How to begin saving at home
We’ve all got that one friend, the guy or girl who constantly complains how little money they have, how poorly they’re paid and how they can never afford nice things. You know the person I’m talking about, right? The one who always has the latest smartphone, great new shoes and plans overseas holidays throughout the year.
It’s an all too familiar feeling: we complain that we don’t have enough money and yet when the new gadget/handbag/clothing brand is launched we can’t wait to get our hands on it. We conveniently forget about dozens of bills waiting to be paid, the roof that needs fixing and the long-overdue service for the car.
The truth is we often crave the little luxuries we don’t necessarily need. But if you are really serious on saving up, it’s a lot easier than you think: start now. Don’t wait for a salary rise or yearly bonus. The longer you wait the more money you lose.
There are hundreds of ways to stretch your ringgit. How? you ask. Well, if you are reading this at home, look around you.
Are you sitting on your couch watching TV? Have you surfed endless channels yet ended up watching your same old favourites like ESPN and HBO? There you go. You may have realised this a long time ago, but yes, you don’t actually need those extra 100 channels. You may not even have the time to watch them. Check with your satellite TV operator and see if you can change the programme package to one that suits your viewing preference and lowers your monthly fee.
Next - your mobile phone. You may have been loyal to your mobile network operator, but are you actually getting the best deal? Take some time to compare your monthly package and data plans with other operators and you will probably find that there are better deals out there.
Feeling hot? Switch off your air-conditioning system and switch on the fan. Better yet, switch off the fan, open the windows and let the air flow into your house. This may not be ideal when it’s 35°C out there, but the goal is to lower your utility bills as much as possible. Try switching off the lights when nobody’s around and using energy-efficient bulbs rather than fluorescent bulbs – these are small steps you can take that can have a big impact on your wallet over time.
Seems doable, right? Well I’m not done yet. Let’s take a walk into your kitchen. A few changes in the Heart of your Home could save you hundreds of ringgit a month.
Take a look at your groceries. Where do you usually buy them? Instead of the hypermarkets, why don’t you start visiting your local farmer’s market where you can get cheaper and fresher produce? In fact you can even start growing your own food. You don’t need to have acres of land to do this; you can start by planting some herbs in small pots over your kitchen window. If you have no options and have to shop at hypermarkets, start by creating a list, and stick to it. Make sure you never shop for groceries when you are hungry! Try buying generic or house brands instead of popular ones. They are generally about 20-40% cheaper. You may even be pleasantly surprised to discover that some house brands are just as good as popular brands.
It’s easy to be comfortable and stick with familiar products or services, but we might be paying much more for stuff which is cheaper elsewhere.
So don’t wait. Take control of your spending today.