Having difficulty budgeting and saving? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, proper money habits do not come innately to anyone. It takes certain qualities such as practice and discipline to build a habit, not only when it comes to money matters. “How can I invest when I can’t even save 20% of my take-home pay each month?” is a common question people ask.
The key is to start slow and build the habit. Sooner or later, what used to be difficult for you to do (e.g. packing your own lunch) becomes effortless (e.g. cooking is relaxing!). For those not already saving a part of their monthly income, here are 5 easy ways to save Php 1,000 (or more) in 30 minutes:
Automate your accounts
“Out of sight, out of mind.” Setting up your payroll account to automatically transfer a part of your salary to your savings account at the start of every month will limit your expenses and improve your spending habits. You’ll learn to limit your expenses because you have already set aside a portion of your income before you even start spending it. Automate accounts so you “don’t save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving,” as Warren Buffet says.
Take it a step further by signing up for your bank or brokerage firm’s Easy Investment Plan (EIP). The EIP is a program where a set amount from your savings account is automatically deposited to your investments. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for an article all about Easy Investment Plans.
Time taken: 5-10 minutes (EIP applications, online transfers, etc.)
Money saved: Php 1,000 or above (depends on the amount you set aside for savings)
Track your expenses
Tracking your expenses has a psychological effect on your spending behavior. You don’t think too much of a Php 150 lunch or a Php 50 cup of coffee. Those aren’t much compared to a Php 1,000 pair of shoes, but add the daily lunch- and coffee-run up, and that’s more than Php 4,000 a month. It’s the perfect example of how the little things add up.
Keep track of your spending by downloading an app such as Expense Manager, Mint, or You Need a Budget. Inputting your expenses won’t take even 5 minutes. By keeping track, you’ll learn to control your urge to spend by feeling guilty that you’re spending x amount on this when you know you could spend less.
Time taken: 5 minutes a day (for all daily expenses)
Money saved: Php 1,000 or above (just by avoiding your daily coffee and merienda expenses)
Cancel subscriptions you rarely use
Once you’ve tracked your budget for the month, go over your expenses. You’ll quickly see where your money goes and whether you’re over-spending on certain things. Aside from the realization you may be spending too much on nights out with friends or shopping, you may also realize you’re also paying for items and services you don’t really need. That Php 3,000 gym membership fee when you’re lucky to get in one workout a week? A premium cable subscription when you prefer streaming online? Going over your expenses and canceling subscriptions will take you less than an hour, and in turn, will save you money.
Time taken: 5-10 minutes for online subscriptions (e.g. Spotify Premium); varies for offline subscriptions (cable, gym membership, etc.) where in-person or via hotline cancellation is required
Money saved: Php 300-500 (for cancelling basic cable subscription)
Sell unused items in your house
You’ve bought a new phone and your old one is sitting in your drawer gathering dust. Spend a few minutes going through your things, and look for items you can sell. Used phones, tablets, and cameras can easily sell for more than Php 1,000 by bringing them to mall stores selling secondhand items. That old piano you used to play with when you were younger? Alex, a MoneyMax.ph reader, was able to sell her 12-year old piano for Php 15,000.
Look around the house for items you barely use and consider selling them both online and offline.
Time taken: 30 minutes (to take photos of the item and posting it online)
Money saved: Php 1,000 and above
Compare product and service offerings
As with anything, it’s always best to do your research before settling on one thing, whether it’s browsing for plane tickets, laptop prices, and even car insurance. Comparing and contrasting prices will take no more than 30 minutes. Even better, comparison websites, such as Skyscanner andMoneyMax.ph, saves you both time and money because they do the research for you.
Time taken: 30 minutes for individual website browsing (less if you use comparison platforms)
Money saved: varies depending on item (e.g. plane tickets, credit cards, etc.)
Slow and steady wins the race
As mentioned above, start slow and build the habit. Like a crash diet where withdrawing to old habits becomes highly likely, money habits work the same way. Start small and slow with the 30-minute hacks above, and once you’ve built and strengthened your discipline, saving and budgeting (the next step is investing) will become second nature to you.