Promoting equal access to investment opportunities in the equity market
In celebration of the International Women’s Day, Bursa Malaysia Berhad (“Bursa Malaysia” or the “Exchange”) today joined 118 exchanges around the world in raising awareness on gender equality in the equity market space. To further commemorate the occasion, Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift, Chief Executive Officer of Bursa Malaysia, rang the bell at market opening, followed by a dialogue that centred around women’s participation in the Malaysian equity market.
According to the Exchange’s data, women are becoming increasingly engaged in their investing activities, accounting for 36 percent of new Central Depository System (CDS) accounts opened year-to-date, up from 34 percent in 2021 and 32 percent in 2020. In addition, female investors made up close to 30 percent of the total traded value in 2021, with a 178.4 percent increase in total traded value and a 194.1 percent increase in total traded volume between 2018 and 2021.
“While these findings have been encouraging, there is still much work to be done to improve financial awareness and participation in investing activities among women,” said Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift. “As a strong proponent of gender equality and inclusivity in the marketplace, the Exchange will continue to advance the gender equality practices in order to close the gender investing gap. This includes providing both men and women equal access to investment opportunities available in the equity market.”
Other than hosting the virtual dialogue, the Exchange also launched its #MyFirstTrade# Campaign, which will run from 8 until 31 March 2022. The campaign invites female investors to share their inspirational first-time trading experiences, with the objective of motivating more women to enter the market and begin their investing journey. These short stories will be featured on the Equality4Equity page on the Exchange’s Bursa Marketplace platform as well as on all its social media platforms.
During the campaign period and in line with efforts to encourage women’s participation in the equity market, the Exchange and participating brokers will waive their respective portions of the CDS account opening fees for the first 4,000 women who open CDS accounts via Bursa Anywhere.
Beyond social engagement activities, the Exchange leverages its online education platforms such as the Bursa Marketplace and Bursa Academy to provide relevant tools, articles and programmes that can help inspire more women to consider equity investing for positive wealth creation.
As we embark on a new year, our health and wellbeing are at the forefront of our minds, but a wellness journey would not be complete without financial wellness. Maintaining good financial health can be a struggle, especially if we’ve neglected it for too long – the right tools can help us get on track and stay there.
Thanks to technology, there are now a plethora of apps to assist us in the ongoing process of staying on top of our financial lives. Say bye-bye to your calculator, here are 7 financial wellness apps to help you manage your money better:
To have control over your income nowadays is a struggle, let alone managing your budget and tracking your expenses. Monefy is a good option for a budget manager and financial tracker app, especially for beginners as it has a simple user interface that makes navigation easy, quick, and accessible for everyone.
Is developing a healthy spending habit one of your new year’s resolutions this year? Make that happen by using Spendee – an award-winning budgeting app that tracks spending and optimizes budget in one place. By connecting your online banking and eWallet to Spendee, all of your expenses are synced, displayed, and automatically categorized! Also, there’ll be notifications sent to you once your budget is exceeded to help maintain a positive cash flow.
Splitting bills among friends and family during a trip or hangouts are normal. But what makes it not fun is when we start to overlook the bills and forget who owes who. Splitwise is here to help you keep track of your shared expenses, balance with friends and family, and easily add on the go tabs before you forget. It’s simply a lifehack!
If you love to travel but hate carrying around your bank cards everywhere, BigPay app is the answer. It comes with a card that you can use anywhere in the world without having to enable overseas transactions every time you’re travelling, and let you manage your money in different currencies, definitely a traveler’s favorite. BigPay helps you to track your expenses while travelling so you won’t have a budgeting scare during the trip!
For Bill Payment
Being the pioneer of cashless payments, TNG eWallet gets everything sorted out for you. You can now make payments at more than 250,000 merchants and simply pay your utility bills on a hectic day! From shopping at your favorite e-commerce apps to paying your favorite mamak place via QR pay, you no longer have to go through the hassle of cashing out. Reloading your TNG card couldn’t be easier with this app!
Cash? You don’t need that! With Boost app covering over 200,000 merchants including your favorite fast-food chains and favorite brands outlet, worry not if you have no cash because it’s time to just scan and pay! For each transaction made via Boost app, points are earned that later you can enjoy the perks and redeem your Boost star points for rewards from the BoostUP catalogue.
