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TODAY: With inflation putting the squeeze on families, some give up the frills while others c


SINGAPORE — When his petrol cost started to almost double to S$300 a week last month, warehouse manager Vincent Chok decided to save money by taking the bus from his four-room public housing flat in Punggol to Tai Seng MRT station where his bicycle is parked, and then cycling the last mile to his office in the vicinity.


He has been doing that since but the 42-year-old sole breadwinner for his family of five is not the only one who has had to make adjustments.


On weekdays, his wife now takes the bus to ferry their two younger children to and from preschool — a journey which takes 20 minutes, or twice the duration by car — while his eight-year-old son walks to his school nearby.


“We have to make these adjustments because I can no longer afford to drive the children to school in the morning,” said Mr Chok, who now drives his car only on weekends.

Like him, many other households have resorted to tighten their belts amid rising prices on multiple fronts — ranging from fuel, food to electricity.


Homemaker Lynn Sabari, 51, has completely stopped using air conditioners in her four-room flat in Bedok.


The mother of three children, aged between 11 and 26, also washes clothes only when they reach a full load for the washing machine and constantly reminds her children to switch off all appliances when leaving a room, after her utility bills rose by about S$30 last month.


“Whenever I see the house is brightly lit, I always ask them: ‘Wah, so bright. Today is Hari Raya, is it?’” she quipped.



Homemaker Lynn Sabari has completely stopped using air conditioners in her four-room flat in Bedok. The mother of three children also washes clothes only when they reach a full load for the washing machine.


Similarly, Madam Mala Rai, 44, who has seen her household expenses gone up by about S$200 in recent months, has also made some changes in her household, such as cutting shower time for her entire family by half.


The administrator, who works in the service industry and lives in a five-room flat, said her two sons, aged 10 and 13, used to take showers lasting 10 to 15 minutes but have cut the time to between five and seven minutes after she showed them the utility bills.


Despite such adjustments, the families whom TODAY spoke to said they are digging deeper into their pockets to make ends meet as they try to ride out the inflation storm, which is unlikely to blow over soon.


Similarly, Madam Mala Rai, 44, who has seen her household expenses gone up by about S$200 in recent months, has also made some changes in her household, such as cutting shower time for her entire family by half.


The administrator, who works in the service industry and lives in a five-room flat, said her two sons, aged 10 and 13, used to take showers lasting 10 to 15 minutes but have cut the time to between five and seven minutes after she showed them the utility bills.


Despite such adjustments, the families whom TODAY spoke to said they are digging deeper into their pockets to make ends meet as they try to ride out the inflation storm, which is unlikely to blow over soon.


Inflation, the measure of how fast the prices of goods and services rise, has made headlines in the last few months as the biggest economic challenge of 2022 not just for Singapore, but for many other countries as well.


Since the start of the year, a host of cost pressures — brought about by the surge in economic activity, rising commodity prices and global supply chain disruptions during the Covid-19-pandemic — have been passed to end-consumers around the world in the form of higher prices of goods and services across the board.


And while there were initial hopes that global inflationary pressures would ease over the course of the year, economists now expect global inflation to be higher for longer due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

The latest wave of the Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai, which has sent China’s financial powerhouse into a lockdown, has also threatened to worsen the disruption in the global supply chain.