How to… Save money without feeling deprived
It’s a week before payday, and you are down to your last RM5. Maybe you need to start saving, so that you are not living from paycheck to paycheck, but it’s somewhat daunting, especially the thought of going without some of your favourite items. But with a little thought, you can manage pretty much the same lifestyle on the same salary.
Establish a budget
Creating a monthly budget is a lot easier than it sounds. There are online tools that help with budgeting such as www.personal-home-budget.com, so that you can create a tailored budget according to your income, needs, wants and lifestyle.
Review your spending habits
Do you know where your money goes? Do you end up broke at the end of the month with nothing to show for it? Then you need to keep track of your expenses. After which, you will be able to find places to trim. For example, do you really need two cups of overpriced capitalist-conglomerate chain coffee a day? I thought not. By cutting one medium cup each weekday, you can save around RM240 a month, and about 200 calories per day too.
Forage in a flea market
Head not to the stores, but to flea markets. Check out Lah Lah Land (lahlahlandkl.blogspot.com) and The Threadszoo (www.thethreadszoo.blogspot.com) for news on their upcoming flea markets. Featuring mostly clothes, they also feature vendors offering trinkets, accessories and books. For designer duds, scope out Scoop (P1-19, Block P, Plaza Damas. 03 6201 1206/www.scoop.com.my), which offers restored designer handbags, clothes, shoes and accessories for a fraction of the original prices. For designer men’s wear at a bargain, check out The Underline (7A, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar. 03 2283 4752).
Be less impulsive
If you want to make a large purchase, a good rule of thumb is to sleep on it. Many of us tend to be very impulsive and buy items only to never use them. By sleeping on it, or thinking about it, you resist the chances of making a bad buy and save yourself from wasting money. This doesn’t apply during sales however, as the item may not be there when you return.
Get a piggy bank
Dump all your loose change into it at the end of each day and you’ll be surprised at how much it can add up to. To save even more, pick a note value (e.g. RM1 or RM5) and put in those notes when you get home. You save more, and as you go along, you begin to look forward to getting those notes as change to feed the piggy.
Tune up your transport
A lot of petrol could be saved by just maintaining your car. Small things such as cleaning your air filter and correcting your tyre alignment could improve your mileage by up to twenty per cent. Also, maintaining your engine, keeping your tyres inflated at an optimum level, not speeding, not braking too often, refuelling when the weather is cool and ensuring that the cap for the petrol tank is secure can all add up to rather hefty savings on your petrol bill. Or better yet, do all this and carpool too. It’s greener as well.