We all have good intentions when it comes to saving money. We tell ourselves we’ll start saving once we reach a certain milestone, like when we hit a specific age, get a raise, or when we are about to get married.
But in reality, you’ll only start saving money when you develop healthy money habits and your future needs become more important than your current wants. Often, our goal to save money isn’t as big enough to delay the purchase of that latest smartphone, the new sports shoe, kitchen table or the latest makeup palette. So that debt then turns into monthly payments that control our paychecks and our lives.
Check out our top 6 money-saving tips:
6 Practical Ways to Save Money
1. Unsubscribe From Emails
Email marketers are really good at what they do. They know the irresistible temptation of a Black Friday Sales, 11.11 promo or exclusive coupon. And talk about those flashy gifs!
If you just can’t resist shopping when you see a special offer, click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. You’ll be less tempted to spend and your inbox will be a lot less cluttered. It’s a win-win, isn’t it?
2. Say Goodbye to Debts
Monthly debt payments are the biggest obstacle to saving money. Debt robs you of your income! So it’s about time you get rid of that debt. The fastest way to pay off debt is with the debt snowball method. This is where you pay off your debts in order from smallest to largest. Don’t worry as it’s more about behavior change than numbers. Once your income is freed up, you can finally use it to make progress toward your savings goals.
3. Skip the Coffee Shop
This one is painful especially if you need a cup of coffee everyday! We get it! But instead of spending RM15 on that daily latte, you can save money by just making your coffee at home. Even purchasing a bag of local beans from your nearest coffee shop and brewing it at home will save you a lot of money in the long run.
4. Pack Your Own Lunch
Buying lunch a few times a week may seem harmless at the moment (especially when your favorite restaurant is walking distance from your office), but you can save quite a bit of money just by packing a lunch!
Not only that, you can often purchase a week’s worth of groceries for the same price as two dinner meals out. Instead, prepare your food at home and watch your savings pile up, month by month.
5. Find Ways to Cut Your Spending
If your expenses are so high that you can’t save as much as you’d like, it might be time to cut back. Identify nonessentials that you can spend less on, such as entertainment and dining out. Look for ways to save on your fixed monthly expenses like Astro, Netflix, Spotify, and your cell phone, too.
Here are some ideas for trimming everyday expenses:
- Use resources such as community event listings to find free or low-cost events to reduce entertainment spending.
- Cancel subscriptions and memberships you don’t use—especially if they renew automatically.
- Commit to eating out only once a month and trying places that fall into the “cheap eats” category.
- Give yourself a “cooling off period”. When tempted by a nonessential purchase, wait a few days. You may be glad you passed as you are not very into buying that item as much as you thought you would.
6. Set Saving Goals
One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for—perhaps you’re getting married, planning a vacation or saving for retirement. Then figure out how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save it.
Here are some examples of short and long-term goals:
Short-term (1–3 years)
- Emergency fund (3–9 months of living expenses, just in case)
- Down payment for a car
Long-term (4 years and above)
- Down payment on a home
- Children’s education
- Retirement Plan
If you’re saving for retirement or your child’s education, consider putting that money into an investment account such as an EPF, Amanah Saham or SSPN-i. While investments come with risks and can lose money, they also create the opportunity for growth when the market grows, and could be appropriate if you plan for an event far in advance.
Tip: Set a small, achievable short-term goal such as a new smartphone or holiday gifts. Reaching smaller goals can give you a psychological boost that makes the payoff of saving more immediate and reinforces the habit.