Making lemonades out of oil…

Can oil be made into lemonade?

Culinary-wise, no. Financial perspective wise- possible. In fact a lucrative survival package seems to await my household if I manage to the turn oil into lemonade. How?

Yesterday during lunch, the husband and I were playing Edward De Bono‘s mind game. The one that we take two things at random and came out with as many crazy ideas as we can and from which we come out with feasible and even business solutions with it. Our 2 items were ‘spoon‘ and ‘rose‘ and we got all funky with several wacky ideas and sentences which relate the word spoon and rose together. Came up with ‘ Rose brand spoons, spoon made with rose petals, a cafe called a spoonful of roses‘ etc… ( it got so wacky we giggled like crazy idiots that a little girl asked why were we talking about spoons and roses and what was so funny about them ).

Last night I couldn’t sleep. The t.v news talk about what else but oil. The papers reported about what else but oil. This topic is beginning to make the aura very stuffy and my face, oily ( forgive the pun ). While the ex-oil man aka the husband had gone to bed, I played a little Edward De Bono’s game myself. My two items were oil and lemon. There is a saying, ‘ When life hands you lemons, make lemonades out of it!‘ so let’s see.

I tried to come up with ideas on how to turn oil ( as in oil price increase issue ) into lemonade ( a metaphor for something that’s lucrative for my household ). It is an easier option ( read:productive ), I reckon– than go on the streets to do protests and hold up ‘sepanduk‘. For one, my flabby arms can’t hold up that long, what more to hold a banner and next, really… I rather watch Gilmore Girls on dvd than do that.

As reported, oil price increase = consumable goods price increase. So how do I go about making sure we still survive on our monthly budget, without creating a deficit in our savings account ? How to deal with the price increase without whining about it but winning from it ? Bearing in mind that the husband’s scholarship for his post grad here remains stagnant in value—oil increase or not. And with my homeschooling/home tutoring job, parents in the future might want to tutor their kids themselves and use the money to tank up, who knows right?

So first thing first.

KITCHEN

Vintage rules. Be less fancy-schmancy and go vintage. My mother survived years and years washing our clothes with FAB/BREEZE detergents and we still went to school with clean clothes. So I don’t think I need my 2in1 detergent+softener from a leading Japanese brand anymore. Switching to FAB/BREEZE made in Malaysia can save me at least RM 10 and hey, our clothes will still be clean !

Next, goodbye Body Shop shower/bath gels and shampoo. As a little girl I grew up scrubbed clean by sabun LUX and Kao brand shampoo, and then in my late teens, Rejoice. Yes, the range from Body Shop makes me smell oh so nice and sensual but the ultimate objective is to be clean and I can achieve that objective too with LUX and KAO, thank you. That, when I calculated saves me around RM 30.

Made in Malaysia things are next in line. Local products cost a whole lot cheaper than buying imported products. Malaysian milk instead of Australian ones, beras pilihan BERNAS instead of Moghul Basmati, Boh tea instead of Dilmah and other fancy brands. ( Boh ada oooomph, but I digress..) Pasar Tani and Tesco instead of Bangsar’s Village Grocer/Cold Storage… you get the idea. Hypermarkets brandings are cheaper too and not necessarily inferior in quality as I have found and tested. And cook simple, without indulging on the fancy ingredients to replicate Donna Hay/Nigella Lawson/Jamie Oliver taste buds . ( sorry husband, there goes your Goulasche ). All in all, after calculating the cost of re-branding my larder and fridge contents, I found it all adds up to savings of about RM 200 a month!

Next, eat at home 6 days a week, and award only 1 rest day from cooking. Calculation shows that for 2 people meal per day, it mounts up to just Rm 10 in ingredients. Per meal eating out, we can spend an average of RM 30, excluding driving to the destination, parking, toll etc. Cons: Increase cooking and cleaning. Pros: healthier food sans msg and what nots, more blessings from food cooked from the ‘air tangan istri’, saving up to RM 20 per day, improve culinary skills as practice makes perfect and better control of the amount consume hence better weight management.

LIFESTYLE

I looked through both our wardrobes. Both the husband and I have enough clothes for all occasions-formal, smart, casual, special events and travel. All in good condition and even if they are not top of the line hip and trendy, we have enough clothes not to be arrested for indecent exposure. So no more shopping for clothes till next year. Not even for Raya because we both got gifts of outfits we have not even worn because no formal occasion for the past 6 months. So they can do for Raya. Shoes we have too. It is good that the husband’s feet are so huge that his size is hardly found here. So he makes it a point to buy it only once a year when he’s back in Germany for Christmas. And I have 3 pairs, so that should do, till their soles beg to die peacefully. That settled, there isn’t a need to gallivant during the Malaysia Mega sale.

Finally, TRANSPORTATION.

I work from home so I need not spend on transport. That settled. The husband only needs to drive to campus. We live about ten minutes walk to the humongous shopping mall and a hypermart where we can get anything and everything. So now instead of driving there, I think we should start walking there. That will save on petrol and parking. And to go to anywhere around the neighborhood, the husband has his blue racer while I have my yellow bike. Pelan pelan kayuh beb!

In total after detailed estimation, the total savings our household can save in a month with these new changes actually mounts up to RM 830. So let’s say if the petrol price hike will make us spend about an extra RM150 per month, if we go by this plan, we will still have RM 680 in access, living just as comfortably but with added value to our lives! Who says we can’t have our cake and savour it? Or have our lemonade and drink it? 😛

And let’s see, with the extra ringgits saved, we can 1) create a buffer for future price increase i.e bak kata pepatah, sediakan payung sebelum hujan. 2) use it as a small capital to do online business which insya Allah will multiply itself. Didn’t the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said that 9 out of 10 rezeki/blessings in this world come from doing business? With petrol increase, I foresee people will resort to online shopping, no ? 3) Save up for what we enjoy most– backpacking ! ( OR– save up to go back for Raya and/or Christmas. RM to my home currency is now at 2.36 and to Euro is now at 5.10.. yikes ! )

So I am done. Gosh… HOW did I get this far ??? It was just meant to be a game because I couldn’t sleep!

But really, oil can turn into lemonade. One just needs to think out of the box. 🙂 So said Mr Edward De Bono !

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7 thoughts on “Making lemonades out of oil…

  1. Interesting reading 🙂

    With oil prices all over the world increasing … it’s inevitable that people have to start living cautiously.

    I started by using as little electricity as necessary. Started saving groceries also, which can be good for my health, as I suspect I’ve been eating too much lately 😀

  2. Darling!!

    You are the WOMAN! I can just kiss you and hugs you for writing this wonderful inspirational piece, with calculation and all!
    (and you said math is not your strongest subject 😉 )

    I was feeling a bit down reading the newspaper (terpaksa cos I have to do research), so your entry really bounce me back to hopeful and energetic state.

    May you be blessed for putting this excellent piece out in this blogging world and more people will be inspired to turn their oil into lemonade 😉

  3. Heru,
    Udah gendut ah??
    Then our buffet double date in JKT end of this month how? 😛

    Zieha,
    To survive, people would do anything, and in my case, maths! arrrrghhh..
    😛

  4. Being a ‘gendut’ person will not deter me and ira to munch those delicious baby lobster sauteed in mongolian style, hehehe.

  5. Wow! I am insipired to do the same…sit down and think of how to minimize cost, especially since we are starting afresh by moving into our 0wn home!

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