Is the amount in your savings account making you lose sleep? If you’ve got a steady job but still find yourself living paycheck-to-paycheck, don’t lose yourself in despair and do something about it. When it comes to taking control of your finances, start with the little things — particularly the unnecessary things you spend your money on. These things may not cost much by themselves, but they do add up. Stop spending on them, and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll be able to put away each month.
1. Purified/bottled water
Because bottled water doesn’t typically cost much, it’s so easy to mindlessly spend on them. But not only is bottled water bad for the environment (we’re so over single-use plastic), it’s also bad for your financial health. Be kinder to Mother Nature and your wallet by investing in a water filter and a decent water bottle.
2. Trendy clothes
No, you don’t really need that sequinned jumpsuit you’re probably going to wear once and never again. If you’re going to buy clothes, opt for items that you can easily pair with what you already have in your closet. Only buy what you need, and if possible, wait for a sale until you buy them.
If the temptation to shop is too much, you might also want to cut back on social media. When you’ve stopped drooling over gorgeous OOTDs on your Instagram feed, it’ll be so much easier to be content with what you already own.
3. More groceries than you need
The Philippines wastes around 1,000 tons of rice every year. We throw out so much of the food in our pantries. It’s not just a waste of food, but also a waste of our hard-earned money. Before heading to the grocery, make a meal plan. Then, check what’s left in your pantry and fridge and make a list, writing down only the ingredients you need for your meal plan. And don’t cheat! STICK TO YOUR LIST.
4. Expensive transportation
We get it. The Philippines’ public transport system is a mess, and getting to work on time can feel like an impossible feat. So in the name of self-care, go on and book a Grab on days when you’re really tired and you just can’t deal with the MRT. But if you’re really serious about saving money, you have to find more affordable ways to get around. This could be commuting, or even carpooling with a colleague or two.
5. Cable TV
Thanks to the internet, we don’t really need cable TV for entertainment. Watching shows on streaming platforms saves time (in theory, but let’s be honest, maybe not in practice), because you don’t have to channel-surf to find something worth watching. If you prefer watching on a big screen, simply connect your laptop to your TV.
6. Branded products
Spending a premium on something just because it’s branded doesn’t make sense when the generic counterpart is just as good. Buying generic products for certain groceries is a great way to save money. Now you don’t have to buy generic for absolutely everything. If you feel strongly about a specific product, by all means, keep buying it. But for things that you don’t really care about, go generic and you won’t even feel the difference.
7. Overpriced coffee/milk tea/etc.
Getting a pricey cup of coffee may make Monday mornings a lot more bearable, but it can seriously hurt your budget. A P200 cup of coffee might not seem like a lot, but if you’re getting one on a daily basis, that means you’re spending P6,000 on coffee each month. Learn how to brew your own coffee at home — you’ll get the same (if not better) pick-me-up, at a fraction of the price.
8. Eating out every day
Buying lunch every day may be easy and convenient, but the cost can easily add up. Prepare your food at home. Packed lunches don’t just save money. They’re generally healthier, plus making your own meals lets you level up your culinary skills as well!
Making small adjustments to your spending habits can make a world of a difference to your financial health. Remember that spending less doesn’t mean that you’re depriving yourself. It means you’re investing in your future.