By Sabrina Loh
We’ve all made purchases without mindfully thinking about how much money we’re spending.
For example, making a few impulse buys at the grocery store and before you know it, you’ve added an extra 50 bucks to your bill. Or maybe you have a lot of friends and spend multiple times a week having brunch with them.
These expenses may seem harmless because they seem so small on their own. However, they can add up very quickly. The good news is, adjusting a few daily habits can make a big impact when it comes to saving money.
Here are 16 easy ways you can save money every day — starting right now.
Dining out is the second biggest expense for most households, after rent. This includes ordering food delivery! Cooking most of your meals at home can easily save you hundreds or more a month. Take some time on the weekend to prepare your meals for the week.
Pack your lunch
Nasi Kandar and a kopi for lunch at work can cost RM8 to RM12 per day. This may not seem like much, but over a month, this can add up to hundreds spent just on lunch. If you bring food from home, you can save this money instead.
Brew your own coffee
Although coffee is sacred to many people (to me as well, a self-proclaimed coffee lover), a latte from a cafe costs at least RM13 each time. Buy one a day and you’ll be spending four figures a year just on coffee! If you make your own coffee at home, you could save thousands. Perhaps some Nescafe Gold until you’ve saved up enough to buy a coffee machine?
Join loyalty programs
Signing up as a loyal customer for many grocery stores and petrol stations could give you access to member-only discounts and coupons. Many of these programs are free to join, just like BigPay that rewards you with airasia points every time you spend. Use these points to redeem discounts on flights and other rewards later.
Wash your own car
Washing your car in your driveway or in the communal condo car washing bay can save you hundreds a year.
Use public transportation
It’s way cheaper to get around using public transport than it is to drive because you don’t have to pay for petrol, parking, toll, or any of that stuff. It’s also definitely much cheaper than ride-sharing apps.
Learn to groom yourself
Thanks to the internet, you can learn almost anything for free. You can save hundreds every month by learning how to trim your own hair, do your nails yourself, and shape your own brows. You can also get a friend or family member to help you.
Borrow instead of buying
If you don’t need to own the item to enjoy it, consider borrowing it instead. For example, borrowing a book from a library or friend instead of buying a brand new book. The average price of books in Malaysia is RM59.
Cancel your gym membership
There are endless ways to workout for free, such as by running at a park, cycling around the neighbourhood, and doing home workouts. If you live in a condo with a communal gym, consider using that for free instead. Monthly gym memberships begin from RM130 a month.
DIY when you can
You can learn almost anything online, such as how to use a drill, how to unclog a toilet, and how to assemble furniture. Learning how to do it yourself will save you hundreds instead of hiring a handyman to do it for you.
Cancel your subscriptions
That RM10 monthly subscription that you don’t even remember signing up for is costing you RM120 a year. Figure out what subscription services you don’t need and cancel them to save money.
Instant gratification leads to impulse buying and spending money on things that you don’t actually need. Wait at least 48 hours (ideally more!) before adding to cart. You may realise that that item was more of a ‘want’ than a ‘need’.
Get creative with gifts
The more friends you have, the more you’re probably spending on their birthday gifts and parties. The best gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, handmade gifts that are free (or don’t cost a lot) usually require more thought and care.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper per unit. Although it may only seem like a few cents, those cents add up very quickly, especially if it’s an item that you use frequently like toilet paper and onions. Try shopping at a wholesale store, like NSK or Dropee.
Turn off switches
Your home is full of electrical devices that are plugged into power outlets. Unplugging devices and appliances that are idle can save you up to 3% on your electricity bill.
Optimise timing for big purchases
You can make substantial savings by waiting for seasonal and clearance sales for big buys. These usually fall on major holidays like Hari Raya and Christmas, or 11:11 and anniversary sales.
The Bottom Line
There are many simple habits you can adjust to save more money every day, but the only way to make a permanent change is to shift your mindset around how you spend money.
A budget is an excellent way to evaluate your spending habits and keep them in check. With proper planning and discipline, anyone can accomplish saving more money, and even enjoy the process!
For more finance tips like this, tune into the BigPay blog every week.