Like it or not, 2020 isn’t particularly a good year. Not with the current and seemingly unending COVID-19 situation that’s been going on around the world. And that means saving money has become more important than ever. This is particularly evident for those who suffer from salary cut and job loss. That being said, here are the 10 Things You Need To Stop Buying To Save Money.
1) Bottled Water
Bottled water is everywhere. You can easily find them in the likes of convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations. As readily available and convenient as they may be, why not break the habit of buying them and bring your own water bottle instead? Or more specifically, use a reusable water bottle. Not only you will save money but also do the environment a huge favour by reducing the use of plastic material used for the bottles.
2) Pre-Shredded Cheese
Pre-shredded, pre-grated… whatever you want to call it, these bags of cheese are no doubt easy and convenient. Not to mention it helps you save more time during the cooking process.
But here’s the thing: Pre-shredded/grated cheese commonly lasts around 2-3 days once you open the package. That means you need to ensure you are making full use of them to avoid unnecessary wastage. Pre-shredded/grated cheese doesn’t come cheap either (that’s what you get when you pay for convenience) and has preservatives (e.g. potato starch) too. For the latter, preservatives are added to prevent the pre-shredded/grated cheese from clumping together in the bag. And as a result, they do not melt smoothly when cooking.
Your best bet? Buy a block of cheese and shred/grate your own using a grater instead. They taste better, lasts longer (typically around six weeks in the fridge after opening) and gives you the best bang for your hard-earned ringgit.
3) Pre-Cut Fruits
Those pre-cut fruits that are nicely packaged in a plastic bag or cup? Sure, they are convenient and ready to eat. But pre-cut fruits generally cost more than the whole fruit itself. The reason? Manual labour. In other words, these fruit sellers need to peel, slice, dice and package them accordingly. And all these require a lot of work. So, if possible, go to your nearest supermarket or fruit store and buy the whole fruit instead. They are cheaper and fresher too.
4) Prepackaged Meals
Craving for some nasi lemak or spaghetti bolognese? These days, you can find the prepackaged versions of some of these aforementioned food in the convenience stores and supermarkets. They are easy, convenient and all you need to do is reheat them in a few minutes using the microwave oven. But these instant meals are no substitute for freshly-cooked varieties. Not even if some manufacturers claim that their prepackaged foods contain no preservatives or artificial flavourings.
5) Paper Towels
Paper towels may be a kitchen essential. The kind where you use them for patting the meat dry or draining the excess oil from fried food. But relying on them means you are contributing more environmental waste. After all, paper towels are disposable items that end up in your trash bin. And yes, they are not cheap either. Consider switching to something more environmentally friendly by opting for reusable kitchen cloths instead.
6) Takeaway Coffee
Most of us can’t live a day without a cup of coffee (or two) regardless of weekdays at work or even during the weekend. But thanks to the ever-increasing demands of coffee shops/kiosks, convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, it’s easy to get addicted to takeaway coffee. This is especially true if you are frequently on the go or just too lazy to brew your own. But spending on a cup of coffee regularly can put a strain on your monthly expenses. Invest in a coffee maker instead and you’ll be surprised how much you can save bringing your own coffee than relying heavily on the takeaway varieties.
7) Gym Membership
When it comes to improving your fitness level, joining a gym might sound like the right thing to do. Depending on the places, it has everything from treadmills to rowing machines and dumbbells where you can use them for workouts. You can even take part in fitness classes such as Zumba, yoga and dance. Unless you are committing to classes on a regular basis, paying a monthly gym membership fee is more like a waste of money. If so, stick to the low-cost and free alternatives such as jogging in the park or go for the hiking trails instead.
8) Fast Food
By now, you should know that fast food has a bad rep for being unhealthy. And yet, a lot of people can’t enough of them because they taste good and delicious. Also, everything from the constant marketing strategy to its feel-good ingredients (e.g. trans fats, additives) can easily manipulate us into craving them. Consider cutting back on them as much as possible or better yet, quit eating fast foods altogether (yes, we know it’s going to be real tough). Either way, you are doing your health and your wallet/purse a favour in the long run.
9) Subscription Services
Given the current time (read: COVID-19) where it’s best to stay home as often as possible, subscribing to monthly online services for your entertainment needs have become a new norm these days. There is nothing wrong with that. But do you really need to subscribe to more than one service, say Netflix, Viu and Amazon Prime Video at the same time? Chances are, they might not be worth your hard-earned money, particularly if your interest only lies in certain movies and series. Even if you need a subscription service to keep you out of boredom, stick to one. And if you know you have little time to watch your money’s worth of a monthly subscription service, consider cancelling it first and re-apply when it’s necessary.
10) Daily Grocery Shopping
Ever since MCO was implemented in March till the current RMCO, most of us spend more on grocery shopping. This includes buying them online and making a trip to the supermarket. But if you find yourself doing the grocery shopping on a daily basis, it’s time to reconsider your actions. Make a habit to plan ahead for weekly or better yet, monthly grocery list and stick to the plan. Spending on daily groceries can end up costing more money than you think.