money saving tips
Saving Money

17 Saving Money Tips I Tried (but Ultimately Couldn’t Stick To)

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*Generally* speaking, I’m pretty good with applying saving money tips in my life. I enjoy experimenting with different ways to save money, while being mindful in being frugal instead of cheap.

As a result of that constant experimentation, I’ve kind of figured out over the years:

  • things I’m not willing to skimp on,
  • things that are not worth my time, and
  • things I don’t enjoy doing just for the sake of saving a few cents or ringgit

That last part is somewhat important. Unless you’re still, you know, saving up your first RM1000 or something, or urgently trying to pay off your high-interest credit card or personal loan debt, then I don’t think it’s worth being… I dunno… miserable in being too obsessed in saving money. You were not born just to pay bills and die.

Having said that, the only way to figure out whether you’ll like something or not is to try it first, give it a fair chance. Therefore, here is my… ‘Things I Tried to Do to Save Money, but Gave Up’ List

#1 – Grow vegetables

All my attempts so far have died on me. Also, I understand that small-scale farming isn’t actually cheap or money-saving, if you factor in all the initial capital (seeds, pots, soil, etc) plus labour cost.

However, I’m only human. Once in a while, after seeing other people’s plant babies on Instagram, I feel the motivation to try again.

#2 – ‘No poo’

That refers to no shampoo, in case you thought of something else.

I should have known. This was something started or at least popularised by the white people I think. Some of them go literal years without shampooing.

#3 – Going vegetarian

My animal slash hunter instinct is too strong. Oh God I want a steak now.

#4 – Cut my own hair

Tried a few times. Was it shorter? Yes. Did I save money? Yes. But was it flattering? …No.

#5 – Make grocery list before shopping

Look. Grocery shopping is one of my few pure, unadulterated joys in life. I have already cut back on other spending. Let me have this one. I need this. I love picking ingredients up on a whim.

(But of course I am mindful of the price. I’m not going to ‘accidentally’ add the RM180 tray of Japanese strawberries in my cart, that’s crazy)

#6 – Make my own cleaning supplies

They look easy enough to make. But I’m just not that much of a clean freak to justify learning this skill. Still using up supplies bought last year.

#7 – Be a minimalist

I have a natural hoarding tendency which I’ve kind of accepted. It’s not that bad. The key is to live in a small-ish space so you don’t hoard too much, and declutter every so often.

#8 – Bulk cooking

As someone who has a problem with portion control, I really shouldn’t continue on with bulk cooking. The food that’s meant to last a week, only lasts for a couple of days.

#9 – Utilising the library

In theory, borrowing books from the library is an amazing concept.

I just… never got around to going there. It’s just too out of the way.

A few years from now, I may live in a residential-commercial area with a public library in walking distance. High hopes of becoming one of those people who actually utilises public libraries.

#10 – Couponing

I really loved that TLC show, Couponing Extreme. The way they ‘game’ the system is sooooooo satisfying!

saving money tips


However unlike the United States, we don’t have much of a coupon culture here, do we 🙁

#11 – Buy used phones and laptops

Personally, I don’t like the idea of buying used phones and laptops.

This is not to say secondhand market is bad. It’s just I’d rather not take my chance with strangers, for both these devices.

Other devices like gaming consoles etc, ok je.

#12 – Buying certain generic brand

I don’t care what you say. The best kicap brand is Cap Kipas Udang. The best mayonnaise is Kewpie (also acceptable: Heinz). The best sardine is Ayam brand.

That said, I do enjoy experimenting with generic brands. Some of them are really good! Check out some user suggestions in the FB post below:

#13 – Reduce my rent by having housemates

Look, been there, done that. This solitude and privacy is worth the splurge.

Related: How I rent a master bedroom in Kuala Lumpur for RM150 a month (not including bills)

#14 – Do clothes swap

I am not a clothes person, so I have no motivation to organise something like a clothes swap.

Plus much of my clothing needs are filled by occasional shopping, thrifting and getting stuff from my sisters’ shops.

#15 –  Getting ONLY free entertainment

Yeah, Youtube is free, but Spotify and Netflix run me just ~RM20 per month. I can afford that.

#16 – Donate blood

Did you know you can get a bunch of perks for regularly donating blood?

Just look at this table. Credit: this SAYS article.

Yet I don’t think I’ve ever donated blood. I’m not scared of it or anything. Just never really actively seek out blood donation drives, and the ones I chances upon (very rare occasions), timing tak kena.