It’s not just e-hailing and food delivery, it’s more than that! GrabPay lets you pay for your everyday services like bills, prepaid reloads and even groceries while earning points and rewards after every transaction you made. Just link your bank cards to your Grab account then you’re good to go!
When we think of mindfulness, we think of yoga and meditation, but the practice of mindfulness goes beyond that and deserves a place in our day-to-day life. Being mindful is allowing yourself to live in the present moment – something many of us struggle with in this fast-paced world. It allows us to be more conscious of what we do, from eating to spending, which can benefit our health and help us make fewer mistakes.
What Is Mindful Spending
Mindful spending focuses on becoming fully aware of how purchases make you feel. It requires you to pause before pressing “go to checkout” and check in with your financial goals as well as your personal values – will it make you feel happier and more purposeful? As we become more conscious with each purchase, we’ll be able to clearly distinguish between our wants and needs, and in turn, take better control of our finances.
Who Should Become A Mindful Spender
We should all practice mindful spending, but if budgeting feels too restrictive for you – being a mindful spender can help you achieve the same financial goals and peace. Of course, you won’t be able to change your spending habits right away, but you must remember that it will only work if you spend intentionally. If you continue to spend money mindlessly, you will keep racking up financial regrets and remain stuck in the same negative cycle.
How Does Mindful Spending Help
We understand if you’re still skeptical about mindful spending – you may not trust yourself, but the truth is, everyone struggles with it when they first start. Mindfulness in general requires practice, effort and patience, but the benefits it can bring to your life and financial wellbeing are totally worth it! These include:
Becoming a wiser spender
Mindful spending prioritizes your needs over your wants. As you become a more confident consumer, you’ll be able to resist the temptation of attractive sales and overhyped products. Developing this resistance will feel like a power you never knew you needed!
Reducing buyer’s remorse
How many exciting purchases have ended up gathering dust on the back of a shelf right after? We’ve all made purchases we regret and they always produce unnecessary waste. With mindful spending, you’ll be able to reduce these financial regrets with a clear headspace that stops you from buying things you don’t need.
Providing stress relief
You won’t have to worry about overspending anymore! Being a mindful spender can provide you with peace and help you with your financial goals from paying off debts to saving money. You’ll actually be able to enjoy spending money as it won’t be impulsive, but instead, will be done in a way that matters to you.
Do you have a hard time sticking to a budget? As recommended as it is, the 50:30:20 rule doesn’t work for everyone. In order to successfully manage your personal finances, you must make sure that your budget is specifically designed for your income and expenses. If you’ve noticed that you’re unable to save 20% of your salary because of your spending habits, try paying yourself first.
What is paying yourself first?
Paying yourself first puts the focus on saving first and then spending. With your savings contribution for the month moved out of the way, you’ll be able to spend what’s left without feeling guilty or worrying about eating into your savings. If this method works for you, it can be an extremely effective way to reach your savings goals each month. These consistent contributions can help you build long-term wealth!
Why should we pay ourselves first?
Of course, you can’t withdraw money from your savings account – unless it’s an emergency. The more you save, the more prepared you’ll be for financial emergencies, such as pay cuts, car repairs or hospital stays. If you’re unable to save because of your income, try reducing your expenses. Please don’t be ashamed of seeking financial assistance if downsizing still doesn’t work for you – there is nothing wrong with needing support.
How do we pay ourselves first?
Once your salary comes in, start by moving 10% of your income to a savings account. Don’t get too comfortable with that rate – observe your spending habits for the month and see how you can save more. Slowly increase the percentage each month until you find one that’s right for you and your financial goals. You can then automate this savings rate for more efficiency!
Paying yourself first takes away the burden of constantly having to track your expenses, which is a habit that many of us have trouble sticking to. Instead, it helps us build the more inviting habit of accumulating wealth. Keep experimenting with budgeting and saving, and remember not to be too hard on yourself. At least once you pay yourself first, you’ll feel a sense of reward and won’t feel guilty about spending money later that month.
As we go through another total lockdown, we can’t help but to feel anxious about our finances. Many jobs, hours and wages have been lost with thousands of businesses having to pause operations or permanently close. When facing uncertain situations like these, it is only natural to have an anxiety response, but if your fear has become overwhelming and disruptive, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Money-related anxiety can cause your stress to reach unhealthy levels. Like other forms of anxiety, it can affect your physical health and daily life, causing insomnia, loss of appetite or inability to focus. If left untreated, anxiety can also develop into depression. Below are some signs often related to financial anxiety:
- “Retail therapy” is real! Spending money is a common coping mechanism when it comes to strong negative emotions, such as sadness and anxiety. Also known as emotional overspending, it is a vicious cycle that temporarily relieves and then worsens stress.
