Before we get deeper into the article, I just wanted to put a disclaimer.
I am in no way a financial expert, in fact, I am probably bad with money management, I am a shopaholic!
I am writing this because I am sick of articles that tells you how to save money but give generated advice such as "buy only what you need". I mean, come on, we all know that!
Since I am an avid buyer and made a lot of money mistakes over the course of my life -while at the same time, learn form it and saved money- I think these tips that I am about to share with you are worth trying!
I promise you, I am not gonna give generated advice such as "Buy only what you need" or "Stop your digital subscription" or "Invest in stocks" or "Put your money to the deposit", because I think you are smart people and you know that already.
Here are my money survival tips!
TIP 1 Take Photos or Screenshot the Product
There are so so many brands making promotions, giving big discounts, massive clearance sale here and there. There is a possibility that they just want to earn back what they lost when Malaysia is under the first periods of MCO. You, as a customer, is in luck, right?
Well, the truth is, not really and not always.
Here's the underlying truth about discounts that you might want to check first before buying.
The price of the item might be raised before the discount. Some online platform didn't tell you when seller change a product's price, so how can you tell what is the real price? My tip : take photos of the time you saw the item or take screenshot if it's on a website. That way, you know if the normal price is raised or not.
TIP 2 eWallet is Good, but too Much is Dangerous
Many eWallet companies popped up pretty recently. In Malaysia, there is Touch n Go eWallet, Razer Pay, GRAB Pay, MCash, Alipay, Boost, Maybank QR Pay, Favepay, Shopee Pay, and so so many more! All of them definitely give you promotions, and as a customer, you are in luck, this time it's correct right?
Again, no, not necessarily.
Having eWallet is great during this pandemic lockdown especially. It is also healthy because you can prevent bacteria transmission compared to using cash. I am not against it.
But be careful when you find yourself having so many ewallet accounts.
The thing about eWallet is that it wants you to spend your money on them. As the company, they are glad to have you as their customer, but as a customer, you have so many ewallets, it is difficult to keep track on what you've spent! Let's say today I spent RM100 using Grab Pay, I might have forgotten that I also used Boost for my lunch (RM10), and then I used Touch n Go ewallet for buying bubble tea (RM7), what about the other apps such as Razer Pay, Ali Pay, and so on?? For few days this habit might be harmless but if you accumulate and do this for months, this is actually dangerous.
I also want to point out that in most ewallets, you need to have credit inside. So it's usually natural for us to top up and then spend, and then top it up again. You might also lost track of how much you've spent to top up. I have been in a situation that I was shocked my bank account was deducted rm200 in ONE single day! I thought, was I scammed? But after I checked on my spending on that day, yes, I did top up RM200 in that one day. Because I kept top up, spend, it's finished, then top up again.
Also, did you know that Grab Pay had increaded their minimum top up amount from RM10 to RM20 ? These are some mechanism of ewallet that might cause you to spend more.
So bottom line, have only 1 or 2 eWallet accounts for the sake of your finance.
It's ok to sometimes miss the small discount they give!
TIP 3 Don't Splurge on Discount
Again, this is about discount. Discount in my opinion is the money devil, but they are not money devil if you know how to play to well. Sometimes, we might think "oh hey its on BIG discount! 60% off!! Let's buy many of them!"
Espcially in household items.
Easy for us to think that way because "we will always need it" and that "there's no harm in keeping them in stock"
Yes, I get it.
I, too, have been in that position.
But I think it's still wise to don't splurge even if you will always need that item.
Here's why. Let's say a long expiry item such as dishwashing soap. You always wash dishes, you will always need it and it is not gonna be expired anytime soon. True, but consider the fact that your belief might change over the time. You might not wash dishes anymore in the future (maybe because you do a lot takeout, eat outside, or any other possible reason), you might not want to use that brand anymore, you might be tempted to try other brand in the future, you might switch to better alternative when the technology evolved (I used soapnuts last time and trust me, yes, there is a better alternative for dishwashing liquid!) , the price of those items is even more lowered in the future, and many other possible reasons those items will be wasted. The bottom line is, you'll never know what happens.
