Here’s how Filipinos can spend less without compromising their lifestyles too much.
There’s a treasure trove of moneysaving tips online. They can go from the extremely ridiculous—dumpster-diving for food and other items; to the common-sensical—moving back to your parents’ house to avoid paying for rent. Unconventional, yes, but not all of them are really convenient. For young professionals, parents, and every reasonable person who wants to cut costs, here are the 20 creative yet effective ways to save money.
1. Cool down your home.
Use insulation panels—such as fiberglass wool panel and foil—over your ceiling to greatly reduce the heat inside your home and save up on electric bills. Take it a step further by using heat reflective roof paints for a more effective way of cooling down your home.
Tip: Do not use insulation with Asbestos even if they come as “heavy duty.” Asbestos is cancerous and this type of insulation has been banned in the US.
2. Grow your own food.
Grow some herbs, vegetables, and even fruits if you have enough soil around your house. Now you won’t have to run to the grocery to add some oomph in your cooking.
3. Eat healthy.
Growing your own food also allows you to eat healthier. Go to the nearest farmer’s or community market to get fresh and organic produce. They’re much cheaper compared to the ones sold in supermarkets. Eating healthy also means preparing your own food–a great way to save and avoid fast food altogether.
4. Use DIY cleaning agents and home products.
Homemade cleaning agents are natural, safe, and can be more effective than chemical-based ones. Start with the basics such as vinegar, kalamansi, and baking soda. Simply Google tips on how to mix and use these kitchen aids.
5. Avoid standby electricity loss.
Standby appliances still use up 6% to 10% of your appliance consumption, or 2-10 watts, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). The accumulated electricity adds unnecessary costs in your monthly electric bill. Unplugging everything is also encouraged in electrical safety and fire prevention.
6. Use energy-efficient appliances.
They may cost more, but it is offset by lower electric bills and your peace of mind. Investing in long-term security and convenience is so much better than settling for low-cost appliances.
7. Sew your clothes.
Sew broken or lost buttons, patch small holes, and use old clothes again. As long as they don’t look like basahan, old clothes may be used again with a little repair. Dryers can also damage and expand clothes, decreasing their lifespan. Find time to hand-wash delicate clothes and hang them under the sun.
8. Shop in a hurry.
Grocery stores are set up in a way that customers will spend more. It is so effective that according to Euromonitor’s report on retailing in the Philippines, “grocery retailers continue to dominate the country’s retail landscape.” The report overview stated: “Grocery retailers continued to have a greater impact on the country’s retailing landscape, primarily because it offers products which are essential to most consumers.” So stay on your budget by following your list and taking a much shorter time grocery shopping.
9. Swap books instead of buying new ones.
Or do it the old-fashioned way: Borrow from your school or city library. There are also some cafes or places where you can trade, borrow, and even donate books, such as the newly launched The Book Stop Project.
10. Follow deal sites.
For the best discounts in personal care, appliances, and other promos.
11. Prepare your own coffee.
No matter how you want it done, make a habit of preparing your own coffee. Get a total of how much you’re spending for your to-go coffee every month, and you’ll save a considerable amount of money. A little treat from your favorite café is great once in a while, just as long as you’re not going over your budget.
12. Unsubscribe to cable TV.
If you can’t, you may opt for limited subscription instead. Just choose the channels you often visit and pay for a much smaller monthly subscription fee.
13. Go for happy hour or bundle promos.
A night-out with friends doesn’t always have to cost so much. Check out your favorite bars for happy hour promos.
14. Share streaming accounts.
Spotify, Netflix, iFlix, and other streaming accounts may come cheaper or even free if you have a close friend or family member who wouldn’t mind sharing their subscription with you.
Tip: Offer to pay for at least half of their subscription fee if you’re planning to use their account regularly from here on out.
15. Go to the museum for free.
Check out museums near you if they have “Free Admission” days. The National Museum of the Philippines, for instance, offers free admission every Sunday.
16. Sign up your extra room on AirBnB.
If you have a nice place that’s comfortable enough to receive guests, make money and new friends all at the same time.
17. Use your bike instead of your car.
If you’re living in less busy cities, this is the best way to get to work. You won’t only burn calories, you save a lot of time and money too.
18. Don’t buy cheap—buy good quality instead.
Not only limited to appliances, but also to clothes, shoes, and other household items. Quality comes at a price, and investing in things that are of value is truly more rewarding in the long run.
19. Reward yourself.
While these tips are guaranteed to help you save money, know that you deserve to give yourself a treat every once in a while. Depriving yourself of the good things will only lead to out of control spending. Save to reward yourself. Set a budget to buy the shoes you’ve always wanted, or follow your cravings.
20. Hide “magic money.”
Store P100, P500, or P1,000 bills in random places where you won’t easily find them. Trust us, nothing beats the feeling of accidentally stumbling upon them just when you’re short on cash.
21. Make the most of your credit card’s rewards program.
We’ve covered some of the credit cards that can give you the best rewards and rebates, according to your lifestyle. Stay updated with your bank’s current promos, rewards, and even freebies and you’ll be more motivated to manage your spending. –Kristel Serran