Fear Of Spending
- As important as it is to save money, especially during these times, extreme frugality is unhealthy. Some people with financial anxiety may take frugality too far by overworking themselves and refusing to pay for essentials, like healthcare or house repairs.
- It is common for us to deal with anxiety by avoiding our triggers. However, when it comes to our finances, they are too important for us to ignore. So, when we avoid dealing with our finances, it only causes us more problems and anxiety.
- From an obsession with being frugal, or earning more money, to obsessively checking your bank accounts, these anxious thoughts and behaviours can be debilitating. If so, they need to be taken seriously as anxiety disorders are real medical conditions.
Whether you find yourself engaging in these behaviours, or are looking to develop a more positive mindset towards money, here are healthier ways for you to cope with financial anxiety:
Manage your debt
- Studies have shown that people in debt have higher rates of mental health issues compared to those who are debt-free. Go through your debt to get a better understanding of them and develop a plan to pay them off. To avoid debt, put together a budget that covers your major expenses.
Automate important payments
- Missing payment due dates and having to pay a late fee can cause financial distress. If you’re able to pay these debts, bills and other obligations on time, automate them! For those you’re unsure of, set a reminder on your phone to prepare yourself for the due date.
Create a budget
- Being able to stick to the right budget will ensure that you live within your means. Budgeting will also help you track your spending and build your savings! Learn more about creating a budget from HeyAlfred here.
Track your spending
- End every week with a financial check-in, but don’t just look at your bank balance – go through your transactions and see how you can improve in the following week. Think of it as a financial self-care routine, which you can learn how to put together here.
Develop an emergency fund
- The COVID-19 crisis has made it crucial for all of us to have an emergency fund. These savings will help support us for a few months in case we fall sick or lose our jobs. Here’s how you can develop an emergency fund – it’s not too late to start.
- If your financial anxiety affects your day-to-day life, please seek mental health support. Other than therapy and counselling, you can reach out to a financial advisor for professional advice or to the human resources (HR) department at work for more information about your employee benefits.
Lately, we’ve been experiencing information overload and consistent bad news, so scrolling through social media isn’t the best way to relax and unwind after a stressful day. Reading can help you relieve stress and escape from the anxieties of the real world. Some self-help books feel hard to read, they’re either too practical or too spiritual, and forcing yourself to focus will be more exhausting than relaxing.
We’ve found five entertaining books that you can add to your self-care ritual! They’re inspiring, fun to read, and will help you improve your life. These books are written as if the author is right next to you, guiding you and cheering you on. Remember to choose the right book for you, one that you can benefit from, and apply what you read to your life. Reading can make you happier and healthier!
The pandemic has reminded us of what is truly important in life, which is also the foundation of a minimalist lifestyle. This book shares how to find happiness in simplicity, and use minimalism to improve your health and relationships. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately, this book can help you eliminate unnecessary commitments and stress from your life, as well as bring more joy by celebrating the small things.
Self-care books can be cheesy, but this relatable read offers a refreshing and engaging experience. Written by a fellow millennial, the author is honest, and hilarious, as she guides you on a journey of self-love and acceptance with simple self-care rituals that have worked for her. For realistic advice to help you refine your daily routine, pick up this book and put her self-care practices to play!
Written by a psychotherapist, who is also a New York Times best-selling author, this book is for those who are curious about giving therapy a go. It gives you a behind-the-scenes look of what it’s like to be a therapist, and at the same time, places the therapist in the patient’s chair, opening you up to the process and importance of therapy. The book demystifies therapy, de-stigmatises mental health and humanises therapists in a witty and wonderful way.
Although this book is written for those who live in the US, the financial wellness advice from most chapters can be helpful for everyone and applied everywhere. It offers a friendly approach to finance, which can be a tough and intimidating topic, but this book manages to make the complex ideas easier to understand. Grab yourself a copy and you’ll be well on your way to financial literacy!
