I’ve recently just graduated..Hooray! My ONLY goal was to graduate without any student debt and 90% of my goal was achieved when I got first class honours. I’ve just applied for the PTPTN loan repayment exemption and will be awaiting for the confirmation in a few months time (Update: I GOT IT!! I AM STUDENT DEBT FREE)
Life goes on and now I am ready for my next goal - to own my first property by the time I turn 30. Is that a good goal? Am I too greedy? I want something realistic, something within the 300k range (or maybe 400k because who knows, that could be the minimum at that time). My actual big dream is to have a small landed house with a big garden but that would cost so much more so it can wait..unless my crypto investment makes me serious cash hahaha (A girl can dream no?)
The pressure is real.
The only option for me now is to save up for a down payment. The problem is..I have never been good at saving, it is soooo hard. I’m not ‘young’ anymore. Even though I said I just graduated, I was a little late in pursuing my undergraduate degree, so I kind of feel like I wasted a lot of years. Basically, I have 4 years (48 months) to reach my goal, and I think I need to save about RM50,000 for the downpayment (if you include all the fees). Starting now, I have to save a little bit more than RM1000 each month. Thats equivalent to 5 Topshop dresses. Or 60 Starbucks drinks. Or 200 avocados. Each month.
Like everyone else, I am hustling to earn more money because in order to save, one must first earn. Unfortunately, I do not have much control over that aspect. I mean, if it were up to me, I would like to earn thousands of ringgit per job like ASAP. But life doesn’t work that way.
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Moving on! Now I am sure that most of you (or at least the ones who are at my age) would want to save for your own property. Thanks to my Google research skills, I have compiled a few tips and will be sharing it below:
Take Control of Fixed Expenses
Fixed expenses are the same every month - it includes rent, car repayments, insurance, mobile, subscriptions, and more. If you are using a personal finance spreadsheet, you would already know how much exactly you spend on fixed expenses. Sit down and have a review..find out how much you can save every month on this. Usually, a big part of this is rental expenses, which is true for me. I don’t mind exploring the option of renting a room and sharing a house again to save money but I do want to find trustworthy people. Another option is to be like Bea Johnson who travels the world and rents out her home to people, but I’m not Zero Waste enough to do it just yet, and I also don't feel it's safe for me to rent out my rented place to people.
Some people have car repayments but I don’t have much insight on this as I do not own a car (I can get anywhere easily by Grab and I don’t see the point of owning a car at this point in my life). Other monthly expenses include subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify, Gym etc. Have a review of these expenses and see if it is worth it to you or not. Even lowering your fixed expenses by RM100 each month is considered progress.
Eat More Homecooked Meals
Once time, I was craving Dominos pizza with extra crunchy crusts and extra cheese and also their dessert. Believe it or not, I paid RM40 for this meal. I was satisfied but immediately regretted it. RM40 was enough money to make me 5-6 (healthy) meals! This is proof that I make bad financial decisions when I am hungry.
Homecooked meals are definitely cheaper but I know that a lot of people are very busy now. I’ve worked 12-14 hour work days before and I understand how tiring it is. Planning and a little effort is needed if you want to save money through homecooked meals. Take 2-3 hours of your offday to meal prep for the week. Prepare food that can be easily made in bulk or freezed. Personally, I love freezing curry, spaghetti sauce, dishes like ayam masak kicap..they taste the same when defrosted and reheated. Ever bought vegetables and after a few days, they wilt in the fridge? Well, I like to buy vegetable in bulk, cut them, wash them and store them in containers. They tend to last a little bit longer and the good thing is that I can immediately cook them during my busy days. This can save you money. I love to cook and I think I will make a post about this sometime in the future.
Look For Free Activities
When I’m out socializing with family and friends, it usually involves going to a mall to shop, or a cafe to eat, or a pub to drink, or a birthday party and so on. When you add transportation cost, food cost, cost of random things, it tends to accumulate. Good news is..I found that it costs less when activities involves nature. Go jogging with friends at the park, play football with the kiddies, have a picnic, etc. Recently, I visited Taman Saujana Hijau and that place is not only FREE, but it’s so beautiful! Definitely a place that is worth spending time at, and all you need to do is to bring your own drink and snack (if you're going for a picnic). I also visited the Secret Garden at 1 Utama, and it was also free. You can walk around or sit there and just enjoy the view and the weather.
Another activity that I like is reading but I don’t want to spend money on books (I’m so bad). If I’m lucky, a free PDF version will be available online and I will have my free activity of the day. I have also seen free workshops of various topics available online and that can be something to check out, not only do you get to learn something, but you also get to socialize.
Things are so easy nowadays, we can outsource practically anything. Unfortunately, it comes with a fee. An example is something as simple as a playlist, people now like to subscribe to Spotify but you can easily create a playlist in your laptop and load it to your phone for free! If you want to organize a birthday party, do it at home instead of the restaurant..yes, it is a chore to clean up and cook but it will be worth it if you saved even RM100. Pro-tip, did you know that you can make zero waste confetti by using dried leaves? And it’s free. Gasp!!
Don’t look at it as sacrifices, look at it as solving problems to achieve your goal. If you can manage to save RM100 from each of these four tips, you will be saving RM400 each month already! I’m doing it too - we’re in this together!
Are you already doing some of these tips? Let me know in the comments section.