Disclaimer: I received a test unit for the purpose of this review. The unit will be returned. All the opinion below is mine. EDIT: 1.5 months after this article was published, they offered me the phone. I accepted and currently using it.
I love Xiaomi products – I own two of their phones (using the Redmi Note 4 now), the powerbank and the earphones. I’ve written and promoted them before this, here and here.
In July, I got the opportunity to test out the Xiaomi MiA2 phone. I was particularly excited about it, because I’ve always wanted a phone with good camera, but those don’t come cheap does it? The Twitter crowd confirmed this.
This post was inspired by one of my favourite personal finance websites, The Financial Diet. Check out their version of the article here.
‘Don’t buy shit you don’t need’ – how many times have we all heard this six-word money advice? It sounds so simple, right?
The thing is, the definition of ‘shit you don’t need’ will differ greatly from person to person. What I think I don’t need and can cut from my budget is someone else’s necessity item, either required for their life/work or something they decided is worth the expense and thus budgeted in (instead of budgeted out).
Here are 15 things I have personally stopped buying and realised I didn’t miss.
#1 – A Car
Sometimes, the fact that I don’t own a car really surprises people around me. It’s considered a rights-to-passage-to-adulthood expense, something people buy as they start working.
I can’t be the only one curious about other people’s online purchasing habits, right? 😛
Recently, I asked the RoR community on Facebook about the last thing they bought online. There were some really great answers, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to share those here, because they’re fun to read! Plus, lots of money-saving tips too! You guys make me proud!
Bought Cheaper Items/Services Online
1. Gina Ee – “A face guasa board from Lazada for only RM8 per piece, instead of about RM20 sold offline. It’s a resin board made for traditional Chinese method facial and body massage.”
Look up any commentary or news piece about poor Malaysians and the (sad) state of our finances, and you can find discussions about our self-control. Apparently, some of us lack self-control so much that we simply can’t help buying all the H&M clothes and trying out all the Starbucks drinks against our better judgement. That, said the commentators, is the reason why many of us complain too much about the cost of living, so stop complaining and just buy less lah!
This shallow reasoning makes me angry.
Are we simply going to ignore decades worth of behavioural economics research that is used to influence our purchasing behaviour and habits? Or do we just not take into account thousands of people employed in big companies whose jobs is to develop and execute sales, advertisement and marketing strategies?
And you expect me, a mere individual, to be able to resist all these combined efforts and temptations, 100% of the time? And tell me I lack willpower?
As a finance geek, I enjoy trying out new fintech products, including ewallets. It’s fun exploring what kind of perks and cashbacks each of them offer.
Ewallets in Malaysia – The Current Scenario
There are many companies trying to enter and compete in the ewallets scene in Malaysia. Last I checked, BNM listed 31 e-money issuers. I’m sure that list will keep growing in the next few years.
In time, I think we will see a few clear winners in this ewallet race, like what happened with Alipay in China. But for now, potential customers like you and me can have fun and enjoy being courted by these companies. Some of them are pretty generous with their welcome or referral bonuses – good for us!
Here are reviews of all the ewallets in Malaysia that I’ve tried out so far, and what I like about them. I have excluded banks and crypto ewallets from this list.
#1 – Lazada Wallet Review
Best for: Regular Lazada users
What I like about it:
Super fast refund on order cancellations. Your money comes back in a few minutes only, as opposed to hours/days it takes with other types of payment methods.
Easy to top up with credit card or online banking. Super seamless.
No need to download an extra app. Integrated in Lazada app itself
Sometimes they have extra cashback and offers if you buy stuff on Lazada using the Lazada wallet. I received RM20 voucher this way (this particular campaign have since expired)
#2 – BigPay Review
Best for: Travel junkies and AirAsia users
What I like about it:
Comes with a gorgeous-looking powder-blue Mastercard-branded debit card. You have to top up RM20 into your account first before they send the card to you, but the card itself it free (RM20 will appear in your account)
The app’s UI is really good. Very clear instructions. Security features are great
According to a FB commentor, the debit card’s overseas exchange rates are damn good and similar to XE.com rates! That’s a HUGE plus!
