Image via Freepik; Edited by LITE
These days we get tempted more often to spend our money on online shopping and the multiple sales happening constantly. Our lifestyle is often more luxurious as well, as compared to what we can afford to keep up with a certain ‘standard’.
However, many of you have probably learned a hard lesson during MCO on the importance of having a better managed budget and ample savings.
Therefore, here are a few helpful tips you can try out:
#1 Track your expenses and create a REALISTIC budget
You could go the old school way of simply writing everything down in a handy notebook or do it through your device. Excel sheets are great but there are also apps you can use these days.
Input your income when you get your salary then allocate the money you need to pay for essentials and necessities such as bills, loans, grocery and daily commute expenses. These are your fixed monthly expenses which you must always pay for.
Then, set aside another amount for your savings. The rest can go into extra expenditure such as entertainment, shopping and travelling.
If you’re unsure how much to allocate for each category, you can follow the 50-30-20 Golden Rule—50% of your income goes into the necessities, 30% into savings and 20% into the extra things you want.
#2 Rearrange your priorities: Needs vs Wants
Firstly, you need to understand what you truly NEED and what you WANT. You need to pay your bills, you need to eat, and you need to pay for petrol for your daily commute. On the other hand, you want to travel, you want to watch movies, you want the latest and most expensive gadgets.
Try to differentiate these things and start questioning if you need or want something before you spend your money.
#3 Set a savings goal
You should have two types of savings goals: short term and long term.
Short term goals should include:
- An emergency fund which should be about three to nine months’ worth of your living expenses to cover unforeseen circumstances such as losing a job or other emergency situations.
- Down payment for your next car. You could always trade in your current vehicle, but this will come in handy if you’re buying your first car or need a second car.
- Holiday expenses. Although you can’t travel overseas for now, you can still travel within the country. Perhaps you’d like a lovely long getaway with loved ones. Your short-term savings can be used for this.
Long term goals are:
- Down payment for a house or to renovate your current house. Purchasing a house or renovating it isn’t cheap, so you have to make sure to save for it.
- Retirement funds. You’re not going to work forever and though you have cash in your EPF or penchant, it may not last as long as you think.
- Your children’s education. The cost of private education has increased tremendously in the past few decades. Meanwhile, even if their school fees are cheap or free thanks to a scholarship, you still need to provide them the tools to study.
#4 Eat at home
Forego those costly lunches and fancy dinners, cook at home instead! You may not be a chef but cooking at home often is also cultivating the skill while helping you save money.
To ensure you don’t overspend during lunch as well, bring food to the office! Sure, having lunch with your colleagues sounds like a great time but why not start an office culture of bringing food from home? You can even exchange side dishes every once in a while and perhaps create a stronger bond with them.
#5 Go the extra mile, literally!
Parking in Malaysia, especially in larger cities like Kuala Lumpur can be extremely expensive. Unless you have a parking space provided by your company or a season pass, you can park a little further to get free or cheaper parking.
Take the distance between your car and office as a simple but effective workout. Opt for those flat rate parking lots too if you often have to do OT.
#6 Install energy-saving devices such as the Smart Meter
You may think that paying hundreds of ringgits for your electricity bill is justifiable but that’s wasted money if you could be more energy-efficient and track your usage! Make sure your devices are Energy Star certified too.
Meanwhile, install the Smart Meter to monitor and control your energy usage as you can track your consumption on a daily basis rather than monthly basis. Once you have the Smart Meter fixed, you can download the myTNB app.
Image via TNB
Through the app, you can also pay your bills securely and manage multiple accounts. So, if you’re paying for your own electricity as well as your parents’ then you can do it all in one app.
Here’s how the Smart Meter works
Currently, TNB is putting up the communication network system around the rest of Klang Valley and soon, the entire Malaysia. This is to ensure the smart meters can transmit and send the data to TNB’s data centre.
Radio frequency (RF) monopoles in your area and smart meter installation at your premise are safe and do not pose any danger.
An independent study was conducted on radiation and consumer health concerns. Installing smart meter will not jeopardise your health. In fact, the radiation of smart meter is very low compared to your smartphones and Wi-Fi!
Why do I need a Smart Meter if I already have a digital meter?
Firstly, you no longer need a stranger coming into your home every month to read the meter as everything can be tracked via the app and at 30-minute intervals which is far more detailed.
Secondly, as your usage is tracked by the minute, you can learn better about your own consumption and lifestyle, and what you can do to lessen energy wastage.
Lastly, with the Smart Meter, you’re traversing into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) as per the government’s initiative of moving into a new era of tech and connectivity.
“Is that it? What else can this Smart Meter Offer?”
There are loads more awesome things to come. In the near future, you can also:
- Enjoy faster power connection for move-in and move-out.
- Set a notification alert on the myTNB app to notify you of your consumption allowing you to plan your usage better.
- Receive immediate notification via myTNB app when supply interruption and restoration occur in your area.
- Take advantage of peak or off-peak rates on Time of Use (TOU).
- Opt for a pre-payment plan to give you the flexibility of managing finances better.
Image via TNB
Sounds like a smart way to save money, right? If the Smart Meter is ready in your neighbourhood, be ready to install it and be part of the future, today.
For more information, visit Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s website or FOMCA’s website.