Blurb from the author: I still live with my family, so I was privileged to have spent very little money on this MCO. So far I have only spent over 100 RM for a one-time grocery run and a voucher for a future fishing trip. This is in stark contrast to the few hundred ringgits per month that I used to spend on gasoline only.
Being stuck at home during the MCO has taught us a lot about ourselves, and one aspect of this is our money-related habits.
Both saving and spending were common activities at the time, depending on a person's situation and priorities.
But the question is, what have millennials done more with the MCO? We spoke to some of them to find out, and here's what they had to share.
Spend more thanks to the MCO
Of the millennials who spent more, not all spent on needs. One of them is Carrie, who actually spent more than she intended due to her needs.
Thanks to the MCO, her weekly cleaner was unable to come. When she tried to do housework, some of her household items broke.
Items she had to buy included a vacuum cleaner, a floor scrub, and a new water / feed bowl for her dog.
- Carrie's new vacuum
- A lifesaver for Carrie's virtual meetings
Between these issues, she also issued a pair of new wireless earphones that were necessary to improve the quality of her frequent virtual meetings during the WFH.
The only wish she gave herself was a steam game called Stardew Valley, which she bought after her friend's persistent requests for a multiplayer experience (full disclosure: I am this friend).
Aside from Carrie, the other millennials we spoke to and who spent more during the MCO had definitely focused on needs.
Matt thought he was crossing the line between spending and saving, but eventually admitted that he turned more to spending.
“Since I see a lot of live streams on Twitch, I sometimes spent money by subscribing to their channel. It costs $ 5 (about RM 20 +). I also spent about RM 300 on online games, ”he said.
The MCO gave him the time to watch these livestreams, which is why he decided to spend on subscriptions to be part of the community.
Rikco also spent a total of RM500 on games. Here's why: "Let's say there are 4 games in a month that I want to launch. That means I would spend a lot of money this month."
And just as luck would have it, several games that he had watched were released during the MCO, and so he spent them.
Before the MCO, Shannen mostly ate or ordered the delivery of food, but now she is spending more on food because of fears about the delivery of food.
Since she is a "fool for online ads", she has also given herself to clothing brands that have had lockdown sales.
- Shannen's homemade meals
- Deleting items on your wish list, purchase after purchase
She usually leaves items in her shopping cart to think about for a few days to make sure not to buy them. At times when she was having difficulty coping with the MCO, she became a victim of emotional expenditure.
“I just went to my shopping cart and paid for everything. Seeing the discounts while I'm sad was definitely the perfect combination to get me to spend, ”she laughed.
Were these purchases worth it?
Overall, all 4 millennials who spent more money thanks to the MCO found their purchases worthwhile.
Carrie said, "Household items made cleaning a lot easier, which actually made me more comfortable at home because I would be a little irritated if my house were dirty."
"The recreational purchases I think have paid off because they have not been expensive and I have used them almost every day since I bought them," she added.
For example, we play Stardew Valley quite often throughout the week, so Carrie finds value in this purchase through the social interaction she enjoys, as well as for Rikco, who also plays games with friends.
Shannen's non-F&B purchases were also worth it because they added value to her home or happiness. “For example, I bought a light projector that projects ocean waves in different colors onto my ceiling. Every time I'm frustrated or when work annoys me, I go to my room, turn on my projector, and relax with some music. "
Save more thanks to the MCO
According to the millennials we spoke to who saved more, they managed to free up money by cutting down on: transportation costs, grocery deliveries / eating out, clothing, and beauty bills.
Now that everyone was at WFH or just stuck at home during the MCO, their spending has been greatly postponed.
In addition to saving money by cooking at home (as is a matter of course), another reason they could save was having nowhere.
(Left to right) Jolenes homemade Bak Kut made from frozen vegetarian meat she already had at home and her version of Kimchi Jiggae
"I save a lot of entertainment because I can now no longer go out and mostly rely on online games to connect with my friends, even though we were in cinemas, karaoke rooms and badminton courts before the MCO," said Jeannette .
For Ashleigh, she found other advantages in that she couldn't go anywhere. "It helped me understand what was really necessary and what needed an upgrade in our house that wasn't a priority because we channeled money elsewhere."
One of Ashleigh's upgrades, her fancy PC (along with a game she bought during the MCO that she can't stop playing)
Samantha also recognized something similar. Her father often told her that brands are not everything and that practicality is more important, but she never listened.
“But in our current situation, that has helped me rethink how I want to spend my money. Yes, "#treatyourself" is a good way to reward yourself after you achieve something, but don't use the term loosely, as this may result in you not thinking logically and doing what is "right" at the moment feels, "she said.
Another thing that led to savings during the MCO was fears of the economic recession, as Jolene emphasized.
"In addition, many local businesses are closing, so apparently not everyone is in a good place, and saving as much money as possible is probably a good move."
So to drive saving, she overestimated her spending to get some exercise space, and most of the time she had savings at the end of the month.
Post-MCO money management
We didn't have a large sample, but it's interesting to see that savers and donors were split 50% for this interview.
Saving and spending weren't mutually exclusive either, since they both did both. It was just a question of which they did more.
Those who also spent more did not do this ruthlessly – they deliberately chose to spend on certain items for personal reasons and to spend within their means.
All of the millennials we spoke to will have to pay for transportation costs and (most likely) eat out for lunch once the MCO is over.
Upon returning to their life before the MCO, they said that they will surely be more careful about how they spend their money.
Bottom line: As much as I miss the office, I'm not looking forward to spending on gasoline, tolls, and food again simply because I love saving money. Not being able to spend on needs is not a big problem for me as I'm generally a fairly frugal person anyway.
- More articles on MCO can be found here.
Selected image source: freepik