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5 Money-Saving Moves That Actually Cost You
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5 Money-Saving Moves That Actually Cost You

by programmerJuly 20, 2015

The appeal of saving money can make people trick themselves into doing just about anything. It’s true, just think about it. There are people who would queue outside a store for hours to get freebies or discounts that’s worth probably a lot less than what they would’ve been paid, if they spend the time queuing to work instead.

Time is invaluable, so for every hour a consumer is spending to save money, he or she should value that time accordingly. Here, we look at a few common “money saving” things people do that might not actually pay off.

1. Being Penny Wise but Pound Foolish

Petrol is a major cost in many people’s lives, especially in Malaysia where most of us prefer to drive to pretty much everywhere. Whenever there’s a price hike, even if it’s just a rumor, consumers will queue at the petrol stations the night before to fill up their tanks.

Malaysians queue for petrolImage via Flickr


Most of the petrol stations will be thronged with motorists and you might need to drive to a couple more stations in town before finding one that’s not full. You’d only end up feeling frustrated, wasting your time and your money – and unnecessary petrol in the process.

2. Hunting for Grocery Deals

Have you ever scanned your weekly grocery fliers and plan out which stores to hit to enjoy the special deals? Sometimes this can make you feel like you made a considerable saving.

grocery store huntingImage via TheStar Malaysia


But, if you calculate the time spent driving, looking for parking, searching for the product, waiting in line at the checkout lane, looking for the auto-pay machine, loading up the groceries into your car and driving to the next store, you’re actually wasting a considerable amount of time just to get something for a couple of Ringgit cheaper. You may be saving some money, but the time you spent to get there may cost you even more.

3. Shopping Online

Online shopping is a great way to ensure you are paying the lowest price for a good. Some companies also hold sales that are exclusive to their online stores only, which can lead to more savings.

Malaysians online shoppingImage via Flickr


However, you’d only really save if the shipping is free. To enjoy free shipping, these companies often have a minimum amount you must spend to qualify for it. This makes shoppers feel like they’re getting a good deal due to the free shipping, when in fact they had been convinced to spend more.

4. Cross-Country Shopping

Crossing over to a neighboring country to take advantage of currency changes and cheaper prices can save you money on the surface. But do the calculation again.

Malaysia Singapore causewayImage via Flickr


This time, take into account the extra costs and time of travelling, lining up at the border and returning, plus paying for your purchase’s duty or customs when you travel back to Malaysia.

Are you still saving money? And not to mention, the good that you purchase most probably have its warranty tied to the country’s store you purchased from, making any future claims a hassle.

5. Sales and Promotions

A promotion or sale should save you money, right? But if the store plans and does it right by preying on consumer sales psychology, it makes you think you’re getting a deal when you’re really not.

Malaysia saleImage via Flickr


Take restaurants for example. If a restaurant offers a “spend RM200 and get a free dessert” deal, or a retailer is having a “buy one shirt and get the second at 50% off” promotion, you can end up spending more than you wanted to qualify for the freebie and “savings”.

If you really want a dessert at the end of the meal, just pay for it, and if you only want one shirt, you’re not saving any money by buying an extra – even though it’d cost only half. These are some common tricks to get you to spend more money than you first intended.


It’s important to factor in the cost of your time and additional costs associated with deals and promotions before you jump into a buying decision. Make sure you are actually saving money while shopping, and avoid being coerced into spending more to think you’re saving money.

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