Almost everyone I know is searching online on tips to save money. Knowing how to save money is more important than ever. A lot of us are now living in uncertainty, fear, and tremendous stress and worry. The ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc in almost all countries around the world. The world almost stopped as most countries with cases of COVID-19 started announcing lockdown one by one. During the lockdown period, all non-essential businesses were put on a halt and non-essential employees were asked to work from home.
Due to the pandemic, a lot of small and medium businesses are now struggling to pay their rents, employee salaries, etc. Even big businesses were not spared. A lot of big businesses in different parts of the world have started laying-off a percentage of their workforce to cope-up with the financial losses they have incurred and will incur in the next few months. Those who did not lay-off their employees have implemented pay-cuts in order to survive these tumultuous times.
Some of the big local and international companies that have announced their lay-off plans include:
- AirAsia – 12% of Workers
- Okada Manila – 1000+ Employees
- Airbnb – 25% of Employees
- Chevron – 10 – 15% of Global Workforce
Fears of more layoffs that are about to come this 2020 are also haunting every presently employed individual especially in industries that are highly impacted by the pandemic such as the hotel and airline industries.
In the last couple of weeks, countries have started to relax their lockdown policies. Those who still have jobs are now reporting back to their respective workplaces.
Most are eager to do so because frankly, all of our bills have piled up. For a lot of us, our debts have increased. We are all eager to go back to work to be able to recuperate from the financial losses that we have incurred due to the lack of financial income.
No one saw this economic catastrophe coming!
However, we, as humans, are known to be very adaptable to almost any changes. We could learn something from this to help us better cope in a similar situation in the future. We could start to save money for our future and for our kids’ future.
Here are some tips that could help you save money.
Earning more money is one of the ways you could easily save money. A lot of us live paycheck to paycheck because, for a lot of us, our wages are not enough to support us and our families. This is why building additional sources of income are very important.
Thanks to the advent of technology and the internet, it’s easier now to learn and implement ways on how to create your side-hustles. One of the most common side-hustle known to a lot of us is online selling. Blogging is also becoming a very popular way to earn a side-income. I will write more articles about side-hustles in the future that I hope you could learn from.
Create and Stick to the Budget
Creating and sticking to the budget has never been more important than ever. We now all know that we are living in uncertain times. Creating and following a budget that makes sense to you and to your family is one of the things that you should prioritize in doing if you don’t have one yet.
If you don’t have a budget yet, I suggest that you create one now. Start by listing all the essentials:
- Housing – Rent/Mortgage
- Utilities – Water/Electricity/Internet
- Groceries – Food and Personal Items such as Hygiene Products
- Other Payables – Tuition/Allowances etc
Try to cut-off unnecessary expenses until you get to pay all your debts and until you get to build a sizeable emergency fund.
Downsize and Remove Unnecessary Expenses
This could also be part of your budget-creation process. I have decided to put it in a separate category to give more emphasis to this. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, I highly suggest that you revisit your usual expenses and minimize and totally cut-off some of those in order to generate more money for your debt-payment plan or for your emergency fund.
Some of these unnecessary expenses that you can downgrade or cut from your budget includes:
Mobile Phone Plan
Do you really need a P2500 phone plan or did you just sign up for it to get the latest phone during that time? If you really don’t consume that much, then I suggest that you downgrade your plan once your plan is up for renewal.
Another thing that you could do in order to save money on this one is to negotiate with your employer to provide you a phone service if you really need one for your job. Some jobs really require constant communication with their teams and a lot of companies are shouldering the whole expense or subsidizing a certain amount.
One of the latest subscription-based services that are very popular in the Philippines is Netflix. Check your subscription plan and see if you could save more money if in case you avail of the higher plan with more allotted users and then split the cost with your family and friends.
Do you have other subscriptions? Check if you really use those services and see if there are alternative free services to those subscriptions.
A lot of working people live in the city and rent their own apartments to be close to their respective workplaces. Do you think you can move to a cheaper apartment without increasing your transportation cost? Is it possible to share an apartment with colleagues to split the cost of your rent? These are just some of the questions that you could ask yourself that could possibly help you save some money on rent.
Premium or Luxury Expenses
On Food: Do you often eat out at posh restaurants? How much does it cost you to eat out in relation to your net salary? Does it make more sense to cook at home instead? In some cases, cooking at home is the more cost-efficient option. However, in our country, due to the huge number of carinderias or small eateries, it may be cheaper to buy food from them instead of cooking your own food, especially if you live alone.
On Drinks: I know the ‘latte factor’ has been beaten to death regarding the topic of saving money. But in countries where the wage is not that high, does it still make financial sense to buy your daily cup of coffee from famous coffee shops? Most often the not, the price is almost equivalent (and sometimes more) to a set lunch or dinner in a cheap restaurant.
The Philippines is a coffee-drinking nation that’s why local and international coffee shops found success here. Consider giving this a thought especially if you buy coffee on a daily basis.
On Clothes: How often do you buy clothes, bags, and accessories? Are you fond of branded or designer labels? Try to track the cost of your monthly clothing-related expenses and see how much it’s costing you.
On Entertainment: How much is your entertainment costs? Do you often watch movies, go out with friends, etc? How much is your monthly entertainment cost in relation to your monthly net salary? Is it eating too much of your money? This is one of the biggest expenses for young employees that they don’t even notice. Be aware of your monthly entertainment cost because it might be eating up your hard-earned money without you noticing it.
Track your Expenses
One of the reasons why we always overshot our budget is because we don’t track our expenses. It’s easy to lose track of our goal to save money especially when we are not aware of where our money goes to on a monthly basis.
