Malaysian Young Adults Share How They Save On Expenses In This Economy

You're not the only one struggling with finances. :'(

Cover image via Jennifer (Provided to SAYS) & Imelda (Provided to SAYS)

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Living in the city can be exciting and rewarding, but it can also be challenging and stressful, especially for young Malaysians who are trying to make ends meet

From paying rent and bills, to buying food and necessities, to saving for their future goals, many youths are struggling to cope with the high cost of living and uncertain economic situation.

According to a recent study by UCSI University, 73% of Malaysian youths aged 18 to 40 are in debt and do not have sufficient funding for financial commitments. Many of them also take loans, with the main reasons being financial constraints, inflation, and adopting luxurious lifestyles.

We spoke to some Malaysian youths who shared their experiences managing expenses in this economy. Here's what they had to say:

1. "I have a full-time job and I love living in this big city, but I also know that I have to be smart with my money"

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Image via cottonbro studio (Pexels)

"I rent a room in a shared house with four other young professionals, and we get along well. We often cook together and share our meals, which saves us a lot of money and time. 

"We also carpool to work or use public transport, depending on the traffic and the distance."

- Alya, 26 years old

2. "I work a nine-to-five job during weekdays, but I still look for part-time jobs through apps like Troopers to earn some extra pocket money"

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Image via Karolina Grabowska (Pexels)

"My life philosophy is that I have to hustle and give my best to pay off my debts and live a smooth life in the future. 

"Plus, if I work on weekends, the chances of me hanging out with my friends and wasting money are less. I mean, I understand it’s important to socialise, but I have my time. I don't like spending all my weekends out. The city is expensive!"

- Ng, 25 years old

3. "I try my best not to leave the house 'cause the minute I do is when I have to start spending money"

"I'm originally from Penang but now live in Kuala Lumpur due to work. The main chunk of my salary goes towards rent, utilities, and groceries. Even though I own a car, I use it only for short trips like grocery shopping, which helps me save on tolls, petrol, and parking fees.

"Since I'm unfamiliar with the roads here, I rely on public transport. There's a government incentive called the MY50, where I only need to pay RM50 to top up my Touch 'n Go card, allowing me unlimited use of Rapid Malaysia buses, MRT, and LRT for 30 days. Although using public transport takes longer, it saves me a lot of money.

- Imelda, 28 years old

4. "I've been working as a teacher in a kindergarten in KL for four years now, and I love my job"

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Image via Yan Krukau (Pexels)

"But I also have to deal with the high cost of living in the city, which is not easy on a teacher's salary.

"And, as a girl, one of my hobbies is retail therapy. But, instead of heading to the mall, I shop at thrift stores, flea markets, and online platforms, where I can find good quality items at low prices."

- Thrash, 26 years old

5. "I've been taught to be mindful of my spending since I was little, so I tend to do mental math before buying anything, haha"

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Image via Towfiqu barbhuiya (Pexels)

"My parents instilled the concept of saving in me ever since I knew how to count money. Even with my RM5 pocket money that I bring to school, I never fully utilise it. I'll buy food or snacks for RM3 and keep the rest in my piggy bank.

"Now that I'm older, I still do the same. When I get my salary, I always send 30% of it to my savings bank account, and it's kept hidden away from the main account I use for spending.

"I strongly recommend cultivating the habit of saving from a young age, there's a special satisfaction that comes from seeing your piggy bank full!"

- Amber, 23 years old

6. "I review my expenses at the end of each month to make sure I'm not overspending"

"I review my monthly subscriptions regularly and cancel those I don't use frequently. This includes streaming services and other subscription-based services.

"Besides that, I try to split costs with friends whenever possible. This could mean carpooling to events and sharing streaming accounts like Netflix or Spotify.

"When it comes to shopping, I compare prices online or in physical stores before making purchases to ensure I'm getting the best deal possible and I try to make use of coupons, discount codes, and cashback offers to further reduce costs."

- Jennifer, 33 years old

Navigating adulthood in this economy can be a challenge, but dealing with lingering debts can add even more financial stress.

The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) wants to help ease your financial burden, which is why they have kickstarted the PTPTN Loan Repayment Discount incentive to help you pay off your education loans faster and more easily.

If you're a PTPTN loan borrower, now is the perfect opportunity to become debt-free and make the most of the incentives available. These discounts are valid from now till 31 March 2024, so don't miss out!

There are three categories of discounts that you can choose from, depending on your financial situation and preference:

- 10% discount on the remaining debt for full settlement of the loan

- 10% discount for payment of at least 50 percent of the remaining debt in one payment

- 15% discount for payment by salary deduction or scheduled direct debit

What's amazing about this incentive is that all borrowers, including those subjected to enforcement actions, are eligible

Those who wish to settle their full loan or make a payment of at least 50 percent of the total outstanding loan balance in a single payment must first apply for confirmation of the loan balance. You can do it via the official PTPTN portal, myPTPTN application, or contact PTPTN marketing executives before making the repayment through the provided payment channels.

Borrowers who are currently making payments through salary deduction or direct debit are eligible for a 15% discount automatically, subject to the payment being received by PTPTN within the discount period. Those who wish to set up salary deduction or direct debit must apply through the official PTPTN portal or myPTPTN application. You can choose one or both of these channels to enjoy this incentive.

Many PTPTN borrowers have benefited from these incentives, and here's what they had to say:

"I decided to repay the loan after noticing the discount offered by PTPTN. I received a 10% discount for settling the loan in full within the specified duration. Now, I feel relieved as I no longer receive reminders to make payments.

"It has really helped me because now I can use the discounted amount for other more essential needs. My advice is that other PTPTN borrowers should start repaying their loans as soon as possible because many students are hoping to receive study financing from PTPTN to fulfil their dreams."

- Noraishah Binti Ahmad

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Image via Jason Deines (Pexels)

"For me, I simply wanted to fulfil my responsibility to repay my loan and move towards a debt-free life. I felt a sense of relief once I settled my PTPTN loan because I was no longer tied to long-overdue debt. The initiative of a 10% discount on the loan was beneficial because it allowed and encouraged me to pay off my full loan.

"Other PTPTN borrowers should take advantage of this initiative to clear their debt. It will also help other students to enjoy the facilities for their higher education. I would like to thank the PTPTN officer from TBS, Ms Aishah, for her help and guidance. Because of her, everything was done online. It saved me time and energy not having to go to the office."

- Sathisvarnan A/L Kanapathy

Find out more information about the PTPTN Loan Repayment Discount incentive here.

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