Saturday, March 12

On Saving

The people closest to me can attest that I am the worst when it comes to money matters. I've always believed that Confessions of a Shopaholic (if you haven't read or seen it well, boo you!) is the story of my life.
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My wake-up call came during the last quarter of 2015. I decided to leave my job just when Luigi and I started living on our own. His salary (first job--yknow how they pay pfft) and the little savings we had were barely enough to pay the bills and sustain the lifestyle I was (we were) accustomed to. Every day became a struggle as adjustments had to be made. So when 2016 came in, I made a promise to save more. I don't want to go through something like the last 4 months of 2015 again no! (please lang never never again).
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I'd like to think that because of that I've somehow improved managing my finances/expenses. Here are some of the things that I (you too can) TRY to live and breathe day-to-day to ensure that I don't go head over heels in debt.

  • Crush the 'One-Day-Millionaire' Habit. We all feel like winners when we get good sales (business owners), given allowance (students), or during payday for those employed (well except for the fact na ang laki ng tax OVERRGRR!). That exciting feeling of having so much money! (woo party party!) And this is where it all begins. Embarrassing as it may be, I honestly don't have the savings as most people my age would have. For most of my life, my mentality has been to spend, spend, spend and whatever was left would go to my savings (which generally laging wala HAHA HUHU feck). Now, I make it a point to put aside a percentage of our (mine and Luigi's) salaries first; at least 10% in our joint account and 5% kept somewhere else (secret stash lol). I also do budgeting monthly, keeping in mind our priorities.
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  • Buy coupons/vouchers but be sensible. I'm a self-confessed sucker when it comes to these things. Hello, who wouldn't want discounts diba? However, make it a point to ask yourself a thousand times if it's something you really need/or can use (lesson learned, ang dami kong nasayang okay). Keep track of them too! Don't be like me who more often than not forgets that I have several vouchers and only remembers them just when they've already expired (signs of aging, memory loss lang lol). Coupons/vouchers are great but being irresponsible could cost you more in the end
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  • Constantly remind yourself that credit cards are not free money. Reality is, they're not magical *sad face*. To this date, I'm still paying for my credit cards (total balance is more than half of what I'm earning in a month yikes). Yeah sure those *insert all those fees I don't even know what* seem small and irrelevant at first, but trust me they will haunt you (huhu). Use your card/s for emergency situations only; control your self from round-the-clock swiping (note to self forever lol) and remember to pay your credit card bills on time! (again, note to self haha). 
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  • Avoid emotional spending. Everybody gets stress; family issues, bad day at work, annoying people, etc. I stay away from malls (specially during sale season, ang hirap I swear) when I'm feeling emotional since it makes me a wild-shopper. Think of other ways to boost your mood instead. What I do is either eat (but within budget), read books, watch my favorite shows, or (I soon will) exercise (lol). Remember that stress is never an excuse to max out your credit card (or your savings).
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  • Spoil yourself once in a while. Luigi and I enjoy trying out new restaurants/cuisines; eating like there's no tomorrow (hello obvious ba sa taba namin?). These days, we make it a point to just eat out and splurge whenever we have money to spare (infairness sa weight gain namin di halatang nagtitipid kami HAHAHA ano ba). Same way with clothes, shoes, etc. I told Luigi that we should indulge ourselves at least once a month and buy something we want. It's important not to deprive yourself too much 'cause chances are if you've fancied things for so long, you'll have the tendency to go overboard and spend like a lunatic later on.
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  • Small things matter. Living in a condo can be expensive. Our building has a mini store with goodies for twice the price. I almost never buy anything there and would opt to go to the supermarket since it's less than a kilometer away (thank you Waze for this info haha)As much as possible, I walk going to the grocery instead of taking a pedicab or tricycle that costs around Php 30-40 per way (nakatipid na exercise pa haha). When grocery shopping, I normally bring with me a list of what I need to prevent myself from buying unnecessary thingsI also try to look for reasonable alternatives to some items. For instance, gone are those times when I would automatically grab Frito-Lay chips for snacks. Nowadays, I check for local brands first (that tastes almost the same) since they are waaaay cheaper (this of course is easier said than done since my cravings can INSANELY be particular). Believe me, these littlest of savings when piled up can make a difference.
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Truth be told, I think I'm at the point where I'm just starting to get hold of my life (late bloomer ang peg? lol). I don't even have any investments yet (hopefully soon). Saving money is a choice (and a difficult one at that). Just always keep your head in the game and think of the (bright, bright) future.
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