual.

Come September 1 when the Sales and Services Tax (SST) will take effect, prices of toiletries or personal care items like skincare products or cosmetics will hopefully remain unchanged, or better, become cheaper. In the previous SST regime, the said products were not taxed.

I’ve done a few grocery shopping experiments before, where I bought grocery items such as cooking ingredients, fresh meat products, and chilled or frozen items with only RM50.

This time, I’m doing a shopping experiment where I’ll buy household and day-to-day items with a budget of RM100.

Check out how many toiletries I managed to get with an average budget of RM100.

My shopping mission

I wanted to get toiletries that I personally need and use (in smaller quantity or packaging), with a budget of only RM100, which is lower than the usual amount that I normally spend at a pharmacy where I get my stuff.

I also wanted to see how long the products last.

Related: How Will SST Impact Prices? 5 Things Consumers Should Know

Items I personally need

Image: Freepik

These are the things I normally need and buy at the pharmacy:

Toiletries/Personal care items
Shower gel
New toothbrush
Facial cleanser
Sanitary napkins
Shaving cream
Lip balm


I normally buy the items in larger quantity or packaging, with a budget of RM150-RM300.

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

Items I managed to get with RM100

Since I’m a Watsons member, I mostly shop for my toiletries there, so the prices mentioned are based on the pharmacy (there may be slight differences in terms of pricing at different pharmacies or stores).

With a budget of RM100, I managed to get 8 items. Here’s the list of items purchased:

Toiletries/Personal Care Items Price
Nivea Visage Deodorant Roll-On Dry Comfort RM10.66
Lifebuoy Moisture Plus Shower Gel 300ml RM6.50
Naturals By Watsons Argan Shampoo RM6.98
Colgate Twister Medium 1x Toothbrush (with Head Cover) RM4.33
Colgate Naturals Pure Fresh Toothpaste 40g RM3.77
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser 125ml RM21.09
Laurier Super Slimguard Normal To Heavy Day 16S RM12.60
Rosken Skin Repair Cream 250g RM31.50


For the sake of sticking to my RM100 budget, I had to forgo conditioner, floss, razors, shaving cream, lip balm, and sunblock.  

Related: 7 Things You Shouldn’t Do if You Live in an Expensive City

How long do they last?

Since I have a small budget, I had to buy the items in a smaller quantity or packaging. I used some of the items on a daily basis (e.g. deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, facial cleanser, and moisturiser), and they lasted about 1-3 months.

If I used the same products daily in larger quantity or packaging, they could last between 3-5 months.

Personally, I prefer to shop with a bigger budget and get everything I need at a go, so I won’t have to waste my time and energy making trips to the pharmacy every other week.

Related: 8 Smart Gadgets to Track Your Fitness and Improve Your Health

8 savvy tips to use your toiletries, and the simple hacks to extend their shelf lives

Image source: Freepik

Some toiletries or personal care items have a shorter shelf life. As a rule, if a product changes in texture, colour, or has a strange smell, it’s time to throw it away. Follow these simple tips and hacks on how to use your toiletries and extend the shelf life:

Shampoos and conditioners
1. For opened bottles of shampoos and conditioners, the shelf life is 18 months. If you’re using them longer than 18 months, you’re at risk of getting a scalp infection.  
2. Store your shampoo and conditioner in a cool, dark place when not being used to increase the shelf life.
3. Buy shampoos and conditioners that are in tubes or spray containers. This will minimise the chances of water droplets or oxygen from getting inside the products and spoiling them.

Lotions and sunscreens
1. Typically an open bottle of sunscreen can last six to 12 months. Avoid using them longer than a year to avoid painful sunburn.
2. Face and body lotions can last from 1-3 years. Purchase lotions in pump or squeeze bottles to minimise the transfer of bacteria from your hands to the product.

Other products
1. Avoid dipping your fingers directly into a product. Doing so could add microorganisms, such as fungi (mold and yeast) and bacteria, into it.
2. Don’t expose the products to moisture, such as in a bathroom, to avoid fungal and bacterial growth.
3. To prevent the products from changing in texture or colour or becoming smelly, avoid storing them in a high-temperature room or exposing them to air and sunlight.

Related: 6 Awesome Home Services in Malaysia That Make Your Life Easier

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