Browsing: Saving Plan

How to Stick To Your Budget


The budget that you set for yourself should be realistic. It’s not something you can do overnight, it’s a process you have to get used to on a regular. Your budget should not feel as if you’re keeping money away from you but a means to secure yourself a better future. Once you are finished creating a budget, following through is the next step. Read on below to find out how to stick to your budget.

1. Use Visual Reminders
Visual reminders helps you see the bigger picture which is, investing in your own future. Whether it’s a photo of your dream car, a place you want to travel to, a house, anything else that you are saving up for. It can also be as simple as a piggybank where you keep loose change and maybe loose bills as well. Seeing how much you are able to save or what you are saving up for can help you focus on sticking to your budget.
2. Make it a Game
Depending on your budget plan, you can accomplish your desired amount of money saved by challenging yourself. You can set to save x amount of money per day, week, or month. There is that rush when you don’t want to lose, especially to yourself; and that rush when you are able to achieve a goal.  You’ll be surprised how much you can save if you see budgeting as a game.
3. Take Your Budget with You
You may have it all figured out in your head but it makes a huge difference when you plot it on paper or a computer. Another way you can follow your budget is writing it down. By doing this, you can cross check all purchases, bills, debts, etc. against it anytime and anywhere. Reviewing it weekly or monthly can also help you stay on track and from falling through the cracks
4. Don’t Deprive Yourself
In the end it still boils down to realistically planning your budget. You can drastically cut your budget to reach your goal faster but it can lead to budget burn-out. If you feel deprived, you are more likely to overspend. Allot an amount for fun stuff each month (i.e. eating out, watching movies). You work hard for your money so it’s just right that you spend wisely on yourself as well. is dedicated to raising financial literacy in our country and to helping everyday Malaysians make smarter and well-informed financial decisions in life.

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How To Stay On Financial Track?

One of the hardest thing on financial management matter is to be able to stay on financial track all the time. To periodically check and monitor on investment portfolio, to diligently put aside money every now and then, and to always keep the financial management spirit high. These are not easy.
So, how do I ensure I stay on my financial track? Here are some of my methods:

1) Apply the power of technology
To monitor my investment, I signed up online account provided by investment firms. With this, I can log-in anytime to check the status of my investment. There are also other tools and apps to monitor investment but I still prefer to use my simple spreadsheets to monitor my investment.

2) Utilize Standing Instruction / Auto System Facilities
I admit it is hard for me to manually transfer a certain amount for my investment, on monthly basis. I know this is important but somehow, it is hard to be consistent. So, I signed Standing Instruction (SI) to transfer certain amount into my investment, on monthly basis. I love this automation. It is hassle free, time saving and most importantly, it consistently make the transfer on time.

3) Reading, reading and more reading
We are human. Our mood and judgement easily affected by our emotion. When I feel like I am lagging on financial matter, I will read on articles or book to keep my financial management spirit high.

4) Engaged with others with similar motive
I realised that it is also important to surround myself with the ‘likeminded’ people. I learned a lot from other bloggers. And most importantly, their success provided me a strong courage to continue with my own financial journey.

So, how do you motivate yourself to stay on financial track?

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Will RM2,500 Suffice For Fresh Graduates in Kuching?

Reading from The Star Online earlier this week on whether RM2,500 will suffice for fresh graduates , I think it’s interesting to see the sample of a fresh graduate budget. This is a sample of a monthly budget for a fresh graduate in Kuching with a monthly salary of RM2,500:  
EPF contributions (11%): RM325
Daily pocket money and food allowances (RM20x30days) : RM600
Car loan installment (Myvi @ 9 years): RM450
Accommodation (inclusive of water and electricity): RM300
Petrol/Fuel: RM250
Phone/Internet Connection: RM100
Study loan (PTPTN): RM150
Insurance: RM100
Clothing, body care, hair care and other miscs: RM125
Savings: RM100
Total: RM2500
(Note: the figure is based on my observation and some assumptions)
The above has not add in other spending such as movies, special outing, dining, cool gadgets, emergency needs, medication and others. RM2,500 seems to be quite a lot but after taking care of the basic needs, not much left. Perhaps fresh graduates can choose to stay with parents or family members to save on accommodation. Also, have to adjust on food allowance for more cash to be spent on others. It seems like a big portion of the monthly salary spend on transportation (RM400 + RM250 = RM650). Other alternatives to reduce on transportation cost will be change to motorbike or car pool or share a family car or perhaps getting a smaller or second hand car with much lower monthly installment. In Kuching, we can’t rely on the public transport, so the idea of using public transportation to go around is not a solution for fresh graduates.

The budget above still looks OK because there’s savings of RM100 per month and there’s a basic insurance coverage. I believe most of the fresh graduates had neglected the insurance part.

With some adjustments and ‘temporarily sacrifice’, it looks like RM2,500 seems to be sufficient for fresh graduates in Kuching. For fresh graduates in bigger cities such as KL, Penang, JB and other major towns where the cost of living (room rental, toll charges, food allowances) is higher, with monthly salary of RM2,500, it’s quite hard to survive. Seems like they need to make more sacrifice and adjustment.

photo credit: Shawn | Shiyang Huang via photopin cc

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How A ‘Calculator’ Can Help You Better Manage Your Finance?

