I consider myself a fairly frugal person. I love getting the most value for my money, and put the rest in my savings account.
That being said, like everyone else, I do pay for a few expensive things, that I consider as ‘worth it’ purchases. Here are 10 expensive things that I will pay for anyway.
- Sunscreen. I have a very low-maintenance skincare routine, but to make up for it I slap on a generous amount of sunscreen almost every day. Two reasons. First, as much as I like my skin colour (hello, racial ambiguity!), I am considered high risk for skin cancer. I don’t want that shit. I want to avoid that shit. Secondly, for vanity reasons. My mom wore sunscreen for years and if you place her next to similarly-aged ladies, the result is really obvious. Like, crazy obvious. Much less wrinkles, barely any dark spots. My mom looks really good, no joke, and I want to look like that too when I get to that age. #thanksforthegenesmom. Cost: RM13.50 per bottle, roughly 1-2 months per bottle.
- Prepaid plan for my phone. Postpaid plans can give me more value for my money, I get it. I’m paying about RM80-RM100 a month now to sustain my heavy internet browsing habit, when I can just pay a standard RM70 plan under Umobile or something. But you know what? I hate getting locked in contracts. I also like pay-as-you-go plans – I pay less when I use less data, so there’s the extra motivation to not be online all day. This may not be the best financial option for me, but I consider this as worth it for the flexibility. Cost: an extra RM0-30 a month.
- Medical card. I have never been sick or been in an accident to the point of hospitalisation, ever, and I plan to keep it that way. That said, I can be absent-minded sometimes, and have narrowly avoided accidents due to dumb luck. This is one monthly purchase that I’m happy to pay for even if it’s non-refundable. Cost: RM120 a month.
- Anti-Virus. I use my computer a lot. Free versions of anti-virus software work, but for peace of mind I always buy complete anti-virus packages. Between that, (free) password management system, and not clicking phishing links, I have saved myself so much potential agony and thousands of ringgit. Cost: RM40 for 3-year anti-virus plan. (yes this is crazy cheap, ask me for more info).
- Wet wipes. The antibacterial kind. It’s not expensive per se, but at the rate I go through with them, it adds up. I love this stuff and bring it everywhere in my everyday bag. I used to bring tissues with me but this option is so much better. Going for an impromptu meal at a hawker stall with no sink? Use wet wipes to clean my hands. Lend my phone to someone else? Use wet wipes to (discreetly) wipe the screen afterwards (hands are dirty af). Waiting in the car to pick up someone? Use wet wipes to make minor clean-up: handbrake, steering wheel, door handles, and gear stick especially. Cost: RM9 for pack of 3.
- Fitness gear and stuff. I keep giving myself excuses to add more stuff to my fitness collection. Now I own: 2 x sports bra, 2 x sports leggings, 1 x yoga mat, 1 x foam roller, 1 x MiBand, 1 x skipping rope, 1 x fitness gloves and gym membership. To be fair, I use all of them on a very regular basis so the cost per use is very low. I still want: more outfits, microfibre towels, my own kettlebell/barbell, bluetooth earphones, etc. Cost: Unsure. I probably spend an average of RM50 per month for this?
- Massages. I like going for massages. I go perhaps once every 2 months? I like feet reflexology but it’s really hard to find good places. I tend to frequent places with ‘happy hour’ offers. You know those automatic massage chairs in malls? I use them too, but less now because I do get grossed out by other people. Cost: less than RM50 per session.
- Eyebrow shaping. They make a difference because I have one monolid eye and one double-lid eye (bet you didn’t know that lol) and badly-done eyebrows just make me look half surprised all the time. I used to go to normal salons but always get disappointed. Now I go to professional brow bars. I try to stretch out appointments, but usually no longer than 3 months in between. Cost: RM35 per session.
- Donations and gifts. I had to look at my expense tracking app to be sure of this, but apparently, I spent the most money in this category. I have the tendency to say, ‘it’s OK, it’s on me’ a lot when I’m out with friends and family. I also donated an amount towards my sister’s wedding. I don’t know how I feel about this, actually. Paying for other people makes me happy, but at the same time I know I need to not go overboard with the charity. Cost: From Jan 2014 until now (April 2016), I gave away a total of RM11.5k.
- Bitcoin debit card. My bitcoin debit card (under Wirex) charges 3% extra for payments in RM and charges $2.50 for ATM withdrawals. Why do I keep it still? Because this is my secondary, emergency globally-accessed bank account. If anything happens to me and my local Malaysian accounts gets frozen, I will still have this card and I can still run away from this country. Paranoid much? Perhaps, but as a liberal Muslim I do think I have a target on my back. Read here for more in-depth reason why I chose to use this card. Disclaimer: I provide work for Wirex but I love the global nature of bitcoin anyway, that’s why I invest in it. Cost: $1 per month in upkeep fees.
There you have it. 10 expensive things that I choose to pay for anyway. Do you agree/disagree with any of them? What expensive things do YOU pay for? Let me know in comments, or tweet to me at @surayaror.