how to buy more time
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5 Ways to Buy More Time, According to Malaysians

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Isn’t it amazing that you can use your money to buy more time?

Using money to buy time, as a concept, did not come naturally to me. When I was younger, I spent a lot of hours looking for the best deals. 

This money approach went on until I ran out of things to cut from my expenses. Looking back, I could’ve used all that time to make extra money, or learn high-income skills

(but hey it’s not good to dwell on the past)

The realisation that money can be used to buy time also forever changed my attitude towards money. Despite being obsessed with personal finance, I no longer glorify money in itself. What’s the point of having money if I have to work all the time? What’s the point of having money if I can’t spend time with loved ones, or make them happy?

I’m not alone in this view. Recently, I asked the RoR audience about the expenses they’re happy to pay for because it saves them time. Here are some of their answers, republished with permission. 

#1 – Paying to avoid the queue or long drives

72487384 of you don’t mind paying RM1 in ATM fee to avoid the one with the long queue, as well as paying for tolls at less-congested highways.

Other than that, you also don’t mind:

Dixon Soo – (I don’t mind) paying parking fees using the Touch ‘n Go card despite the surcharge. It beats queueing up at autopay machine and digging for small change

Erin Lim – Not sure if this is more expensive or not but I also pre-pay for popcorns and drinks for major blockbuster movies because you bet there’s always a line. 

Nur Hidayah Abu BakarI pay more to take a flight instead of driving (from Klang Valley) to Kelantan or Penang

Vincent Muthu – (I pay for) Valet parking, especially for business meetups lasting 1-2 hours. Some places also offer a lunch hour rate or other insanely discounted rates which ends up costing me the same as regular parking, if not cheaper. Bangsar South is my go-to location for this purpose. Their parking rate during lunchtime rate is cheap, and the location is ‘atas’ enough for meeting clients

#2 – Paying for deliveries

Many RoR readers are fans of online shops, food and grocery delivery services. Although free deliveries are appreciated, many of you mentioned how you don’t mind paying for it. In fact, asking for free shipping nowadays is considered in bad taste. They must know that the money doesn’t go to the seller right?

Some other examples include:

Melisa Chin – I buy most things from online platforms, even groceries, fruits and vegetables. It saves me money, my precious time, and even give me cashback/loyalty and referral rewards.

Related: HappyFresh Review: 10 Tips to Save Money and Time!

(Suraya’s note: I combine grocery delivery with another time-saving hack – buying in bulk. It’s great not to worry about running out of essentials)

Ming – I pay for runners for work and personal errands. Since having a baby, time spent outside has become a lot more ”expensive” for me. I’ve pretty much cut out anything that requires me going to pick it up – the traffic, the wrong turns, road rage, looking for parking, waiting for their staff to find your thing, it all adds up in terms of my time and, more importantly, mental energy. 

At work, I signed up RM220 for GoGet app. Work errands are a bit more high value so I like the Goget website, app, and runners because it all works better and more accountable and responsible.

In my personal life, I mostly use Grab. I’m that organiser person in my family who buys the birthday cakes, orders the special curry puff, arranges the condolence flowers. Buying directly from my regular shops and arranging my own pick up is way cheaper than going through websites where the developers will get their cut.

Hasyimi Bahrudin – (I pay for) IKEA Delivery. It costs RM98 to deliver to my area, but it’s definitely worth it to avoid 90km round trip and hours of time wasted, and not to mention energy. You can choose the time slot of the delivery (similar to Tesco online), and they will deliver it to your doorstep. Plus you can further cut down the cost by sharing it with your neighbours if you plan it ahead of time. You can find people by advertising on Whatsapp groups, if anyone is interested to piggyback on the delivery.

#3 – Paying for ad-free entertainment

Gavinesh Siva – (I pay for) Spotify Premium and Netflix. Having all my favourite shows/ music and podcasts in one place makes life convenient. Also, I save a lot of time not having to watch or listen to lengthy ads.