This anti-diet book dismantles diet culture and helps you reclaim your health. The author highlights how harmful diets are for our mental and physical health, and shares how to stop feeling guilty about eating, allowing us to enjoy food better. It promotes intuitive eating, which is when you listen to your body instead of society, and aims to heal unhealthy relationships with food for a healthier version of yourself!
A word that was trending several years ago, but is still more relevant than ever. How? It’s the reason why 40% of millennials overspend – literally just to keep up with trends, friends, and for instant gratifications.
So a hard but necessary question would be: what is your current financial situation like? And is it creating financial anxiety? Nearly 30% of millennials from that same study said they feel uncomfortable saying ‘no’ when someone suggests something unaffordable.
But you don’t have to feel that way. Know that you can always regain control of your finances and that it can be as easy as listed below:
- Switch To Cash: leave your debit or credit card at home in order to not overspend; practicing this trick will help you learn how to budget, too! If you’re a frequent Grab user, then gentle reminder that you can switch to cash. When ordering food via the app, use your Grab Wallet as opposed to your card, so that you limit your spending and don’t give into cravings.
- Hold Yourself Accountable: Find someone (a friend, family member etc.) with similar financial goals as you, then support each other in smashing those goals. Knowing someone else will check in on you and your spending means you will feel more inclined to perform according to your goals.
- Prepare An Exit Strategy: If you know you’re meeting someone who will tempt you to overspend, prepare your exit strategy. Your exit strategy can even include your financial goal buddy! Alternatively, it can be as simple as saying that you need to leave without disclosing why.
- Cook More: Eating out or ordering takeaway is usually more expensive than cooking at home; not only that, but your gratitude for what you’re eating diminishes, too. When you prepare an entire meal for yourself, you will appreciate the meal more as you know the effort that went into creating the dish. You will know what each ingredient is as well and can use that knowledge to cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Bonus: here is a list of 7 quick recipe ideas courtesy of TikTok.
- Get Organised: Find time to organise your closet – you just may be surprised at what fashionable items you (re)discover. By sorting through your belongings, you will be able to appreciate just how much you already have. If what you (re)discover is not your vibe anymore, then set up a swap session with your gal pals. Leftover items can be donated to orphanages, refugee centres, or Uniqlo if that’s easier for you. The brand collects and distributes unwanted clothes to the underprivileged.
- Make Your Spa Treatments Less Frequent: By reducing your number of visits to the beauty parlour, you will start to genuinely cherish each visit as opposed to visiting out of habit. Switching up the frequency will ensure that whenever you do visit, you really feel like you’re treating yourself, too – not just getting another thing checked off your to-do list.
Find Budget-friendly Alternatives
- Utilise Lunch-sets: Most restaurants will provide set meals that typically include a drink or dessert with a main meal – especially if you visit during lunch hour or dinner time. Remember to utilise these promotions by taking time to check what’s on offer. If you don’t like what you see, just find a restaurant that offers what you do like. It’s as easy as that!
- Go Thrifting: By visiting thrift stores, you will not only support the local economy, but also slow fashion. Plus, by buying thrifted clothes, your outfit will 100% be more unique unlike fast fashion, every item is (usually) one-off. OkGo in Subang is known for its hip selection, although it’s on the pricier side of the thrifting spectrum.
- Treat Yourself, At Home: Most of what is on offer at a beauty parlour can be replicated at home. After learning how to perfect an at-home manicure and/ or pedicure, you will be shocked at how much you can save! If you prefer massages, then you need to try an Ayuverdic abhyanga massage which incorporates warm oil.
- Host A Potluck: Visiting aesthetic cafes and restaurants can be fun, but gathering at home over a potluck is always more intimate. Pro tip: if you and your friends drink, make it a ‘bring your own booze’ (BYOB) potluck.
- Go To Events: Free events, even during the CMCO, exist. Better yet, viewing art can help your mental health. Pro tip: follow The Art Seni on Instagram for updates on free art exhibitions.
- Explore Nature: If you haven’t explored the jungles of Malaysia, then the fact that it’s a free activity may incentivise you. Pro tip: Taman Tugu is ideal for beginners and most importantly, extremely Instagramable.
Budgeting app, HeyAlfred, is here to help with this article!
