With the living cost rising faster than your income and savings, it is no wonder there are many Malaysians found to be snacking on cup noodles towards the end of the month (especially students; been there, done that).
To survive in such a tragedy, it is important for one to know how much money is going out of their pocket.
In addition to the many money-saving tips found online, we are here to offer you some more practical tips that allows you to save money and still not overly-restrict you from doing what makes you happy!
1. Pack lunch from home
Why: A healthier option and cost WAY cheaper than buying food elsewhere. You have more control over your menu and decide on your potions.
What can you do: There are plenty of simple lunch recipes online and one of the easiest approach is to make ‘slow-cooker’ meals that will be ready to be packed when you wake up before getting ready for work or classes.
2. Cancel your gym subscription
Why: Gym subscriptions average about RM100 a month and possibly even more. Unless you’re one who has the stamina to go to the gym every day, the cost is usually not worth the monthly subscription.
What you can do: Jog at the park or consider calisthenics/home workouts if you’re into muscle building. If you insist on going to the gym, choose the pay-per-entry ones; most of these gyms charge you RM5 per entry; but if you INSIST on going for a subscription-based model: Download Kiple, browse through our deals, and give ProFitness a try and sign up for a trial class for only RM30 before you commit to an annual plan.
3. Opt for cashback deals and products
Why: At times, you may not feel like packing your food from home or cook your meals so let’s follow the path of an opportunist. There are plenty of applications nowadays (especially food) that can snag you a deal or two and potentially help you save a quick ringgit. Accumulate that over time and that’s a free meal!
What you can do: Install Kiple (it’s not just a blatant advertisement of our product, it’s really worth it!). Get a 10% cashback for your purchase so your wallet won’t dry out so fast and you still have enough credit to treat yourself to a meal once in a while! Why wait to be in a cashless society right?
4. Bring your own water bottle!
Why: Water is an essential, cheap yet good for your health (unless you order a cup in the restaurant, that’s RM0.50 to RM1.00). How about drinking water from your own bottle instead?
What you can do: Bring your water bottle with you wherever you go, quench that thirst and you are less likely to have urges to buy other drinks elsewhere.
5. Don’t shop when you’re hungry!
Why: There’s a saying that goes about “not making decisions when you’re angry and not agreeing to terms when you’re happy”. This is somewhat similar, where you do not do impulse buying on things you might potentially not consume later on.
What you can do: Do grocery shopping when you’re full. That way you are less likely to be driven by your cravings on unnecessary snacks. I have personally practised this for years and haven’t filled my cart with unnecessary snacks in years; it’s really effective!
6. Know your ‘wants’ and ‘needs’
Why: It is important to differentiate what you will essentially need vs what you want. Your needs are essential for you to proceed with something, but your wants are just options which you can choose to omit and still not affect the outcome.
What you can do: Before buying something, ask yourself if you really need it. Yes? Put it in the cart. No? Set aside and buy it later if it’s necessary.
7. Understand your electricity
Why: Electricity bills aren’t cheap and with you in charge of the utilities, this is most definitely one of the most expensive ones you’ll have to incur (especially households with the new digital meter, it’s a pain I know). There are plenty of ways to save electricity, but how many of us actually do it?
What you can do: Iron your clothes in bulk (saves the effort of charging up the heat again), use the washing machine once in 2-3 days instead of daily (you also save water) and try using fans more than air conditioners whenever possible (Malaysia is like a running oven, but at times, it’s a mind-over-matter thing where the fan is sufficient). Setting your air conditioner temperature of 25 degrees instead of 16 degrees halves the electric usage, according to TNB! And of course, the most basic one of all that we often overlook: Turn off your electrical devices when you’re not using!
8. Plan plan plan!
Why: Plan your purchases ahead so you can have a rough idea of what you need to buy and what needs to be restocked around the house. Whenever possible, get your goods from the wet market instead of the supermarket. Even if you’ll have to wake up earlier, the goods are fresher and cheaper!
What you can do: Go to the market weekly and buy what you need for the upcoming week. That way you’ll also have your meals planned ahead for the week! Mark your calendars on the upcoming mega sales, year-end sales and even festive sales! Retails like AEON has member days a few times in a year, these times if you spend a certain amount in multiples, you’d get cash vouchers which can be redeemed and used throughout the year.
9. Be an informed purchaser
Why: Various times of the year there would be fairs for products like home décor, baby necessities and even tech gadgets. It is highly advisable for you to get an approximate price range of the goods because a lot of the times, merchants usually don’t alter or increase the price! Many patrons have the general idea that whatever is on a fair is usually a greater deal (yeah, to the merchants maybe).
What you can do: This suggestion usually applies to people who plan to purchase expensive items. Keep an eye of things that you might need, keep track of the current price elsewhere and compare it during fairs. A personal encounter I had was my parents purchasing a stove along with some gifts for RM3,899 and weeks after I saw that someone else purchased the exact product with the exact gifts 1 month earlier from me at another fair, for RM 3,299! Lesson learned!
10. Restrict your expenditure!
Why: Planning your budget will allow you to keep track of how much money is going in and out your pocket. Creating a budget sheet will give you more control towards your spending. By adhering to the budgeting, you will most likely NOT spend the last 10 days of the month surviving on cup noodles!
What you can do: Write it down on paper or use your phone! It might seem a little troublesome but note down every necessary expenditure, give it a little round off and sum it all. Take your allowance or income and deduct the expenditure. That way you’ll know how much you have by the end of the month.