How Far Would A Malaysian Go To Save Money?

The journey a Malaysian takes just to save RM0.20 is admirable.

Cover image via Pizza Hut

These days, prices are going up and our currency is going down. But not to worry! Saving money is a unique Malaysian superpower that should impress everyone else in the world. Here are some brilliantly creative ways that we Malaysians routinely use to save money – see if any of them applies to you!

1. You camp at petrol stations the night before the harga naik

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Trust us, bro... petrol stations are the most happening places in Malaysia...the night before fuel prices go up. You know how important it is to fill up to full tank before the new petrol price kicks in.

Why? Because MATH. If you save RM0.20 per litre of petrol, you can save RM9 with a full tank of 45 litres – enough to buy one Village Park nasi lemak! So you fill to full tank and then you get to fill your stomach with one premium nasi lemak for free – siapa tak nak?

2. You must find the best price even though the difference is just 30 sen

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When you want to buy something – new shampoo or even durians – you go to 3 different shops or stalls to find the best price. Like a trained Jedi warrior, if you see a shampoo priced at RM19.90, you can sense that it’s RM0.30 cheaper somewhere else.

In the end, you realise the first store has the best price and you buy it from there. Don’t feel bad though – you usually find deals on other products along the way, and macam Lord of the Rings, it’s the journey that matters.

3. During online ticket sales, you refresh the page sampai nak mampus

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It's 11.55pm and you've got everything ready. Super fast Internet? Check. Your browser tabs all closed except for one? Check. Mouse working? Check. Your 3 best friends online at the same time with the same page open? Check. Credit card? Check.

To you, online airline ticket sales are all-important competitions. Once the clock strikes 12AM, the race is on! You and your friends are battling against hundreds of thousands of Malaysians fiercer than the Hunger Games. You get your mom and dad to refresh the page. You get your uncles and aunties. You get your friends. You train your cat to press refresh too. You HAVE to get the deal. If not, how to go on holiday? Can only afford Port Dickson.

4. You always try to bodek for a better deal

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When the sign says “4 pisang goreng for RM2”, you think it really means “4++ pisang goreng for RM2.” Numbers are, after all, subjective and can be negotiated. You pay RM2, get your 4 pisang goreng, and then try to “pujuk” the makcik to give you more. “Makcik, mintak lebih sikit boleh? Dah tiga hari saya tak makan ni,” And you try out your “bodek” skills: “Saya kan selalu beli dari makcik. Sedap sangat pisang goreng ni!” Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, the makcik rolls her eyes.

5. You think “bottomless drink” means “everyone can share one drink.”

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You split the cost of one “bottomless” ice lemon tea at a restaurant with your friends, and then you all share the drink. When the waiter or waitress walks by, everyone pushes the drink back to the person who ordered it and buat tak tahu je.

Your pretending and poker face skills are epic sampai nak mampus. After all, sharing is caring! How can anyone blame you for upholding unity? Sehati, sejiwa, segelas teh ais limau!

6. Your mission in life is to sapu every free sample and free gift

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If it's free, you will find it and you will sapu. You will comb the mall from top to down, looking for free food samples – it’s like a treasure hunt meets a buffet. Soon enough, your lunch is settled… maybe even dinner.

Some pharmacies put free shampoo and moisturiser samples in a basket in front of the store. You sapu that too – your social grooming budget is settled. And if you buy ANYTHING above RM50, your must-ask question is “Got free gift ah?” Buy laptop, must have free mouse... buy phone, must have free phone cover... buy house, must have free fish pond.

7. Your first question when you go anywhere is ‘got free wifi ah?’

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Malaysians are spoilt for choice when it comes to phone plans to suit the needs of every person. But all this changes at a restaurant or a mamak. Instead of asking for the menu first, the first question you ask the waiter is "What's your WiFi password?"

You assume free wifi is everywhere, floating in the air like kuasa ajaib, just waiting for you to use it. You can live without food or water, but without wifi – mana boleh, bang? Who’s going to update your Facebook or Instagram? How will family members, friends, acquaintances, people you haven’t talk to in 10 years, and friends of people you haven’t talked to in 10 years know if you’re alive? How will anyone know what you ate for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, and supper?

8. During buffets, you whack all the expensive food… even though you don’t like them

Image via Pizza Hut

You are the sifu when it comes to ROI (return of investment). During buffets, you head straight for the expensive stuff – oysters, sashimi, crabs, tiger prawns, scallops, etc. Of course you may prefer the nasi goreng or mee goreng – but that’s not worth it, bro!

They quickly fill your stomach and they're cheap. If you paid RM60 for the buffet, the food in your stomach must be at least RM61. Buffets are all about the fundamentals of financial planning – if you can't get the most out of buffets, how can you get the most out of life?

9. You’re such an expert in repurposing things that the Ministry of Health and Environment should consult you on recycling.

Image via goodnewsvabeach

This is a skill you learned from your parents, who learnt it from their parents.

Why buy expensive containers if a good ol' tin can will do? You have a storeroom in your house that is filled with hundreds of reused tin cans. It's like a bank vault... except this bank vault mostly stores muruku, kuih kapit, kuih bangkit, colouring pencils, pens, old receipts, old photographs, plastic bags, and bad poetry you wrote when you were a teenager.

You even store money in a tin can – you think this is super smart because a thief will assume the can has muruku and not money. See, you easily solved two issues – logistics and security.

10. Keep calm before the good deals

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You really, really want a certain clothing item (eg. blouse), but won’t buy it unless it’s on sale. You try it on many times in different outlets. You visit the store almost every day to make sure it’s still available and no one else has stolen your “baby”.

At night, you dream about how it would look on you, how everyone would complement your fashion sense, how you would appear on the front cover of Vogue magazine. Still, you refuse to buy it because who pays full price for something?? Then a sale happens and there is only one size left. Even though it doesn’t fit you, you buy it anyway. It’s still a moral victory because you didn’t pay full price! You celebrate by waiting for another clothing item to go on sale…

So what do you think? Do any of these habits apply to you? If they do, then you have the uniquely Malaysian superpower of saving money – give yourself a pat on the back.

Some of these habits may seem extreme to you, but you don’t need to go that far to save money.

Image via Pizza Hut

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