10 Eccentric, But Practical Ways To Save Money


Heard of the dumpster diving culture in the West? Or perhaps, you may have watched or heard of American reality shows like Extreme Couponing and Extreme Cheapskates? There are many extreme and weird ways to save some bucks when circumstances demand it.

Although most of these practices may not be applicable in Malaysia, we can still save money using these less-than-conventional ways:

1. Buy in bulk

Have you ever seen people buying things in bulk during certain sales promotion periods? This is not really a new saving tip, but when we say “bulk”, we really mean it.

If you are not planning to buy in great amount, then the savings may not be as significant. This works best with non-perishable goods and items that have long expiry dates. From the usual grocery items like, canned drinks and toiletries to clothes and books, you can always take the wait and see approach (and take advantage of coupons too!) to buy all the things you need or may need at the right time to save up tons.

Things like toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo, are things that you will use regularly and can last for a long time. Whenever there is a big sale, buy a year worth of these items, and you will definitely save by the hundreds.

You can always time your visit for bulk buying by checking online for promotions and deals.

2. Buy food that are close to expiry dates

If you are stocking up on food, consider buying foods that are close to expiring. However, make sure you will be consuming them before the expiry date. Most hypermarkets offer these items at significantly discounted prices to clear their inventories.

Many goods (not drug-related) are still safe to be consumed after their expiry dates if you don’t mind compromising a little on taste and freshness. You can sniff out those that are still in good condition by avoiding bulged or moulded products and using your senses (smell, taste, and touch) well.

You can also get marked-down prices for perishable items at the end of the day too. Do your grocery shopping at night (close to closing time), and grab the fruits, vegetables and meats at discounted price.

3. Use your refrigerator

Your refrigerator can always do wonders for you in extending shelf lives of your many products. Besides, food leftovers and food that are almost expired (or already expired), you can also store batteries (particularly, rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries) and candles in your freezer to make them last longer.

Sometimes cooking in big batches can save you more money than just cooking a small meal for two. Freeze the spaghetti sauce, chicken stock and other cooked food in your freezer and they can last at least a month!

4. Scrap the sugar

With the hike in sugar prices due to subsidy rationalisation, it is only right to cut down on sugar consumption. All the more so when at least 2.6 million adults in Malaysia are already diabetic based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2011! Added sugar (those that are added to food) serves no additional benefits to our well-being and in fact, they are closely linked with various diseases.

In a survey conducted in 2005, Malaysians are found to consume an average of 26 teaspoons of sugar a day which could easily translate into a whopping 46 kilograms of sugar a year! Getting used to drinking your coffee bitter can save you roughly RM130 a year, if the data in 2005 still remains the same now.

5. Collect or keep freebies and condiments 

Keep the extra condiments like sugar, salt, tomato and chilli sauce that are usually given for free in mini packets whenever you are dining out. These will be very helpful if you only occasionally consume these condiments. Instead of buying a bottle of tomato sauce but unable to finish it before the expiry date, you would be glad you saved up those free packets.

The same can be done for shampoo and shower gel at the hotel! Stock up enough of them and you can cross these items off your grocery shopping list.

6. Utilise public Internet

Nowadays, places that come with free Wi-Fi (high bandwidth too!) services can be found in every nook and cranny in Malaysia, particularly in urban areas. Why not ditch your broadband subscription that you need to pay for at a hefty sum every month (about RM100, depending on speed and provider), and just make good use of these free services instead?

What’s more, you can also learn how to manage your time better by just going online for a fixed period of time and remain offline for the rest of the day just to focus on people and things that really matter.

7. Make your own coffee

A cup of coffee can easily cost more than RM3 nowadays, some even cost more than RM10! Why spend that money every day when you can make your own coffee at home?

You can buy better quality coffee beans and make at least two times the cups of coffee with the same cost.

8. Shower navy-style

Just as implied in the name itself, navy shower was originated on naval ships where crew members typically turn the water long enough just to get wet, and then turn the water off to lather with soap, which will then be rinsed off by turning the water on again for less than a minute. This showering practice was adopted to conserve their limited supply of clean water at sea, which could not be more apt when we are facing water shortage here in Selangor.

And oh, they don’t use water heater, too.

9. Wash your hair less frequently

Some of you may be thinking “How can I not wash my hair? It can get oily and dirty!” However, according to various researches, people who don’t wash their hair every day often have healthier hair. This is because shampoos typically contain sulphates that will eliminate the oils from your hair and scalp quicker (making them dry and easily damaged), causing your hair to overproduce oils, thus, making your hair greasy when you stopped shampooing.

However, with slow transition of slowly reducing the use of shampoo, your hair and scalp will eventually adjust to the routine and they will be less greasy over time, protecting and nourishing your hair more effectively. Eventually, you might even just need to shampoo your hair just once a week.

10. Eat less

Don’t worry, this tip does not require you to starve yourself but if you have a big appetite and spend most of your money on food, then this will be a handy tip.

When dining out, always order a tall glass of water. It’s not only good for your health, but also good for your wallet. By drinking water before each meal, it will not only help you digest better, but you also won’t eat that much, saving you money on your food bill!

Some of these practices may sound a little absurd, and it may not even suit your current lifestyle. But during desperate times, anything goes.

Do share with us if you have even more peculiar ways of saving in the comment section below!

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