Jason Acidre, Negosentro | You’ve got a brilliant business idea, but no money to launch it. You’ve decided to save money, but you’re always running out by the end of the month.
We feel you. A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs have the same problem, and we’re here to help you out. If you’re having a hard time saving up for that dream business of yours, follow these tips to make it less of a challenge.
Record your expenses.
It’s easy for us to spend money when we don’t keep a record of our expenses. Tabulating our expenses not only lets us keep track of what we spend on and how much we spend; it can also curb unnecessary spending. Keep a notebook or use a spreadsheet to record your expenses. List the categories in one column: utilities, food, household items, mortgage/rent, and so on. Then put the amount spent for each category in another column.
You can also use apps to help you record your expenses and here are some of them:
- Wally – This app finds you and keeps track of your money through its GPS integration when your location services are turned on. It automatically categorizes and identifies the venue of expense. Wally also provides you with the fun of setting aside money for savings as its smart notifications remind you of what’s important, whether you have an obligation to settle, or when you’ve reached your money goals. (Availability: iOS and Android)
- Money Monitor – This app is a better fit for those who’d like to manage their money more extensively. Money Monitor Pro is the app for you if you want to track and control your expenses and pay bills on time. It lets you see your finances at a glance, showing you clearly where the money comes and goes. You can track and organize all your transactions, budgets, accounts, bills, payees, and cash flow. You can also export data by email in form of CSV, HTML, or PDF. (Availability: iOS)
- Monefy – This app is great for those who like to see where their money goes presented in an easy-to-understand chart. Tracking money using Monefy is a fairly easy process – you just have to list everything you spend according to each category. You can also safely synchronize data between devices using your own Dropbox account. Plus it’s got support for multiple accounts, allowing you to track expenses with a family member or significant other. (Availability: Android)
Follow the 50/20/30 Rule.
Once you have a record of your expenses, budgeting your income will be a whole lot easier. You can use the 50/20/30 rule to do this. According to this rule you should allot 50 percent of your salary on the essentials and living expenses (utilities, housing, transportation, food), and 20 percent should be dedicated to your savings (savings plans, emergency fund, debt payments). The remaining 30 percent is for your personal lifestyle expenses such as dining out with friends or going on vacation.
If you’re determined enough, you can increase your savings to 25 percent or even 30 percent of your income and decrease your spending on personal stuff. This brings us to the next point.
Cut back on your expenses.
Cutting back on personal expenses is always easier said than done. It has always been something we know we must do but we never successfully do it. Not indulging on things can make you feel like you’re depriving yourself of something you rightfully deserve, from delicious food in fancy restaurants to the Air Jordans you’ve been eyeing.
To save up for your dream business, you have to really think about what you can let go of in terms of lifestyle. There are several things (that 200-peso daily frappe is one of them) that you can actually live without. Consider these tips to get you started on cutting costs.
- Cancel your cable subscription. If you’re a millennial, you’re probably not as engaged in television as your parents are. Most millennials get their entertainment through the internet, not primetime TV. We also get our daily news online. The point is, you probably don’t need a cable subscription. If no one really watches cable channels in your household, consider canceling your cable TV subscription. If no one watches at all, go sell that TV for extra cash.
- Don’t get a phone plan. People are more inclined to get these plans because it’s a more convenient way to get that brand-new phone they can’t afford with cash. A phone plan is just another luxury that you’d be paying for on a monthly basis. Seriously, what’s more important? That new iPhone or your dream business?
- Stay in. We’re all tempted by friends to go out, drink, and gorge on comfort food while discussing our woes and triumphs. It does sound fun but it’s a nightmare for our wallets. Most of the time when we go out we spend about 500 pesos to 1,000 pesos in one night – and that’s a modest figure. It may cost you up to Php 200 to get to the designated place, around Php 600 for food, and another Php 200 for the trip back home. You might think that the expense is worth it – since it’s time spent with friends and all – but you should consider dialing it down a notch. Instead of doing it weekly, why not do it once every two months? If you let your friends know you’re saving up for something big, they should understand why you need to beg off. They might even help you out.
- Prepare your own food. It really is tempting to go out and eat at your favorite resto or fast food chain. But if you think about it, not only will cooking food at home be cheaper, it’ll also be relatively healthier because you have control over what and how much you eat. Start going to the grocery or market to buy fresh meat, fish, and veggies.
If you find it hard to stop yourself from spending on unnecessary things, just tell yourself that making these little sacrifices will help you start your business as soon as possible – it will make letting go that much easier.
Aside from the TV that everyone ignores, most likely there are other stuff in the house that you don’t need or want anymore. Selling these is one of the best ways to get more money for your business. If you have a car that’s just lying around thanks to Uber and Grab, go sell it. If you have action figures in mint condition you’re willing to part with, go sell them. If you have jewelry that you’re not inclined to wear or pass along to the next generation, put them up for sale.
You can sell your personal property to people you know or online via platforms like OLX.
Get a side hustle.
Probably one of the fastest ways to save up money for your capital is to get a side hustle. Think about this: If you save up money from your day job and get a part-time job, then you can put all of your earnings from the side hustle into your business funds. You’d be starting your dream business in no time!
Here are some side hustles you can consider:
- Virtual Assistant – If you’re a detail-oriented person and are skilled in administrative tasks like managing emails, scheduling, bookkeeping, writing up reports, and managing social media accounts, you can be a virtual assistant to busy entrepreneurs. This will also give you an idea of the inner workings of running a business so you’ll be prepared when you start your own.
- Content Writer – You can be a copywriter or content writer for various websites. If you know how to write press releases, blog articles, product descriptions, white papers, marketing copy, news articles, and other written content, then this is the side job for you.
- Graphic Designer – This is a great way to use your creativity to earn money. If you have an eye for good design and are good at conceptualizing ideas and bringing them to life, consider taking graphic design jobs to supplement your income. For this, it’s recommended to have a portfolio of your work ready for showing to potential clients.
- Online English Teacher – If you have a good grasp of English and can converse well in the language, being a part-time English teacher online can be just the key to getting more income. Most tutoring sessions last for an hour, but it’s up to you how many students you teach in your spare time. You can even focus on just one client for intensive two-hour lessons, which can be easier since you don’t have to keep track of several students’ progress.
- Become a Grab or Uber partner – a lot of Filipinos has been finding this side hustle very lucrative in the past couple of years. It can also be something you’d want to consider, especially if you have the means to invest in buying a new car.
Saving can be tricky – sometimes your willpower isn’t enough, so you have to be wise and device ways to save money. What we listed are just a few suggestions. You can be more creative and even combine the suggestions to reach the target amount for your business capital faster.
For more ways on how you can get funding for your business, check out (article on how to get funding).