The following are some of the kooky traits of people who are careful with their money. While some are based on personal experience, others are anecdotes from various personal finance-related forums, blogs and other online sources.
These are meant to be humorous, so don’t take them too seriously!
1. You walk aimlessly around the mall after finding yourself there out of habit. You don’t really have anything to buy, and you don’t really feel like window-shopping. You don’t want to look at things too closely in case you’ll like it and spend money on it just out of boredom.
2. Plus, you know prices at malls tend to be higher anyway – you’ve done your fair share of cost-comparisons on online commerce platforms. You also know that shops like to artificially inflate prices then slash it down so it looks like it’s on sale when it’s actually not. That vacuum at AEON, marked down from RM119 to RM89, is actually RM68 on Lazada. It annoys you but you continue to wander around aimlessly because you have time to kill and the air-conditioning is free, so why not?
3. You might want to get a snack at the mall simply because you’re bored. Might as well go all the way to the grocery shop at the basement level and buy some bananas instead – it’s cheaper and healthier than Boost Juice.
4. Still at the mall. You see a shop you used to frequent. You used to spend a lot of money there. “Ah, I was so young then”, you think. Sometimes you walk in for nostalgia’s sake but you never buy anything. You know it’s hard to stop at just one item, so you’d rather not start.
5. You always carry a bottle of water even though it makes your bag heavy because you’ll be damned if you have to pay RM1.50 for plain water.
6. Sometimes you calculate things based on the number of hours you have to work in order to pay for it. Say your salary is RM3,000 after all deductions, and you work 40 hours a week. Your hourly pay is effectively RM18.75. So that Starbucks drink costs one working hour! That clear plastic jacket – you have no idea why it’s considered trendy when it’s so ugly – costs 10 working hours. Crazy!
7. You develop an internal value-for-money-o-meter. You’d rather buy something for RM100 that you can use 100 times than buy something for RM20 that you can only use once. With a tinge of sadness, you put back the sleek leather biker jacket that costs RM299 at Uniqlo. You ain’t a biker, girl. Put it back, good girl.
8. You’re incredibly honest about how often you will likely use a product. That air fryer is great, but you don’t really cook fried stuff that often, so why even bother considering it? You walk away.
9. Most things in your wardrobe match each other. You tell yourself that your favourite colour is red, but the evidence shows otherwise.
10. Your shoes are all or mostly black. What’s not to love? They match everything in your wardrobe, and they don’t stain easily.
11. Your bags tend to be in neutral colours: white, grey, khaki, navy, brown, black, black, black.
12. You have a big “going out” bag. You stuff a lot of things in there, to avoid having to buy them for emergencies. This includes, but is not limited to: water, wet wipes, paracetamol, band-aids, umbrella, pens, etc.
13. You might have a collection – DVDs, figurines, games, jewellery, perfume, whatever – but you have stopped actively collecting them. You hope your friends and family will help you grow your collection when it’s birthday season. Or, if you happen to find an insanely good deal.
14. You’re impressed by a person’s personality, and not what they own. You genuinely don’t understand phrases like, “Dia bawak BMW siot” or “Perggh beg Hermes tu”. Money doesn’t buy class.
15. Likewise, you’re impressed by what people learn on their travels rather than where they went. “I went to London for a holiday.” “OK,” you reply. “There was this part in the tour where they explained how the Protestant Anglican Church came about. Apparently the King wanted a divorce way back then but the Pope was like nope, you can’t, so he created a new branch of Christianity lol”. “OMG really tell me more!” #actualhistory
16. When you travel, you really like to visit… grocery stores. Like, going to Tesco in Thailand was downright joyful. You got to see what locals like to buy, in real-time! It’s the best type of recommendation!
17. You are weirdly affectionate with your rice cooker. Matilda can do many things, she’s indispensable!
18. Having the same meal for two, three days in a row doesn’t bother you. So even if it bothers your friends, you shrug it off and tuck in anyway.
19. That feeling of happiness when you get an item you needed anyway at a great price… sigh…. it makes you feel warm inside for weeks.
20. You time your purchases based on cashback. Extra 5% cashback for petrol on weekends, and fuel running low? Better drive without air-conditioning on Friday.
21. You don’t understand why people don’t get phone cases with front covers. Are they in denial or something? Handphones slip and fall often, and screen replacements are expensive.
22. You make do with a lot of things before replacing them. That torn pair of jeans… well, you can still sit strategically, it’ll be fine.
23. Your underwear has holes in them. They can survive one more wear, you tell yourself for the umpteenth time.
24. Sometimes, you find yourself wanting something that is strictly a “want”, not a “need”. You hold it and try to talk yourself out of it. The shop assistant finds you annoying because you keep coming back week after week just to look at it. It’s worth the wait though because hey, now it’s on sale.
25. You have tried various money-saving hacks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That time you tried the “no-poo” movement or when you washed your hair with just baking powder and apple cider vinegar – still haunts you.
26. Sometimes you wish you were the kind of person who changed her hair colour and styles based on a whim. But those require a lot of money to maintain, so you always dismiss the idea.
27. You used to wear contacts until you came to terms with wearing glasses. “Well, at least I look smarter”, you say to console yourself.
28. You have a personal best in “how many days can I go without spending money on strictly unnecessary things”.
29. You downright LOVE throwing away an empty case after you have used up all the product in it. Ah, the feeling of money well-spent, right to the last drop…
30. Regardless of your age and gender, you have an Asian auntie’s soul. You have a plastic bag full of plastic bags. You reuse disposable plastic containers for food.
31. You like those cute notebooks but you never buy them. Why buy if conferences you attend already give out notebooks for free?
32. Ditto pens.
33. Opening online bank accounts don’t fill you with dread. You feel proud of the number. There’s a slight flash of “OMG, what can I buy with this eh”, which disappears as quick as it comes. It becomes natural for you to ignore that feeling.
34. You transfer a portion of that money to your investment account, feeling proud of yourself.
35. You generally feel proud of “adulting” right.
This article first appeared in ringgitohringgit.com
Suraya is a corporate writer-for-hire and the blogger behind personal finance website Ringgit Oh Ringgit. She is more of a minimalist, less of a consumerist, a konon DIY enthusiast, a let’s-support-small-businesses-over-big-corporations kinda girl. Prior to her current role, she worked in various capacities within the non-profit industry.