A penny saved is a penny earned
Living in a city is expensive, and Hong Kong is no exception. Though it may take a little more planning and self-control, saving can be quite simple. By making small, every day changes in the way you spend, you can make a huge difference to your bank balance!
Check out a couple of these tips and tricks, and read on for some alternatives to your usual spending habits, and see how much you can save…
Tips & Tricks
– Start by working out where the bulk of your spending is going. Make a simple spreadsheet or keep a notepad with you to make a note of any expenses, or try a handy app to track any expenditure. Factor in everything from your Netflix subscription, to your morning coffee, so you’ll be able to see which areas you may be able to save on.
– Which leads us to… budgeting. Make a budget and stick to it. Easier said than done, we know, but by devising a simple weekly or monthly budget plan, you can decide how much you expect to spend on certain things and actually stick to it.
– Set up a standing order or direct debit. Set up a separate savings account and decide how much you can realistically put aside every month, with a monthly standing order. Not having easy access to your whole pay cheque at once can do wonders for your savings!
– Go card free. If carrying your credit card around with you makes it too easy to impulse buy, leave your cards at home. Carry a set amount of cash with you and it’ll be much harder to overspend.
– Delete any saved credit card numbers on your phone or laptop for online shopping. The convenience of having your card numbers saved makes impulse buying dangerously easy. By having to input your details before making a purchase, you have a little more time to consider if you actually need what you’re about to buy.
– If you have an online shopping addiction, make sure to read up on the best returns policies for some of our favourite sites (and take the time to actually return those unwanted garms!).
– Try meal planning. Are you guilty of food shopping (hungry) every evening after work? Put a little extra effort in and plan your meals ahead for the week. This will help to stop impulse buys, and also mean that you can get better prices for buying products in bulk, along with helping to cut down on waste.
– Going hand in hand with meal planning is making a packed lunch. Realistically I spend $100 per day on lunch and snacks, so by bringing in leftovers to the office or by preparing a quick salad, you can reduce that spending by half.
– Lastly, let go of FOMO. You may not be able to afford every brunch or junk invitation that comes along, but that’s okay. Accept that sometimes you’re going to have to miss out if you want to cut back on spending, so stop wishing you were elsewhere and embrace JOMO!
This Not That
– Take the Star Ferry or the tram, not a taxi or the MTR. It may take a little longer, but an adult fare on the tram is only $2.30, compared to the cost of the MTR, which will be at least double this. Alternatively, you can buy monthly MTR passes, which can work out cheaper in the long run, depending on your route.
– Can’t cook? Or just don’t have the time? Try eating at local restaurants. Hong Kong has so many good for value options, from Dai Pai Dong’s and cooked food centres, to Cha Cha Teng’s, where a dinner here should only be about $70 per person.
– When shopping at supermarkets, keep an eye out for reduced items. There’s no shame in it! Big names like Marks and Spencer mark down many products daily that are going out of date, so try going near to closing time to get your hands on reduced fresh produce, such as salads, meats and dairy.
– DIY! More often than not laziness gets the better of us, but we’re often paying a premium for the convenience of buying pre-made products, which can be super easy to make yourself. Love hummus? Don’t pay $50 for a tub from the supermarket, but buy a can of chickpeas for $10, blend it with olive oil, lemon, spices and garlic and you’ll have a tasty alternative in no time.
– Buy pots of herbs, or grow your own instead of buying small packs that go to waste. It’s easy to keep small pots of herbs (no matter how tiny your space!). Having them on hand makes it easy to jazz up a simple meal, and avoids having to pay more for small packs, which will more often than not go to waste.
– Buy fresh produce from local and wet markets. The prices will be much lower than at supermarket chains and often the produce is much fresher, as it will normally be from local sources, meaning you’ll be buying seasonal produce that hasn’t been imported.
– Buy frozen meat and fish, rather than fresh. A lot of the fresh meat in Hong Kong supermarkets is imported and often been previously frozen. Check out the labels on any fresh produce and look for the small print saying that the product has previously been frozen. You’ll probably find that this is the case frequently, so cut out the middleman and buy frozen, which is likely to be cheaper.
– Get a filter for your tap, or buy a filtered water jug to keep in the fridge, rather than buying bottled water. It’s better for the environment and will save you so much. Simply pick up a Brita jug for $249 from Wing On and never spend $20 on a bottle of Evian again.
– Try going meat free one or two days a week. Meat comes with a price, so by consciously cutting down on it, you’re sure to save $$$.
– Save on pricey gym memberships and try one of these free workouts or go hiking. Gyms in Hong Kong are expensive, with prices starting from around $600 per month, and only going up from there! With plenty of free options, such as running groups and yoga classes, do a little research and ditch the pricey memberships.
– Alternatively, buy a bottle of wine, invite some friends over and stay in. We’re pretty fond of a Tesco Finest Malbec which is now available at U-Select stores for just $69 – pretty reasonable compared with the average drinks prices in the city.
– Along with happy hours, there are also loads of dinner deals around town. Take advantage of offers like Super Mondays, for buy-one-get-one meals at some of our fave restaurants.