We’ve all been to that dreaded point: petsa de peligro. There is nothing quite like the pinch of having to stretch out those last few pesos until the next paycheck comes in. It need not be this way month after month; with the help of a few nifty tips you can cut down on your regular expenses without cramping your lifestyle.
- Record your expenses
This first step is necessary to know exactly what you are spending on, and what makes up the biggest bulk of the expenditure. Recording expenses is also a good practice to continually keep track of your budget and find out what else to cut down on.
- Check your cell phone and data plans
Although post-paid and data plans may be convenient, sometimes we do not actually utilize all the minutes or data provided. If it turns out that your data or post-paid credits consumption is less than what your plan offers, consider switching to a plan with a lower monthly rate.
- Unplug your devices
Leaving appliances and especially chargers plugged in for longer than necessary can add to your electric bill in a sneaky way. To help shave off a few pesos, unplug devices not being used, or use a power strip that allows you to turn off the current easily.
- Bring your own lunch
Those lunches and dinners out, or even runs to the convenience store for snacks can gradually put a dent into your budget without your knowing it! Although it is okay from time to time to lunch out or order in at work, making your own lunch on most days helps cut on costs. It is also healthier too since you can tweak the menu to your dietary needs.
- Install LED or energy efficient lighting
If you are still using incandescent bulbs or even fluorescent lights, you might be spending more on electric bills than you think. Installing LEDs or other energy saving light fixtures may seem expensive initially, but the return of investment in lower bills is worthwhile.
This simple and healthy step can save you both time and money. Walking for short distances can help you save both time and gas money. For longer distances, consider carpooling or taking public transportation.
- Buy non-perishable groceries in bulk
The usual tendency to buy in “small” or “tingi” packs adds up in terms of costs and waste. For soaps, detergents, canned goods, and other non-perishable items, buying in bulk helps reduce costs per item, as well as reduces time and money spent going to the store to stock up.
- Check your brands
For most foodstuffs and household items, it may not be necessary to always spring for the high-end brands. Oftentimes “generic” or lower priced brands work just as well, but with the added benefit of being priced lower. Any differences may be subtle, detectable only by the extreme connoisseurs or the overly finicky. Unless the item is one-of-a-kind, there is usually a less expensive brand available on the market.
- Consider online shopping
Nowadays it is possible to get nearly anything online, from food, clothes, and electronics just to name a few. The delivery fees for many of these online shopping services may come out to less than the additional costs of a shopping trip: gas, parking, food and other incidentals. For as long as you carefully inspect and track your purchases, online shopping is an excellent way to cut costs even for weekly groceries and other necessities.
- Review your subscriptions
Sometimes old subscriptions may drain your budget sneakily. Do you still really read those magazines, or can you get them online? Do you still watch cable TV, or are you better off using streaming services? Cancelling those infrequently used services may allow you to spring for something better or give you more to add to your savings.
It is possible to save up a great deal every month without reducing your diet to bread and water or having to rely on candlelight once the sun goes down. We hope these tips will help you cut expenses and even banish those pre-payday blues!