“Many folks think they aren’t good at earning money, when what they don’t know is how to use it.” —Frank A. Clark
I’m quite shocked to find out from some friends who keep telling me that it is near to impossible to save money aside these days. When I ask them exactly what they did do to save, the answer I keep hearing is they’d only keep a portion of income into bank and that’s it. After hearing some of my explanation, the guys were quite surprised at the amount of things they missed out in order to become financially stable. Nevertheless, it’s never too late to start saving money. Better now than never. So here’s my take on the 10 easiest ways anyone can do to save money:
1. Move your savings bank account(s) to take advantages of banks’ offer on Fixed Deposit.
- Different banks offer varieties of interest returns. The longer your maturity period, the more money you make with Fixed Deposit. Check out Ringgit Plus if you want to find out the best fixed deposit return currently available in Malaysia.
2. Create daily budget and monitor your cash flow progress.
- When you create any financial budget, always keep in mind what are your short and long term goals. Below are some examples.
- Short term goals (1-3 years):
- Emergency cash fund (Able to pay out up to 3–9 months of living expenses)
- Down payment for a car
- Long term goals (More than 4 years):
- Your child’s education*
- Down payment on a home or a remodeling project
- I know I’m simplifying on creating budget here – will definitely look into writing more detail about it in the future.
- Anyway, once you’ve created those budgetary goals, try to break it down to what your daily expenses would be to achieve it. Make some room for adjustments.
3. Use Cash – No Cards. Carry enough cash based on the daily budget created so you do not over-spend.
- Credit cards are great – for only those who know how to control their spending habit. If you’re not one of them, carry cash only and keep your debit card in case of emergency.
- By carrying cash only, you’ll limit yourself from not spending beyond what’s in your wallet.
- Now, I’d recommend to create a daily budget for this so you’ll know how much is needed to get through your daily expense. This is definitely my favorite method of saving money.
- If you do require emergency cash, you’ll have debit card with you to settle your problems. If it permits, I’d go to the nearest ATM machine and withdraw the exact amount of cash needed and not a penny more.
4. Start selling all the things you don’t need or no longer need.
- When I got back from MBA with massive student debt, I needed to free up more cash (and space) and decided to sell a number of Fender’s Strat guitars – some were even Collector’s Edition.
5. Invite friends over to hang out instead of going out.
- Home cooked meals can taste almost as good, if not better compared to restaurant standard. I’m not saying to avoid eating out altogether, but if you exchange a couple of those outings by hanging out at home – you won’t believe how much money you’ve saved from expensive restaurant’s bill and not to forget tips too.
6. Drink More Water
- It goes without saying water is the cheapest drink which is readily available anywhere for an almost zero cost too. Bring a bottle of water with you whenever you go out too to save from burning more money in your pocket.
7. Save Your Loose Change and Cash into Your Bank
- Keeping 50 cents over the period of a year enables you to save up to $182.50. It’s a great amount to be a part of your emergency fund in case you need it – and you don’t even need to work for it.
- If you’re able to keep it from usage, transfer to banks for fixed deposit or investment for maximum cash return.
8. For God’s sake, quit smoking
- Cigarettes are becoming more expensive now which definitely drains your cash reserve at an exponential rate. I used to be a smoker too. At least a pack every week – RM15 per pack (at the time)! Do the math.
9. Avoid Convenience Foods and Fast Foods
- Another lesson learned. My schedule was pretty intense back when I was running Mirsky Mode – I never really had the time to get proper meal (which takes time for it to cook) and often ended up at McDonald’s drive thru which costs about RM3-5 more than well-cooked meal. At that rate, I could’ve easily saved at least RM60 per month on single meal every day.
10. Switch your mobile service to prepaid.
- Frankly speaking, I’ve only done this recently and the result is amazing. I was signed up to about RM100 per month under Maxis, and when I went through the bill, I realized I rarely use the service by much and decided post-paid is no longer needed. Besides, with the existence of Whatsapp, Google Chat, Skyp etc and the help of WIFI, we rarely use that much phone service anymore.
- Even reloading your prepaid phone is easier these days where you can simply make payment through online banking which takes less than a minute to perform. Donezo!
Final Two Cent
What I’ve learned in life, in order to achieve anything, you must always combine it with self-discipline to remain focus on what you’re trying to do. That’s what saving money is mainly about, self-discipline.