#17 – Cook or bake time-consuming recipes

If it:

  • takes more than 30 minutes to prep and cook, and
  • I can’t leave it in the oven/slow cooker, and
  • I’m not in the mood to do all the work involved

Then I’m buying it, or going without.

ESPECIALLY if the food is something that is already affordable to buy, like buns and bread.

I tried baking bread before. Some people described the kneading process as therapeutic, but unfortunately that’s the opposite of what I felt.

Conclusion: Some Money Saving Tips Won’t Work for Me and That’s OK

It’s okay to try and fail, rather than not trying at all, yeah? At the end of the day, I’m glad I gave most of the above a shot.

If the above didn’t work for me, then what money saving tips *do* work for me? Plenty! I:

That’s the deal, isn’t it. It’s too much to expect from anyone to apply ALL of the money saving tips above. But a few, and especially the ones you enjoy? Definitely 🙂

How about you? What money saving tip have you tried and decided its NOT suitable for your life? Why is it not suitable? Let me know, I’m curious, leave your say in the comments section!

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  1. Can relate to many of these, some money savings hacks are not worth the time/effort/energy. I also don’t do swap and find thrifting not my thing because not everyone takes care of their clothing well).

    Never tried second hand phones. However I did consider a company-refurbished laptop and advocate for second hand DSLR + gadgets (save over 50% or >RM1.5K compare to buying new!).

  2. something the action of trying to save a dollar or single cent are not worth, in fact could end up burning more time/energy and effort. Previously, for the sake of nk jimat RM1 from different bank atm charges, I had to burn more of my car petrol to search same atm with my card bank 😂

  3. I can so relate! I’ve found that the most efficient way for me to save money is still by using the good old tabung. Saving cold hard cash – like each RM5 note I come across – is a lot more efficient for me than trying to cut costs or trying to make changes to my lifestyle.

    P/S: I’m Wai Ching from that FB group (another malaysian asking a weirdly specific question)!

    1. Hello Wai Ching from another malaysian asking weirdly specific question group! I enjoy it there haha so fun

      If the tabung works, then the tabung works 🙂

  4. I’ve been cutting my own hair ever since I have my own place. Although I save about SGD30/mth (I prefer short thin hair so needs a haircut every 2 weeks), the main reason for cutting my own hair is time and convenience.

    I hate having to spend 1+ hour each time just to get a haircut and must get it done during opening hours. By cutting my own hair, I can do it anytime I want – like 6am before my morning bath.

  5. Doing all the cleaning on my own despite work schedule (used to OT all the time) till the house almost became a sty. Then with health issues kicking in, it was not a trying to save money but being foolish. I ended up hiring cleaners who come once every 6-8 weeks for that big clean. That RM75/90 (depending on weekday/weekend rate) is totally worth it instead of slogging on my own for days cleaning. Money well spent to me.

    Grocery list – don’t enjoy it but the basic one is still done. More of a what has finished in the house that is used a lot like oil/butter/basics and then the rest is on the fly depending on price and freshness. I change it up cause if something looks good and is on sale, why not change up the menu for the week?

    CC points to save money. I now focus on direct cashback.

    Obsessively comparing prices for stuff. If you are not buying enough quantities, it freaking doesn’t matter. Going to 3/4 supermarkets will end up costing more in petrol, toll, parking and time. What I do now is to depending on grocery list, the shopping spot my change cause generally Tesco is cheaper for certain stuff versus Jaya Grocer for milk etc. This however matters for parents who buy diapers and milk powder. The savings make sufficient material difference to go to a different supermarket cause consumption volume is high enough. I used to tag team with my cousin to help him out aka if I see the nieces’ milk powder on sale when I am out, I take photo and ask – do you want me to get any? We live 5 minutes from each other so I don’t mind the short detour to drop the stuff off after.

    1. Thanks for sharing your answer here, Ling! Totally relate with obsessively comparing prices. I used to do that and even now sometimes actively have to fight against the compulsive need to hunt for better and better deals. Just have to learn to pick my battle and be mindful of time cost.

  6. Set a separate account for money-saving purposes only to realize I can still easily transfer out IF I want to. This is not working if you don’t have self-discipline

  7. I grow Brazilian spinach . Hardy as heck. I don’t buy seeds. I just Poke my leftover stems in the pot and it just grows leaves.

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