Skip to content
Home » Smart Money-Saving Tips for Malaysians

Smart Money-Saving Tips for Malaysians

    Smart Money-Saving Tips for Malaysians

    When we were young, we were taught by parents and schools the importance of saving money. Saving money is a crucial aspect of financial stability and growth. In this article, we will explore practical strategies for saving money in Malaysia. We will cover aspects such as budgeting, setting financial goals, and utilizing appropriate financial instruments like saving accounts and fixed deposits. These methods are essential for Malaysians looking to enhance their financial security and achieve long-term financial goals.

    Money Saving

    Setting Financial Goals

    Setting clear and achievable financial goals is important for motivation and direction in the saving process. You can set a short-term goal, such as saving for a vacation, or a long-term goal, such as preparing for retirement or buying a house. The important thing here is you must define your goal before executing your saving plan, whether it is short-term or long-term.

    1. Define Specific Goals

    Define specific financial goals by clearly outlining what you want to achieve. This could include saving for a downpayment on a house, building an emergency fund, or accumulating retirement funds. Being precise about your goals helps in creating a focused saving strategy. Each goal must be listed with details. Goals should also be time-bound for better financial planning and motivation.

    2. Set a Timeline

    Make sure you establish a realistic timeframe for each financial goal. Decide whether you want to achieve your goal in six months, one year, five years, or twenty years. A clear timeline is crucial because it provides a sense of urgency and helps you stay focused. It also allows you to break down your goal into manageable steps, making it easier to track your progress. Additionally, having a timeline helps you prioritize your goals and allocate resources effectively. This can help you stay on track with your saving plan.

    3. Determine the Amount Needed

    Determine the amount needed by calculating the total money required to achieve each financial goal. For example, if your goal is to save for a downpayment on a house, research the average cost of houses in your desired area and decide on a reasonable downpayment amount. If houses in your target area cost around RM400,000, you would need at least 10% or RM40,000 for the downpayment. This calculation gives you a clear target to aim for and helps set realistic savings expectations. By knowing the exact amount needed, you can plan how much to save regularly. If your goal timeline is 1 year, you will need to save RM3,333 per month. Determining the amount also helps in tracking your progress and making adjustments as necessary to stay on course and meet your goal within the set timeframe.

    House Fund

    4. Break Down into Manageable Steps

    Divide the total amount by the number of months or years until the goal’s deadline to determine how much to save each period.

    5. Monitor Progress

    Monitor your progress by regularly checking how close you are to achieving your financial goals. Set specific intervals, such as monthly or quarterly, to review your savings. For example, if your goal is to save RM50,000 in two years for a car, check your savings account balance at the end of each month. Compare your actual savings to the planned amount, which should be about RM2,083 per month. If you find that you are behind, analyze your spending to identify areas where you can cut back and increase your savings. Additionally, use financial tools or apps that track your savings automatically and provide reports on your progress. Regular monitoring and adjustments ensure you stay on track and reach your financial goals on time.

    Creating a Budget

    Budgeting is the cornerstone of effective money management. For Malaysians, creating a budget starts with understanding and tracking income and expenses. The goal is to ensure that monthly expenditures do not exceed income, allowing for savings and investments.

    1. Track Income and Expenses

    Track income and expenses by carefully documenting all sources of income and monthly expenses. Start by listing all your income, including your salary and any other sources of revenue. Next, list down your expenses, such as rent, utilities, transportation, food, entertainment, and shopping. Use a spreadsheet or a budgeting app to keep track of these entries consistently. By maintaining detailed records, you gain a clear understanding of your financial inflows and outflows, which is essential for creating an accurate budget and identifying potential areas for saving.

    2. Categorize Expenses

    If you want to gain a more accurate insight into spending patterns, you must group expenses into fixed and variable categories. Rent and internet bills are some examples of fixed expenses. These expenses remain constant each month, providing a stable baseline for budgeting. On the other hand, variable expenses like food and entertainment, fluctuate and offer opportunities for adjustment. Categorizing expenses helps identify areas where spending can be optimized and allows for a more strategic allocation of resources toward savings goals. If you want to make adjustments, variable expenses are always the priority. Adjusting or reducing variable expenses is easier than adjusting fixed expenses. You cannot simply reduce your rent as it is locked for a certain period. Even if you want to, you might need a longer duration or additional costs for the adjustment to take effect.

    3. Set Limits

    Establish spending limits for each category based on your categorization of expenses. By setting limits, you create boundaries that prevent overspending and ensure financial discipline. These limits help prioritize essential expenditures while curbing unnecessary ones, fostering a balanced approach to budgeting. Regularly review and adjust these limits as needed to accommodate changes in income or expenses.

    4. Review Regularly

    Regularly review and adjust your budget to ensure its alignment with your financial goals and current circumstances. Assess your income and expenses monthly or quarterly. Make sure they are in line with your budgetary projections. During these reviews, take note of any changes in income, such as salary increases or fluctuations in allowances, as well as any unexpected expenses that may have arisen. By proactively monitoring and adjusting your budget, you can maintain financial flexibility and adapt to evolving financial situations. You can ensure that your budget remains both realistic and effective in helping you achieve your financial objectives over time.

    Review budget plan

    Utilizing Financial Instruments

    Choosing the right financial instruments is crucial for effective saving. It does not make sense for you to keep your hard-earned cash under your bed or any other place in your house, as it poses significant risks. In Malaysia, there are several options that cater to different saving needs and risk appetites.

