Tuesday, March 16, 2010

33 Ways of Boosting Your Savings (Part 1 of 3 Because All 33 in Just One Post is Just Too Darn Long, Just Like This Title)

33 fool-proof ways of cutting back on expenses and saving more money. Here's 1 to 11 on the list:

1. Cut back on going out for drinks. It's okay to occasionally go out with friends and loved ones to catch up on things or celebrate special events. By occasionally I mean twice a week, at most. Going out more frequently than that is a sure fire way of being broke at the end of every month. If you cut back on your going-out spending by 500 pesos per week, you'll save 26,000 pesos per year.

2. Use your free dental benefits. If your office health plan covers dental services, then you're most probably entitled to two cleaning sessions per year and one or two “pasta” treatments. The cleaning treatments alone will save you anywhere from 1,200 to 1,600 pesos per year (conventional wisdom teaches us to visit our dentist twice a year), and that doesn't even count the benefits of having sparkly-white smiles all year long.

3. Walk to wherever you’re going whenever possible. I know how painful it can be to walk even short distances under the stifling heat of the sun, but whenever you can do try to just walk to wherever it is you're going. You'll not only save a few bucks on gas or transportation fare, you'll also get a few minutes of exercise to boot.

4. If it’s not possible to walk, use public transportation whenever possible. If you're just traveling alone and you're not carrying any heavy stuff, then try to use public transportation like the MRT/LRT lines, FX shuttle services, and (as a last resort) buses as often as you can. While the savings on gas may not be very significant, avoiding the frustration and stress brought about by the ghastly traffic along major metro thoroughfares is priceless. What some people from the north do when going to Makati is park their car at Trinoma (flat rate 45 pesos per day) and just take the MRT to Ayala or thereabouts.

5. Stop using cable. TV is called an idiot box for a reason. Stop being an idiot, get rid of your cable subscription, and save at least 9,360 pesos per year (or 2,500 pesos one time if you're into that illegal cable thing).

6. Learn to love reading for entertainment. Get a nice, second hand Stephen King book from Book Sale for 150 pesos and it will give you anywhere from 24 to 120 hours of pure entertainment pleasure, depending on how fast you read and how imaginative you are. You'll save on movie tickets (around 160 pesos for around one and a half hours, and sometimes the movie is not even that entertaining) and electricity (for your TV, DVD player, PC, or gaming console) and you'll even improve your vocabulary and writing skills.

7. Eat at home more often. I'm not even talking about your once a week dinner dates with your special someone; what you need to get rid of is your almost-daily fill of Chickenjoy or Cheeseburger Meals. A 2-piece Chickenjoy meal now costs around the same as one kilogram of dressed chicken. Buy a pack of breading mix and gravy (or ketchup, if you're into that) and deep fry your home-made version of Chickenjoy for at least one-third of the cost. But often, it's not even about how much you'll save, but how you can make sure that you get the best nutrition you can get for your money.

8. Take advantage of credit card freebies. Don't forget those free Chickenjoy meals from BPI credit, Greenwich pizza from Metrobank credit, and movie passes from Citibank. But as Anica commented in one post before, don't make the mistake of buying stuff you don't need just to rack up the required amount. And don't forget to redeem your points for free meals or extra flier miles.

9. Get free language lessons online. Free basic lessons for common languages are available from BBC – Languages. When I was looking for free Cantonese lessons online, I came across these two wonderful sites: chinese-lessons.com and learnchineseez.com.

10. Stop drinking soda. One less soda can a day will lead to around 9,000 pesos per year in savings and a lower chance of getting fat.

11. Buy a second-hand car instead of a new one. A brand new car loses around 10% of its value as soon as it rolls off the showroom floor. A decent second-hand Toyota Vios or Honda City that's less than five years old with less than 100,000 km on the odometer will probably set you back anywhere from 400,000 to 500,000 pesos or around 40% off the brand new sticker price and still be eligible for bank financing.

Part 2 in 2 days. See you then! :)
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