No processing fee if you use this card to buy AirAsia flights (RM4-RM16 in savings!). Note: If you want the card for this feature, make sure to apply 3-5 working days before so there’s enough time for card delivery
Can collect BigPoints, which you can use to redeem for AirAsia flights
Can transfer money to friends for free
Many fees are waived for now (later on, they will charge RM2.50 monthly fee if you don’t use the card at least once in a month. Not a huge issue tbh, Mastercard is accepted everywhere so it’s easy to use)
Apparently the app is designed to be Mint-like. Purchases will be categorised for you. Haven’t tried this feature yet.
GENEROUS sign up and referral bonus! Get extra RM10 credit if you use my referral code INLALP7ZLE (I get RM10 too!). To download the app, find BigPay in PlayStore (Android) or Appstore (iOS)
Received a hack from a kind commentor and want to share it with you!
You can combine the BigPay card with the Public Bank Quantum credit card to earn 5% cashback. How:
– top up the amount in BigPay debit card with the credit card
– use like normal, anywhere Mastercard is accepted!
– PROTIP: reload on Monday to get ADDITIONAL 5% cashback. One time only, and need to sms Public Bank. Go check Public bank for details of this particular promo
ALSO! This is a great card to buy stuff from overseas (that’s not priced in RM). You’re charged XE.com rates, which is amazing! Cards from normal banks NEVER give that kind of rates
#3 – Fave Pay Review
Best for: Fave users (for non-users, it’s like Groupon but no minimum number of buyers to unlock deals)
What I like about it:
Built-in the Fave platform and app, no need to download separately.
Always have ongoing cashback promotions and offers. Many promo codes.
The app can search places near you that give you extra promotions and cashback. The cashback deals are generous; between 5-30%. Sometimes when I’m out and about I’d open the app and pleasantly surprised by the offerings near me, lots of smaller shops I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
Referral bonus. Get RM5 off your first purchase if you sign up via this link (I get RM5, too!)
#4 – Boost App Review
Best for: Buy discounted vouchers!
What I like about it:
Lots of discounted vouchers available, including for Steam, Lazada, Zalora, 11th Street, MBO, Redbox, Grab, Mobile prepaid top up and more. Many are discounted by 10-20%!
Effectively better than Shopback for some purchases. Example – I can buy RM50 Lazada voucher for RM45 from Boost and save 10% rather than get just 1% cashback from Shopback
Can transfer money to friends for free
Kinda meh about this, but they do have pay-with-QR-code feature
Integrated with Fave
Referral bonus. Enter my invite code sur8oko and get RM5 cashback after first payment or RM10 purchase. Find Boost App in Playstore (Android) or Appstore (iOS)
Those are the ones I’ve tried so far, but there are more ewallets coming in!
Ewallets in Malaysia I Want to Try
#1 – Touch N Go
I’ve used Touch N Go cards, sure, but I haven’t downloaded their app. But I will after they revamp their app – CIMB has a major stake in TnG, and last I heard TnG have a joint venture with Ant Financials (the company behind Alipay). So let’s see what they’ll offer when they finally revamp it.
EDIT: I downloaded the Touch N Go app. A bit underwhelming – can’t even register and top up my cards. Waiting for future updates.
#2 – GrabPay
To be fair, I already use GrabPay for Grab rides, but not the version they’re planning in (near?) future, the version where you can use it to make in-store payments and maybe even offer insurance and micro-lending. GrabPay partnered with Maybank kot. I have high hopes.
EDIT: I regularly top up money in GrabPay using credit card (to get credit card cashback + points), and use that to pay for my Grab rides. Earning higher Grab Reward Points this way, which I can redeem for Grab rides.
#3 – WeChat Pay
I don’t use WeChat, but I know it’s insanely popular among Chinese users (and young Malay kids for some reason). Hong Leong Bank partnered with WeChat Pay so I’ll be following the news for this development.
