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6 stingy suggestions Malaysians can try so they don’t go broke

BY Caitlyn Ng

Updated 19 Oct 2018

If you ever find yourself running out of cash at the end of each month, you might be needing help with your budgeting skills. It’s also possible that you did not know of these neat money saving tricks, which are remarkably simple you would probably want to start following them right away.

1) Swim to work and back again

Do you know where the Klang River is? Yes, the one that looks like it’s the longest ‘teh tarik’ in the world. It flows past some of the most densely populated areas in Malaysia, namely Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam and of course Klang itself. Now can you imagine yourself swimming in it?

That’s exactly what this German man did in his hometown of Munich, as he swims 2km to work every day. If you did the same thing, you could be saving a few hundred Ringgit each month! Here’s an example, if say you lived in Shah Alam and worked in the Kuala Lumpur city centre:

- The latest price of RON95 petrol is RM2.20 (as of this writing)
- Fuel efficiency of a Perodua Myvi is 7.2L/100km
- Distance from home work is 27.4 km (via Lebuhraya Persekutuan/Route 2)
- Toll is the Batu Tiga toll plaza (BTT) RM 1.10

Cost per 1km = [(7.2L*2.20)/100] = RM0.16
Cost from Shah Alam to KL = RM0.16*27.4 = RM4.38
One-way cost = RM4.38 (fuel) + RM1.10 (toll) = RM5.48
Total cost for one month = RM10.96*20 = RM219.20

2) Take all the tissue from public areas

You read that right. Plenty of places (cafes and the like) have stashes of paper napkins which they willingly give to you, so why not try taking as much as you need so that you can build your own stash at home? The same concept applies to public toilets and their easily accessible tissue rolls. Not that we’re condoning such behaviours, we’re just saying.

If you actually did do such a thing, you’d be able to save a little extra each month by not having to buy all that pulp for your daily household use.

- Tesco Soft Compact Twin Ply Tissue 10 Rolls x 350 Sheets = RM9.49
- Tesco Choice Box Tissue 4 x 200 = RM7.99

Average number of toilet tissue sheets a person uses in one day = 57
Average number of sheets used in one month = 57*30 = 1710
Number of toilet rolls average human needs = 5 (350*5 = 1750)
Assuming that two boxes of tissue are used each month, the total cost that can be saved =
[(9.49/2)+(7.99/2)] = RM8.75

3) Use public WiFi all the time

The world is a more interconnected place for a reason: we’re all paying to have our noses in other people’s business. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Youtube, what’s the one thing they have in common? They require an internet connection, which means data plans that sometimes don’t come cheap.

Have an important phone call to make, or need to complete your assignments on time? Use the WiFi hotspots in libraries, airports and universities. Alternatively, follow your friends to cafes so that while they are chowing down, you can watch them and save the WiFi password for future use.

- Mobile internet plan: UMobile UMI 30 for RM30
- Home internet plan: TM Streamyx 1Mbps for RM110

If you position yourself properly near a public hotspot you have the password to, you’ll be saving RM140!

4) Wash your things the natural way

Malaysians love their water, perhaps more so than other nations, and we don’t mean that in a good way. On average, the consumption of water in our nation is 300 litres per capita per day, which is 82% higher than that of the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommendation of 165 litres per capita per day. Only 5% - 10% of that is used for consumption.

Apart from taking shorter showers to conserve water, pile up your dirty laundry in anticipation of washing it with you. Soap up your body and the linens, then rinse both simultaneously! In addition, make use of Mother Nature and her boundless blessings by washing your car only when it rains. The water is clean and continuous, what more could you ask for?

- Average Malaysians = 300L*30 = 9000L (approximately 9 cubic metres)
- Malaysian water tariff is RM0.57 for the first 20 cubic metres, but there is a minimum payment
of RM6 per month
- Average price of a basic car wash = RM10

Assuming you wash your car once a week, that would already be a total of RM46 saved each month.

5) Feed yourself with free food

Yes, there are people who actually take the effort to find and attend events that do serve food – product launches, property seminars, festivals, even weddings. As the food is served buffet-style, eat to your heart’s content and you can opt to feed yourself for a few more days, just by packing what you need into handy Tupperwares. Reheat the leftovers in your office microwave and you’re good to go!

On the other hand, visiting the local supermarkets and grocery stores would offer more discretion. Since there are always a few stands displaying free food and beverage samples for customers to try, you can help yourself to as much as you stealthily can, until your hunger is satiated.

- Cost of a plate of rice with two dishes = RM7
- Cost of a glass of iced coffee = RM2

Amount saved each month on F&B = RM9*20 weekdays = RM180

6) Save your pee in milk cartons

The final point on this list might be a bit hard to wrap your head around but it’s guaranteed to do double duty: not only do you save on water (fewer toilets flushes), you don’t need to purchase fertilisers ever again. Human urine contains a substantial amount of urea and when diluted with water, will become an effective high-nitrate fertiliser.

- Price of 2 packets GardenWell urea fertilizers (400g) = RM23.20 saved if you can get over the ick factor.

To conclude

Choosing to be the most ‘kiamsiap’ of them all and applying the six suggestions above will net you extra pocket money of over RM500. Nothing beats the feeling of satisfaction when you see the numbers slowly add up!

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About the Author

Caitlyn Ng


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