10 Things I Stopped Buying in 2020.

1. Physical Books

Me love books. Me have too many books. Me donated many books. Me only keep my favorite physical books. Me love e-books too. E-books save lots of space. E-books better than physical books? No, but good enough. Me have best of both worlds. Me have tonnes of e-books to last for a decade. Me no buy more books. Only the kids still get physical books.

Savings per month: MYR 80/USD 18.55 (*Malaysians do get tax rebates for buying reading materials, I used to max this out annually)

2. Instant Ramen

I hold a few college records for eating the most instant ramen at one go. Whoever ate n packets, I would just do n+1. Dumbest flex of all time? You betcha. I can’t keep any instant noodles around the house (or any unhealthy sugary foods for that matter), they would find a way to get eaten. So I just stopped buying them. Not banning them forever, but now I only eat them as a small reward, maybe once per quarter. I’ve had so much in my lifetime that they might have been partially responsible for my testicular cancer (college friends concur). Just putting it out there.

Savings per month: negligible, but health savings: infinite

3. Soda Drinks and Beer

Same as #2. Used to love coke and sports drinks. I went cold turkey and don’t keep any at home any more. Once per quarter maybe we’ll buy some for fun. Entertaining friends and family post quarantine? I can order them via GrabMart or something. It’s super convenient nowadays. That said, we have a few bottles of wine at home that nobody attacks so its fine.

Savings per month: between MYR 30 – 100 (USD 7- 23)

4. Subscriptions

Gym fees? Gone. Astro? Gone. Netflix? Gone. Spotify? Never had it. Most of this stuff is free on Youtube anyway. And most of these are serious productivity killers (Youtube included). Someday when the kids are older I would like to rejoin my martial arts practice but that’s in the future.

Savings per month: MYR 185 (USD 42), Astro & Netflix

5. Watches

It’s probably a guy thing, and incredibly hard to give up. But as detailed in a previous blog post, its the right thing to do.

Savings per month: N/A, but over a lifetime, way more than MYR 20k (USD 4.6k) in depreciation and maintenance alone.

6. Clothes

I’ve recently bought some key pieces pre-owned and super cheap from the land of the rising sun. As far as outerwear goes I’m now pretty much set for life. As a quality over quantity kind of guy, my go-to Japanese brands are Uniqlo, White Mountaineering, Visvim and Kapital to name a few. Some of these I’d like to pass on to my kids too. Maybe in a future blog post, eh.

Savings per month: N/A. But low cost of acquisition plus exceptional durability and quality provide exceptional long-term savings.

7. Health & Workout Supplements

I used to take vitamin D, multivitamins, magnesium, nootropics and fish oil. Some workout supplements as well in the past. Now only the fish oil remains. Now I try to eat healthier, drink more green tea and get more sunlight. Unless I have a serious defiency which I’m tested for, like my wife’s iron deficiency (pre and post pregnancy), I won’t be buying any more supplements. However, sometimes we do take Berocca when not feeling 100% or travelling. It also helps to boost our water intake.

Savings per month: MYR 175 (USD 40). A bit less if taking Berocca frequently.

8. Alkaline Batteries

With more and more stuff requiring AA & AAA batteries (remotes and children’s toys), I made the quick switch over to rechargeable and my brand of choice is Fujitsu. Over the long term it saves money and the environment. Get the starter kit here and then get additional premium batteries for heavier usage if required.

Savings per month: short-term expenses are high at MYR 14.50 per battery (USD 3.30) but positive on long-term savings and environmental impact.

9. Brewed Coffee

Unless I’m meeting a friend or having coffee at a cool cafe with my wife on the weekends, there’s no reason for me to order brewed coffee. I even make it at home for Lea to take to work. For about one-fifth of the price of store bought. My only investments are a good moka pot, Lavazza Crema E Gusto powder and Dutch Lady Full Cream Milk. For you coffee snobs, yes, on weekends I hand-crank out some limited edition single origin Columbian beans (no idea what that means).

Savings per month: MYR 700 (USD 162) per month including wife’s daily coffee expenses.

10. Shaving products

Men’s razors are the laser jet printer of men’s grooming. They sell you the handle cheap then the blades will cost you an arm and a leg for the rest of your life. Not just the manual razors, even the electric ones also use the same principle. I switched over to a traditional double edged razor years ago. The cost of the replacement blades are less than MYR 0.40 (below USD 0.10) each depending on how much you stock up on.

This year I also stopped buying shaving cream (moisturiser does the trick) and aftershave balm (moisturiser does the trick) so even more savings and less clutter. Some crazy guys put olive oil on their face (insert extra virgin joke here) but that feels weird to me. With prices nowadays, crude oil might be more viable. I’ll just stick to my moisturiser/body lotion.

Savings per month: less than MYR 15. I don’t have much facial hair. You should definitely consider some form of cost reduction here if your your facial hair growth is 7/10 and above. Mine is 2/10.

Thats it.

FYI, I still buy toilet paper.

*As usual, if you purchase via my Lazada links I may earn an affiliate comission at no cost to you. Thank you for reading.

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