All the Financial Tools I Use for My Own Money Management (Malaysia-Specific)

The other day I was listing out all the financial tools that I personally use for money management in my notebook, and the list got kinda long.

That got me thinking – all of you must have your own money management system, right? Even if it’s in your head, even if it’s messy. You know, more or less, that the money in account X is for daily use and the money in account Y is earmarked for, say, retirement.

I did that list because (1) it’s good to know exactly what I have and what I use it for and (2) I don’t want to accidentally forgot about an account, which happens more often than you’d think (that’s why there’s over RM5.77 billion in unclaimed money???).

So here you go – an article compiling all the financial tools I use for my own money management. Please don’t @ me if any of them sucks for you – they’re just the best option for my situation right now – I’m not loyal to any of them and happy to switch to better solutions as and when it suits me. Also please don’t take anything here as investment advice.

The financial tools are arranged in this order:

  • Bank account
  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Pre-loaded/Loyalty cards
  • E-wallets
  • International money transfers/payments
  • Investment
  • Retirement
  • Insurance
  • Estate-planning
  • Accounting
  • Budgeting app
  • Other accounts with money inside it

Just to maintain some sort of neutrality, this article itself is free of referral links, but related articles and embedded social media posts may include links.

Bank Account

Primary bank: Maybank. I have 3 savings account in there: one for daily use, one for work/business-related transactions, and one which I’m too lazy to close down. I might repurpose the last one and earmark it for travel savings or something, let’s see.

Secondary bank: CIMB. Only one account. I only add money to this account if I need to pay off my CIMB credit card.

IMPORTANT: I did not open accounts at both banks by choice. My parents opened up a Maybank Yippee account for me when I was in primary school – that’s how I ended up with Maybank. My university required me to have a CIMB bank account to receive PTPTN money – that’s how I got that one. I like using Maybank WAY MORE than CIMB, but keep my CIMB account active just in case.

Credit cards

Credit card #1: Maybank2 Gold Card Amex card. Only for personal use.

Credit card #2: Maybank2 Gold Card Mastercard. Only for business-related expenses. Credit card #1 and #2 came together as a set.

Credit card #3: CIMB Cash Rebate Platinum Mastercard. Backup credit card.

I think 3 credit cards is enough credit cards, so I’ll stick with the personal-business-backup system for now.

Further reading: 4 Lesser-Known Tips to Get The Best Credit Card in Malaysia (For You)

Debit cards

Debit card #1: Maybank Visa debit card.

Debit card #2: CIMB Mastercard debit card.

Only use them for ATM withdrawals. I withdraw ~RM500 in cash every so often just to be safe. We’re not quite cashless society yet.

Pre-loaded / Loyalty cards

For public transportation: Touch N Go card. Like many of you, I have a few TnG cards until I lost them all. The one I use now is the MyNews-branded one. No RM0.50 charge for topups.

I dug out the Twitter thread about the time I lost my TnG card. Thanks everyone who advised ways to recover the lost amount (hint: keep the receipts, register the serial number)

For Genting Highlands: Genting Rewards Card. Got it during Good Vibes Festival 2018. They had attendants offering free drinks in exchange for signups AND we got discounts for purchases made at Resorts World. Not bad for a free card. No wonder Genting stocks do well – they’re good at giving positive experiences so you keep coming back.

For bubble tea: Tealive BInfinite Card. See my instagram post below:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I’ve had my BInfinite @tealiveasia card for years and can say it has paid for itself a long time ago. Membership will cost you a one-off RM10.60 but you get to redeem a RM6.50 drink straightaway. You also get a free birthday drink every year, and I heard if you use @myboostapp to pay you get a free upsize too??! . (Obligatory boost referral code – ‘sur8oko’) . Tealive is practically everywhere so it’s a good waiting / hanging out spot (I’m waiting for someone at Sunway Pyramid atm). It’s better to buy a drink than walk around aimlessly in a mall and make impulse purchases correct not hahaha . Trying out their new coffee brew. Sedap. Pekat. How do you save money at your usual hangout spot? . #tealive #loyaltycard #boostapp #tealivemalaysia #personalfinancemalaysia #sunwaypyramid #discountmalaysia #binfinite

