ALTHOUGH money isn’t everything, it is still essential for survival in our world today – especially in light of the rising cost of living.

Saving on my allowance was the first thing my parents taught me when they started giving me RM1 every day for recess when I in Standard One.

My dad would always try to grind into the thick skulls of my siblings and I that saving up for rainy days is very important, and that it would help me in the future. My dad believed that every hard-earned ringgit should be used wisely and not spent unnecessarily. He didn’t just talk about it, he led by example.

I started small by saving 10 sen a day in my piggy bank and stashed it under my bed because I thought that was the most sensible place to put it. By now, I’ve made it a habit to save 10% of my monthly allowance into my bank, and I withdraw money using my ATM card only when I absolutely have to. It might not sound like much, but it has helped me stick to my monthly budget.
So for all young people out there struggling to do the same, here are three simple steps you can take to get in the habit:

1. Set aside a portion of your allowance every month before you spend any of it.
For me, it is an “out of sight, out of mind” thing. When the money is not physically there in the pile, you won’t be tempted to use it.

2. Budget according to the money you have AFTER savings.
This is probably the hardest part. Setting a budget would mean turning people down and capping how many outings you can afford to go for (#FirstWorldProblems). I have been guilty of turning my friends down a few times in order to stick to my budget. Tough decision, but I forced myself to make it anyway.

3. Stick to the plan!
Be disciplined and follow through with your budget month after month. If you fail, try again! Do not give up and remember – it is for the good of your future. You’ll never know when you might need the extra cash!

The writer is a member of the BRATs editorial team. BRATs is a young journalist programme organised by R.AGE. If you have a story or event you want the BRATs to cover, email the editorial team at You can also message them on

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