Image: International Business Times
Does this happen to you often: you get your pay, you pay off all your bills, you have enough spending money to last till the end of the month, then BOOM; one day later, you're out of money and eating Maggi mee for the rest of the month.
Don't be ashamed; these things happen to the best of us sometimes.
So, if you’re so broke right now and you need a way out, then you're in luck!
Follow these steps and we guarantee that you'll have more than enough money left by the end of the month.
1. Have a no-spend month
Finance journalist Michelle McGagh had a no-spend year. She saved £22,000 (approximately RM120,000). Basically, a no-spend month means you don’t spend on anything except the essential expenses such as bills, insurance and groceries. Define what you can’t go without and forgo the rest.
2. Stop confusing needs and wants
“I neeeed the new iPhone!” No, you don’t. You want it. Newsflash: you won’t die without it.
3. Save the leftovers
At the end of every day, if you have any RM1 or RM5 notes in your wallet, take them out and put them in the piggy bank.
4. If you can’t afford it, quit it
Smoking, drinking, gambling, partying and artisanal coffees; sometimes these habits break the bank.
5. Two’s company
Get two bank accounts. Mark one for income and bills. Mark the other for savings.
6. Automate your savings
You’ll save even before you start spending.
7. Desperate measures
Freeze your credit cards and hide them in the freezer. Really compulsive shoppers should cut up their credit cards.
8. Do it yourself
Whether it’s fixing torn seams or unclogging the toilet, you could save thousands by doing your own repairs.
9. Check receipts and scan registers
We would like to think every Malaysian has this down pat.
10. Check automated monthly recurring payments
You might be paying for subscriptions you barely use.
11. Create a budget
You can create really cool budgets with a bullet journal, Microsoft Excel and apps like Spendee and You Need a Budget.
12. Withdraw a set amount of cash
Use only that to pay for expenses for the rest of the month.
13. Adopt the envelope method
At the start of each month, withdraw cash to cover all the spending categories. Put a set amount into an envelope for each category. Once you’re out of cash in, say, the “Entertainment” category, you’re done spending on entertainment until the next month rolls over.
14. Record every single sum you spend
At the end of the day or at the amount of spending, record it. You’ll be more cautious of how much you spend if you acknowledge it.
15. Break up with your bank
If your bank’s maintenance fees are way too high for you, it’s time to say buh-bye!
Pulling the plugs whenever you aren’t using your housing appliances will lower energy usage and your electricity bill.
17. Cancel newspapers and magazine subscriptions
Buy only what you really need.
18. Use discount coupons and vouchers
DISCOUNTS & DEALS
From bank and credit card discounts to “We’re sorry we delivered your pizza late” vouchers, we’re not lacking in bargains. Shopback gives you cash back every time you spend money.
Take advantage of birthday freebies, happy hours, ladies nights etc.
20. PTPTN relief
According to the 2017 Budget, loan holders get 15% off if they pay the balance off all at once. There are other discounts too.
21. Use shopping apps such as Entertainer and Fave to get discounts
But avoid this if you're a shopaholic because you may be tempted to spend more just to feel like you actually get your money's worth
22. Use company benefits
You could be covered in so many ways, such as insurance, petrol coverage, discounts on company and affiliates’ products or properties.
23. Keep your eyes open for giveaways and contests
Freebies Land Malaysia and Giveaway Contest in Malaysia update you on all giveaways in the country.
24. Eat out less
We hate to say it, but food costs a bomb. Even roti canai costs at least RM1.20 these days. So, stay in and cook up a storm.
25. Cook your leftovers
Use whatever’s in the fridge and create new recipes. You can also take it easy on yourself and use Supercook
26. Go vegetarian every other week
You'll save so much on groceries brcause veggies cost a lot less. 1kg of chicken breasts – RM11.87, 1kg of beef – RM24.21 but 1kg of potatoes? Only RM 3.98. Do the math.