A post shared by Suraya (@surayaror) on

E-wallets

For food and entertainment: Boost, Fave and GrabPay

For e-hailing: GrabPay

Not the biggest fan but I’ll use it if there are discounts or special perks: Touch N Go, MCash, RazerPay, Maybank’s MAE 

Related: Reviews of All The Ewallets in Malaysia I’ve Tried

International money transfers/payments

To receive money: Paypal and Payoneer. The former is practical (it’s integrated everywhere) but the latter is the better deal to receive payments – they have lower withdrawal fees.

Investments

(I’m going to keep this section short and sweet. Instead of justifying each of them, here’s what you can invest in Malaysia with RM1000, here’s what sucks about each of them, and here’s the investments I want to do but haven’t yet)

My safe investments:

Unit trust: ASB. Took RM50k loan when I was 23. 17 years to go.

Gold: HelloGold (primary; digital), Maybank Gold Investment Account (secondary; digital) and gold jewellery (not considered investment, but rather sentimental pieces; physical).

Related:

My riskier investments:

Crypto: Bitcoin, Ether, and a few more. Divided in a bunch of accounts, including cold wallet and multiple exchange and P2P platforms.

Related:

P2P Financing: Funding Societies. Easily my favourite investment now. 12.75% ROI, baby. (edit: if you’re interested to explore this option, use my referral link. Click the article below to find it. You get RM50 instead of the standard RM30 through my link)

Related: I Asked Hard Questions to the CEO of Funding Societies Malaysia

Retirement

Unit trust: EPF/KWSP. I have a small amount, earned back when I was employed. Fundsupermart – For my PRS (Private Retirement Scheme)

Insurance

Medical card: AIA Public Takaful. It’s a stand-alone medical card, without investment link. I heard my particular medical card was discontinued but they will still honour existing policy holders so don’t ask me where to get it.

Personal accident: EZCover Takaful by MAA Takaful. Found and applied for it online.

Related: 44 Thoughts While Buying Myself Insurance in Malaysia (MUST READ IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR INSURANCE. Read the comments section – lots of useful info from readers!)

Estate-Planning

Wasiat: Still searching!

Accounting

Accounting software: Financio (I mainly use this to generate invoices; probably under-using my account tbh) and Google Sheets to record Business Income and Expenses.

Related: Beginner-Friendly Tax Guide for Online Business in Malaysia and BlogJunkie’s What Bloggers, Influencer and Online Businesses Need to Know About Taxes in Malaysia.

Budgeting app

Expense-tracking: Money Lover. The graphs in my monthly budget updates all came from this app 🙂

Related: How Expense Tracking Looks Like (As Someone Who Doesn’t Budget)

Random accounts with money inside it

Here I’m talking about all the accounts that I have money / points that can be converted to money

Cashback: Shopback. Pretty much never buy online without checking here first.

Related: Shopback Tips: How I Made Over RM2000

Website-related:

  • SiteGround. The hosting company I use for Ringgit Oh Ringgit. Related: How to Create a Blog that Doesn’t Suck & Generates Income
  • Ezoic. The account I use for advertising in RoR. You need at least 10k monthly traffic but it pays higher than Adsense. Message me if you’re interested to implement Ezoic for your website.

Mobile phone: Yoodo. RM70 per month for 30GB data, 2000 minutes and NO SMS plan. You can see my reviews on this phone plan by googling ‘ringgitohringgit yoodo’.

Random places I earn referrals from include 8Coin, AirBnB, Fiverr and a few more that I’ve forgotten. They don’t make me much money but I appreciate they have the affiliates system in place anyhow.

Conclusion

That was a long list, wasn’t it? I’m tired, but glad that I wrote all of that down.