I'm not saying don't buy when in big discount. I said don't splurge on it. Just maybe buy 1 to 3 packs. I've seen people buy 10 of them and keep em in the house. When I introduced them to soapnuts, they don't know what to do with those soaps anymore. (sorry, now I'm promoting soapnuts hahaha)
This is just dishwashing soap, what about other food items that may be expired in a pretty short period of time? So this is what I think you should try to consider also.
TIP 4 Think about the quality, too
People usually see the price and the price only. Maybe sometimes the packaging design.
Packaging design is one of the ways company trick you into buying.
For those of you who didn't know, I do have a YouTube channel where I talk about the formulation and ingredients because not all the time expensive=good. Turns out some companies kind of twist around the facts to present you what they wrote in the packaging. They did not lie, but the facts are just twisted around. Example they might say 98% participants agree this product makes skin brighter but they themselves funded the research and the research methodology is weird.
This is just skin care, what about other products that I don't know about?
What I think important is to really know the quality of a product.
So you need a spoon, what kind? Cheap one? Ok, cheap one.
So your mind thought "it's just a spoon, get the cheap one!"
The danger of this thinking is that :
There is such a thing called cost per use, if those cheap items are proven to have really bad quality it makes the cost per use expensive (if it's RM2/pc, then it's RM2/use compared to high durability spoon that costs RM10/pc but cost per use is only RM0.0002/use)
This is just a simple spoon. What about other more expensive item such as your shirt, electronics, furniture, a flight ticket?
Granted, some items can be ignored and have just the low quality but for most essential items, do think about the quality because what you think might make you save money might actually make you waste money.
TIP 5 Don't be fooled with Photos
I work in the design industry enough to let you know that you should rarely believe the photo or an advertisement of an item. They can be manipulated in so many ways to just make you buy.
This is especially bad for women. As we like to see the model wearing it, we think "oh thats so pretty" and then buy it.
Let me tell you some of the ways a photo may be manipulated :
model is carefully selected to have good feature that you want to see (such as slim body, thick round lips, pretty eyes)
Lighting is designed to protray certain emotion you want to feel (such as warm light to portray the beautiful summer, oh while you're at it, see this plant pot, aren't they lovely?)
Items to accompany the product are also carefully selected (example : look at this shelf organiser, so pretty, it fits all the small kitchen items perfectly, oh and the items are all in synchronised color, what a coincidence!)
Add scientific/tech/natural looking elements to invoke certain feel (such as this product is made out of organic herbs, look at these pictures of leaves and trees)
...and this is what you might say after receive the item:
"Hey it doesn't look like the photo at all!"
"I don't look like the model"
"My stuff is still messy after using this shelf organiser"
Think about as simple as how McDonald's burger never look as big as their ads.
They might not be a scam, but just how marketing is. They're also not wrong per se.
if you want to save money, never ever tricked by the photo.
Here's how to know if you've been catfished or not :
"Is there any other reason you want this product BESIDES the photo?"
If you do have the answer for that, then you're probably good to buy!
TIP 6 Don't Often Splurge on Expensive Food
I know some of us like to buy expensive coffee, snacks, bubble tea, and so many expensive food or beverages. I do that too. What can I say, I am a shopaholic!
It's not wrong to enjoy expensive food once in a while.
But splurge on expensive food is just dangerous on your money (sometimes health, but we're talking about money here).
Here's a simple reason why splurging on expensive is bad : they become poop anyway.
This has been my way of thinking whether i should spend that extra RM30 for a more expensive poop.
I mean, yes, my taste bud likes it, I eat delicious food, but what's next?
Do you actually get healthier with that? Do you actually get stronger with that? If your answer to these questions are "no" then we all know what's next : they become poop anyway.
Expensive is also different meaning to people. My definition of expensive in this context : price > quality. So no matter the price, if the quality is lower than the price, that's expensive.
So I am not saying "eat dirty low-priced food".
I did say "healthy, clean, nutritional high-priced food is worth it"
Once in a while it's great to consume them just for enjoyment purpose, but often, that's just dangerous. Keep track of how many times in a week you splurge on expensive food. If you buy starbucks coffee everyday, that's probably a warning sign for your wallet (unless your starbucks is covered by your company)
So that is all the tips I have for you so you can save money!
See you in my next post!!