Friday, August 26, 2016

The Tipster's Second Serving: The Road to Financial Freedom - Simple Ways to Save Money

For your second serving towards the road to financial freedom.

6. Withdraw from your own bank. Surcharge fee for withdrawing from other banks' ATMs could reach to around Php. 7-15.00. Remember, every peso counts. Just think of the health benefits you give to your heart each time you decide to walk that two blocks where your bank's ATM is located. Probably there's a view to enjoy too, on the way there. Thinks of ways to make the task lighter. Your heart - and your wallet (or even your eyes) - would give you a pat on the back for that.

7. Try not to withdraw from your bank account at all. Now this may sound confusing but what I really mean to say is that, if you still have enough money to last you for the day, or for the week, try not touching your money in the bank. This has something to do with Average Daily Balance (ADB) which the bank computes at the end of the month. This is at least for savings accounts. The bigger your ADB, the bigger your monthly interest. 

         Others prefer a different strategy. They set aside cash enough for a week or maybe a month, so that their money in the bank goes untouched for quite some time - until they use up their stash, that is. If you prefer this strategy, just make sure you have a safe and protected place to store or hide your cash.

8. Deposit your coins in your bank account. Sounds like we're getting more serious about bank accounts here. Anyway, Are you one of those people who keep a piggy bank at home with all your loose change in it? Some would even choose just to save 5-peso-coins or 10-peso-coins. I used to do that - with an emphasis on the past tense.

         I used to challenge myself to fill my piggy bank - a 2-liter empty bottle of mineral water - to the brim, with 5-peso and 10-peso coins. It would take me a lot of months to do that and what an exhilaration those milestones would be for me that time. Recently, although I still use the same piggy bank, it is not anymore my goal to fill it to the brim like before. As soon as I feel that I have a lot of coins - maybe filling a quarter of the bottle - I immediately deposit it in my bank account, so that my money could earn for me, no matter how small. I could only shake my head thinking about the number of months I have allowed my coins to "sleep" in the piggy bank. Again, lesson learned. Let us all allow our coins to "sleep" in the bank this time, safe in our savings accounts, and earning for us. 

9. Bring packed meals to work. I do this each time I have the chance to cook. Sometimes,  I just cook rice and then I just buy viand at the canteen.  Packed meals are a great way to save.

10. Buy clothes at the thrift shop.  I started to be a frequent customer of thrift shops when I was a medical resident-in-training when I have to skimp a lot on my budget. Until now that I have graduated from training, I still find time to go to my favorite thrift shop. In fact, I have left my contact number in one shop because they send messages to their customers each time they have new stocks or new arrivals. That's quite a strategy right there to maintain their customers' loyalty. 

          I realized that being able to have an eye for good clothes or items in the thrift shop is a skill that one develops in time. I was not really good in choosing stuffs before but in time, I have developed my skill. Actually, if you just look closer and strive to be patient in scanning through the items they are selling, you can see that items in the thrift shop are actually made of good quality. If you are lucky enough, you might even get branded items at a very good bargain price. My family and friends are amazed when I tell them that which stuff I bought from the thrift shop. Aside from buying cheap quality clothing, the way you carry yourself counts a lot too. 

To be continued. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Tipster's Road to Financial Freedom: Simple Ways to Save Money (1st of 3 Parts)

          I am not exactly a miser but I believe there are many ways to save money that most of us often overlook. 

          Looking back now, I wish I had saved all the money that passed through my hands as fast as the speed of light. However, that is all in the past now and there is no use fretting about it at all. What's important is I have taken the lessons of the past with me.

          A lot of people say, how much you earn does not matter at all. What matters is how much you are willing to set aside - which I believe is true. It may sound impossible, but actually, it is indeed very possible to live below your means so that you can set aside a certain amount of your income.

          Now talking about living below your means - lifestyle, that is, - I gladly share to you just a few tips that may help you make the most of your hardly earned peso. These may just be small stuff, probably just making you save a few centavos, but I tell you, every peso counts.

