A RM10 in today’s time could only buy us a few things, compared to a decade or two ago, where the same amount of money could probably get us a basket full of groceries. These days, in order to maintain the current living standard, most people would generally be working harder, saving lesser, and getting satisfied with fewer services or goods.
When your money could no longer buy you the things that you need in the quantity you want, it’s time to get serious about how you spend.
But is working harder, saving lesser, and being satisfied with whatever’s left really the best way to deal with the rising cost of living in Malaysia? Making a few changes in your lifestyle in order to deal with this situation doesn’t have to be excruciating.
We recommend these 5 simple hacks to deal with Malaysia’s rising cost of living:
1. Grow your own veggies, herbs, and fruits
There are so many good reasons to grow your own veggies, herbs, and fruits. Besides saving on your grocery bill, some of the benefits of growing your own edible plants include:
- Minimising pesticide exposure
- Minimising the consumption of tainted produce
- Intact freshness and flavour
We know it’s hard to manage a garden full of edible plants when you’re holding a full-time job while juggling other priorities, so start small. Grow three to five types of edible plant that you normally eat, don’t require much gardening and are easy to maintain.
These are some of the easiest veggies, herbs, and fruits that you can grow in Malaysian weather:
- Red chillies
- Thai basil
- Summer thyme
- Passion fruits
It will cost you only RM2.50 for a seed packet at your local garden store, and RM3 for 1kg of soil. A quick look at Lazada shows that you can buy veggie, herb and fruit seeds as low as RM4.90. Eats, Shoots & Roots also sells interesting easy-to-grow seed boxes at RM29.00 for beginner growers. All you need is a good supply of water and some of your time.
2. BYOL – Bring your own lunch
Bringing your own lunch to work could save you about RM200 a month (the average cost for lunch per day is RM10). That’s quite a lot of money saved! Besides helping you to save more, other benefits to BYOL include:
- Saving you from the temptations of sugary/unhealthy treats
- Consuming the correct portion size
- Less consumption of salt, fat, and sugar
Some of the easiest and quickest meals you can make to bring to work are:
- Fried rice
- Subway-style sandwiches
- Pasta salad
- Chicken/beef/lamb wraps
- Stir-fry veggie/chicken with rice
If you keep it up, you’ll be able to save RM2400 a year.
3. Carpool to work
Let’s say it costs you about RM30 for transportation and parking per day (excluding the weekends). That’s RM600 a month for transportation (and parking) alone. Consider carpooling to work once or twice a week to save some money, if you can manage.
Carpooling not only does wonders for your wallet, it also saves the environment. Talk about killing two birds with a stone!
There’ll be less carbon and pollution caused by auto emissions, and you get to meet interesting people. Carpooling also offers convenience for a long commute, compared to taking a public transportation.
If you don’t have anyone to carpool with, check out these cool carpooling apps available in Malaysia:
4. Budget shopping like a pro
We all know that shopping during a mega sale in Malaysia could save us up to 70% discount, but the mega sales only last a short time. Shopping under pressure is definitely a no-no as it could lead to overspending.
Practice budget shopping and know your ways around the best places to get the best deals. Check out some of the most recommended places within Klang Valley to shop on a budget:
- GM Klang Wholesale City Complex – For a cheap one-stop shop where you can find everything in one place, such as groceries, wedding decorations, home furnishings, tech gadgets, toys, stationery, textiles, sports equipment, and fashion clothing and accessories.
- Berjaya Times Square – For low to mid-range fashion clothing and accessories.
- Low Yat Plaza – For affordable IT goodies e.g. laptops and mobile phones.
- Kenanga Wholesale City – For cheap handbags, shoes, accessories, and clothes.
- Amcorp Mall Flea Market – For cheap home accessories, antiques, artworks, retro figurines and other rare findings.
5. Use credit cards the right way
Using your credit cards the right way could help you in saving more. Follow these simple tips:
- Use credit cards with low-interest rate: Use the card that charges a lower interest rate to make big purchases and turn it into an equated monthly installments (EMI).
- Always pay full bill in time: This helps in saving on the interest in the long run.
- Consolidate the debt: If you own many credit cards, consider consolidating them. By doing so, you’ll be able to pay close attention to only one card and save more on various interest and annual fees on different cards.
- Take advantage of the interest-free credit: Some credit card providers offer interest-free credit for a month.
- Use rewards cards or cards that offer cashback, air miles, etc.: With every purchase made, you’ll be rewarded with points or air miles which can be useful later.
- Also, read our blog on 6 Smart Credit Card Habits for Youngsters
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