You've found a job that you actually love but somehow, your passion does not match your paycheck. Find yourself counting each peso as you near the end of each pay cycle? You are not alone. For most, every little bit of saving counts, you tell yourself. A peso saved is a peso earned—a big deal if you are living on a meagre paycheck.
Perhaps, you've already trimmed out all the uneccessary expenses to function on a leaner, meaner budget and the thought of tightening your spending belt one more notch is sending your stress levels into overdrive. Relax, we've got you covered. It is all about seeing things in a different perspective. With a few tweaks here and there, you can keep your wallet fatter longer while achieving a spend-save balance.
1. Always look for the best deal. "I never pay full price for any of my clothes, shoes, or accessories," reveals Karen, a 24 year old BPO analyst. "Laman ako ng Landmark and SM department store," she laughs, revealing that scouring the racks in these places usually yield fashion finds that cost significantly less than branded items.
2. Walk. "Pag malapit, usually, linalakad ko nalang," shares Sean, a 28 year old medical intern. He adds that walking is also a way for him to incorporate some form of exercise in his busy day. "Minsan, wala akong time mag-workout so yung lakad ko yung exercise ko," says Sean. It also gives him the bonus of increased focus. "Mas lalo na pag umaga, tinatanggal niya yung antok ko so pag dating ko sa work, mas alive yung pakiramdam ko."
3. BYO Baon. If you're lucky enough to still live with your parents, your mom's home cooked meal for lunch is a great way to cut costs. "Hindi lang mas mura kung magdadala ako ng pagkain galing sa bahay, mas masarap pa! Iba yung luto ni mommy," confesses Mia, a 22 year old personal shopper. This is not to say that you should mooch off your parents. "I give my mom money to add to the household grocery budget," she relates. Mia also shows her mom appreciation by occasionally treating her parents out or bringing home a little something extra, adding that this also helps them bond together as a family. "Pag nakaluwag ako ng konti, I treat them out to a movie day or maybe buy them some of their favorite fruits. Little gestures like these help me show them how much I appreciate the help that they are giving me."
4. Split a Meal. For those barkada dinners, sharing a meal with a friend not only cuts down on your overall expenses, it is a shrewd move to cut calories. The ticket to acing this move is to pick restaurants that serve bigger meal portions. "Malapit na ang summer, so medyo hinay hinay kami sa pagkain," says Sheryl, a 28 year old HR associate. "One time, we split a pizza and a pasta dish among three," she laughs. "Kelangan lang tanungin sa server namin kung anong dish yung malaki ang servings. Para-paraan lang."
5. Brown bag it till you make it. Brown bagging is an umbrella term that means to bring one's own liquor to a club or to load up on your alcohol before you actually hit a bar. "The cost of bottles in groceries or convenience stores are much, much cheaper than the ones in the club," says Mike, a 21 year old editorial assistant. Mike points out that brown bagging allows him to stretch his peso further. "In a bar or a club, beers go for around P100-200. In the convenience store, you can buy 2-3 beer bottles for the same amount." It is also a way to keep alcohol consumption within rational levels. "We usually head to a friend's house for a pre-party party. This way, we drink less, and therefore spend less, in any bar we decide to go to after because we've already had our alcohol fix."
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6. Prepaid cards are your best friend. Apparently, this move psychs you to use less because your resources are finite, especially for mobile data usage. "Dati, nung uso pa yung unli, kahit magdamag ka mag-surf ok lang," confesses Allan, a 25 year old gym instructor. "Ngayon, kasi linagyan na nila ng limit yung data, pinipili mo nalang kung kelan mo talagang kelangan mag-internet." Allan finds that this also helps his productivity levels, allowing him more time to socialize with people in person, rather than through his mobile device. "Ubos oras ko dati sa Clash. Kahit sa gimik, yun ang inaatupag ko," he laughs. "Ngayon, mas nakakausap ko ng personal yung katropa ko."
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Photographs from pexel.com