This is not a post to share on life being frugal. Nor is it of how you can use human faeces to generate electricity and what not.. it is simply a note on a few measures we take as a family to minimise spending thus adding on to the Holiday/Savings Jar at the same time.
Papa: Madame, asking for a discount doesn’t mean I’m poor; it means I’m thrifty! –
The 100 foot journey
ALLOCATE SPENDING MONEY PER MONTH – MAKE A BUDGET
Have you heard of the 50/20/20/10 rule? I haven’t either. Its totally made up by Mr Husband but it makes sense in a way.But there are a few other ‘proportion guidelines’ we may have heard of. Such as the 20/80, 40/30/20/10 or the most famous 50/30/20 rule by Elizabeth Warren.
Bottom line is – once you’re earned your salary one should pay off the necessary bills and loans before spending it on anything else and try to put some dough in the piggy bank as savings for retirement or investments.
I BUY BOOKS ON A DISCOUNT
Except on limited edition hardcover books or collectors items – not that I have much anyway. It does need a lot of practice on delayed gratification but once you get into your head that you can save up to 70% by purchasing books a bit later than their release dates or get them at book sales – one should feel content. Besides, I have too much on my hands already from my daily job to actually do some serious reading.
An annual subscription of a particular magazine can prove to be money-saving too. For instance, my Readers Digest subscription. It retails for RM 15 at the bookstores but when I purchase it online with a yearly subscription – I not only get it for only 40 % less – the material is also posted to my home and often get a subscribers only edition which is kinda cool and thicker by a dozen. Ha ha.
In Malaysia, we already have the Big bad Wolf doing us a favor when it comes to book fairs. This mobile book sale would come to Malacca at least once a year and I’d use the chance to buy visual children books and genres that I usually would not buy at full price from the bookstore – finance, self help, leadership, indie, gardening or even mini encyclopedias. Rarely does a book cost more than RM 20 and you could easily get a good quality children picture books for only RM 5.
Getting a store card helps as well. I have been a loyal member of POPULAR bookstore and would make every attempt to get my supplies of stationaries from its outlets to benefit from its members discount price and promotions. A member could easily get a 10% discount for every little purchase and of course there’s plenty of trips to the bookstore for the buy 1 free 1 offer as well.
Finally when it comes to books, I would keep the receipts in a special envelope for my yearly tax rebates. It’s a win-win situation. And most of the time the amount of rebate reaches the maximum amount that I could get off my taxes.
I BUY SELECTED ITEMS DURING SALES AND FESTIVE SEASONS
This is especially true when it comes to beauty items – be it that particular treatment essence or mascara that you really like. I find Christmas season and Valentine’s day to be the perfect occasion to splurge on cosmetics and skin care products. This also tends to be the time when salesperson become very generous and throw in wonderful goodies and samples to try.
Same goes to buying perfumes – since their shelf life takes years.. one cannot go wrong in waiting for these seasons of giving and loving to come by and be opportunistic.
However I do find that sometimes its worth going the opposite direction when it comes to buying or making festive clothings. Baju Hari Raya for instance. One could always gamble to get the best price for their festive clothing on the eve of the occasion – they just need to hurdle the crowd. Or risk the mail not arriving on time!
BETTER STILL, BUY ONLINE
10 years ago, the online industry may not be as prosperous as it is today. These days however, you could find almost anything on the internet and they deliver at affordable prices too. Buying clothes and shoes may be a bit risky but I suppose once you’ve overcomes the first fear factor of actually trying.. you’d be addicted to buy more.
Recently I bought a carton of Binggrae banana milk online.
These milk reminisced memories of our family trip to South korea in 2013. 11StreetMY was having a SALE with this product and I just couldn’t resist. At least I could satisfy my cravings for the milk since it taste delicious and is HALAL as certified by the Islamic Body in Korea.
See the Little Mosque at the end? Its HALAL.
Ordering for it was a breeze and payment was smooth through our local banks. The item was delivered safely to my workplace in just 2 working days.
ORGANIZE YOUR TRIPS TO THE GROCERS
It’s what the old ladies would say – make a shopping list. Or make trips to the grocers on a periodical basis so you could stock up evenly and perhaps consider buying in bulk for better worth.
Sometimes it’s not a matter of shopping for the pantry per se – but the cost of getting there such as fuel, time and traffic. This is something I am struggling with. While I can make a list I still have a tendency to buy more than what’s on the list – and this is shopping on a full stomach!
MEND – DON’T EASILY DISCARD
A missing button, a small rip at the sleeves – all it needs is a stitch as opposed to a new outfit. However, I find that once your muffin top has spilled over more than 30% of what your baseline is – consider a new outfit!
I hope this helps as a start. Of course there are other useful tips such as Recycle. Or enter a contest to get a freebie. Answer questionnaires. Share the shower. Join a reunion or birthday meal treats for a free meal. And all that sort. To each his own. Yah?!