5 Practical Tips To Curb Unnecessary Spending19 Jul 2022
Spending is not only a necessity to survive. It can be gratifying to spend on our wants like the latest gadget, nice furniture, or even the car we’ve been eyeing for months. But this gratification can easily turn into unnecessary spending if we are not careful, or even snowball into an empty wallet. Here are 5 practical tips to curb unnecessary spending.
Understanding your triggers
A spending trigger is something that tempts you to spend money. For example, a situation, emotion, place, or person. It can come in many forms and be obvious or subtle. If you don’t know you have one, it can be costly. So take time to reflect. Here are examples of triggers and their individual approaches.
Wait three days
A 2019 World Bank report showed that 40% of millennials in Malaysia spend beyond their means due to impulsive buying behaviour, easy access to personal loans and credit card financing. If you feel you have been falling for impulsive spending you may want to try waiting three days anytime you are going to make a big purchase that is not urgent. If it really can wait, the item/experience will still be there after three days. By then, you should be able to decide without the rush of impulse buying affecting you.
This is done to look at your spending habits and to change bad habits. Record your expenses throughout the day. Categorise and set a balance for each expense. You can do that by using an app. Wallet: Budget Planner Tracker is a free app that is very user-friendly for tracking expenses and has an intuitive layout for tracking. Tracking your expenses on an app is convenient and automates a lot of the work.
Review Your Subscriptions
All this sounds a bit much right now? Then start with a quick win on cutting your spending. Some examples include:
a) Changing to a more affordable subscription service that better fits your needs. For example, if you’re not into sports and binge on series/movies, Netflix / Apple TV would be a better choice over an Astro subscription with sports channels. Not only would it be more suited for your needs, it would be cheaper as well.
b) If you’re not fully utilising your mobile plan, downgrade it to a cheaper plan. Signs you should downgrade your mobile plan include not using even half of your mobile data, barely making any phone calls, or wanting to cut down on unnecessary phone usage. If you’re on postpaid and are looking to control your spending, you can consider switching to a prepaid plan. The downside is that prepaid plans could put you in a difficult spot when you’re out of credit and really need to make a phone call or use mobile data.
c) Cancel a gym membership if you mostly workout somewhere else. You can opt for home workouts instead. One of the easiest ways is to make YouTube your trainer! Channels like Chris Heria and Athlean-X have workouts you can follow along with or provide helpful information.
d) Buy a cheaper daily coffee or start making your own.
Cook instead of buying food from outside
Department of Statistics Malaysia showed that the 4th highest spending category for Malaysian households is eating out. In 2019, Malaysian households spent RM604 a month, encompassing 13.3% of total spending. Oftentimes, there is plenty of room to cut back on spending here.
Eating out often might be nice but although they may not all be fine dining bills, little by little they can add up to a substantial amount by the end of the month. The extra time spent on cooking can be worth it over the money saved. Think about how much time it takes to earn the amount of money spent on eating out anyway.
If you are short on time, there are healthy food that take less than 30 minutes to cook, is tasty, and affordable. For such recipe ideas, check out Instagram pages such as @thebodycoach or YouTube channels such as Clean & Delicious.
Borrow when you can
Especially if it’s just for short-term use. Everyone has things they can lend. It doesn’t cost money. Besides, you can one day return the favour if you’re able to. Here are some ideas that you could use!
a) Need an expensive college or university textbook? Check for its availability in the college or university library or try book swapping with a friend.
b) Going for an outdoor activity such as hiking, camping, or snorkelling with friends but only do so a couple of times a year? Since such gear can be expensive, try asking your friends if you can borrow any items that are needed.
c) Need items for your baby? Your friends who are parents might have some they can now discard and don’t need anyway.
These are steps you can start today that don’t require much from you. Still, staying consistent is key for these tips. Unnecessary spending can cause stress due to a low amount of money to live comfortably. Or worse, debt that becomes a burden. A good savings plan like Gibraltar BSN Cash Star can ensure you stick to savings instead of spending unnecessarily or avoid not putting any use to your money. All while also being financially protected. Not only that, but you can also enjoy increasing guaranteed cashback every year.