With a higher cost of living nowadays and the need to stretch a paycheck, we asked five Malaysians to tell us how they are managing financially.
To have some buffer (so that we have money for emergencies), I started saving 15% of my salary every month for the last two years.
Earlier I could not save as we had more responsibilities from parents’ medical to house expenses. My financial challenges right now, in order of priority, are my son and daughter’s university fees, housing loan, insurance (and investment products) and retirement planning.
Aside from saving, I’m also working part-time selling old newspapers. To keep our costs down, I also buy groceries and food stuff during promotions and from wholesale markets.
I have been packing food for lunch on a regular basis instead of eating out, walk where I can to avoid parking fees and save on petrol, take Grab during off peak hours and actually colouring my own hair instead of going to a hair salon.
What I regret most is not putting aside a little earlier and not taking up insurance plans for the family from an earlier stage.
As a freelancer, it can be difficult to manage savings and monthly expenses based on the fact that there isn't a fixed pay cheque each month. A lot of it is self-discipline but there's also a fair amount of planning involve.
Personally, I think maintaining three accounts – one for all the monthly expenses, one for extra expenses/ incidentals (holidays, repairs) and one for the nest egg, which is never to be touched, is an ideal formula.
For starters, setting aside at least 30% of the gross monthly income is a good start, splitting it between both the extra incidentals and the nest egg.
I don't spend all of my money and practice discernment. I am conscious about balancing my expenses across different needs.
If I'm spending more on one thing, then I'll save on something else for that month. That way, I'll be able to save every month, be it a small or larger amount.
I do have personal savings. Saving up for rainy days and the future is very important, as we should not fall back on parents to "save us".
I put aside 30% percentage of my salary each month upon receiving it and make it a point to meet my monthly savings goal. The percentage will increase if I receive OT (overtime) for the month.
Every month, I try to save about 25% of my salary which goes into an additional savings account.
Saving is a top priority for me since young as my parents have taught me about the importance of saving for emergencies. I’m currently paying for a house that I have bought but it’s not a burden as being single, I don’t have other responsibilities at the moment.
On a daily basis, I try to be alert about my expenses and I don’t spend on unnecessary things such as online shopping, which can be very addictive. I’m lucky I get to pack my mum’s home-cooked food for my lunch so I can avoid spending on food deliveries.
If someone wants to save, they can try a 30-day challenge by not making any impulse purchases. Just put that item in your diary and at your next payday, just see if it’s something you really need.
Another way is to set up an automatic deduction each month so that a portion of your salary is transferred to another savings account. This way you will reach your savings goal without even realising it.
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