Malaysia is slowly recovering from the Covid-19 crisis, with the country learning to live in a “new normal” under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO). In the full MCO, some of us might have spent less money as we mostly stayed at home. Now that we can go out more and some of our children are back in school, here are some ways to make sure you don’t start spending too much again!
- Stick to a budget – We’ve said it before and we’ll keep on saying it again: plan your budget and stick to it! Budgeting helps you control your spending because you can see how much money you’re making and what you’re spending it on. This will help you decide where you can save and what you really need to spend on so you can start growing your money.
Not sure where to start? Download our budget template which automatically calculates your income and spending!
- Pack your lunch – Did you get used to having home-cooked food for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the MCO? Don’t stop now! It’s not just healthier because you know exactly what you’re eating, it’s also a great way to save your money. If your children are going back to school, it’s probably also safer to give them food you’ve made to avoid possible Covid-19 infection.
Packing lunch might seem easier said than done, as it does take more time than just buying food. But you’ll save at least half of what you spend if you buy your own ingredients and make your own lunch. That’s a saving of RM100 each month, which could be RM1,200 each year!
- Take advantage of government benefits – The government has given some assistance to help us get back to our lives under RMCO (Read details here). Among the most helpful for your everyday life might be the My30 monthly travel pass, which lets you take unlimited trips in the Klang Valley on MRT, LRT, monorail, Bus Rapid Transit, Rapid KL and MRT feeder buses for RM30 every month. The pass is available until 31 December 2020.
So, even if you don’t usually take public transport and have a car, this could be a good time to switch if you live and work near public transport stations. Instead of spending RM30 a week on petrol for your car, you could stretch the RM30 for a whole month. Just remember to practice social distancing and keep clean when on the bus or train!
- Use your savings account to actually save – The MCO taught us that we should sediakan payung sebelum hujan. Many of us use our savings account as just a place to get our monthly salary and to make ATM withdrawals. Even though savings accounts don’t give the highest interest, you can use it as a starting point to save.
So, especially if your savings account is the only place you keep your money right now, try to make the most out of it while we live under RMCO and can limit some spending. Once you’ve started growing the money in your savings account, you can then look at putting it elsewhere to help it grow faster, like a fixed deposit or investments.
Covid-19 has brought a new normal to our lives, so we should treat our money with a new normal mindset, too. Even though we’re in a health and economic crisis, it’s always a good time to manage our finances better. And if you didn’t plan and manage your finances well before, use this RMCO time to start so that you’ll be used to a new way of using your money when movement control is fully removed.
For more information on how to manage your finances, read our Guides on Planning and Budgeting, Saving and Investing, Tackling Debt, Insurance and Retirement.