Beside the most frequently asked question about how to make more money, this is the second financial challenge most people demands for solution. Most of the dreams you have would have most part of it linked to how much money you saved. Be it a dream to travel the world, or a dream to send your children to study oversea, a substantial amount of money saved beforehand will ensure to fulfill those dreams.

Let’s go through what I think is the three most important things that ensure you to accumulate money seriously.

Motivate your elephant early

Most people give up their long term goal for short term pleasure. You find it hard to keep those two hundred ringgits untouched at the moment you are looking at some high quality fashion at a deep discount. Almost immediately you forgot that you should have save this two hundred allocated for your annual trip savings, which is only needed ten months later.

That’s the part controlled by the elephant in your mind, which is the irrational part of your brain. Your rational part of brain is thinking that you should save RM200 for twelve months then you can treat yourself a nice trip, or whatever is your dream. But the elephant is so huge that is too hard to be controlled by your rational thinking.

That’s why you need to motivate your elephant. Make it go to the direction you want, not following where it wants. And you better motivate it early enough because accumulating money takes time. The longer time you have, the better is your chances to achieve the saving goals.

Pay yourself first

You need to make yourself the first priority. When money comes to you, you have a very important decision to make. You can give the money to other people (paying bills, shopping etc). You can also save it for yourself.

Many people make the mistake of paying other people first. They always put themselves at the bottom of the payees list. That’s miserable because at the end, you will only get peanuts. But how do you ensure that you save first before you spend? That’s why the next component of having an effective saving system is so crucial.

Have an effective saving system

Since you know that it is really hard to ride elephant when it senses danger, you don’t want to let it face those risky moment. Since It is your emotional part of the brain that is holding you back from your long term saving goals, you need to have a system that prevent your emotion to take part in financial decisions.

That’s why an effective saving system always works for most people. Consider the EPF. It is a forced saving scheme. You may feel a pinch when you see your salary statement every month. So much is cut away for your future retirement savings. But there is nothing you can do about it because you are forced to take part in the program.

Why not put such saving system to do more good for you? There are rational parents who take up education saving plan from insurance company almost immediately for their every newborn child. Since it is a commitment to the education funding of their children, they never fail to save and complete the tenure of the plan.

Trust me. These saving systems successfully put the elephants to sleep. Your financial decisions will no longer be distracted by it. Be creative enough, and you will be able to design your own system that works.


As a conclusion – to save more money, you need to start an effective saving system that pays yourself first as soon as possible.

Just start now!


Personal finance author and trainer

    11 replies to "How to Save More Money?"

    • AskChong

      I like what Warlock say, “I would think a poor person shouldn’t be too burdened to try to save, instead the poor person should find a way to improve and having higher incomes”

      For low income people, to earn extra RM200 may be easier than trying to save RM200 out of RM2,000~RM3,000 income. (everybody agree with me to define that earning less than RM3k is considered low income?)

      There are many ways on Forced Saving, all depends on the situation and objective.

      If Force Saving for the sake of force saving, I recommend an alternate Force Saving method, i.e. Force Saving cum Emergency Fund/Retirement Fund.

      Example you save RM100 per month and you will be immediately covered with RM100k as protection (An Emergency Fund against death and TPD or even critical illness), at the same time the saving is invested in chosen fund(s) for potential higher return as compared to FD, (even better than in saving account for almost nothing) and the best thing is nothing happen to you for the next 30 years then this fund turns to be a retirement fund. (Recommended method actually is sign up a unit-linked life insurance policy)

      So, the objectives and results as follows:-
      Objective # 1 – Force Saving is achieved.
      Objective # 2 – Discipline is saving is achieved.
      Objective # 3 – Emergency fund is created (especially for those in low income)
      Objective # 4 – Retirement fund (additional to EPF) is created.

    • johnny ong

      an addtional ‘forced’ method – open another bank account where you don’t apply for internet banking, atm or even a cheque book. make it so inconvenient for u to withdraw. thereafter, arrange for a standing instruction from yr bank (where salary / income is credited) to pay to this inconvenienced bank account

    • elfaruq

      I cannot agree more. Committing oneself to a forced saving system is undeniably the best way to save for people who cannot control their elephant. Just put aside a small amount through automatic salary deduction (apart from EPF) every month and the savings will accumulate in time (albeit not much…..). For people like me (on the edge of poor-middle income living in KL) saving money are really difficult, but this is one practical way to do it.

    • ChampDog

      Yes, pay yourself first is the most effective way of saving. I think for poor person, they should do both. Try to find a way to earn more and still they should learn how to save, then later start investing using your saving.

    • jason

      i will try apply what u teach.

    • warlock

      Pay yourself first is the best policy but how many people can do it? ok, let say, this is not for everybody, it’s only for certain no. of unique and wiser people who believe in saving. The question then, would a disciplined saver do any better than spenders or investors?

      Living in the rat race society, everybody want more money. Everybody want higher incomes and acquire the latest gadgets. 20 years ago, we didn’t spend so much money on handphones or computers neither branded coffees. But look at us now, we need money the moment we step out of the door. So, how would a salary earner able to cope and pay himself first? For a person who can save RM,1000/month (millions will say this is tough due to low incomes), he would need 9-10 years to accumulate say RM100k and yet with RM100k, what can one get?

      Well one can argue that’s better than nothing – just that 10 years is also a bloody long time & yet saving RM1,000/month for a lower income group is no easy feat! So pay yourself first is quite a tough endeavour to large no. of Malaysian populace.

      For the higher income people, yes, they can afford to pay themselves, well actually after paying everything else, there is still considerable balance to be saved. Their annual saving can be higher than 20 years of another person’s saving. but that’s purely because of higher incomes. The gap is wide and the different in perspectives can be vast.

      I would think a poor person shouldn’t be too burdened to try to save, instead the poor person should find a way to improve and having higher incomes. Also investing, say in properties is better than saving in FD.

    • Klee

      There is an old chinese saying, han fai ko chan – saving is faster than making money. great idea about the elephant – need to keep mine in shape…

    • Patrick Ling

      I appreciate this article very much. Thanks.

    • Alvin

      Focus on how to make more money rather than how to save more money. The amount of making money is unlimited whereas the amount of saving is really really limited. You save 10,20 or 30% what you earn, but that’s it……If you put your focus on making more money, the potential is 50,100,200,300……infinite %….
      At the end of the day, your goal is no need to worry about saving where saving is automatically as part of your earning. For example , did Bill Gates worry how he have to save for last month, this month and next month?
      Be a wise earner and investor and retire in the next 5 years by having RM3,000,000 property loan…..
      Visit for further info…

      • Lawrencce

        Focus on how to save more money first, make it a habit. then move focus to earn more money.
        Then the more you earn, the more you save.
        else in reverse way, the more you earn, the more you spend.

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