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Need or Lifestyle? One is needed, the other is expensive.

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coffee and cake near book

We are staying in Malaysia. We do have choices. Think about Need or Lifestyle? One is actually needed, the other is expensive. Do take a look at the image below. Translated into English, it is as follows: “Actually, our needs are cheap. The expensive one is called lifestyle.”

The words came from someone whom I regard as an expert in both personal finance and property investment; Azizul Azli. Do LIKE his FB page and you will get lots of advice and tips regularly. By the way, he does not know that I am writing this article. Happy learning from him yeah.

need or lifestyle

Truly need the drinking or enjoying the feeling?

Every other week, I will buy freshly roasted coffee beans. I have a good friend who brews lattes for me when he’s free or when I ask for it. Of course, I will need to drop by his home to get it but it’s totally okay for me. Oh yeah, my latest purchase as below:

A pack of 250gm of arabica coffee beans is around RM30. If we buy 1kg, the price gets cheaper. Anyway, typical ratio is 10gm of coffee to 180ml of water. Then, you add in your milk for latte. In other words, a 250gm pack could theoretically yield 25 cups. This is around RM1 per cup. So, why are we paying so much for a cup of coffee in a cafe? Ahem… the barista’s salary… the rental of the cafe… the cleaning services… the air-con and the extensive renovations and many more.

This is why, if it is a need… then we could drink at home for probably RM1 per cup or RM2.50 per cup in your local mamak and it will become RM15 in a cafe. If we JUST want to drink coffee, then it is a need. If we WANT to drink coffee and enjoy the chit-chats with friends in a nice environment, then of course we need to prepared to pay for the lifestyle. It’s no longer considered a need.

How much could we save theoretically if we focus on need vs lifestyle for 10 years?

I drink coffee daily. If that’s used, then it’s RM1 x 365 days x 10 years = RM3,650.

If I drink coffee in a cafe daily. Then it’s RM15 x 365 days x 10 years = RM54,750.

Suddenly you realise where your money has disappeared within the past 10 years? Of course, it may not be that bad. We do not go to a cafe every day. Perhaps we only go to a cafe every week? That’s RM15 x 52 x 10 = RM7,800 Still substantial because we would definitely still need to spend to buy coffee on days we did not go to the cafe, right? This is just about coffee by the way. It does not include all the other lifestyle needs.

Should we spend less then?

If this is the question, then the answer is NO. Everyone should just spend what they like. What we needed to do is to EARN ENOUGH money to support the lifestyle we want. We must not be financing our lifestyle with borrowings a.k.a credit cards yeah. Too many people are spending more than what they have and that’s the real problem. It’s not where we drink our coffee actually.

Just look at the salaries of some of the CEOs in the listed companies here in Malaysia. They can drink any coffee they want in any cafe they want and they could even do it for every meal, not just once per day. So, the real question is not whether we want to drink coffee in kopitiam or the cafe. The question is what are we doing to earn more so that we could then decide where is the venue we want to drink our coffee.

Need or Lifestyle? One is needed, the other is expensive. Think thoroughly and perhaps decide logically based on what we could really afford. Make lifestyle become affordable by earning much more than most other Malaysians. Then, no one would question if we should spend RM1 or RM15 for a coffee everyday. Remember, for lots of personal finance tips, click to follow kopiandproperty or Azizul Azli yeah.


Please take care and let’s beat COVID-19 sooner so that we can drop by our favourite cafe for coffee. Once in a while, I think it’s okay. If you like to understand more about coffee and latte, here’s some reading.

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