August 6, 2009

Frugalista's Tips on Saving

In line with my previous post about my guiltless shopping escapades, I have to share some of my recessionista and frugalista tips that help me in maintaining my monthly expenses. Actually, based on my view, people should still spend despite recession. Why? Because we need to circulate our money, to run business, to give employment to other people. I guess that's the reason why Philippines is not that affected by the global recession.. Filipinos love to eat, to shop and just to buy and experience anything new to them. And it is doing a great return to us. Businessmen are investing, I see alot of constructions for malls, shopping venues and offices along EDSA and other business districts. And these means employment. And these means money - to spend, to shop, and to maintain the lifestyle that we aim to enjoy. But before I go big in discussing Economics, let me just share some of my saving tips:

1. Don't hail that yellow taxi cab! I am guilty of this. It's nice to have a driver and sleep on your way to your destination less the pollution. But with every cents and pesos running down the meter, it is like an open faucet for your pocket. And this is true. I started taking the public transportation again, and I was able to save more than half of whatever I am spending each day when I take a cab. Lucky that I don't have car to drive. I don't need to worry about parking fees and fluctuating gas prices. I remember what my friend told me that if I'll save my cab money for a year, it would sum up for something big that could take me to an Asian cruise. I did the math and he's correct.

2. Keep and save those Php5 and Php10 coins. Save them all in a coin bank. Don't use them if you need coins. By the end of the year, you would be surprised that a piggy bank full of these coins amounts to Php5,000.

3. Bring packed lunch to office. And I thank my mom for preparing my meals. You will be assured that you have a healthy meal, plus your lunch break would not be used up by falling inline to the nearest fastfood. I am actually surprised at how expensive fastfood meals are! My family and friends seldom eat at fastfood joints, and we rather dine out to a seat-down diners. Burger, fries and soda equals P100, and that's a little too much to spend for additional cholesterol.

4. Dtich the Starbucks craze! This works for me since I only take 1 cup of coffee a day. If bed is calling you while in the office, opt for instant coffee instead or take advantage of the complementary coffee from your office's pantry. Besides, the best way to address this is to get enough sleep at night, (at day - for those who are working on night shift like me). It is okay to indulge once in a while.

5. Take advantage of those freebie sachets of shampoo, lotion, etc. They will come in handy once your supplies of lotion and shampoo are running out, and you don't have time yet to go to the grocery.

6. Save. Save. Save. Once you received your monthly salary, set a fixed amount to be
deposited to your savings account. I enrolled both my payroll and savings account online so that it would be convenient for me to transfer funds, and I wouldn't have an excuse. I know it is quite a hassle to go to the bank, withdraw fund and deposit to another account, so it would be convenient to register your accounts online. This way you can also view how your banking history and accounts activities.

7. Use your credit cards and pay in full! Back in college, my sister gave me a supplementary card for her credit card, and I just max it with shopping and dining expenses, until my mom took the card and convinced me that I am an irresponsible card holder. For years, I opted to use my debit card and swear not to get credit card. Until my bank gave me a complementary credit card with waived membership fee. It took me months before I activated the card, and my first purchase is a 27thousand-worth of Victoria Secret undies! Haha. I never care about bills, since I pay them in full. I guess, that's the rule for credit cards. Pay them in full, otherwise, you will end up paying just for the interest every month, and you will never get to zero. The benefit of using credit cards? The rewards and exclusive
discounts. Quick rule before swiping the card, if you can't pay it in cash, you can't afford it!

8. Enjoy a movie at the comfort of your home. I've been doing this for two years now, my special someone is not here to enjoy a good movie with. Watching movies means dinner and coffee too, and that would add up to your expenses. I do indulge and watch movies especially if graphics and effects require a good sound system. But for other movies, I just borrow DVDs from friends and enjoy chips while lying on my bed. Besides, with the advancement of technology, you can watch movies online (and you don't need to worry about piracy too).

These are just some of the tips that I can think of.. I need to load Ebay on my browser window. I still need to help the economy. ;)