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We all want to have savings, but sometimes it’s hard to scrimp and save money for a rainy day when funds are tight.
Here are 37 practical ways to help you save money right now.
You don’t have to do all these. It isn’t advisable because there is such a thing as being too frugal. But practicing even a few of the tips here can have a tremendous impact on your finances.
Find out which tips suit you best, and you’ll be saving money in no time.
1. Cancel your cable TV subscription Not only will you save at least P3,600 a year (assuming you had the most basic SKYCable plan at P299/month, you’ll save even more if you had a more expensive cable package. You’ll also have more time to read books, learn a craft, or go outside and get some exercise.
2. Reduce eating out to once a week or less The money you spend on one dinner at a decent restaurant could easily fund a whole week’s worth of homemade meals.
3. Make your own coffee The cliché about yuppies wasting money on P200 lattes is a cliché for a reason. Stop going to Starbucks and start drinking coffee you yourself made at home or you get for free in the office.
4. Quit expensive vices Whether cigarettes, alcohol, or sodas cut down drastically or, better yet, quit! A smoker spends an average P10,800 a year on cigarettes, figuring half a pack a day. Imagine how much interest you would have now if you put it in a unit investment trust fund or UITF instead. Read this article.
5. Buy generic or store brands Grocery and drug stores sell cheaper generic brands of almost anything. Learn how to save even more on your groceries with our guide.
6. Before buying see if you can borrow it If you need some tools to fix something, or a video camera for a day, or a movie you want to watch, ask your friends to see if they have one you can borrow.
7. Use free software Search the internet for free software. For example, Microsoft Office is crazy expensive. Try OpenOffice instead, or Google Docs. Instead of shelling out for Photoshop for minor editing, get GIMP.
8. Get rid of your landline You probably have a cell phone, and never use your landline. Cut costs by getting rid of it. If you have to provide a landline for credit card applications, use your office number.
9. Sell unused items Go over your clothes, check your garage for things you don’t use, and sell it online or have a yard sale.
10. Pay in cash Paying in cash hurts more than using your credit card, but it makes you more diligent about your purchases.
11. Buy in bulk Split a warehouse club membership with a few friends and save a lot on your groceries by buying things like toilet paper, toothpaste, or soap in bulk.
12. Buy second-hand stuff Used book sales can be a treasure trove and add up to much less than if you buy brand new books. Thrift stores can yield great clothes at much lower prices.
13. Wait at least 24 hours before making big purchases This gives you time to do a price check and find the best deal for your big-ticket purchase.
14. Wait at least 30 days before buying an unnecessary item If you still want it after 30 days, you can buy it. No sweat if you forgot about it.
15. Ignore your bonuses You’re used to living without this money. Put it in savings, or an interest-bearing investment, or pay your debt.
16. Ladies, do you own nails often If you go to the nail salon twice a month, cut it down to once and do it yourself the second time around.
17. Guys, learn how to use a straight razor The upfront cost may be steep, but once you’ve made your investment you’ll never have to buy cartridges or blades the rest of your life. Before you start practicing this tip, ask somebody who knows to teach you how to do it.
18. Avoid the vending machine Not only do the items carry steep mark ups, they may not even be good for your health. If you absolutely can’t get through the day without having a snack, have your own stash – preferably filled with healthy treats you got from the grocery store at lower costs.
19. Meatless Mondays Giving up meat entirely can save you so much money. But if you’re not ready for this, try doing it one or twice a week and note the difference on your budget – and your health.
20. Get a roommate If you don’t mind sharing a living space with someone else, you can cut your rent and utility bills in half.
21. Collect loose change You’re probably sitting on thousands of coins right now. Go to the bank and make a deposit every time you amass P500 in loose change.
22. Cut down on entertainment costs; look for free or cheaper alternatives Universities and other institutions offer free film showings. Check these out instead of spending P250 on whatever cheesy flick is on at the mall cinema just because it’s there. Use Spotify Free instead of buying music albums.
23. Limit your spending on Christmas gifts If you’re good at baking, give cookies instead of buying expensive gifts. If you have more free time, offer to babysit for your harried, married friends. You can also stop buying wrapping paper and use magazines or newspapers lying around somewhere in the house – be creative! Find out how to save even more on Christmas.
24. Save on your electricity bills Unplug appliances when not in use. Replace your lightbulbs with energy-saving fluorescent lights. Here are 12 ways to lower your electric bills.
25. Keep a budget Use these smartphone apps, these desktop apps, or good old pen and paper. Knowing where your money goes makes you more conscious about spending.
26. Check your tire pressure As we said in this article, cars with underinflated tires use more gas. A simple tire pressure check can save you money.
27. Sign up for free loyalty programs This lets you enjoy rewards from the things you usually buy.
28. Go for house parties instead of going out Going out in Manila can be pricey. Instead of paying P200 for a San Mig Light, invite friends over at your place and have a fun night in the cozy setting of your home.
29. Take advantage of happy hours No need being a recluse to save money. Take advantage of great happy hour deals a lot of establishments offer to fill in the slow business before peak hours. A bit of research can save you money when having a good time with your friends.
30. Take advantage of groceries on sale Once a week or so grocery stores put various stuff on sale. For example, there was a recent "buy 1 kg chicken lollipops, get 500 g free deal” at Rustan’s Fresh. Plan your menu around the sales.
31. Freeze your leftovers! You can freeze extra stock, gravy, pesto, tomato paste, and lemon juice, as well as wine in ice cube trays. You can then toss some of these in your cooking to add extra flavor. You can also freeze herbs so they don’t wilt in the crisper. On-sale frozen vegetables also last longer. Keeping your freezer full actually uses less energy, because an empty refrigerator uses more to stay cold than a fully-stocked fridge.
32. Find alternatives to ‘retail therapy’ Instead of taking your anger out on your credit card, going for a jog reduces stress. Or meditate, which is free. Or hang out with people who exude good vibes.
33. Use cloth diapers Not only will you spend less, you’ll also help save the environment.
34. Clean with vinegar Martha Stewart says a one-to-one vinegar and water solution makes an effective, economical multipurpose cleaner without any harmful chemicals. Clean floors, glass and bathroom tiles without buying expensive cleaners.
35. Take care of your clothes Make your clothes last longer by closing zippers, fastening hooks, and turning items inside out. This way, the zippers and hooks don’t get caught on another item, which could ruin your clothes.
36. Search the web for promo codes Searching for “online shopping site” + “coupon” or “promo” can give you codes to get discounts on online purchases.
37.Treat yourself Trying to live a frugal life is hard. Spend a bit of money once in a while and give yourself something nice, a reward for effort you put toward saving money.
What are you waiting for? Start saving right now!