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5 Tips on How To Save Money

how to save money

I once saw an Instagram reel featuring a luxurious hotel in an exotic holiday destination. A voiceover said, “People see me spending money on expensive shit, and they think I’m rich. Bitch, I’m not rich. I’m irresponsible” and I don’t know how to save money.

Never have I found a line that resonated with me so much other than that one line, and I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry about it. I have been irresponsible on how to save money, to this day, I can’t look at my savings and say with confidence, “That looks right; I can retire soon.”

There’s no early retirement for me, unfortunately. And while it sucks to sit with that realization, it’s one I needed to have. And I know that many people can relate, especially my fellow Filipinos who had the misfortune to be born at the bottom of the food chain. Saving is all we were ever taught, but not how to invest, and even with savings, most of us can’t do it right.

I had to take a hard look at myself and my finances and face the reality that if I wanted to retire comfortably, I would have to do the work as soon as possible. And that means doing things on how to save money or earn more and stop being irresponsible.

While my journey to financial freedom has just begun, I am happy to announce that at least I have already taken the first few steps. So here is the list of things I’m doing on how to save money.

1. Tracking my expenses and savings

The first step to recovery is to get to the source of the problem, and tracking my expenses for at least two months has allowed me to do just that. Having an expense tracker and calculating my estimate funds help me gain insight into my spending habits, potential savings and show me exactly where my money goes. It was initially tedious because I needed to get used to writing down every penny left in my pocket. I mean, do I really need to track that I spent 12 pesos on a jeepney ride or that my sister borrowed 100 pesos? But it’s part of the process, and unless I commit to it, I wouldn’t be asses to have an accurate assessment of my financial situation. Every penny counts, and for every penny spent, I wrote it down.

How to save money

After just a month of religiously tracking down everything, I finally saw what was wrong; it’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me, to borrow the line from the great Taylor Swift.

Those few trips to Starbucks that you thought was okay all add up. I can’t believe I spent over 600 pesos on it for a month. Who am I, Miranda Priestly?

I also found out that I spent a tad too much on snacking alone. Over 1,000 pesos for snacks, are you kidding me?! And I thought I was saving money by choosing Netflix over going to the movie theater.

Had I not set a tracker and use , would I have realized just how unnecessary those bags of chips were? I probably won’t. Because those small expenses that I thought were cheap and didn’t hurt my budget, they all add up. If you don’t track them, you may not realize how much you need to stop pretending to be cool by buying from Starbucks every time.

When you begin to track your expenses, do it for two months because, in your second month, you will be able to set a goal. Also, by calculating my estimated savings I can quickly figure out how much money I will have to save up during my set investment period. 

2. Setting a budget

I’m not too fond of budgeting, I’d be the first to admit. But ever since I had an overview of my previous month’s expenses and found out just irresponsible, I truly was, the next sensible thing to do is to budget.

So I did, somewhat reluctantly, but I knew I had to do it, or tracking expenses would have been all for nothing. For example, if I spent 600 pesos for coffee in Month 1, then my goal for Month 2 is 0. Yes, zero. I have coffee at home and don’t need to spend it on any coffee shops. Okay, maybe I’ll go to a coffee shop in the future, but the point is, I don’t need to go there when I don’t have to. I don’t have to rely on the mermaid for my coffee fix when I can easily make coffee at home. Even if I had to replenish my coffee supply, it would still cost me considerably less than going to a coffee shop.

Financial Budgeting

Setting a budget is just a plan, and you can adjust it based on necessity. The keyword here though, is “necessity.” You only allow wiggle room when there’s a need for it. For example, you set a budget for Holidays to 0, but then you suddenly have to go back to the province for a family reunion, and that’s when you adjust the budget.

3. Brown bag lunch

While working in the corporate, I used to eat out with my colleagues during lunchtime. One meal can easily set you back between 250 to 400 pesos. If you add those up, that’s already 1,250 pesos (on a 250/day budget).

So I committed to making my food at home and brown bagging it for lunch. Not only did it allow me to eat healthier food, but it also reduced my lunch weekly lunch budget.

This concept also applies to some other parts of your life. Do whatever you can do at home and skip the unnecessary expense outside. Watch a movie online over frequent visits to the cinema, make coffee at home instead of buying from a coffee shop, exercise at home, or run around the neighborhood instead of spending on hefty gym membership fees. Get creative and save money.

4. Sell your stuff online

Like most people, I became an online shopping addict and hoarder during the pandemic. Suddenly, my house is filled with things that I no longer use or, as the great Mari Kondo says, things that don’t spark joy anymore.

So I used Facebook Market to sell my pre-loved items. I collected all the stuff I no longer need, snapped a few photos, and then uploaded them to FB Marketplace.

This is the best way to declutter your house and dispose of your second-hand items. You get to make the buyers happy, and you get to earn for your additional savings, too; win-win.

5. Educate yourself about financing

Lastly, never stop learning. As American author, coach, and speaker, Tony Robbins said, “When it comes to your money, what you don’t know can—and likely will— hurt. Ignorance is not bliss, ignorance is struggle, ignorance is grieving your fortune away to someone who hasn’t earned it.”

Financial Education

Your financial situation is your responsibility and yours alone. And you cannot help yourself unless you know exactly what you need to do. If you don’t know where to start, here are some of my recommended books that you can check out that can help you on how to save money:

Books:

  • How to Retire the Cheapskate Way – Jeff Yeager
  • You Need a Budget – Jesse Mecham
  • Clever Girl Finance – Bola Sokunbi
  • The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
  • Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom – Tony Robbins

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