I found a wonderful website where I can use the calculator to calculate the value of my future savings. Well, for example, if currently you have 100K in your EPF @ KWSP savings, are you curious to know the amount during your retirement in 20 years? Or, you can compare the return of investment from fixed deposit placement versus unit trust investment. Of course, it will be hard to know the exact figure but the calculator will roughly provide a figure for our reference. Because the return of investment in unit trust does not promise a fixed percentage.

One thing which I realized is that the time frame really play a super important role in our investment planning. The longer the time frame, the better the performance of our savings. The compounded interest bring charm to the investment plan. There is a huge difference of the same initial amount invested over 10 years and 20 years.
If time frame is a limitation, then we have to play around with the interest rate or return of investment. Instead of putting our money to a slow growth investment, why not learn to take some risk and place our money in an investment with better return?
With the technology today, I know there are also many other websites with financial calculator and there many available apps too. Let’s learn something from this smart calculator πŸ™‚

Note: Feel free to click here for the website. This website not only offer for financial calculator but also other calculators including unit conversion and health calculator.

Image courtesy of adamr /

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How To Achieve Your New Year Resolutions?

It is now May. Almost half of the year gone. Do you still remember those new year resolutions you’ve made earlier this year? Are you on track? Or, you’ve totally forgotten about these resolutions? I would say only some still remember those new year resolutions (without referring to the written resolution list) and only a few would be those on track. The rest might be repeating the same resolutions again next year. It is easy to list down our new year resolutions, but to achieve these resolutions, it’s really not easy. It takes a lot more effort and most importantly, persistency.
So, how to achieve our new year resolutions successfully?
We take example, one of the most common new year resolutions would be ‘save money’. The term ‘save money’ is too common and not specific enough. To help ourselves to achieve this resolution, we should be more specific. For example, instead of ‘save money’, we should write down ‘save RM6000 towards the end of the year’. From there, we can breakdown the resolution to a ‘smaller resolution’. For example, ‘save RM500 at the end of every month’. Now, that looks more achievable right? It is funny how our minds work, but somehow it’s tough when we see the figure RM6000. But, with RM500, it looks achievable. Then, make sure we execute the plan properly. And not forgetting to review the achievement from time to time. Try out with something achievable. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Once you have had that small achievement, I believe you are ready and will be more enthusiastic for more challenging new year resolutions.
Apply and practice the same method for your other new year resolutions:
1) Be specific (what? when?);
2) Break down the one year resolution to a smaller resolution (monthly or weekly resolution);
3) Execute persistently;
4) Review weekly or monthly until the end of the year
I wish you all the best in your new year resolutions. You still have about half a year to go πŸ™‚

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Savings from My Ten Working Years

By Dec 2010, I have been working for 10 years. I did some rough calculations. From the total income of the 10 working years, I have with me about 75% of the total income. I have spent away the other 25%. Throughout the 10 years, for the first 5 years, I didn’t manage to save much. Most of the 75% come from the last 5 year (2006-2010). I would say, I can do better if I know how to manage my finance well from my first pay cheque.
Ten years is not a short period of time, but it can pass very fast. Looking ahead, with God blessing, I still have about 20 more golden years to build my wealth. I wish to generate more for the next 5 years. I wish the return from my investment can cover the shortage in my first 5 working years. 
How about you? Perhaps can do some simple calculations and share with me your result.
And I am wishing everyone a wonderful, prosperous and blessed new year ahead. Happy New Year 2011!

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Money Skills

All of us know how to earn money. But, how many of us know how to save or grow money? From what I see, there are a few types of money skills people which I categorized as below:

1) Earn $2000 and spend $2000
For those who just earn their first few incomes, they tend to belong to this group. Because they feel like they deserved to spend their first hard earned money. Many who just received their first paycheque especially graduates students who had been living in limited cash and gone through long hard way always spend most part of their first few income.

Other than young graduates who just joined the workforce, there are also some who feel like, ‘there is no need to worry about tomorrow’. To these people, tomorrow will take care of themselves. So, they will just spend all they have.

2) Earn $2000, spend $500 and save $1500
Not many people manage to save 75% of their paycheque. And it is not easy to do that in the current economy situation. For those who managed to do it, most of them are practising frugal living. They are very cautious in their spending and most of the time, they are very good in planning for their spending.

3) Earn $2000 and spend $2500
For this type of people, they are spending their future money. If they are lucky enough, they are getting the extra money to spend from someone else (parents, spouse, other sources). For those who are not so lucky, their extra spending is paid by credit cards or personal loan or worse, money lender @ loan shark. After certain period of time or some tough and hard learning, some of them might be able to drag themselves out from this harmful spending pattern.

4) Earn $2000, spend $1500 and save $500
I believe most of us belong to this group. Maybe not saving exactly 25% from our income but more or less around 25%. Which I consider is quite healthy money skills. To some, 25% is not good enough, but if this 25% is properly managed, within a period of time, it can grow in huge some of money.

For us to lead a healthy lifestyle, money skills is important. We should save some and spend smartly. Which money skills you belong to? Feel free to share you opinions.

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