I had been telling a cousin to spend within the budget as not break the bank for something "insignificantly improve". For those looking for ways to cut on spending, here's where you can start off with: -
1. Keep your punctured tube, you can patch it for a fraction of cost and make it a spare tube.
tube with 4 patches
2. Buy grease and regularly service hubs, headset and pedal rather than replace it. Preventive serviced parts last longer.
grease with gun, suit metal to metal application
3. If you are not so keen of keeping your bicycle clean and shining after every ride, at least wash your drivetrain (cassette, chain, chainring & RD jockey wheel). Leave it dry for a day and lube the chain accordingly.
Below RM20 per can at Ace hardware
4. Bargain-hunting at http://www.bicyclebuysell.com for cheaper bicycle parts. Keep phone number of LBS, it become handy for you to compare prices.
5. Cycle to trail whenever possible. I skipped last hash due to distance and yet had a nice ride somewhere nearby.
6. Worn chainring can be salvaged by flipping it. Technically can be done for some crankset model.
7. Rear tire worn faster than front. Put front tire to rear wheel and buy 1 new tire for front wheel. This tips is from the late Sheldon Brown.
8. If you are newbie and planning to get a cycling shoe but not ready for clipless, buy clipless shoe like Shimano MT41. This shoe can be worn with platform pedal. Once you are ready to go for clipless, you just need to get clipless pedal.
Source: Shimano website