Christmas is fast approaching and I can already sense the excitement that comes with this season. Many of us already have in mind what clothes, appliances or gadgets to buy with our “hard-earned” salaries and bonuses this December. Spending seems very easy since we have this old perception that it is okay to buy anything because the money we use is rightfully ours. While that view may be correct in some point, regularly subscribing to the idea may also bring us dangerously beyond the limits of our monthly budgets. In this article, I will share to you four practical money saving tips which I could say have helped me manage my budget as an ordinary government employee
Tone down a bit on your spending. If you love dining at expensive restaurants with your friends, try casual dining at restaurants which offer cheaper yet equally tasty [or even better!] meals. Thinking about buying that 70” SMART TV on display? Be smarter and choose that 32” LED TV which you could use for longer hours at lesser electricity expense. What’s wrong with locally branded shirts if they’re good quality and comfortable to wear? There are so many ways of cutting costs if you choose to simplify your life!
And please do not borrow money (credit card purchase) just to buy designer shirts, blouse, dress, bags. If you can’t afford it yet, just don’t buy it yet.
2. Choose Generics.
When I tell people to buy generics, the usual reaction would be – “Eh, sabi ng doctor ko itong brand daw ang bilhin ko eh. Epektib ba yang generic? (My doctor told me to buy this brand. Are generics effective?)” Quality generic medicines are as effective as popular branded ones but not as pricey. So, don’t be shy to ask for the generics when buying in pharmacies or drugstores.
- Buy “BUDGET” items.
Nowadays, large department stores and supermarkets in the country produce their own “BUDGET” brands of food and non-food items – name it and they have it (very good news for me)! In fact, they sub-contract the production of budget brands with well-known companies. Case in point – BONUS Cheese of SM Supermarket is manufactured by Magnolia Incorporated (a subsidiary of San Miguel Pure Foods Company). Go check the back of label.
- Avail of discount and membership privilege cards.
Reward/ Privilege/ Advantage/ Membership shopping cards in big department stores and supermarkets are good deals. Sometimes, they even offer their privilege cards for free and some would give plus points (usual is 1 point = 1 Peso) in their weekly or seasonal promos. Some big malls also offer ADDITIONAL discount of up to 10% on top of the, say, 50% existing discount if you are a registered card holder. Avail of these cards and save, but always read the membership agreement first.
My ultimate guiding principle is this – “Do not spend more than what you earn.” We should always check our finances if it’s in good shape because we should be in control of our money and not us being controlled by it. I’m not asking you to be cheap or stingy. Just take control of your spending habits and in the long run you will realize that you are happier than ever. You will also later on learn to take “Kuripot” as a compliment rather than an insult.