Sunday, October 24, 2021

Smart Spending Habits 2021

Married or not, here are five spending tips to surviving a pandemic

Now more than ever, it's important to be mindful of how we spend. The pandemic has made it extra difficult to go about our daily lives - to work, travel, and play like we used to. I got pregnant a few months after the pandemic hit; and now with a newborn, it's been extra difficult to get a steady stream of income as I need to stay at home 24/7. Thankfully, my in-laws have been able to continue their business despite the chaos. I've personally seen businesses shut down (most especially restaurants) due to all the restrictions here in Manila. So how do you actually survive a pandemic? 

My biggest tip? Spend wisely. Let me share with you some tips on how you can lower your expenses.

1. Budget, budget, budget.

I guess this goes without saying - budgeting is CRUCIAL if you want to survive. Remember, the more you spend now, the less you'll have in the future. One recommendation I often hear is to put a portion of your salary into your savings. The amount depends on how much you earn and your living expenses. It doesn't have to be a huge chunk, just a fixed percentage every month that you'll set aside (no matter how much you want that bag or the latest phone). I'm not saying that you can only spend on the necessities. In fact, you can still include some shopping money in your budget. You can also plan big purchases ahead, set goals for yourself to encourage you to work harder and spend smarter. A sample chart can be 20% on bills, 30% on food, 30% spending money (or phone/bag fund), and 20% in savings.

2. Think before you spend.

Before actually getting that luxury bag or phone, make sure to think long and hard about it. Do you really want it? Some "wants" only last a day or two then you completely forget about it. The problem is that a lot of people spend money on things that they'll later realize they didn't want anyway. I used to be that person - I liked buying a lot of small things. You know, a cheap bag, a new top.. things that don't usually cost much. In my head, since it's affordable, it's okay. So I buy more of it. And then of course, it adds up. And it just results to clutter. So I guess, in a way, the pandemic did me some good. I don't buy for myself as much anymore because at the back of my head, I think about my daughter Hope and her needs. I have to prioritize getting her nutritious food and clothes that actually fit and toys that she can learn from. 

3. Automate payments.

Now this is huge. Aside from bringing convenience, automating payments on utility and phone bills can help you so, so much! You don't have to waste time lining up for different things, just set them all up on your credit card and just worry about that one thing every month. The thing about bills is that whenever you miss a due date, they actually charge you late fees and interest and it's never good to have to spend more than you need to. So automate payments! It'll change your life.

4. Use cash, not credit.

If you can, just use cash or debit cards, never credit. The problem with using credit cards is that you don't really feel that you're spending money until the due date comes. So the chances of you overspending actually becomes higher. By using cash or debit, you can see money going out of your wallet or your account and that helps you become more mindful of what you spend.

5. Look into investing your money.

Now this isn't something I know a lot about, but if you can put your money into stocks or purchase a plot of land, that can really help increase your money's value in the long run. Stuffing it all in the bank earns you very little interest. Sure, it's safe, but if you can't be successful without a little risk, right? 

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