Sufiyan Abas is President of the Organisation for National Empowerment (ONE).




by Sufiyan Abas


It’s been awhile since I’ve last posted but thought it was right for me to write about my financial plans for the upcoming new year.

In 2019, I will be having a lot more commitments. Therefore, I will be spending more money and I’m expecting it to be hard to save as I have been in 2018. Nevertheless, I will still do my best to plan for it without compromising my standard of living.

With the start of the new year ushering in a clean slate, it’s also the perfect time to revisit financial goals and strategize new ways to maximize your savings. It’s important to create a budget that reflects your values and prioritizes quality experiences, allowing you to live the life that you want. I hope these simple ideas I will be practicing could benefit you readers.


Top Up your emergency fund.

For those of you who has not set up an emergency fund, it’s definitely a good time to start. But if you’ve already got one, WELL DONE! Increase your monthly commitment to your emergency fund whether it be an additional RM10 or RM20 because having this will set yourself up for a more stress free 2019.


Refinance a loan.

Refinancing a loan means you replace an existing loan with a new loan under new terms. Refinancing is usually undertaken by people who are in financial difficulty in order to reduce their monthly repayment obligations, with the penalty that they will take longer to pay off their debt. However, before doing this, make sure you do thorough research. I’m saying this because recently I went to the bank and seen some banks offering a very good end of the year promotional rates where your savings far outweigh the fees for refinancing. This would make good money sense for you. Ask your friendly neighborhood banker and look at lower rates for refinancing. (And if you’re a student, look at student interest rates) 👀


Pay your insurance annually.

This might not work for everyone due to money constraints, but if you could, it would be better to pay your insurance up front. That way, you won’t have to think of your monthly commitment as you will be starting your year from 0. With your commitments out-of-the-way, you will see your cash flow increase over time.


Consider changing your internet and phone service.

YOU CAN SAVE ALOT WHEN YOU SWITCH. Every tel-co and internet service provider are always competing to be the cheapest and usually these promotions last for a year before they announce a new promotion – this is where you save your money. For example, TIME recently upgraded me from a 100Mbps of WiFi to 500Mbps for free, so I pay the same amount monthly. So what do I do? I call them up and downgrade my plan paying less than what I initially did, making my monthly commitments lower and getting back what I originally ask for which was 100Mbps. (I was paying RM140 before, and now I’m paying RM100 for 100Mbps)

Pack your lunch.

A skill I’m planning to master in 2019 is cooking. So I’ve decided that during weekdays, I’ll start staying home more and cooking more often. I’ll pack my lunch to work and eliminate any extra food-related expenses. Saving even RM5 a day can easily add up to RM1,000 annually. You save and you learn a new skill! It’s a win-win.


While you should budget well and cut back on services you don’t use, don’t deprive yourself on little things that bring you pleasure. Giving yourself a treat or buying that expensive coffee you like makes you happier and satisfied with how you spend your money. If you cut out too many purchases, you’ll be more anxious with your money and your budgeting with backfire.