Photo: Reserve123
Photo: Reserve123

Contrary to popular belief, it really isn’t difficult to live within your means and still keep a few extra greenbacks in the bank account, especially when you’ve just propelled into the working world. Well, all it takes are a few lifestyle changes here and there, planning and determination. Here are 15 ways you can save as a young working adult:

1. Allocate monthly expenses – Set your priorities right and list down your financial commitments each month, like your phone bill, student loan, credit card bill and more, including an amount you’re devoted to put aside for savings. Becoming aware of where your money is going helps you stay diligent on your spending.

Photo: Thebeginningwriter
Photo: Thebeginningwriter

2. Set a spending budget – This would include expenses for food, booze, transportation and occasional shopping. When you’ve got a fixed amount established, you can ration the money by week. Make adjustments to your lifestyle so the money allotted for the week becomes sufficient. Skimp on nice meals on weekdays if you’ve made dinner plans over the weekend.

3. Take advantage of cashback and rewards – Sign up for every free reward or cashback card you can, especially at establishments you frequent often. Getting a percentage of money back or a discount for every ringgit you spend may not seem much, but it really accumulates, giving you a bang for your buck.

Photo: Espresso-head
Photo: Espresso-head

4. Quit buying expensive coffee – We know you love your caffeine fix, but you should be frugal with overpriced coffees to save yourself a fortune. One cup of store-bought coffee can cost up to RM15, and this doesn’t include the cost for lunch. Instead, invest in a coffee maker at home and take it to go or make yourself a cuppa in the workplace.

5. Sell off pre-loved goods – Do yourself a favour by decluttering your home and make money out of it by selling your pre-loved possessions online. Many things like furniture, electronics, clothes, bags, household items and more hold value. You’d never know who would love your unused coffee table as one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Photo: Cosmopolitan
Photo: Cosmopolitan

6. Invite friends over instead of going out – It’s fun to go out, but why not host a get-together at home from time to time? Drinks are cheaper when they aren’t served in a restaurant, bar or club, and besides, you can tell your friends to B.Y.O.B (bring your own booze). Prepare some food and snacks, or order pizza. You could even be in your PJs!

7. Dine out intelligently – When you do go out to enjoy a restaurant meal, order an appetiser as a main course as they are typically cheaper than entrees. Alternatively, you could split an entree with a friend or order appropriately to share amongst a table of friends. Drinks are sometimes priced exorbitantly, so we’d stick with the complimentary bottomless water.

Photo: Magnoliamarket
Photo: Magnoliamarket

8. Do meal planning – During the weekend, plan ahead for next week’s meals by reviewing what you have in the kitchen and shopping for groceries to prepare food from home. It can seem daunting, but learning a handful of quick and easy recipes doesn’t do anyone wrong. This would save you time during the week, and money in the long run.

9. Avoid stress-spending – It’s effortless to justify spending money just to make yourself feel better from a stressful day, but it rarely is a good idea. You’d end up with things you don’t really need, so it might be wise to de-stress some other way. Try exercising, reading, meditating, watching a movie, or doing something you genuinely love like painting.

Photo: Vanderbilt
Photo: Vanderbilt

10. Find a cheaper supermarket – Compare prices at several supermarkets and skip the high-end option. When you’ve pinpointed your go-to for groceries, take note of which days in the week the best deals are offered. You’ll automatically save money that way. Buying generic brands for less crucial household staples also helps.

11. Jazz up leftovers – Don’t be afraid of having leftovers in the fridge! With a few additions here and there, you can end up with something surprisingly yummy. For instance, you could make fried rice with leftover rice and meat from the previous night’s dinner. The possibilities are endless.

Photo: Priscilladavisstudio
Photo: Priscilladavisstudio

12. Check out free events – Not all activities you do have to cost money; there are plenty of places you can go and stuff you can do, for free. You could go for a hike, have a picnic in the park, check out the outdoor cinema, play sports, and more. Think outside the box!

13. Buy used when you can – With a little bit of hunting down, you could get the exact item you want at a fraction of the price when you buy second hand. Clothes, for example, are often expensive and we love strolling through thrift stores for vintage finds. Getting used furniture could also lighten your financial load when you’re moving or revamping your space.

Photo: Bodyfitnessguru
Photo: Bodyfitnessguru

14. Ditch services and subscriptions – Take a look at your monthly bill and see if there’s anything you can let go of. Get rid of the expensive gym membership you rarely use and go to a smaller pay-per-entry fitness centre or work out from home instead. Also, there’s no reason for you to have a magazine subscription as the Internet is your best friend.

15. Travel on a budget – When you’re consumed by wanderlust, plan your travels ahead to get the best deals and skimp when you can. You could opt for a backpackers’ inn in lieu of a fancy hotel, or eat affordably and utilise the extra cash for more once in a lifetime experiences.

Carmen Chong
YouTube-obsessed and a beauty junkie at heart. Find her on Instagram: @carthemen