Cost of living in Malaysia is still high, despite a low inflation rate of 1% in 2018. In order to cope with soaring expenses, Malaysians have been searching for useful tips to save money to get them through tougher times. But instead of focusing on money-saving tips, how about placing emphasis on your spending habits can effectively help you manage your finances better.
These are examples of how you could be mindlessly wasting your money:
1. You buy for the sake of buying
Nothing beats the pleasure of running your fingers down a brand new leather bag. The feeling of walking in a new pair of heels? Satisfying. Nevertheless, not being able to suppress the desire to buy anything and everything which appeals to you might result in unnecessary spending and this in turn will lower the possibility to set aside sufficient money for savings.
Unless you are diagnosed with Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD) or Oniomania, which are actual mental illnesses characterized by the obsession with shopping, it is advisable to start investing your money in something that is actually useful and that will bring a return instead.
2. You buy things just because they are on sales
Sales in Malaysia take place during every festival – Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and the list goes on. Sometimes, there are even pre-festive and post-festive sales, not forgetting the famous Year End Sales (YES!). Hence, it is not a big deal if you refrain yourself from shopping this coming sale. If there is something you really need to buy, chances are that it will be on sale just a few weeks from now.
Photo credit: Free Malaysia Today
3. You buy things you do not actually need
Your wardrobe is filled to the brim with clothes you did not even know existed. You have five bottles of body lotions, four still sealed and unused. Three out of six bottles of fruit jams that you bought are expiring in less than thirty days. You buy everything in excess, without the intention of actually consuming them. Fret not, because you are not alone. There are so many people out there who practice similar habits – so much so that author and expert Pamela N. Danziger has written an entire book about it called Why People Buy Things They Don’t Need. According to researches conducted by other experts, it is concluded that people buy things they do not need because this satisfies them emotionally or brings higher status to their lives.
4. You would rather eat out than to cook your own meal, even if it’s Maggi Goreng
You have a kitchen at home but you still prefer the comfort of indulging in someone else’s cooking. The idea of having to get all the ingredients together, chop them up, and have them stirred around in a frying pan leaves you terrified. And don’t forget about the unavoidable cleaning process that comes with it later on!
Cooking may seem like a chore, but it is perhaps the most effective way to save up. Thanks to the rapid development in our country (along with the re-implementation of GST), price levels have been on the rise. One single meal at a decent restaurant (with roof and air-conditioning) in Kuala Lumpur would usually start at around RM15, while that amount worth of fresh groceries would be able to keep you well-fed for a day or two.
5. You buy because you want to keep up with trends
It sure feels great to own the latest iPhone or Samsung devices, but that would mean having to change your gadgets every six months. You would either end up having more than ten perfectly functional phones by the time you reach 35, or you would be forced to sell your perfectly functional phones away just to give way to newer, more popular ones. Trends are ever-changing, and having to keep up honestly takes a lot of effort (and money).
6. You have been shopping at the same supermarket… without a loyalty card (or credit card)
Shopping for foodstuff and essential household items is inevitable. The total money spent on grocery shopping every month will add up to a large amount. Almost every supermarket and hypermarket in Malaysia offers some sort of loyalty card which entitles you to seasonal promotions, daily member discounts, and reward programs based on the amount of points collected. It is advisable to sign up for a member card the next time you are shopping at your favorite grocery store to ensure that you are able to make the most out of all the benefits offered.
Then there's using a credit card to pay for your groceries. Why not take advantage of the cashback or reward points?