    1. Savings Accounts

    Savings account is the most common instrument when it comes to personal finance or banking. Every Malaysian has a savings account as long as he or she is working or conducting business. Saving accounts offer a wide range of benefits for savers. It provides a high level of liquidity. Account holders can access their funds quickly and conveniently, making the accounts an ideal choice for emergency funds or short-term saving goals.

    Despite typically offering lower interest rates compared to other investment options, savings accounts in Malaysia are well-known for their inherent safety. Most bank deposits in the country are being insured by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM). This insurance coverage offers peace of mind to savers, ensuring the safety and security of their deposited funds against unforeseen events or institutional insolvency. Overall, savings accounts stand as a reliable and accessible savings instrument. They offer a blend of liquidity and security that cater to the diverse financial needs of individuals in Malaysia.

    2. Fixed Deposits (FD)

    Fixed deposits (FDs) stand out as one of the most popular saving instruments in Malaysia. They are appreciated for their advantageous features. FDs offer higher interest rates than standard savings accounts, particularly advantageous for long-term savings goals. This is because interest rates are always escalating in tandem with the deposit’s tenure. The longer the tenure, the higher the interest rate. Additionally, FDs provide the assurance of guaranteed returns. Their flexible tenures, spanning from short-term to extended durations, empower individuals to tailor their investments to suit specific financial objectives.

    Moreover, FDs also benefit from PIDM protection. It helps to improve depositor confidence through insurance coverage against potential institutional risks. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that FDs have some drawbacks. If you choose to opt for an early withdrawal, the interest earned will be forfeited. When compared to other investment avenues, FDs have lower liquidity and lower returns. Thus, while FDs offer an attractive blend of stability, returns, and flexibility, individuals should carefully weigh these advantages against their unique financial circumstances and objectives.

    3. Savings Pockets

    Savings pocket is a newly introduced feature among Malaysian banks. It presents a practical solution for managing different saving goals within a primary savings account. Users can assign multiple pockets for distinct objectives, such as vacation funds, emergency reserves, or funds for major purchases like a car. This feature is a great help for goal-oriented savings and allows users to organize their funds easily. The ease of fund allocation across different pockets streamlines management, aiding in visualizing progress toward specific goals and fostering disciplined saving habits. Moreover, certain banks compute interest based on the aggregated balance across all pockets, optimizing returns and incentivizing diligent saving practices. In essence, savings pockets offer a versatile and user-friendly approach to achieving various financial milestones.

    Additional Saving Tips

    Beyond budgeting, goal setting, and choosing the right financial instruments, there are other practical tips for saving money in Malaysia.

    1. Reduce Discretionary Spending

    A discretionary expense is also known as a non-essential expense. It is an expense spent to satisfy “wants” but not “needs”. Want to reduce non-essential spending effectively? You must identify areas where expenses can be trimmed without sacrificing essential needs. Begin by studying your spending habits. Examine both recurring and occasional expenditures. For example, dining at restaurants or ordering takeout frequently can quickly accumulate substantial costs over time. Similarly, evaluate your habit of buying the latest gadgets. While technological advancements may be exciting, discerning between “wants” and “needs” is important.

    By consciously curbing non-essential expenses, such as excessive dining out or impulsive gadget purchases, you can redirect those funds toward savings. You can improve your financial reserves and work toward your long-term financial goals more effectively. Additionally, consider adopting alternative leisure activities or pursuing hobbies that are less financially demanding but equally fulfilling. This can help to strike a balance between enjoyment and spending. Through mindful spending choices and a commitment to prioritize savings, you can cultivate a more robust financial foundation and seize greater control over your financial future.

    2. Take Advantage of Sales and Discounts

    To capitalize on cost-saving opportunities, leverage sales events and capitalize on discounts and cashback offers provided by various digital wallets and credit cards. These periodic sales events offer significant discounts on a wide range of products, providing an ideal opportunity to make substantial savings. Furthermore, by strategically utilizing discounts and cashback incentives, you can maximize your purchasing power and stretch your budget further. Whether it is stocking up on essentials or indulging in long-awaited purchases, being resourceful and careful during sales periods and leveraging available discounts can yield huge savings.

    3. Invest Wisely

    When contemplating financial growth, explore avenues beyond conventional savings by delving into investment opportunities such as unit trusts, Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB), or the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). These investment instruments offer the potential for higher returns compared to traditional savings accounts. By diversifying your investment portfolio with these options, you can harness the power of compounding and potentially accelerate wealth accumulation over time. Prioritize understanding the risk profiles and potential returns of each investment option to make informed decisions aligning with your financial objectives and risk tolerance.

    4. Utilize Tax Reliefs

    Leverage tax reliefs provided by the Malaysian government to optimize your finances. For example, individuals can claim tax relief for their parents’ medical expenses for the fiscal year 2023. Additionally, individuals can also benefit from tax relief for educational expenses. By strategically leveraging these tax reliefs, individuals can reduce their taxable income, thereby optimizing their overall savings and financial health.

    Utilize Tax Relief


    Saving money effectively in Malaysia requires a combination of strategic budgeting, clear goal setting, and the wise use of financial instruments. By tracking expenses, setting realistic goals, and choosing appropriate savings tools like savings accounts, fixed deposits, and savings pockets, Malaysians can build a solid financial foundation. Additionally, adopting prudent spending habits and leveraging available financial benefits can further enhance saving efforts. These strategies collectively contribute to financial security and the achievement of both short-term and long-term financial objectives.