1. Avoid the coffee at the deli. Overpriced coffee is indeed flavorful on the tongue but most of the time it stings your wallet or your pocket. Just do the math yourself if you indulge in one cup of overpriced coffee every week. Let's say a cup of your favorite coffee at the deli costs Php 150.00. Thats just the minimum price of coffee in those shops right? Make that four cups in a month, that's a whooping Php. 600.00 - probably enough to cover the meals of a struggling family of four in the city in a one week period. Imagine the savings you gain if you cut that habit of ordering that venti ice mocha frappe, non-fat milk, no whip cream.

     However at this point, you might want to argue with me and say, "Hey, I deserve to have this cup of coffee from Starbucks after a day's work!" Well, I won't object to that either. If you cannot totally cut on your overpriced coffee, at least minimize it or consider it as a treat or reward for yourself when you decide to have one.

     As for me, I order one at Starbucks - my favorite hot mocha, grande - once in two to three months. I am not kidding. I admit, I have a favorite flavor from each coffee shop - White chocolate mocha, ice-blended from Bo's Coffee; Hot (as me) Cafe Americano from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I also have tasted all the coffee jelly variants from all coffee shops and for me the best of them all comes from Krispy Kreme. But still, I rarely get those coffee twice in a month.  The rest of the days, I rely on my all-time favorite 3-in-1 Nescafe coffee, the classic flavor. When I am at the office, I feast on the unlimited coffee.  

2. Use your debit card in your purchases. Unless I want to maintain my Average Daily Balance (ADB) from my savings account so that my account would earn me a higher interest at the end of the month, I usually use my BDO debit card in my purchases, specially at the grocer's. The primary reason why I use my debit card is it actually gives me a lot of savings. First, it saves me from the hassle of looking for coins that the cashier usually asks for to make her life easier when it comes to giving you your loose change. Second, it allows me to pay exactly to the last centavo, nothing more, nothing less. That point something in the amount due actually makes one's life harder, and it can make you poorer too. Take for example, your total bill is Php. 1032.82 and you hand the cashier a total of Php. 1050.00 in paper bills. You can't expect her to give you an exact change of Php 17.18. It is probable that she would only give you Php. 17.00. I know that 18 centavos would not make you dirt poor, but you are only making the owner of the grocery richer! That 18 centavos is still important. Nobody would even hand you that (not even your parents), unless you do labor or service in return. 

     So make it a habit to go cashless. Really, it saves you a lot of hassle and money.


3. Avoid buying bottled water. Bottled water costs at least Php. 10.00. You could save a lot if you just bring water at home using your tumbler. Be sure to use BPA-Free containers.


4.. Use public transportation. Ride the jeepney, why not? I used to ride the taxi each time I go to the airport (I would shell out a maximum of Php 220.00 as I travel from the heart of Cebu City to Mactan Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City. Recently however, SM Prime Holdings have this MyBus buses going around Cebu City, with their stations in SM malls. 

     You have to purchase a card so that you can ride on the buses. The card costs Php. 200 pesos, and that is already consumable. Their routes include: SM City Cebu to the Airport, Airport to SM City Cebu, SM City Cebu to SM Seaside. They also have routes to Talisay and Minglanilla from SM Seaside. The ride from one point to another only costs Php. 25.00.

     Last month, I was patting myself on the bank for saving a lot on my transportation expenses. I hopped into a taxi going to SM City and paid the driver Php. 86.00. I then hopped into MyBus going to the airport, paying only Php. 25.00. That is a lot of savings, right?! Lucky for me, I got my MyBus card from my colleague who gave it to me for free. 


5. Open a bank account a few days before the last day of the month. I did that when I opened my savings account. In a matter of days from opening your account, you will already be earning interest from it. Talking about making your money work for you. :-)

(To Be Continued).

8 Ways to take care of our mental health during the COVID-19 Pandemic

          During this era of the COVID Pandemic, it would be easy to overlook our mental health which is essential in order for us to h...