Before we start, let me say this first: You don’t need to be a slave to consumerism. Yes, some people might call you cheap. But honey, frugal living isn’t about sacrifice and deprivation — it’s about making smarter choices, so that you can afford to live the life that you want to live — the life that you dream of having.
Here’s how you can do it:
1. Never spend more than RM100 on one clothing item
Okay, you can increase it to RM200 per garment only if it’s your birthday. They’re just pieces of clothing anyway, so spending a huge amount of money on things that are not really important feels like such a waste.
2. Maximise the use of RM100
Trust me, you can still find amazing clothes in places like Times Square or pop-up bazaars and get 2 – 3 items for around RM100. You just need to train your eyes to spot the good ones, but choosing from so many similar options can get annoying. Don’t forget to visit flagship stores like H&M or Forever 21 during holiday seasons too, as most retail outlets will be offering sales up to 90% off.
3. Don’t throw away those coupons
Coupons are real life savers. Being able to save RM200 on luxury items such as a TUMI bag which retails at RM500 can be truly satisfying for your heart as well as your wallet.
4. Cut down on fancy food
Anything above RM15 is fancy. Hip cafes and restaurants are nice to hangout at, but they also serve ridiculously-priced meals which may or may not be worth your hard-earned money. RM32 for an Aglio Olio on non-special days? Pass. Challenge yourself to eat at home more often and watch your bank account grow.
5. Don’t pay more when you can pay less
Always look for cheaper options. For instance, grocery shopping in B.I.G will cost approximately 20% more expensive than in Tesco, and the quality of ingredients are almost the same too. You can also wait for online promotions like the annual Singles Day on 11 November and Air Asia’s Free Seat before you make any big purchases.
6. Late fees are virus
When your salary is in, immediately pay your bills as well as other monthly commitments (such as money for parents) on time, and avoid those expensive late fees like they’re virus!
7. Ditch the debt
Don’t owe people money, and try to avoid lending your hard-earned moolah to others cause there’s a high tendency that you wont be seeing those green/purple notes again. Even best friends can end up suing each other for money.. like exhibit A.
8. You should really stop smoking
Not only will it save your money, but your lungs will appreciate this too! One box of cigarette now costs around RM17, right? You’ll be surprised that quitting smoking would allow you to save at least RM200 a month if you’re used to buying 2-3 packs per week.
9. Don’t withdraw too much money at a time
Although going to the ATM can be so troublesome (the interbank GST implementation is so unnecessary omg), but taking out more than you need might lead you to overspending the money since it’s already in your wallet.
10. Always save
Open a separate bank account for your savings. That way, you won’t confuse the money you can spend and the one you should save. And when you do have a new savings account, it’s wise to keep the debit and online banking system deactivated, just in case you have no self control on your bank cards.
11. DIY Your Way to Savings
Challenge yourself to make more of the things that you’re used to buying and to make do with what you have, instead of buying new. Mr. DIY and Daiso have some pretty cool stuff including marble paper which costs around RM2 each.
12. Take Charge of Your Health
Eat healthy and get plenty of exercise now, so you don’t get stuck paying big medical bills later. And never put off a visit to the doctor or dentist because you feel you can’t afford the cost. You can always opt going to government hospitals like the one in Shah Alam which offer services for only RM1. Remember, health is an investment.
13. Drink H20
In all honesty, water is the best. Not only is it best for your body, but it is practically free. Opting to drink water instead of sweet beverages like carbonated drinks means there’s one less thing you have to run to the store for.
14. Say YES to free stuff
When someone offers to buy you something, take it. Only if you know that their intention is pure (sans any hidden agendas) of course. For instance, I helped my mom shop for groceries and she went, “Take whatever you want for your house too.” I turned the offer down because I didn’t want to burden her but later that day, I thought.. damn, what an unintelligent move. Should’ve really considered taking that cream cheese and some Digestives crackers.
15. It’s A-okay to say NO sometimes
You don’t need to succumb to peer pressure in order to impress your friends. If you really can’t go out, or don’t feel like spending RM19 on a cup of coffee, then, just let them know. Real friends will understand your situation and look for other ways to hang out with you.