27. Bring your own stuff
Pre-packed lunch/dinner/drink/beer and you can still spend time with your friends and co-workers
28. Free exercise
Stop paying RM120/month gym fees. Go jogging at a park or go swimming in the local pool. If you have a gym in your school/condo/workplace, use it.
29. Get a low-maintenance hairstyle
Rid yourself of the need to maintain your perm or dyed hair. If you have short hair, you’ll also use less shampoo and blow-dry your hair less often.
30. Get a free haircut
Hairdressing academies such as Snips International require live models for their students’ graduation hair shows. So, you can volunteer yourself as tribute.
31. Switch telcos
Don't get tied into a contract because this prevents you from getting a better deal. If your telco is charging you RM100 for 10 GB while you only really use 1 GB a month, you’re giving your money away.
32. Free communication methods are your new best friends
Forget SMSes; Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, Telegram, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram chat will help you cut down on your phone bills. Thank goodness for the internet.
33. Befriend your library
Be like Belle. Get free books. Many libraries also have surprisingly large DVD collections.
34. Go to book exchanges
Book exchange spots are sprouting up all over the Klang Valley from KL Book Exchange to Subang Parade to The Curve.
35. Netflix and chill
You don’t have to throw out your newly bought LED TV but you can cut your pay TV subscription. Get iflix or share a Netflix plan with your friends.
36. Share a Spotify account with your family
Better yet, just listen to free music for on YouTube or radio stations.
37. The more, the merrier
If you're renting a whole apartment just for yourself, consider getting some housemates.
38. Move back in with your parents
Renting in KL is just too much. And with low pay and loans to pay, times are hard. Don’t judge, okay?
39. Shop at your local pasar
Whether it’s the pasar pagi
or pasar malam
, you can always get better prices there.
40. Shop at less expensive supermarkets
Instead of shopping at a high-end supermarket where a box of cherries can cost RM80, choose supermarkets that are friendlier to your wallet such as Giant, Tesco, and AEON BIG.
41. Use generic brands
Well-known brands usually cost a lot more than generic brands. Compare the ingredients. If the ingredients are 90% similar, use the generic brand.
42. Don't buy things at full prices
Buy things during sales and warehouse sales: year end/New Year’s Eve, CNY, mid-year, clearance sale, Raya sales, Deepavali sales. Bookmark Everyday On Sales
for updates on all sales in Malaysia.
43. Go preloved
From apps such as Carousell to charity shops such as Kedai Bless to Buy and Sell Facebook groups, you can get nearly anything for a fraction of the original price.
44. Compare prices
Online or offline, always compare prices.
45. Borrow, borrow, borrow
Instead of buying something brand new, borrow what you need from your friends and family members.
46. Do a clothes swap
Need new clothes? Don't buy, shop from your friends’ closets instead. The swap could be temporary or permanent. You set the rules.
47. Shop at Pasar Percuma
As the name suggests, all the items are free. But do express your gratitude to the giver.
48. Bring water everywhere
If you’ve been buying mineral water (minimum RM1.80 at convenience stores) daily, you’re wasting at least RM657 a year.
49. Have less expensive date nights
Google “cheap/free date ideas”. You’ll see at least 30 ways to save your Ringgit. Play Monopoly. Have a movie marathon at home. Build a fort in your garden. Go hiking.
50. Everybody loves free events
Community games, swing dance sessions, arthouse film screenings and art festivals; there are countless events you can attend FOC.
51. Be a hermit
If you really want to save up to 70% of your income, be a homebody. Stay home and you could see your expenses go down by as much as RM300-RM1000 a month.
52. Use public transport more often
Lesser cars on the road is a good thing. Less traffic for the rest of us. *winks* Good for our environment too.
53. Carpool and split the expenses
We heard you can share rides using Grab nowadays.
54. Drive a cheaper car
Something that doesn’t guzzle so much petrol and something that doesn’t cost a thousand in regular loan payments.