Abby is from the USA and moved to the Philippines…
For most people, money is more of a problem than a joy. It seems like no matter how hard we work or how much we try to save, our bank accounts are always empty, and this is an endless source of frustration. Don’t despair, however, simply take a look at your lifestyle and see where there is room for improvement. Here are some easy hacks you can do to curb your financial problems and avoid going broke this year!
1. Remember that a part-time job is better than no job.
When looking for employment, we obviously don’t want to settle for the first offer we get. We’re looking for something with good hours, high pay, that gives us enough to make ends meet. So, it’s tempting to pass up every part-time job that comes our way in hopes of getting a full-time job with better pay. Well, stop doing that! Isn’t a part-time job with lesser hours and half the pay better than no job at all? Not to mention, a part-time job can lead to more opportunities. There’s chances for promotion, for being made full-time, and the added job experience will be good to have on your resume.
You don’t have to settle for the first job offer that you get, but there’s a point where you have to settle for something. Make your decisions wisely, and remember that some income is always better than none!
2. Always keep the minimum balance in your bank account.
One of the biggest pet peeves of having a bank account, and something that I struggle with myself, is maintaining the minimum balance requirement given by your bank account. Most bank accounts require you to have at least P3,000 at all times and will charge you at the end of the month if you’re below the minimum. Those small charges can add up over the months, so make an effort to always keep the minimum balance. Just treat it as if that last P3,000 doesn’t exist at all. If it doesn’t exist, you can’t spend it. Let it serve as a buffer to keep you from every truly going broke; your bank will be happier, you’ll have an emergency cash supply, and you won’t keep paying fees.
3. Keep track of your budget.
A really simple but amazing hack to gaining control over your finances is to create a budget and keep track of where your money is really going. I used to think I was really good at saving money, until my accountant husband drew up a budget and I saw how much I was really spending on things. Make columns for the necessary things like grocery expenses, commuting expenses, rent, cellphone bill, etc., and take a look at how much money goes to each category in a month. Make a second budget sheet for non-necessities such as buying clothes, luxury items like cable and internet, entertainment (plays, movies, etc) expenditures.
You may be surprised by how much you unconsciously spend on non-necessities when you’re struggling to make rent every month. Making a budget is a practical way to figure out what is really important, and what you can cut back on. We’re not saying you should disconnect your internet(it’s practically a necessity, anyway!), but do you really need to see movies in theater every month? By being more aware of where your money is going, you will be more thrifty with your spending.
4. Don’t use credit cards.
Credit cards can be very alluring; the convenience of being able to buy something even if you don’t have the cash for it. The small interest charges don’t mean much to you when that cute skirt is on sale for P600 and you have to have it!
You don’t have to cancel your credit cards, but stop being so casual with using them. Those interest charges add up, especially if you aren’t able to pay things off each month, and you could find yourself in deep debt before you realize it. Try to use it for only big expenses that are necessary, like your month’s groceries or paying bills. When it comes to luxury items and non-necessities, only buy them if you have the cash on hand.
5. Save at least 10% of your monthly income.
If you’re making P15,000 per month, a measly P1,500 might not seem like it’s that much to be worth saving. However, it’s important to regularly set aside a small amount for your savings. Instead of using up every paycheck each month, try to set aside that P1500, not to be touched at all. Open a separate savings account to put this money, and promise yourself that you won’t touch it. At the end of one year, you’ll have saved a grand total of P18,000php, not including interest!
Doing so will give you a backup plan so that you will never go totally broke. You can keep it for emergency purposes only, invest it, or treat yourself to something nice at the end of each year as a reward, but setting it aside throughout the year will ensure a little safety for you if something unexpected comes up. Nothing is worse than losing your job and not being able to pay your rent, or having a beloved pet fall ill and not being able to pay for vet care.
Nobody wants to find themselves in dire straights with an empty wallet and negative numbers in their bank account, so if you find this a regular problem for you, it’s time to sort things out. These are all easy hacks that you can do that will help you get through the year without going broke, and require minimal effort on your end. Sometimes, all you really need is to be aware!
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Abby is from the USA and moved to the Philippines to be with her husband, David Christopher Hizon, who also happens to be her photographer for most of her writing endeavors. A gamer, a bookworm, an animal lover and a self-proclaimed foodie, she is passionate about everything that she does and hopes that will come across in her writing. Follow her at http://facebook.com/WritersInTandem & http://www.thewritersintandem.wordpress.com