EDIT: I downloaded WeChat during the Money Packet promo, where they gave out between RM3.88-RM88.88 randomly. Didn’t manage to get anything. Their server crashed, probably because many Malaysians tried to get the money too lol
Ewallets in Malaysia I Haven’t Tried
If you’ve tried any of these ewallets (Source: FintechNews Malaysia), I’d love to hear your reviews. Are they good? Worth trying out?
Any other ewallets in Malaysia that should be in this list?
I have two thought processes here about this topic: ewallets for cashless society and ewallets as credit card replacement/competition
Ewallets for cashless society
I know there are lots of talk about ewallets being integral towards a cashless society.
Cashless is good, sure. However I’m still a big fan of using cash for payments though. Something about physically handing cash makes me sayang it more, so I am more mindful when I spend.
My personal rule is to use cash unless there are financial incentives to using digital payment methods. If it doesn’t give me discounts, cashback or loyalty points, I will keep on using cash. I don’t care about QR codes, tap and pay systems or whatever other fancy things – they’re secondary to its money-saving ability.
Ewallets as credit card replacement/competition
What I regularly do before I want to buy something is check:
Now that elections is over, Ramadan mood is coming back in full force!
Let’s get straight to the point – both my sisters are boutique owners and OUT OF THE GOODNESS OF MY HEART I’m dedicating this post to promo their baju raya slash baju kurung 2018 collection. Both of you better be nice to me after this rofl.
Note: If you’re trying to save money, please skip this post. If you were looking for Raya clothes anyway, or sengaja nak cuci mata, scroll on 🙂
Sara of Jewelpie.com recently published how much she spent on beauty products. Loved it and was immediately inspired to show mine too!
To be fair, I don’t have a specific category for beauty costs. Most of the time they’re chucked in either Misc Needs or Misc Wants. If I needed those things urgently for an event or something, they’re logged into Misc Needs. If they’re just things I randomly picked up due to shopping mood, then they’re under Misc Wants.
Unlike Sara, I don’t know how much I spent on beauty annually. It fluctuates a lot – most of the time I keep it simple and spend very little, but I also did a RM3,600 dermafiller injection procedure, so that throws the whole annual average out of whack.
Doing things a bit differently, I drew out in my notebook: beauty expenses I spend on with the price range, what I splurge/skimp on, a frugal beauty habit, guilty pleasure and a beauty wishlist.
How Much I Spend On Beauty, A Visualisation
Analysing my beauty spending, I can see I prioritise services more than products. I am most satisfied by the more expensive ones, with the sole exception of eyebrow shaping – the eyebrow threading at Indian beauty shops are amazing and cheap, love them.
As for my makeup, it’s usually quite minimal. I only splurge on two things: sunscreen and eyeliner. Everything else I use regularly – face powder, eyebrow pencil, blush, lipstick, etc – is either cheap drugstore brands or gifted. I used to buy and use moisturisers, but now my skincare routine is mainly face masks + serum samples. Those little packs lasts for a surprisingly long time! I love getting them.
Do you know how much YOU spend on beauty expenses? What are beauty products or procedures you can’t live without? What’s in your wishlist, and what’s your guilty pleasure? What do you splurge and skimp on? Share with us!
Also, let me know what you think of the drawing! Don’t know if I should continue making more graphics and showing my notebook entries. See if this post got love or not 😛
I love Shopback, the cashback platform. In this article, I’m going to give you tips on using the platform for maximum cashback. Since opening an account way back in 2015, I’ve earned over RM2000 from it. The screenshot below is dated 18 April 2018.
If you’re keen to collect something, why not collect gold coins and gold bars? They tend to appreciate in value in the long run. If you get bored of your collection or need money, you can resell it and get back what you paid (and perhaps more than that). You can’t say the same for most other collections.
In this collaboration post with buysilvermalaysia.com (which actually sells a lot of gold too despite the name), we would like to share some interesting gold coin and gold bar designs for your visual pleasure. Your inner pirate will appreciate this.