Change Management

I have a system for maintaining a good amount of change in my wallet. I separate it into 3 compartments:

COMPARTMENT #1: The RM50 compartment

I will always have at least one RM50 in my wallet. If I don’t I will feel uneasy and have this look like I need to go to the ATM!

It is very important that the RM50 notes are separated from the RM1 notes, which can be easily confused for each other as they are blue-green.

COMPARTMENT #2: The RM10 or less compartment

I will always have at least one RM10 and a few RM1 notes in this compartment. If I don’t, I will strive to break a RM50 note.

This is vital for taxis and vending machines who may not have change. Don’t expect them to come up with change, seriously.

I get annoyed with 7-11s that don’t have change, but I understand that the kids behind there are just not educated with the idea of maintaining change. Not to be racist, but I do find stalls that are manned by a certain race tend to not have change more often… inability to plan and be prepared is ingrained in their culture, I guess. Who runs Carls Jr. Pavilion so badly that there are no beef or chicken patties on a Sunday at 7pm?


I keep all my ancient RM1, RM2, RM5 and RM10 notes here. They’re kinda like my collector’s items. I also add at least one modern RM10 note, one RM5 note and 5 RM1 notes in this compartment.

When you’ve got no change in COMPARTMENT #2, which can happen if you’re hit by a strain of having to take a cab, buy a currypuff, buy a KTM ticket and go to a shopping mall toilet… you may need to break into the emergency COMPARTMENT #3.

Sometimes I do run out of change in COMPARTMENT #2 and I try to break a RM50 note with a taxi driver. However he may insist that he really has no change. Sometimes, you take a cab to a place in the middle of the night that has no 7-11, or the 7-11 has no change, and you’re both screwed!

That is when I have to break, uncomfortably, into thy hallowed COMPARTMENT #3. (This is also why I make it a point to replenish COMPARTMENT #2 as soon as possible.)

I may also open COMPARTMENT #3 if forced into a situation where my friend does not have change for parking. I graciously help my friend, who is obviously then giving me a lift.

However, it is the responsibility each car owner to be well prepared with their own Change Management system, to avoid carrying a heavy wallet full of 50 sen coins!

Thus, in total, I would minimally have:
COMPARTMENT #2: RM10 + RM1 (x5) = RM15
COMPARTMENT #3: RM10 + RM5 + RM1 (x5) = RM20

Total carried: RM85

Of course, there is the ATM card as well. I try to keep my COMPARTMENT #1 having anywhere between RM50 and RM200 (any more, and I would look for a Cash Deposit Machine).

This post is dedicated to George Wong, who writes the best thought pieces ever!

2 thoughts on “Change Management

  1. george Post author

    I don’t know what I did to deserve the dedication (maybe I’m always running out of money and somehow you know it haha) but thanks for the post on change management.. it might save a life or two, who knows?


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