The One-Week Challenge: 5 Ways to Start Saving Money
Everyone could do with a little more money. And because raising your income isn’t really something that happens relatively quickly, the most viable way to have more money in your bank account is naturally to SPEND LESS. Obviously, spending less is easier said than done, but it isn’t something that is impossible with some will and discipline. If you’re serious about adopting a money-conscious way of life, why not challenge yourself and see how much you could save by making some changes to your spending habits? In this article, we offer five ideas that will have you seeing real money-saving results in just one week.
1) Say NO to Eating Out (or Drinking Out)
If you live in the city, you’ll know how expensive eating out has become. A decade ago, eating a RM10 lunch was generally considered a luxury for the common salaried workers. Today, many urbanites would not bat an eyelid when ordering that RM15.90 nasi lemak or a RM7 cup of coffee at the neighbourhood franchise kopitiam. By opting to bring your own food to office, cook at home or even indulge in some casual drinking in your own living room instead of at a pub, you could save tons – approximately RM5 – RM10 per meal just on modest estimation. Based on this, you can easily save more than RM100 in a week by reducing your frequency of eating out, and much, much more if you have a large family or have the tendency to frequent fancy restaurants.
2) Make Adjustments to Your Transportation Habits/Arrangements
With carpooling not really taking off in the country and public transport leaving much to be desired, driving remains the only way to go to work for most Malaysians. But even if you absolutely need to drive, there are potential methods to save on transportation. Here are some ideas:
– If the car park fee for your office is expensive, consider a cheaper car park that is further away but within walking distance.
– If you’re still pampering your car with RON 97 fuel, consider RON 95. With the switch, you can save around RM30 – 50 if you use a full tank a week. (NOTE: do not consider this if you drive a high-powered car that actually needs RON 97 to run.)
– If you stay in a relatively developed area, try walking or cycling instead of driving when you need to make a snack trip to the nearest convenient store or to have a cup of coffee at the mamak stall.
3) Stay Away from Places that Make You Spend
Malaysians love our shopping malls. In the weekends, many of us tend to drift to a shopping mall hoping to catch something interesting in an air-conditioned environment. The only problem is: a shopping mall, by its very nature, is a place that encourages you to spend, not just on merchandizes, but also on food. And when you’re trying to spend less, it may not be such a good idea to be there.
Here are some alternatives you can explore:
– Stay at home. Read a good book, watch TV or just play with your kids.
– Go to some place else that won’t encourage you to spend, such as a park.
– Or you could always go to a mall (that is, if you have the discipline to just window shop).
Remember, if your average spending mall trip is RM200, you would have saved the same simply by not going there. It couldn’t get any easier than that.
4) Save on Your Groceries
Changing the way you shop for groceries is one of most direct means to control your spending and save some money really quickly. Planning a grocery list should probably come first (so as to reduce impulse buys), but here are other ways you can adopt to save you tons:
– Buy in the most economical size. For example, soft drink in a bottle is cheaper than those that come in cans, sometimes by up to 50%.
– Choose your brand wisely. Yes, there will be brands you can absolutely not do without. For the rest, consider going generic or non-premium.
– Make use of in-store offers. Many hypermarkets and supermarkets have promotional coupons or deals of the day. You can learn about these simply by taking the time to read their marketing collaterals.
– Take advantage of discounts already available to you. If you own a credit card, you probably have tons of privileges and discounts (some of which you never knew about). If you’re entitled to a rebate at a certain hypermarket, use it!
5) Think about the Little Things Back Home
Finally, consider the things you can save money on back home.
– Do you use air-conditioning all the time? Then turn the thermostat down, or reduce the hours the air-conditioner is on, or just plain switch the unit off.
– Are your lights/computers constantly on? Turn them off when you’re not using them, and it could save you a few Ringgit on your next electric bill. Same goes for fans, air filters, water heater and pretty much anything that uses electricity.
Go on, challenge yourself to embrace some of the recommendations above, and you just might be surprised to see how much you could save in a week!
We’ll love to hear from you if this article has helped you in any way. If you have better ideas, do share them with other iMoney readers at the comment section below. Happy saving!
And if you’d like to get more money-saving tips, here’s our free ebook “12 Ways To Save Money In Malaysia”.