Here’s a scary fact: did you know that more than 50% of Malaysians find it hard to raise RM 1,000 for emergencies? We all know we need to save money, but with rent, bills and day-to-day spending, saving money can sometimes take a back seat. However, it should be non-negotiable! Despite our financial commitments, having money set aside for emergencies and our future should be prioritised the same way as paying a bill – it HAS to be paid, on time, every month. If you’ve found yourself with some paltry sum in your bank account, scratching your head wondering where it all went this month, consider these steps:
- AUTOMATE A 5% SAVINGS RATE
Most financial advice will tell you to save 20% of your paycheck, but if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to save – start with 5%. One way to do this is by automatically setting up a direct deposit of 5% every time your paycheck comes in. This way, you’re building the habit first and can increase the amount once you’re in a more comfortable position. You can automate your savings at the bank or through saving platforms like Pod (via the HeyAlfred app). You can also consider increasing your EPF contribution, which could help you get your employer to match it.
If you don’t know how much money you CAN save, you need to create a monthly budget – it’s not as scary as it sounds! Most of the time, our inability to save comes from the habit of overspending. With a budget, you can determine your monthly fixed expenses and variable expenses. From there, you’ll be able to see where most of your money goes, and what you can cut down on. Start by making a list of what you’ve spent on last month, then based on those numbers, set a budget for next month. For example: if you spent RM800 on food last month, try to reduce next month’s food budget by a little, say, RM750. If that was doable, try reducing it a bit more next month. Your budget will take trial and error – keep on tweaking it until you get it right. You can read more about how to create a budget here.
- SEPARATE SAVINGS ACCOUNT FROM SPENDING ACCOUNT
When you separate the money you’re saving from the money you spend everyday, you won’t be tempted to spend it all. This makes sticking to your budget more fool-proof too! Put the amount you’re allowed to spend into a spending account and monitor it closely – if it’s dipping low, it’s a sign that you need to reel back on spending not reach into your savings. At the end of each month, transfer any extra money leftover from your spending or checking account into your savings account.
- SAVING A FEW RINGGIT DOES MATTER
Anytime you have a little bit of money left, SAVE IT. Even if it’s just RM 1 or 50 sen – put it into your savings because believe it or not, it counts! Each increase in your savings will bring you closer to financial independence, and the younger you are, the MORE these little amounts count. Because of compound interest, the longer your money has to grow, the larger your returns will get.
Remember to put your money in a savings account that has a good interest rate (check out rates here). You can also look into property or other ways to invest your money and grow your savings. If you’re looking for a fun way to save, with accountability buddies, join HeyAlfred’s Simpan Challenge! Save RM 1,000 in a month and WIN cash rewards for a job well done. Join the challenge now.
NOTE: If you are struggling to follow these steps due to a low-paying job, or any unfortunate circumstances, saving money may take more work than what is listed here. This could involve taking on another side gig, or talking to the people at AKPK when facing serious debt.
Your self-care routine may currently look like curling up on the couch, after a long day of work, with a soothing scented candle on the side, a hearty cup of tea in one hand and a hilarious self-help book in the other. It could also involve a checklist of good habits you’re trying to incorporate into your daily routine, like not checking your phone right after you wake up or focusing on the rich flavours of the food you’re eating. What we tend to overlook when it comes to wellness is financial self-care – although we are well-aware of the stress and anxiety that stems from our finances.
Wellness focuses on our overall health and wellbeing, and that definitely includes our financial health. Having a financial self-care routine will not only benefit our finances, but it will also contribute to our happiness and overall wellbeing. After all, real self-care helps us reframe the situations we’re in to get to the root of our problems. It goes beyond feeling comfortable and digs deeper into healing in order to feel better afterwards.
It can be intimidating, and even embarrassing to confront our own finances, but by adding these good money habits to your self-care routines and checklists, you’ll be able to develop a better understanding of your finances and a healthier money mindset:
- Confront your feelings about money
Write down the first few things that come to mind when you think about your finances. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do – it could come from a childhood experience, having student loan debt or recently seeing others lose their jobs. These fears can prevent us from taking control of our finances, so once you’re able to understand your limiting beliefs – you’ll know how to move forward and start organizing your finances.
- Check your bank accounts
Make it a habit to check your bank accounts often. Not being aware of where your money goes can cause a lot of frustration. By physically seeing your bank balance, and keeping track of your transactions, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions when it comes to spending. This habit will also allow you to catch any unusual transactions or unauthorized purchases before it’s too late.
