#IssaShares: How to Save Money and Improve Your Budgeting Skills!

What do I like most about me? The fact that I'm in LOVE with saving! Honestly, I feel like I've become obsessed with it, because I'm always out to find ways to get discounts or save as much as I can despite my fast-paced, fast-food filled lifestyle.

My parents wonder how I became so frugal, my friends laugh, and I just shrug off the jokes. If some people spend on certain things to feel good, I like to save to feel the same!

That's why I wanted to share my tips on how I'm able to track my finances while resisting the urge to buy everything I can in one go (and no, I won't go all Extreme Cheapskates on you and suggest that you dumpster dive!).

1. Set Goals and Track Efficiently

It might sound weird, but I actually began tracking down my finances when I was a teenager! The value for money grew when I began working and seeing that there is actually a limit as to what I can spend. And rather than feeling like I can get everything I get my hands on, I started becoming more responsible with what I use my money for.

I'm not saying that you have to get a ledger and prepare worksheets for your monthly finances. I don't use those wide spreadsheets and simply categorize my expenses in five different categories (in order):

1. Bills I CAN'T miss out on (rent, utilities, important work-related subscriptions)
2. Groceries and/or other necessities (water, my cat's food and litter, toiletries, medicine, etc)
3. Emergency fund and for saving
4. My daily allowance (for food, Grab, mga kalokohan ko)
5. Material things I can spend for myself every two to four weeks (my wants)

Your priorities can vary, depending on your lifestyle. But categorizing it such has made my life so much easier because it doesn't make me late on paying bills and I'm still able to leave a bit for myself. 

I actually just use Word or TextEdit for my budgeting. I keep things simple and lay down how much I estimate I'll be able to make for the month, my goal on how much to save, then break the costs down. Anything left over from the month either goes to my savings (if I don't feel like buying anything), or to whatever I was eyeing.

Keeping my eye on saving certain amounts has also kept me from overspending or going over my allowance for the day. Plus, creating a schedule that includes how much I spend in a day keeps me organized in everything else! So at least I look like I've got my whole life planned (half jk)

2. Do You REALLY Need It?

When I'm window shopping, I'll always be muttering, "Do I REALLY need it?" (ESPECIALLY when I see the cutest stuff... Yes, I like buying anything bright and unicorn, I'm a 5-year-old at heart)

Differentiating my needs and wants (as well as budgeting how much I can spend for the week/month) has really helped with the temptation of picking up the first thing I see in store and getting it immediately.

Unless you see yourself using it daily or require it for work/school, I advise you to take your time thinking if it's really worth the buy. Or, if it's just something that will make you feel happy for the day #realtalk

I list down my necessities and do splurge on myself once in awhile, when I feel like it or when I do deserve a reward. But like what I said, I'm the type who's content with what I have and am thankful for my generous family!

3. Coupons and Promos

If there's one thing I LOVE to hear, it's DISCOUNTS. The next favorite words? BUY ONE TAKE ONE! (I love you are also my favorite words, but you get the gist)

Honestly, I really love sales though I rarely buy retail. I'm one who likes scrolling through Facebook and checking out items and clothes which are either preloved or from legitimate online stores. I'm not brand conscious and just choose items with suit me best. And when people compliment me for it: "Sis, I only got it for xxx pesos!"

I don't find it weird purchasing secondhand items as long as they're clean and in good condition. However, there are limits (like underwear). Just remember to choose wisely and practice proper online shopping habits to avoid being scammed!

Also, you'll be surprised that there are a LOT of local shops here that have amazing products that are way cheaper than what you see in malls. Instagram and Facebook are your best friends when searching for what you need without spending tons.

As for food, this is probably my absolute favorite part! This is because I have a variety of apps and cards which have me save up tons on the restos I frequent.

Mind you, the best way to save money is to cook and eat at home. But a girl wants to enjoy with friends and family, so the best way I save even when eating out is through:

  • Eatigo or BigDish - Reserve a table and get 10-50% off on your dishes from their partners! FREE
  • Zomato Gold - Get 1+1 on dishes or 2+2 on drinks from their partners! 850 PHP a year (get 20% off on your subscription by using my code PARADI)
  • Booky Prime - Get up to P500 off on your bill or 1+1 on drinks, dishes, or snacks from their partners! 200 PHP a month
  • MetroDeal - Get a ton of discounted deals in restaurants, products, or even hotels and activities! Price varies

Besides these apps, I also happen to have cards which have me save on selected partners, like my BDO Rewards Card or my Bistro card. However, I don't really recommend these unless you're already a BDO client or love the restaurants from certain groups.

*** I wasn't sponsored for this, I just really love using 'em!

4. Treat Yoself… Responsibly

This is probably a huge problem I've had whenever I experienced stress and triggers. When I feel down, I immediately think about how much I deserve to treat myself and go get whatever expensive thing I like. Or worse, I end up binge eating. 

Both of these are unhealthy coping mechanisms I had to get out of, especially since it was just temporary happiness. That's when I started trying out ways I could treat myself without breaking bank (or my stomach)!

"Me time" or "treat yourself" doesn't have to mean spending tons on something you can't afford (yet). I like to think of it as a diet, where you shouldn't feel guilty for having a cookie, but to NOT get the whole pack for yourself!

Take a walk and think about it, read a good book, draw, or try self-care like exercising or painting your nails. And if you do really want to give yourself a reward after a long day of work, treat yourself to a simple meal or snack rather than going all out and wasting your pay in one day. 

Save Save Save!

Sure, it might seem "boring" to save. But it actually feels very fulfilling and I know that what I have will be put to good use in the long run. I'm not advising you to become the next Scrooge, but to know your limits and make sure you have some left for the bank and your future.

If you've got any more secrets and tips to saving successfully, do share it in the comment section! I would LOVE to hear what you've got to think. :)


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