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Monday, December 5, 2016

Simple Money Tips - Savings Part 2



This is a follow up from part 1, additional tricks of saving money.

Discounts

Some discounts are not obvious because they are not openly publicized. So the first thing to do is to ask whether the store is running any promotions. I do not memorize all the offers provided by my credit card and often miss them - the habit of asking about promotion helps in reducing the times I miss such promotions.

Some promotions that are still available at the point of my writing are:
  1. Starbucks will give a RM2 discount if you use your own Starbucks Tumbler or mug. I am not sure if they will offer the same discount if you use a non-Starbucks mug.
  2. McDonald’s will give you a free frozen coke if you spend more than RM10 and pay with your credit card.
  3. McDonald’s will also give a free item (sometimes fries, other times apple pie) if you spend more than RM20 in the drive through and have a McDonald’s VIP sticker.
  4. Beyond Vege provide 15% discount off the total bill for paying bill with a UOB credit card.
  5. Discounts for members for Bread History on the first Monday of each month.

eVouchers

On one occasion I wanted to have a birthday celebration. Instead of going to the restaurant directly, I search Groupon and managed to get 40% off our meals. However, this is not always a solution - most of the vouchers from sites like Groupon have fine prints like having to make booking at least three days in advance or not valid for weekends.

Shopback will also provide you cash back if you shop from selected websites (such as Groupon, Lazada, eBay, Zalora) via their link.

Fees and Subscriptions

Are you paying for bills that you do not need? I make it a habit to review all the subscriptions I have - if I do not use it more than 10 times a year, I will cancel the subscription. This has helped me save a lot of money on gym subscription and swimming pool membership.

Based on my phone usage pattern, I found that it is more economical for me to have a prepaid phone with extended validity. The lowest I have spent in one year is RM 60 for the whole year, that was when I did not make much calls and did not subscribe to any data plan. Sadly most of mobile providers, no longer extended validity with their new plans. At the moment, it looks like Digi still provides such a plan.

Bank Accounts

All banks are required (by Bank Negara) to have a basic no fee savings account. However, the officer may not tell you about it, but will recommend one that has an annual fee instead. The difference between the one with an annual fee and the one without will be the number of times you can perform free ATM cash withdrawal and the number of free over the counter visits.  Both CIMB and Maybank set their limit to 8 free ATM withdrawals and 6 over the counter visits. Based on my usage pattern, I am not likely to exceed these limits.

For current accounts, Maybank and CIMB will waive the half yearly fee if the balance is more than RM1000.

So to save on fees, look up the bank websites and review the options before opening an account. Note that most banks will charge you a fee if you close the account less than 3 months after you open it. Alternatively, make sure you ask the right questions when you visit the bank.

Do you have any money saving ideas? Please share them in your comments.