Recently, I’ve suddenly been very practical, frugal and intentional with my finances. Probably because I’m finally growing up. Haha! I keep reading articles on how to save or invest money and I find them very useful and interesting. Which also made me realize how much money I actually use every month! I know a lot of us really want to save so I’m sharing a few tips that could help you (which you probably already know but this can serve as a reminder again. Haha!).
I’m veering away from the usual – bring your own food, take public transpo etc – so hopefully, you’ll find these as useful and practical as I do!
1. Monitor your finances. This was really an eye opener for me. Before, I would just set a budget and as long as I don’t go overboard, I’m good. But there’s so much more to finances than just setting a budget. I started actively monitoring my finances and when I saw where my money went, it made me realize that I should still strive to use my money better! For smart phone users, I recommend downloading a money monitoring app. Mine is called Cash Spend2.
2. Buy ‘On Sale’ Items especially for toiletries. When I say this, I mean stuff that you actually need and always use and not just those that you want aka clothes. You can always stock up on toiletries, cleaning products and other non-perishable items because you won’t have to worry that they’ll expire soon.
Grabbed these two Olay lotions (600ml) at Rustan’s for only Php199 (original price at Php499) each – it’s even cheaper than Jergens. Olay is my favorite brand of lotion because it really moisturizes my skin so I’m so glad I have these! Pantene 3 minute miracle conditioner was also on 50% off (only Php79 from Php149) so hoarded these too! Imagine, they’re cheaper than the regular Cream Silk conditioner (Php104). Plus, Pantene had this shampoo and conditioner combo (340ml each) for only Php215. That’s like Php100 for a 350ml shampoo when in fact, Sunsilk’s 180ml shampoo is already priced at Php91. Amazing deals! Just make sure to check their expiration dates too, just in case.
3. Take advantage of Buy1, Take1. Not only with non-perishables, but even with food. Just make sure you use them and try to work your menu around the B1T1 items that you find. Be creative!
4. Work your grocery around rewards or GCs. Robinson’s Supermarket had this promo that if you buy three of their products with the apple sticker, you instantly get Php100 worth of gift certificates! So I intentionally chose my cleaning products with the stickers (plus other stuff) so I was able to get Php300 worth of GCs! Easy ‘grocery money’ simply by buying products that you actually use. Other examples are their rewards points and SM Advantage card’s points.
5. Check and compare prices. I know this might not be practical for everyone since it needs time and effort but for me who has both, and who actually enjoys going grocery shopping, I am able to do this. Example of my comparisons are Veet’s Body Wax Strips (Php159 at Watsons vs Php147 at SM Supermarket) and Kleenex Oil Film (Php110 at Watson’s vs Php98 at Robinson’s Grocery).
6. Switch to cheaper alternatives. I know we all have those products which we love to use and are ‘hiyang’ to us but I assure you, there will always be another product out there that delivers the same quality but for a lower price. Examples of my personal ‘switch and save’ moments are from Soft Soap/ Bath and Body Works Hand wash to Watson’s Hand Wash (the Lavender variant smells so good!), from Whisper to Sisters Napkins and from Mac lipsticks to Human Heart Nature. Side note: I actually don’t understand how some girls have hundreds of lippies which they don’t use everyday and will just expire (except for those make-up artists and the like) but that’s an altogether different post. Haha.
Included also in this list is my decision to use virgin coconut oil as part of my night time regimen after showering instead of lotion. Not only is VCO cheaper, it’s all natural and has more benefits than regular lotion. Just get ready to be teased by your family or husband that you smell like ‘biko’ or ‘sinukmani.’ If that happens, just say, “Eh masarap namana ako!” Haha! #corny
7. Don’t buy phone load from the sellers on the streets. I don’t know how to describe them but most of my experiences, when I buy from those load retailers along the streets or in sari-sari stores, they add about Php2.oo for my Php50 load! Imagine that! Sometimes, when I buy the Php100 card load, they sell it for Php105! Grabe! That’s really not legal and so try to find a seller who doesn’t have those added costs – like in SM or other grocery stores. Your Php2.oo can go a long way, you know. I’m actually an advocate of ‘buying from local sellers’ but not with these kinds of people.
8. Withdraw cash from your own bank’s ATM. That’s already a Php11.00 savings per transaction if you don’t transact at other banks’ ATM.
9. Most importantly, be secure with who you are and with what you have. When I say this, I mean, don’t try to please other people outside of your own (financial) capability. In Filipino, wag pa-cool. Because if you are, you will always be forced to keep up with the Joneses – buy the latest gadgets, go to the hippest bars, eat the most expensive meals etc – all to the detriment of your bank account. Without this last point, if you are not able to exercise this, all the saving tips and advice in the world won’t help you.
At the end of the day, it’s still up to you how you use your money. I’m no financial adviser and my pocket knows how much I spend (especially on good food when I’m craving, haha!) but for me, so long as you have a steady income, savings, an emergency fund, insurance, perhaps even an investment and not drowning in debt, then you’re in a good place than most.