Bills, bills, bills. 🧾
Nobody likes them. And contrary to many other things we pay for, we don’t have much choice when it comes to bills. If you want a roof over your head and food in your stomach, you’re going to have to pay for something. 🤷♀️
When it comes to budgeting, bills take the largest chunk out of our income. So it can be especially painful to see all those ringgits disappear.
But there’s good news. You may not have a choice on whether you want to pay those bills or not… but you can reduce them to a possible minimum (without affecting your lifestyle too much).
Here are 4 different ways to do so:
1. Rent and sublet
The most painful bill of all: rent. It can be a lot of money, and is many times referred to as a ‘money drain’. This money isn’t going to investments, to your goals or net worth. That’s one of the reasons why many people prefer buying their own homes with a mortgage!
So what are some strategies to reduce your monthly rent payment? 🤔
Move to a cheaper area of your city
Move to a place with flatmates (or accept more flatmates)
A little more extreme: get a roommate
All good ideas. But what if you really want to reduce your living expenses to something crazy like... RM150 per month?! Suraya from Ringgit Oh Ringgit managed to do exactly that. She pays RM150 per month in rent. How? It’s simple. Rent an entire flat with at least 3 rooms, and sublet each room to separate tenants.
Yes, it’s a little more work than just renting out your own flat: you’ll need to advertise, you’ll need to go through the entire interview process, and most of all, you’ll need to find flatmates you enjoy living with. It’s not easy, but if you’re paying RM150 a month in rent, many would argue it’s worth it.
Check out how Suraya did it - it could be an option for you!
2. Reduce car bills
Maybe reducing rent isn’t possible. How about those annoying car bills? 🚗
The next biggest expense in Malaysia are the car bills. Car bills include insurance, gas, parking fees and most of all, maintenance. They can be a huge drain on your wallet, and can get pricey when emergencies come up.
Many will argue that you cannot live in Malaysia without a car. If you live in a city with next-to-nothing public transportation, then you're right. But if you live in a city like Kuala Lumpur, there are ways to get by without a car.
Share a ride with someone you go to work with
Limit to using your car 3 days a week instead of everyday
Use public transportation whenever you can
Each time you leave your car behind, you’ll be saving money. You significantly reduce wear and tear on your car, save on gas and of course, reduce the pollution you emit. So why not try? 🤷♀️
3. Reduce debt bills
If you feel you don’t have your debt under control, this can be another big drain on bills, and a pretty unpleasant one.
If your largest debt is your mortgage, check to see if you’d be eligible to refinance your mortgage at a lower rate. Getting a lower interest rate can save you money and can also lower your monthly payments.
If you have a car loan, check to see if you’d be able to refinance your auto loan as well. You may qualify for a better interest rate if your credit has improved since then. Or maybe get rid of the car altogether. 😛
When it comes to credit card debt, your best bet is paying any extra debt you owe as soon as possible. Interest rates are very high, and all sorts of fees can eat away your hard earned money. Try calling up credit card company and request a rate reduction. This is more likely to happen if you pay your bills on time every month. The key here is to not get more credit until you have a healthy financial situation. 🥦
If you’re paying off a student loan, check to see if the bank or institution you borrowed from would be open to reducing your interest rate if, for example, you sign up for automatic monthly billing.
When it comes to debt, do some shopping around and see what kind of reductions you could get.
4. Reduce energy bills
A roof over your head usually comes with electricity, water and gas bills. Once again, you’re going to have to pay those bills whether you like it or not. But we do have some tips on how to reduce those.👇
First, consider updating your light bulbs to LEDs. LEDs are four times more energy efficient than normal light bulbs and last for many more years. Compare bulbs and you’ll see for yourself. Even switching your five most used light bulbs in your home could save you RM200 per year. It may not seem like much, but it does add up over the years! 💡
Secondly, unplug electrical devices when you're not using them. Beware of the phantom charge of unused items that will creep on your electrical bill. 👻
And, ditch the AC and use the fan.
Which bills do you hate most? Which ones are you going to try and reduce?
Every ringgit you don’t spend on electricity, car or rent is a ringgit to spend on your next holiday, on your investments or on your retirement fund. Get started on your budget and see what can be done. 😎