There are lots of mobile apps that could help you track your expenses easily. You don’t need to use a spreadsheet to do this. However, if you’re more comfortable using a spreadsheet, then go ahead and do so.
Regardless of your method of tracking your expenses, the most important thing to keep in mind is to track it. It doesn’t matter if you just write it down in your notebook or if you use an app.
Tracking your expenses will give you an idea of how much money goes to which spend segment. This will help you improve the budget that you have created.
Choose the People that You Hang Out With
If you are really serious about changing your financial habit for the better, you have to choose the people that you frequently spend your time with. This is the hard truth that we have to face.
Imagine this, if all of your friends are always buying the latest and most expensive iPhone every time a new one gets released (which is yearly), you would also want to have one right? Or else, you might feel, left out.
If all of your friends only use Louis Vuitton bags, then you would also want one. Your constant exposure to anything will have a great influence on you.
Now imagine this, if all of your friends are saving money and investing it in various financial investments, you will also do the same.
If all of your friends are always talking about how to improve your lives for the better, then your mindset will also be influenced by the type of conversations that you frequently engage with.
Choose the information that You Expose Yourself To
Aside from choosing the people that you always spend your time with, be aware that the information that you expose yourself to also helps shape your mentality.
Limit your exposure to the TV that constantly exposes you to advertisements to a variety of products that you may/may not need in your life.
Advertisements are created for one sole purpose – and that is to sell. Sometimes, powerful ads encourage us to buy even the things that we don’t need in our lives.
Aside from TV, limit your exposure to both offline and online feeds that constantly pushes buying frenzy.
Prioritize Experiences Over Things
Working is hard, we get that. And rest and relaxation and pampering ourselves improve our overall well-being and help us cope with the daily stress that we experience at our workplace. If you have a budget for treating yourself, I suggest that you spend your money on experiences than on material things.
Instead of buying a designer label bag, why not go to someplace that you have never been to before. Travel is one of the most enriching experiences in life. It not only helps us unwind and relax, but it also helps us improve our inter and intra-personal skills by the constant interaction that we get when we travel.
Travel also helps foster a better understanding of various cultures. If you travel internationally, you get to expose yourself to a variety of norms and traditions that you are not usually exposed to.
Travel also bonds people. Travel with your friends and family. If you have a bigger budget, why not take your parents to a place that they have never visited before. Traveling with family and friends will create happy memories that will last you a lifetime.
Engage in Hobbies that Won’t Cost You A Lot
Sometimes, we spend money just because we’re emotional or bored. That’s why the phrase ‘shopping therapy’ exists. It gives you a dopamine rush that makes you feel happy for a short moment of time. Shopping has also become so much easier now because of the increasing number of online shopping websites in the Philippines. This is why it’s more important than ever to have strong self-discipline to minimize unnecessary expenses.
Instead of spending money to relieve you of heavy emotions or to kill some idle time, why not engage in hobbies that are therapeutic and could possibly be a source of additional income in the future.
Do you fancy writing or taking pictures? Why not create a blog so you could practice writing for a much as you want? Perhaps you’d like to try gardening. You can take short courses or you can teach yourself online on how to build your own indoor/outdoor herb and vegetable garden.
Are you drawn to art? Have you tried painting? Perhaps you can use this medium to express your emotions. There are tons of things that you could do that will not cost you that much and could potentially be your source of additional income in the future.
Do you like helping others out? Why not volunteer at a local shelter to help take care of unwanted pets, orphaned children, or the elderly? This is probably one of the most important experiences anyone could possibly have especially for young single professionals who have a lot of time to spare.
Mindfulness is the foundation of all sound decisions. If you are mindful of your thoughts, action, and your own behavior, you will easily achieve financial independence. You will know if your thoughts or actions are aligned to your overall goal.
It does take a lot of time before anyone achieves mindfulness. But constant practice will help you achieve this in no time. Give yourself some ‘Me Time’ on a daily basis to practice mindfulness.
You can start by reflecting on how your day went before you go to bed. And in the mornings, spend a few minutes meditating about the things that you want to achieve for the day and also, use that time to remind yourself of the bigger goal that you want to achieve.
If you do this daily, it will become a habit and before you know it, it will be almost your second nature.
Keep the Goal in Mind
Saving money is not the end game. It’s actually just a means to a lot more in life. Some of the things that you could experience when you save enough money include:
Less Worry and Less Fear
If you have enough savings or if you built an emergency fund that could last you 6 months to one year then your worries about losing a job will decrease. Having enough savings to live through tough times such as the one we’re experiencing right now will give you enough confidence and conviction that you could indeed survive this.
If you have enough savings then it will be easier for you to choose better jobs. You don’t have to stick to a job that you loathe because you have enough financial buffer to look for another one.
Although money is not the main source of confidence, having enough savings does take away the feeling of being financially insecure.
Ability to Take More Risks
If you have enough savings and if you continually grow your savings even after meeting your target emergency fund then you will have the ability to take more risks. You can invest some of your funds to some better-yielding financial vehicles such as stocks, index funds, or mutual funds. You also might be able to entertain ideas about entrepreneurship because you have the bandwidth to do so.
No one knows what the future holds for all of us. Although it’s important to live our lives to the fullest in the present time, it wouldn’t hurt if we will also think about our future. What if we live very long? Do you see yourself depending just on the government pension?
Protecting our finances is our responsibility and not of anyone else. And we can start protecting ourselves from future financial catastrophes by saving money.
Thank you for reading this post and I hope you find value in reading this. I’d love to hear your thoughts about how to save money. What are your best money-saving tips that you can share?