As the third-largest Catholic population in the entire world, Filipinos surely look forward to Holy Week — a holiday celebrated annually to commemorate Jesus Christ’s life and death.
Of course, it is also a time for Filipinos to rest and spend time with their families! Long lines for bus and plane tickets, major traffic in highways like NLEX and SLEX — Filipinos surely spend a lot to take vacations during this important holiday.
If you’re reading this, you have probably spent a lot on your recent vacation — and now you want to save and budget. Well, you are at the right place because we will guide you on this!
But before everything else — what is budgeting, really? Harvard defines it as a systematic plan of spending on resources at a given time period. In short, it’s a strategic list of how you’ll spend your money so you can save more.
So, now if you’re looking for ways to save strategically, keep reading as we walk you through expert-backed budgeting tips:
Tip 1: Scan your present environment
You need to scan your environment to determine how much you will need to spend. According to Harvard’s budgeting workshop, there are top 3 Ws you need to answer when scanning your present environment:
- Where do I live?
By asking this, you can note the costs that come with living where you are: commute or car expenses, rent expenses, grocery expenses, and other living expenses.
- Where do I shop?
In the Philippines, location is a great way to determine how much you will have to spend. Certain areas might sell more expensive products, while some offer cheaper alternatives.
- What are my responsibilities?
Filipinos are traditionally family-loving. When scanning your environment, think of them as well: Do you have a child or an elder to take care of? A pet, perhaps? Enumerate those in your care and take them into account for your daily expenses.
After this, list your sources of funding and compare it with the expenses for these three. Determine whether your current finances are capable of funding your present expenses without running short.
Tip 2: Rank your priorities
You might have heard of this, but it begs repeating — it’s a matter of separating the needs from the wants.
This is a time to use information from the first tip. Which of the expenses is more urgent and which can be for later? List them so you have a reminder of what comes first. Then, ask yourself: Does your spending reflect your priorities?
You can also compare the expenses for your needs versus your income. Can your income fund the needs? If there is a substantial amount from the income that you can dispense for your wants, then that’s where you can spend on them.
If you just got off from vacation, maybe it’s time to save up for now and spend money again later on.
Tip 3: Look to the future!
Filipinos are very, very prone to disaster and emergencies, which is why it’s important to be ready for any future mishaps.
Whether it may be a natural calamity, sudden economic turns, or public health-related issues — these should be included in your fundings.
The best way to save is to have a separate emergency fund. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) enumerates common factors in the daily lives of Filipinos that needs to be considered when putting up an emergency fund:
- Natural calamities (floods, earthquakes, landslides, etc.)
- Accident (road-related, health-related, etc.)
- Epidemic/Pandemic (e.g. COVID-19)
BSP adds that you will also need to invest as well in the maintenance of your cars, physical health, and overall wellness.
These are all financial considerations for the future, so you will never run out of money in case of emergencies or unexpected expenses.
Tip 4: Avoid debts
If you keep on adding your debts, you’re only expanding your expenses. Resist the urge to borrow!
One of the greatest sins ever invented is probably a credit card. While it is very useful, it takes strategy and discipline to use it wisely. To use cards effectively, Harvard says:
- Do not charge your credit card what you cannot pay.
- If you’re using credit to extend your budget, you are not using your budget.
Cash is highly suggested especially for those with smaller budgets at hand.
Tip 5: Communicate well
With a family-loving culture, most Filipinos’ budget goes to family-related matters. Whether it be for your children or a relative you’re taking care of — you must always tell them what you can spend on and what not.
It is important that they know your budget priorities. Your family needs to understand your financial choices — why you spend on some, and why you don’t on another.
Good communication means good understanding for everyone. With this, all of you can align on what matters and everyone can enjoy a financially safe life!
That’s it… for now.
When all these tips are already part of your routine, do not forget to treat yourself once in a while!
After all, our finances should help us be happy and well as we live.