Money, oh money, where art thou?
“Aiyoh, I pokai liao” or “I’m broke for this month”, these are the words you will hear from many Malaysians when it’s that time of the month, and by that, I mean financially.
Some of us millennials have trouble keeping our wallet full, we generally spend all our monthly salary on unnecessary lifestyle habits that put a big hole in our wallet instead. You know what I’m talking about, don’t deny it. It’s those wants! New iPhone, the latest Adidas NMD, vintage watches, among other trends. Other than that, let’s take a look at other habits that make you go for instant noodles for the last week of every month:
We would think that this only a concern for the ladies, but no, men are guilty of this too! We can argue that Steam has been blocked off Malaysian internet now, but how about those UPlay and Origin sales? Or the Star Wars figurines sitting in the corner of your room collecting dust? As a matter of fact, everyone loves sales; but it is a waste when you buy things you actually don’t need. When you walk pass a store with the biggest sign of sale comes on; instantly, you get that pair of jeans or shoes only to satisfy this impulse of yours. This applies for online shopping as well, when it’s a virtual product or software, or you are soaked in the idea of free shipping, where it ‘saves’ time and energy, but not so much of your money. My advice is you shouldn’t be deluded by the ‘sales’ and ‘free gifts’ or other offers. Reevaluate if you really need something before you make the purchase. And of course, run away as fast as you can when you see a “sale” sign around.
When you are staying in Malaysia, there is no doubt one of the major reasons for your rapid money loss is the temptations of food. Breakfast, lunch, tea-time, dinner and supper; this is the typical schedule of food intake for most Malaysians. Sometimes, eating out all the time could be the answer as to why your money plays “hide and seek” with you – except you’ll never find it anymore. Not to mention, drinking out on a weekend from a stressful week at work does seem tempting, but it could be contributing to your crisis as well. Create meal plans instead, and cook more at home to save up on cash. Besides, they say cooking is good for the soul too!
3. DAILY WANTS!
Yes, getting a car or a house may make you look like you’re set for the future, but if you’re having difficulties every month to pay for it, you know you shouldn’t have done so. A car is often mistaken as an asset, but it’s not; it’s a liability. You have the monthly loan and yearly insurance to pay off while catching up with the hike in petrol prices, toll and parking fees, not forgetting maintenance of the car itself. And in the end, you sell it off for way less.
A house on the other hand, though an asset, can cost you a staggering amount, especially if its way beyond your means. We hear of cars and houses being auctioned by the banks all the time, and majority of the cases are exactly like this. Plan within your budget so you don’t regret halfway through paying. There’s nothing wrong with persevering for a little while until you’re confident you can keep up with the loans of these long-term purchases. After all, being happy is the most important thing in life!
4. GYM MEMBERSHIPS
I’m all for keeping fit and healthy, but the majority of us do casual exercises on a daily or weekly basis. Unless you’re a hardcore fitness freak, the thought of paying for a fancy and pricey gym membership that you don’t actually need is definitely tearing up my soul – not wallet because I’d never!
If you want to shed some calories off without the payment of costly gym nowadays; the best thing you can opt for is home workout using your own body weight, jog around your housing area, play sports at the community centre or public parks, or attend free trial classes of health-based workshops. I believe when there’s a will, there’s a way. Don’t let money stand in the way of you being the best version of yourself.
5. EXPENSIVE HOLIDAY TRIPS
The Lord of the Rings author, J.R.R Tolkien says not all those who wander are lost. Holidays are encouraged to feed the weary soul, however, you’ll get lost and stuck in a pit of financial despair if you spend more than you should in a holiday spree. Spending all your money just because it’s a once in a lifetime trip and you probably may never return to said destination, sounds dreamy indeed. It is going to get you in trouble when reality sinks in. Have you seen or heard of the ‘begpackers’? They’re mostly people who didn’t plan their finance well, overspent their money, and succumbed to begging from the locals (without an ounce of guilt!) to continue their halted journey. What makes it worse is that they’re not exactly broke – they are well-equipped with the latest, expensive gadgets – they’re just irresponsible tourists. To avoid ending up irking the locals (and your family and friends), it is best to plan your activities, accommodation and expenses ahead! You’ll not feel like a pauper when you’re back from your holiday.
6. MORE ADD-ONS
Always feel the need to add more and more to your perfectly functional daily life? Folks, you need to realise that is how you’re slowly losing your money. For example, a simple add-on like renewing your cell phone plans. You’ve just added RM5 more to your phone plan, knowing full well you are not going to use it frequently. Sorry to break it to you, but you’ve fallen into a bad financial habit. Sure, you could argue it only costs you a few extra ringgit and you won’t feel the loss, but it accumulates as the day goes by. Be smart and make purchases only if you’re going to need it.
The “I deserve it” attitude is not totally unfounded. Believe me, I wish to grab anything I see, anything I hear, but with this attitude it’s only a matter of time before you go totally broke and waist-deep in debt. Family and friends will lose trust in you and avoid seeing you. It’s never too late to start picking up good financial habits though, so the next time you feel like purchasing something, ask yourself; do you need it? And can you afford it?
Time to ponder!