(Suraya’s side note: I judge the hell out of gyms or cafes that play Spotify but don’t pay for Spotify Premium, and people who pay hackers to buy login details. I’m paying less than RM15 per month for BOTH services – already so cheap what. Don’t be stingy la)

Related: 3 Ways to Get Cheaper Spotify Premium in Malaysia

#4 – Paying for services 

Many RoR readers are fans of these time-saving services:

  • E-hailing services 
  • Domestic helpers and cleaners
  • Car wash services
  • Online bill-paying services
  • Childcare/babysitting services

Additionally, some of you also cough up money to: 

Erin Lim – I pay IKEA to install the furniture. It would take me almost 2 hours to assemble a desk while they only took 30 mins to install a wardrobe.

Jmumu Te – (I pay for) Technical expertise like washing machine repair or laptop repair. We can’t figure them out (fast), but experts can solve them in less than half an hour.

#5 – Paying for good-quality tools

Last but not least, the efficiency of good-quality tools makes life better. I still need to work on ‘buying nice so I don’t buy twice’ (since I am naturally skeptical of fancy marketing campaigns), but these answers make a lot of sense:

Nur Hidayah Abu Bakar – A good quality breast pump allows you to get breastmilk in a much shorter time. Also, my air fryer saves me a lot of cooking time

Lee Jun – I forked out RM 2000 for a Samsung Powerbot. I really love it. I can switch it on remotely via my phone. It saves me at least two hours of sweeping and vacuuming time per week and cleans the floor better than me! I love it so much that I splurged another RM2000 to buy a second unit for downstairs (I live in a two-story house). 

(I also like that) the noise they make gives the impression that someone is at home, which gives me peace of mind while I’m travelling. 

Georgette Tan – The sun is free but the dryer at the nearest self-service laundry is a time saver for me. I hate folding laundry, and coming home after a long day at work usually means the laundry ending up being piled on a chair until I need to wear it again. 

So my method now is: I wash clothes at home, take it to the laundry, pay that RM6-RM7, wait 25 minutes and fold my clothes straight out of the dryer. Everything is ready to go back into the drawers or on a hanger when I get home.

How do YOU buy more time?

What do you personally pay for – which you can afford – that buys more time for yourself? What do you use that extra time for – to earn more income or for R&R? Do you have more examples of time-saving purchases aside from the ones mentioned above?

Let me know in the comments section!

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  1. Dry cleaning:
    There’s eziPod in my condo. Price is about the same but I don’t have to fight & pay for parking in a mall just to drop off my clothes at a dry cleaners. I hate handwashing & ironing my atas client-facing clothes so this works like a dream, they come back to me all pressed and clean.

    I definitely spend money on delivery, even for priority delivery if I’m rushing for something off Lazada. I just don’t see the point of spending 1 hour (1) driving somewhere, (2) parking, (3) going to Daiso/Mr DIY etc (4) lugging it back to the car (5) paying for parking (6) driving back. Why do that when I can have them delivered to my office? Parking and driving also costs money.

    However, I have a hard no on grocery delivery because there’s so much plastic involved and I’m particular about buying my own groceries especially vegetables and meat. When I go in person I can reduce the amount of non-reusable plastic and use my reusable mesh bags or containers. This is one thing I won’t spend money on.

    Like you, I also subscribe to Spotify Premium. Ads take up my time and break my flow & concentration at work when I’m listening to music.

    Tools upgrades:
    I used to have a wired vacuum cleaner because it was free (credit card redemption) and cheaper. It took up a lot of time needing to unplug it and replug for every section of the house I wanted to clean, not to mention cumbersome. I spent RM750 on a cordless vacuum cleaner and it has been life-changing.
    It’s so easy to use that it makes me clean more, and it comes with different tubes (narrow ones for corners, flexible ones for hard to reach places etc).

    I spent RM900 on a pressure cooker (normal price RM1650) on sale and it’s been amazing for batch mealpreps through the week. I make an affordable, hearty stew (or soup, take your pick) on Sunday night, and have it for several lunches/dinners early in the week to save money and time. It cuts down cooking time from 2-3 hours to 30 mins for nutritious food.

    I also pre-book car transfers, activities and tours with Klook or to ensure I get safe and timely transport from airports or accommodation to my intended destinations. Sure walking and trying to find cheaper taxis may be cheaper but that may be more unsafe or be time-consuming, and I just want to enjoy my holiday knowing certain aspects have been taken care of.

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