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More for Less: The 500-Peso Shopping Challenge

More for Less: The 500-Peso Shopping Challenge

Woman Holding Shopping Bags
Woman Holding Shopping Bags
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Just the thought of being in the middle of a giant sale with an unlimited budget in hand was enough to make me go gaga. I could scour the racks for hours, steadfast in my mission to find the perfect dress or shoes.

So many times, I have found myself short of money when it’s not even petsa de peligro yet because I gave in to temptation. You see, once I start shopping, I find it difficult to stop. I would always be torn between wanting to save money and wanting to “reward” myself.

I knew this couldn’t keep happening. I couldn’t keep compromising my budget to go YOLO inside Forever 21. I knew I needed to stop.

The 500-Peso Shopping Challenge

Image by Kelvin Servigon via Flickr Creative Commons

Honestly, there is no way I could go cold turkey and cut my obsession with shopping, so I compromised. I set a rule that I could still buy something for myself every month, BUT, I have to work on a budget. PHP500 seemed reasonable enough, but where can it take me?

Here’s where my “budget cut” took me:

Ukay Ukay Forever

Ukay ukay has always been my go-to spot, since college. I knew all the right places to go and when to drop by. I avoided going on paydays and several days before or after because then the prices tend to be higher. Back when I lived in Antipolo, the ukay ukay stores that lined Cubao, Anonas, and Marikina were my favorite mainly because they were also the most accessible. I also had a favorite shop to visit in Katipunan, but the items there were a bit pricier.

Where my PHP 500 took me at the ukay:

Double Breasted Coat- PHP 40
Double Breasted Coat- PHP 40
Comic -Print Pullover - PHP 60
Comic -Print Pullover – PHP 60
Yellow Babydoll Top - PHP 20
Yellow Babydoll Top – PHP 20
Zip-Up Bomber Jacket - PHP 40
Zip-Up Bomber Jacket – PHP 40
Lace-Up Dress – PHP 100
Lace-Up Dress – PHP 100
Peach Pullover with Floral Detail - PHP 60
Peach Pullover with Floral Detail – PHP 60
Soft Denim Top - 80 PHP
Soft Denim Top – 80 PHP
Grover Varsity Shirtdress - 80 PHP
Grover Varsity Shirtdress – 80 PHP

Total: PHP 480

My New BFF: Shopee

I just moved to a town where ukay ukay stores are rare, so I took to online shopping instead. My new favorite way to shop online is through Shopee, because when I reach a certain amount, they will ship my order for free. I have bought every item imaginable from Shopee, from dresses and contact lenses to the lace canopy that now hangs above my bed.

For this article, I asked a friend to trust me with her PHP500, and I’d ‘style’ her. She was a bit skeptical at first because she had never bought anything online, but gave in anyway. She requested for a dressy piece that she could wear to her aunt’s wedding, but I ended up buying her another more casual dress, a top, and a formal-ish dress. Yup, three brand new pieces for just PHP 500.

Here’s where our 500 pesos took us:


Maroon Offshoulder – 185 PHP
Black Off-shoulder – 135 PHP
Navy Blue Bodycon Dress- 175 PHP (Photo courtesy of seller)

Total: PHP 495

A New Go-To: Online Preloved Shops

I discovered online “preloved” shops by accident. I was strapped for cash, and I needed something to supplement my income with. I thought of selling something I had too much of but didn’t need: my tear ducts. Just kidding. I sold my old clothes so that I could have money for new ones. I searched for groups on Facebook where I could sell my old but still usable stuff, snapped photos, uploaded them, added descriptions, and waited for inquiries.

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woman wearing a filipiniana

Rules for posting on preloved online stores have changed and became complicated in time, so these days, I’d rather just shop than sell. I have been shopping in preloved online stores since I discovered it, and all my experiences have been good so far.

Remember, though, that preloved stores are just ukay ukay, only transactions are made online, and your haul is a bit safer because you know who you’re buying from. Take advantage of that privilege. Get to know your seller before sending out money; be wary of bogus sellers and of those who sugarcoat the real quality of their items.

Where my PHP 500 took me:

Chunky Heels (from Centropelle, never used) – PHP 150
Lace Hoodie – PHP 120
Red Maxi Dress with Slit – PHP 150 (Photo courtesy of seller)
Soft Denim Overall Shorts – PHP 100 (I haggled, and the seller agreed to sell it to me for PHP 80, yay!)

Total: PHP 500

I found three ways to stick to my budget. First, to make a list of the things I want or need; Second, to know the right places to shop from and if possible, look for a store that offers the item you want at a low or negotiable price; third and most importantly: have discipline.

To make the PHP500 challenge work, set a budget, and stick to the essentials.

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