Trip-planning is usually a heavy-duty job in my family championed by both dad and I. Both of us would have multiple tabs opened on our respective laptops â€“ my dad would be comparing flights across all airlines; while Iâ€™d be comparing hotels over all the booking sites I know.
Oh, and weâ€™ll both be trying out promo code after promo code at the checkout page.
My mum calls it â€œstingyâ€; my dad and I call it â€œsaving moneyâ€.
You definitely know someone as
stingy thrifty as my dad and I
Itâ€™s not an exaggeration to say that most Malaysians probably know someone who is all about cost-saving just like us, what with the ever rising cost of living. People like us will not hesitate to go the extra mile just to get a good deal, for example:
- Literally going that extra few kilometres to shop because the products are a few cents cheaper than the shop near their place;
- Doing a Google search for promo codes before making an online purchase; or
- Waiting until thereâ€™s an airline sale to book a trip, even when the planned travel date is a month awayâ€¦ or a year more to go.
These cost-saving habits may be seen as silly or unnecessary for those who donâ€™t practise them
Some people are of the thought that spending that extra ringgit wonâ€™t do much harm to their personal finances. In fact, they see being thrifty as a negative trait. This is why you often hear people labelling their thrifty friends as â€œstingyâ€, teasing their friends for not being able to part with money.
â€œWhy? Spend a bit more very sakit hati is it?â€Random â€˜generousâ€™ person
On the other hand, convenience comes first. They think that the amount of time spent on searching for the cheapest options is counterproductive to a thrifty personâ€™s cost-saving goal. For them, time is money â€“ hence time spent on driving to a further store; or time spent waiting for a sale is equivalent to money spent.
â€œWhy go through all that hassle just to save a few cents? Worth it, meh?â€Random â€˜every-second-countsâ€™ person
But for those who are cost-conscious, a little bit goes a long way
On top of doing multiple comparisons to â€œsave moneyâ€, I also have six e-wallets and constantly do mental arithmetic to decide which to use for maximum savings.
A friend once asked, â€œJust use any e-wallet or cash. How much can you save anyway?â€ Not one to back down from a challenge, I opened my expense tracking app, showing that I managed to save about RM140 through cashbacks and discounts in the past three months.
Just like the peribahasa we learned in school: sikit-sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit. We spend almost every day â€“ so if we could just save a few cents from each daily transaction, pretty sure youâ€™ll get about RM20-50 back.
And yes, cost-saving can co-exist with time-saving
For this to happen, you need to set an overall budget and stick to it.
We set an overall budget of RM3,800 for our family trip to Langkawi â€“ RM800 for flight, RM3,000 for a hotel (because weâ€™re fancy like that).
As I was about to start the usual multi-tab price comparisons, my dad told me of a new cost-saving tip he just learned from a friend of his. According to him, booking flights and accommodation together as a bundle is much cheaper than getting them separately.
So we tried it out and these are the results:
Total = RM3,704.98 for 5 of us, if flight and accommodation were booked separately.
But when booked as a bundle via AirAsiaâ€™s new flight + hotel package, SNAP:
Thatâ€™s RM534.98 saved from booking in a bundle. It also helped that we could choose from the search results based on an overall budget, then book them at one-go. Save money + save time = two birds with one stone.
Thrifty people arenâ€™t â€œstingyâ€, weâ€™re just smart shoppers
Being â€œstingyâ€ suggests that someone is ungenerous and unwilling to spend money, which isnâ€™t the case for thrifty people. Weâ€™re aware that we definitely need to spend some money every day, we just want to see if itâ€™s possible to save some money from our necessary daily expenditure.
Because why pay more when you can get the same thing with the same quality at a lower price?
So donâ€™t call us stingy.
Call us smart shoppers.
I have an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, gummy candy, and "Confucius says" jokes.