How to maximize your budget? A guide on How to Save Money as a Broke-ass Student.
Someone asked me to write a post about how I save money without “cutting” down on social outings and shopping. Since college, I’ve started saving money for the purpose of buying gadgets. Because one household rule of my family is if my parents are going to buy a new gadget for one child, each sibling should be bought something of equal value so as not to have conflicts of whether there is favoritism amongst us children. Shallow, I know, but that is just the reality. So the chances of my parents paying expensive gadgets for me is near null because who in the world would spend 25,000-30,000php per child in a single mall trip, right?! Unless you’re born a millionaire who doesn’t have trouble with spending then go ahead. For my readers who are interested in starting to save, here are my own tips :
1. First ask yourself, where do I spend the majority of my money?
Most of the people I know spend it on food trips or on shopping sprees. You can’t really blame them because those are basic necessities that we need to live. Here are the four basic necessities in order: Water, Food, Shelter and Clothing. These are the things we cannot eliminate paying for but we can limit splurging on.
Water –All schools have water fountains where we can drink for free. You should know where each water fountain is located. It’s a plus if you bring a small water bottle with you. Avoid buying mineral water, sodas or other beverages at all costs! 15PHP may seem cheap but if you buy mineral water every lunch time for the whole week that is 15 php x 6 days (no school on Sundays) = 90php/week, 320php/month and more or less 3,200php for one school year! See how much you can save just by drinking at water fountains! Not only do you save money but also lessen calorie intake.
Food – A lot of people have a hard time lessening their expenses in food. We all know once your tongue tastes that palatable dish it gives you a sense of comfort from all the stress life has to offer. That is why a lot of people say “kakain ako ng marami ngayon kasi stress ako” when in fact every day we experience stress! It’s just how we perceive and cope up with it. Don’t worry I feel that a lot of times too. But I try to remind myself the difference when my body really is hungry for food or when I just want to satisfy my satiety. There is a big difference between the two. So I’ve come up with a reward system that I can eat expensive food after exam week and not every exam. What do I mean by expensive food? A restaurant with a price range of 200-350 per person. During normal school days I only limit my meals to at most 50 pesos per meal which entails 1 cup of rice, 1 viand and free soup. The best place to find cheap price meals that will fill your tummy is at the carinderia. Just make sure that they serve clean food. For those who are picky eaters, you can do meal preps that you can bring to school. What I like about meal preps is that you can ensure you are eating healthy food.
Shelter – this necessity is for our parents to provide for us. As long as you have a home where you are kept safe and clean that is already good. However, even though you are provided with shelter we should keep in mind to start saving for our future home and also tell your parents to let you know where the important files of their properties are stored because one day you, as heir, will be the one who’s going to pay for real property tax and generate some income in that piece of lot.
Clothes – this is my ultimate weakness! After all I was blogging about fashion before I switched into personal lifestyle blogging. I always bought trendy clothes before, but the problem is fashion trends always change! And if you want to score some cheap trendy clothes, you usually get what you pay for—cheap and damageable. So basic at it may seem, my wardrobe consist mainly of hues I can pair with anything. My closet mostly consists of a clean black, white and grey with some red and blue because those colors suits me best. How do I shop for my clothes? I go to the department store first before I go to individual clothing stores. It’s usually cheaper in department stores especially when there’s a sale. Limit yourself with a budget of 150-400php/ top or bottom while shoes can go up to at the most 600/pair. More than that price I consider expensive! Bags have a different price range of 500-2000php because you can use it in any outfit. When you really want to budget, go for thrift shopping! Most of my clothes are thrifted and yet branded! Just be patient and try to haggle for the price. I usually buy at stalls selling 3 for 100. However if it’s “selected” my price range is 50-150php per item depends if I really like the item. The places I go thrift shopping in Davao are Uyanguren, Jacinto st. at night, Ilustre st. and San Pedro st. in Manila there’s a selected thrift shop near Max Malacanang, an array of stalls in V.Mapa and one at MRT Ayala. My tip on shopping is not to carry a lot of cash! I usually limit myself to at most 1500php for department store shopping and 600php for thrift shopping.
2. What other expenses do I have?
This is where transportation comes in. In Manila, I don’t have a car so I learned to commute. Believe me, it is such a hassle to commute because of bad transportation systems, traffic and people congestion and the heat but I still do it anyway because it saves me money. For people in Davao, commuting is such a breeze so no problems with that. My number one tip for saving on transportation is avoid getting a taxi if you’re only the passenger because you’re shelving out a lot of times more than the usual 8php Jeepney Fee. Ride a taxi only when you’re really tired, late for school or work, have a lot of things to bring or when you’re travelling with a group. For Manila commuters, how do I make commuting “bearable” (in a sense haha)? Buy stored value tickets and tap tickets for selected buses. It will really make your life so much easier plus it will save you time from queuing the long cashier lines! Did I tell you it also saves you some money? You can use your stored value ticket even if it only has 1php value left.
3. Open two Bank Accounts
Open a Bank account solely for your savings and another one where your parents can deposit your monthly expenses. Having a separate bank account for savings makes it easier to monitor your money. What I do is I deposit a standard 20% of my monthly baon to my savings account and make do with the remaining 80%. However, I try my best to save more than 20% so if by the end of the month there’s any remaining money left in that 80% I deposit it in my savings account. Setting aside your savings before spending ensures that it will go straight into your savings account. In comparison with spending first before saving which usually is tempting because you end up shelving everything.
4. Buy a Piggy Bank
Who says only youngsters can own a piggy bank? Hell No! Even us adults can keep one! Buy yourselves a piggy bank without that opening plug! I’ve bought one at Unitop for 30Php. Want to lighten up your wallet? Put your loose change inside the piggy bank! Sometimes I put paper bills if I’m in a good mood. After 2 years, it gave up on me just this year because it was already full of coins. Guess what? All that loose coins amounted to 2000++. I didn’t even feel like I was limiting myself from spending.
5. Have a Goal in mind
What are you saving for? Saving for material things is a good motivator to start saving up when you’re still young. However see the bigger picture in life. Remember that every year is a step towards leaving your parents’ abode. Know that even though you would love to be embraced by your parents’ unlimited fridge supplies, you and your parents are getting older by the year. What does that mean? Well, in time you will be providing all those for yourself, your own family and maybe your parents as well! So as an adult, it is ideal to start saving for future investments while you are young. For example: I’m planning to invest a little on stock market but I need to learn the business before I dive into it. Try selling some of your old clothes to increase money return. Ask people about insurance, time deposits, stock markets and the like. Be aware of how money goes around and make making money challenging yet fun by having a goal to reach every year. As time passes, you’ll be amazed how much money you can save!