average monthly expenses covid-19 malaysia
Money Management

Comparing My Average Monthly Expenses Before & After Covid-19

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Did Covid-19 change the way you spend money?

Common sense said it did. Almost everyone has been affected by the pandemic, in one way or another (notably, following MCO rules to the best of our ability, correct not). Most people are spending more on groceries and online shopping, and less on everything else and offline purchases.

This is my guess based on what the media reported, but how true is that statement in my personal life?

So I thought, hey why not make a direct comparison of my spending pattern, before and after Covid-19 hit? In what way did my personal spending change, in each expense category? I can do this. I track my expenses. I have the data.

For the purpose of this article, I’ll be using,

  • Before Covid-19: My average monthly spending per category (as recorded in My Total Income and Expenses in 2019)
  • During Covid-19: Data collected since MCO started on 18 March 2020 until time of writing, (almost exactly 3 months worth of data)

Expenses Comparison: Before & After Covid-19

CategoryBefore Covid-19 (from 2019 Expenses Data)During Covid-19 (from 3 Months' Data)Comments
Utilities & RentRM1,292.96RM972.34Average reduced as landlady (bless her) waived one month's rent
BusinessRM1,271.90RM2103.79Coincided with #MYMoneyStories book printing & distribution
Dates & TravelRM1,240.16RM15.83What travel?
Donations & GiftsRM634.05RM2,957.35Biggest increase. Happy to do it
GroceriesRM495.32RM513.17Surprisingly more or less the same
Insurance & MedicalRM454.39RM166.33Maintained medical card and PA insurance. Reduced as no longer seeing chiropractor
Public TransportationRM377.44RM43.38Significantly reduced travel. Also used up SOCAR credit
Misc NeedsRM354.44RM340.37This seems to be my average, MCO or no
Misc WantsRM345.74RM36.66Didn't buy much non-necessaries
SocialRM354.44RM6.57Friends, I miss you!
FoodRM116.48RM141.63Increased non-groceries food expenses. Ok la, was puasa also
MobileRM80RM66.70Lucky enough to be able to generate enough referrals to offset mobile cost
Total average expenses per monthRM6,864.73RM7,364.12Roughly RM500 increase, but mostly due to Donations & Gifts category


As you can see:

  • Biggest increases are in categories: Donations & Gifts and Business
  • Biggest decreases are in categories: Dates & Travel, Insurance & Medical, Public Transportation, Misc Wants & Social
  • No or minimal changes in categories: Groceries, Misc Needs, Food (Non-Groceries) & Mobile
  • Overall, my expenses actually increased by almost RM500, if compared before and after Covid-19. Mostly due to Donations

Old me would be worried about appearing to be humblebragging, but new me embraces and – dare I say it – is proud of my own actions. I didn’t just encourage people to donate, I also put my money where my mouth is. Almost RM3k per month in donations is really stretching my budget but if there’s a worthy YOLO occasion, this is it.

How has Covid-19 affected your monthly expenses? Which expense categories significantly increased and decreased for you? Let me know in the comments section 🙂

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  1. Wow, that’s a very minimal increase. *claps*

    I dont normally go to the gym, but started exercising regularly in MCO.
    So, I spend some money on getting 2 dumbbells, pullup bars and protein powder as i started putting on gains.

    My utilities shot above the roof this month after the adjustment. Also, bought more gifts for my parents.

    1. Kind of envious of people who got fit during the MCO… Where y’all got the motivation, I want to know the secret. I went the opposite route 🙁

      Re: utilities – you can ask them to re-review right? That’s what I read la

  2. My food expense increased alot cause of food delivery like foodpanda/grab/dahmakan everyday, every meal. Too busy,tired,lazy to cook, am WFH. Didnt go outside to tapau, front of my neighborhood (scared of covid) even it is much cheaper.
    I wish i can eat maggi everyday, cheaper and quick . But am worried it gonna cost my health in future. Better cost money than health.

    1. Experience was good. The only con is cost, I think. It’s not the most affordable alternative treatment. Spine-cracking felt so good though

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