A few things that are immediately clear:

  1. Wow I use a lot of different companies for different things. Not surprising – different companies specialise in different things. Thank goodness I use a password manager to keep track of all my passwords, or I’d be overwhelmed and paranoid over security! Related: How to Digitally Protect Your Money
  2. These are not the only financial products and services I’ve tried. I have abandoned some which didn’t impress during the experimentation process. If I include those, this list would easily be at least twice as long!

What I want to know now is – how is your money management like, as a Malaysian? Is it similar to mine? How is it different from my money management? What other financial tools do you use? Share in the comments, I’m really curious to find out!

Author

8 comments

  1. I used excel sheets to track my expenses for 5 years but end of last year I purchased monefy app. I’ts actually free but I want to add categories etc so need to buy the full version. I have 1 credit card and 3 bank accounts, BIMB – my parents opened one for me and use it for uni registration fees payment, CIMB – they have a branch at my uni and UOB – for salary. All 3 comes with a debit card but I usually use UOB/BIMB because I can collect points and redeem stuff. Downloaded fave after reading RoR and it’s really helpful but I hate that the cashbacks comes with expiry date. Haven’t used e-wallets. Only use fave to buy deals 😅. I wanted to try P2P financing but still calculating my risks. Thanks for the many many money tips and looking forward for more ☺️✌🏻

    1. Hi Nadhirah,

      Thanks for sharing your system here! If you use Fave, use Boost too – you can pay with Boost via Fave and then get shake rewards = extra savings 😛

  2. Wow that’s a very extensive breakdown and it’s a really good one-stop post to visit for quick references 😀 Thanks Suraya!
    For myself, I’ll just list down some of mine that I thought it’s good for sharing is caring 🙂

    * Bank account – Check out CIMB AirAsia Savers account if you’re a frequent AA flyer, they offer quarterly BIG Point rewards
    * Credit cards – Public Bank Quantum Master and Visa, gives both cash back (up to RM30 each month for each card) and points (which I also convert into AA BIG Points hehe)
    * E-wallets – Gotta mention Fave as well, it has enabled me to only withdraw RM300 a month from ATM (reluctantly) and earn AA BIG Points for every transaction whether it’s Fave Deals or Fave Pay
    * International money transfers/payments – Will just put Bigpay card here, saves me lots of transaction fees whenever I make overseas payments and travelling abroad.

    1. Hi Denise,

      Thanks for the kind words, and your own sharing! Looks like you have a good system that complements your travelling lifestyle well!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Here is the list of tools I’m using:

    👉 Bank accounts: Standard Chartered Just One Current and Saving (based on the recommendation in one of your post), Public Bank
    👉 Credit card: Public Bank Quantum VISA and Mastercard
    👉 E-Wallet: GrabPay (I don’t like having too many of them, and I’m a heavy Grab Car user)
    👉 International transfer: TransferWise (highly recommended, this has the lowest fees by far)
    👉 Retirement: Self-contributing to EPF and PRS (for tax deduction)
    👉 Investment: StashAway and FundingSocieties
    👉 Budgeting: YNAB aka You Need A Budget (the best budgeting app by far)

    To make it manageable, my default is always to avoid new tools, accounts, and investment vehicles unless it’s necessary after thorough research and due diligence.

  4. Hi Suraya, I love your articles on everything finances and money. I am such a noob in this area and i hope to be more aware and take stock how i should invest my own money instead of relying on financial planner. i have started to use some budgeting apps and took note of some of your advices. Disclaimer noted..

    I have a question .. how to organise your investment and insurance so thats its clear.. i have a family that i buy for them as well so its kind of messy where the money goes… Can you advice any app or planner?

    tq

    1. Hi Mei,

      Thanks for the kind words, they make me happy 🙂

      Re: your question – mine is a combination of apps+notebooks+folders (to keep insurance policies)+ gdrive

      I would suggest listing all of the financial products and services you have in your notebook first, then figure out a way to make them easily accessible. For some, that’s an area in the bookshelf dedicated for all of family finances. For others, it’s a google drive that everyone can access

      It’s a great question. I’ll ask around the community and see how they do it. Might turn it into an article!

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