- Set and review your financial goals
We all have financial goals. What do you aim to do with your money? You could want to repair one of your devices, pay off credit card debt, or save for a car. Note down these goals and break them into smaller steps that can be achieved daily or weekly – i.e. saving RM50 a week for 6 months. By constantly reviewing your progress, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re on the right track and be aware of any obstacles that could set you back.
- Practice mindful spending
Set boundaries when it comes to your money. With shopping being just an app away, it’s become much easier to spend money – ‘retail therapy’ now consists of browsing when we’re sad or happy. Either delete the apps or add the items to your wishlist (instead of your cart) and sleep on it. As with any impulse, see if you still want it badly the next day or in the following days.
- Reward yourself
We’re not saying you shouldn’t spend any money at all, you should always treat yourself – responsibly that is. Reward yourself for reaching your financial goals, but make sure you’ve made space in your budget for treats. This can motivate you to save more. Remember, wellness is all about balance – don’t feel bad about tending to your differing needs.
- Educate yourself
Unfortunately, since we didn’t learn financial literacy in school, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves. Most of us are actually clueless about money, not even receiving honest advice from our parents because it is a taboo topic. Make the effort to read, join free courses, and listen to podcasts – no, not to ‘get rich’, but to get a better understanding of how to manage your finances.
The longer we ignore our limiting money mindset and beliefs, the harder it’ll be for us to become financially stable, secure or free. You can avoid further stress and anxiety by finally stepping up and taking control of your finances.
We’ve connected with HeyAlfred to get the 411 on finance!
You know that feeling, when it’s almost the end of the month, but payday still seems so far away – you start mentally calculating how much you’ve spent and begin regretting that Friday night out or the time you #treatedyourself a bit too much during an online shopping spree. Some may even find it hard to sleep because their bills keep piling up, but believe it or not – for most of our adulthood, our anxiety surrounds our finances.
This is where budgeting helps.
Does the word ‘budget’ make you clench your teeth like that Chrissy Teigen GIF? You’re not alone. It does seem quite restrictive and requires too much commitment, like, “I’m just not looking for a relationship right now”.
But when you budget the right way, and customise it to your own personal choices, a budget can actually give you the freedom to spend without guilt – you won’t have to constantly worry about how the money you splurge on iced coffee could have gone to your credit card loans instead.
It’s a simple guideline for where your money goes every month, so you can enjoy your life even more. Woo!
What is a budget?
A budget is essentially a spending plan for your money – for whatever goal you have (saving for a holiday, paying off debt, early retirement etc), a budget can help you achieve it.
Having a plan will ensure that you have enough money to cover the things that you need, and are important to you.
Note: never think you don’t have enough money for a budget! If you start budgeting the second you get your first pay check, you’ll be able to build a habit that will last your entire career.
How do I create a budget?
One of the most popular ways to budget is the 50/30/20 method:
- 50% of after-tax income on needs (groceries, transportation, housing, utilities, insurance)
- 30% of after-tax income on wants (eating out, hobbies, shopping)
- 20% of after-tax income on savings and investments
However, personal finance should always be personal – like skincare, the most common method may not work for you as an individual. So, if you can’t currently save 20% of your income, try starting with 10% or 5% and grow it from there.
The best thing to do when developing your budget is to test out different ways and then tweak them to suit your own lifestyle and goals.
How do I implement my budget?
First, start by tracking all of your expenses for the previous month – write down everything you’ve spent on or use an app like HeyAlfred to help with the tracking.
This will provide you with a better understanding of your spending patterns and habits: are you spending too much on something you don’t need? Are you putting aside money for savings every month? Don’t be afraid to look at your own spending – the more aware you are, the faster you’ll be able to make better decisions for your future.
Next, set an amount for each category of spending (food, transport, bills, rent, gifts, subscriptions, entertainment) and from there, pinpoint the expenses you can do without.
Try out your new budget and don’t stress if it doesn’t work out the first few times! Maybe you find yourself constantly overspending on groceries (we, too, get carried away in the snack aisle) – is there anywhere else you can cut down on so your grocery budget can be increased? Adjust it accordingly.
How do I stick to my budget?
Consistency is key. Don’t set a budget that is too strict – start small and be kind to yourself. If you’re used to spending RM500 on eating out every month, it would be unrealistic to cut it down to RM0. While it’s good to challenge yourself, don’t set yourself up for failure either.
To be consistent, you also have to enjoy the process, so put aside a budget for the things you like too!
