The Cheapskate’s Urban Survival Guide


It’s a nightmare to be living in the city, especially if you’re a cheapskate.  Why? With the ever-increasing food prices and expensive lifestyle, your salary will never be enough to pay your expenses, your social outings AND your meals.  Don’t fret, though! When it comes to meals, you only need to ensure that your meals are Nutritious, Fast and Cheap. Good news isthere is a way you can save without compromising your food comfort level.

No, no. This is not wishful thinking! There IS away to ensure you have all three even with your busy schedule and limited funds.  The good people here at Butterkicap, totally understand your desperation and have come up with a simple list of suggestions to make sure that YOU can survive until your next pay day.

Doable, right? So, let’s get prudent!


#1 – Buy in Bulk


On the day that you get your pay, put an iron-clad reign on your social outings or and forget that ridiculously expensive dress that you have been eyeing since last month. Instead, GO to the nearest grocery store and buy your supplies. Don’t kid yourselves into believing that you will have extra money lying around for you to use in the next 3 weeks until your next payday and end up eating junk and instant noodles.

When we say ‘buy in bulk’, we mean EXACTLY that! Instead of buying pre-cut chicken breasts or choice parts, for example, buy the whole thing. You actually save a lot more and can actually make use the whole part for different kinds of meals throughout the week (or even the whole month, if you can). Pick of the meats and make sandwiches, ayam masak kicap, fried chicken etc. and then use the leftover bones to make chicken stock.  By just spending RM23 a month for a whole chicken, you not only save a bucket load of money but you can have full, clean meals as well. Quite a bargain, eh? Learn to keep your groceries fresh with these amazing tips!

#2 – A Bargain is always a Treat


The Butterkicap team love offers and deals as much as Malaysians love seeing a ‘buy 2, free 1’ sign anywhere. Prudence is a virtue and not a vice, and there’s much sens *pun intended* to be cheap the right way. When it comes to purchasing food items, the most common misconception is that the lower the price, the lower the quality is of the food item. The truth is, choosing to buy branded items means paying RM10 for 60 grams of all spice when you can opt for a lesser known brand with similar quality at a price of RM2.

Moreover, the price of items vary across hypermarkets, grocery stores and markets. There are items you can get cheaper in hypermarkets compared to the market and vice versa. We’re staunch advocates of saving money for better use. So, it is wise to divide your shopping among several go-to grocery shopping locations near you to get the best bargain you can get. Rather than wasting your expensive fuel to make comparison, make use of the Smartshopper app to help you find the best bargains. Saving a ringgit or two may not mean anything to you now but in the long run, you will thank us for it.

A word from the wise, it’s better that you rip the food rather than have the food rip you.


#3 – Cook & Store


We know how busy you can get with work and getting stuck in traffic jams means that you don’t have time to prepare meals for yourselves and end up spending extra on ready made foods that sometimes are not as delicious as the picture on the menu seems to imply. To save you from the unnecessary expenditure as well as to keep you happy after battling through traffic and work, take time during the weekend and make a big batch of “multi-purpose'” food such as curry, stir-fry chicken or beef or soup that you can transform into different, delicious meals that can be prepared quickly. Say goodbye to sad take-outs and say hello to proper dinners that soothe your tired body after a long day at work.


#4 – Plan, Plan, Plan


Being cheap is not easy if you do not have a plan to make sure you keep being, well, cheap. All you need to do is write down a list of groceries that you really need and eat, so that you will not end up buying more than you need and do not have to make multiple trips in the store. Plan out your meals, prepare the meals and store them for your daily dinners. That way you know you have food waiting at home and do not get tempted to go out to eat. If your friends invite you for dinner, instead of caving in, make an impromptu dinner party with the food you prepared earlier. Your friends will appreciate it especially during the middle of the month.


#5 –  Don’t impulse purchase


The hardest part of saving money is trying controlling yourself from buying things you crave especially junk food and sweets. If you want to keep your expenses cheap, never give in to your cravings! Therefore, the solution to it is simple.

Eat before going to the supermarket

If you are hungry you will buy way more than you should. It is scientifically proven that if you are hungry, you tend to buy unnecessary food items and then gets home to find that you had enough to last a lifetime. So, if you have to shop while you are hungry, make sure you write what you DON’T need as well as what you do need.


#6 – Plant Your Veges


Vegetables are one thing that you can not keep for long. With your busy schedule and lifestyle, the vegetables you just bought last Sunday will be shrivelled and stale by the time you have time to cook. So, one of the ways you can ensure fresh vegetables for whenever you want to cook as well as stop wasting money buying new vegetables for you to keep them stale in your fridge. Instead plant them yourself. It does not take up much of your time to grow your own vegetables. water them twice a day (before and after work) and you are good to go. Take note of some vegetables that you can regrow yourself like celery, and green onions. A little gardening does go a long way for your diet AND pockets.


#7 – Cook Your Scraps


We all know that wasting food is bad, which is why it is a cringe-worthy experience for a cheapskate to cut off the crust when making sandwiches just because you do not like the taste of the crust. You don’t have to worry whether you keep the crust off or not. You can always double bag it and make bread crumbs or croutons for your salads. It is all about creativity and there are ways of being a creative cheapskate. The same goes for your vegetable scraps. Save them and make your own vegetable stock for your rice or soups. It gives great flavour and shortens the cooking time. So, start stocking up on those scraps!

Being a cheapskate does not mean you are being a total Haji Bakhil. It means you care enough to eat well and good while making sure you still have money for other pursuits. The next time your friends call you for a midnight mamak run or a movie marathon at the local cinema, you no longer need to make a mental calculation and cut down your expenses on a meal. Let us know if our guide is useful for you and from a fellow cheapskate to another, stay cheap!

Azrene Jasmine

A true blue Penangite, Azrene Jasmine favourite thing to do is, well, eating. Though currently in a love/hate relationship with the weighing scale, she truly believes that every woman should choose a hunk of juicy steak over a bowl of salad on the first date because steaks are awesome and what man can resist a woman with a healthy appetite?

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