Saving up for that new thingamajig that all of your friends have been raving about? Want to keep the hard-earned money from that summer job in your pockets for a while longer? Well, we came up with four easy ways to cut down on spending and help make your cash go a little further.
Keep calm and control that temptation
Do you ever innocently pass by a storefront when suddenly you catch sight of something that you just have to have? Don't risk the temptation of overspending on things you probably didn't need anyway when you go out. Try leaving your wallet at home, or only bring a small amount of money with you. Better yet, ask yourself: "Do I really need this? How often will I be using this?"
For the lazy people out there, think of the hardships of shopping! You have to walk into a store, browse, decide, line up, and dig through your wallet - such a hassle! Now's a great time to procrastinate and leave it for later! Think it over and if you really want it, you can always come back for it.
Inexpensive yet tasty
Ditch the expensive restaurants. Preparing your own meal not only saves you a lot of money, but often results in better-tasting and healthier food.
Eating in doesn't mean you have to be anti-social. You can always do a potluck: invite your friends over, and tell each guest to bring a sharable dish (that hopefully they made). You and your friends will have a great time feasting on a delicious and varied meal.
For another fun-filled gathering and a potential Instagram opportunity, organise a cooking/baking party with your friends! You can work together to create the perfect dish (or brownies), or do your own Iron Chef and go head to head to see who's the best cook in your group.
Go out or stay in
Instead of paying big bucks to see the latest blockbusters, go for matinees or night screenings on the weekends.
Beyond that, the city has tonnes of free options for entertainment. For arts and culture, many museums have free entrance on Wednesdays.
You can also embrace nature with walks around Kowloon Park or Hong Kong Park. Hiking is an activity Hong Kong is secretly famous for, so take a trek on one of the four major trails: the Wilson Trail, MacLehose Trail, Lantau Trail, and the Hong Kong Trail. You'll get fresh air, beautiful scenery, and a free workout as a bonus!
For the bookworms out there, you can borrow the latest books from the library instead of buying them at bookstores.
Or, you and your friends can all buy different books and then rotate them around the group. This will keep you reading, and you might read books you never would have considered.
Good looks don't have to come with a price
If you're hoping to really reduce your spending, cut out (get it?) the trips to the barber and persuade your family or friends to help you trim your hair. For the particularly adventurous, try cutting your own hair! All you need are a pair of sharp scissors, a mirror, and the patience to stare at yourself for around half an hour. Or, go to express salons such as QB house for a HK$60 haircut. High-class salons such as Il Colpo also recruit hair models on a regular basis for their student hairdressers.
If you feel like being frugal to the extreme but don't know how, check out Extreme Cheapskates 2. The TV series is premiering on several Hong Kong channels starting today and will be broadcast every Thursday at 9pm. It follows 15 different tightwads as they use overly drastic measures to preserve their money and possessions, like dumpster diving and drinking rainwater.
This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as "Ending over-spending"