Tip: Automate things like paying your bills – you can also automate your weekly savings via the HeyAlfred app.
How can HeyAlfred help?
HeyAlfred is a personalised financial tracking app that helps you save, budget and track your spendings.
It automatically tracks all of your spendings (across different bank accounts) and displays it on the dashboard – allowing you to see what you spend on by category. From viewing all your spending categories in one chart, you’ll be able to identify your habits and notice when you over spend.
HeyAlfred also dishes out budgeting and saving tips to help you stay on track of your financial wellness journey. From the data based on your personal spending, the chatbot Alfie will let you know when you’re close to going a little over budget.
The latest version of the app lets you automate your savings (via their partner Pod), so you can easily save for any goal you have – there’s nothing like a well-planned savings goal for your next big adventure (or purchase) to reward yourself with.
The COVID-19 crisis has caused an economic downturn with businesses being forced to either shut down or implement cost cutting measures that include pay cuts and layoffs. This has many employees living with the fear and anxiety of losing their jobs.
By creating an emergency fund, you’ll be able to financially prepare for any emergencies, such as unemployment, with a safety net to fall back on. Emergency funds can keep you covered during a time of need without having to depend on credit cards or high-interest loans. If you already have debt, this can help prevent you from accumulating more.
Ideally, an emergency fund should cover 6 months of your expenses, but during pressings times like these – here’s how you can start saving right away:
1. Calculate your expenses
It’s important to know where your money is going rather than wondering where every time you check your bank balance. Go through your recent account statements and create a spreadsheet that shows your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. This will help you understand your financial situation better.
2. See what you can cut out
As we’re not encouraged to eat out and saving travel costs by working from home – put aside what you would usually spend instead of using it to shop online (we know how tempting it is!). Find and cancel any unused paid subscriptions, as well as review your current plans, such as cellphone and insurance, to see if there’s a more cost-effective alternative.
3. Create a savings account
It’s easier to see, and not touch, your savings when it’s kept separately from what you spend. Open a savings account at the same bank or one that has a higher interest rate – it needs to be accessible in case of an emergency.
4. Set a savings goal
Moving forward, set a target for you to save daily, weekly and monthly to get into the habit of saving regularly. You’ll be able to see that even saving RM5 a day can amount to almost RM2,000 at the end of the year! This makes it more encouraging and easier to do.
It’s become more essential to start an emergency fund for both your financial stability and peace of mind. All you need are the right goals and a realistic plan to match!
Payday reminds us that it was worth it – waking up early, dealing with clients, rushing to meet deadlines, getting stuck in rush hour traffic. It has us wanting to celebrate our hard work with an extravagant night out or escape the stress with a relaxing getaway.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional splurge and enjoying an indulgence that costs more than we’re used to, but when it happens too often – it can be harmful for our financial health. Especially during a global pandemic, financial planning has become crucial to our wellbeing. It requires us to be more mindful of our spending to support our financial goals.
Like we’ve mentioned before, self-care doesn’t only mean adding expensive cosmetics to your cart or booking a massage at a 5-star hotel – you can get the same satisfaction from simpler things like cooking with your partner or going for a hike with your friends. There are many ways to treat yourself after a long month of work, here are a few that won’t bust your budget:
Instead of buying new clothes, put on an episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo and get inspired to clean out your closet. Find joy in decluttering the rest of your home – donating or recycling the items you’ve chosen to part with it. You’ll feel satisfied and fulfilled, and have a serene space to unwind in.
With the amount of beautiful islands we have in Malaysia, it is tempting to take a trip out to paradise – but with the rising cases of coronavirus (and this unpleasant weather), it might be better to put plane rides on pause and dedicate a day to unplug and go outdoors. Catch some rays down by the pool or go hiking with your friends, you can get in touch with nature closer to home.
Working out is an important part of self-care, but there are more affordable alternatives if you’re worried about breaking the bank. Get your heart rate up by going for a run around the neighbourhood or following one of the many free workout videos available online. Dancing in your bedroom also counts!
We always want to spoil our loved ones, but it’s the most simple moments that often become priceless memories. Switch it up by cooking your partner a romantic meal or having them join you in the kitchen as a sous-chef. If you want a change of scenery, pack a lunch basket and head out for a picnic where you two can get some fresh air together.
Learn more about financial wellness here.