End Your Petsa de Peligro With These 12 Practical Tips on Saving

Suck at money? Congrats. You’re part of the 99 percent of people in their 20s floundering when it comes to finance. Adulting is hard, and money is harder—especially when it’s your own and not your parents. My Two Cents is here to break down everything you need to know about finance, business, and entrepreneurship. We’ll tackle all the basics, from how to get a business permit to how to invest in stocks, to educate the fledgling adults on how to not go broke.

Welcome to the idiot’s guide to money. Lesson No. 22: Tips on saving money that you can actually do.

Remember when you made that New Year’s resolution to save more money this year? Well, how’s that working out for you? If you’re like the majority of people who made the same resolution, you probably got a little sidetracked with the daily grind to put in the effort to make that resolution come true. But let this serve as a quick reminder to keep your New Year’s promises.


Savings won’t grow on its own without lifestyle changes and a conscious effort to save a penny. Heed the words of Benjamin Franklin who once said, “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” On that note, here are some small but efficient tips on saving.

1| Keep an eye out for cashback deals.

If you have a credit card, watch out for special cashback deals for purchases made via credit. A number of credit cards offer cashback cards, so if you’re considering getting a cashback credit card, check out Citibank’s Cash Back Card or BDO’s American Express Cashback Credit Card.

2| Use the Shopback app.

In the same vein as cashback cards, the Shopback app gives its users cashbacks when they use their coupons, rewards, and codes when shopping on online sites like Lazada, Zalora, and the SM Store. Everyone shops online and shipping fees can get pretty high, so Shopback is a real bank account-saver.

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3| Don’t buy groceries when you’re hungry.

Nine times out of 10, the stomach overrules the head. For your saving account’s sake, don’t shop for food when you’re hungry. If you go to the grocery after a full meal, you’ll only buy what you need instead of what you crave. And when you do go to the grocery, buy enough food and toiletries for an entire week or two so you won’t feel the need to go out and buy more when you run out. It’s a good way to control your expenses for the week and prevent unnecessary side shopping.

4| Learn to actually cook.

On that note, when shopping for food, buy items for your weekly meal plan. Cooking is the gold mine of adult saving. It can be inconvenient because of the time you spend preparing, cooking, and cleaning, but it’s a better financial option than spending your money eating outside three times a day.  


5| Sell the things you don’t need anymore.

In the words of Marie Kondo, “Discard anything that doesn’t spark joy.” But capitalize on it first. Have an old TV you don’t use? Or a meat fridge in the basement? Sell it on sites like Carousell, the new OLX of the Philippines, or Facebook buy and sell groups. Scrounge your house for things you don’t need and can potentially sell. You might just come up with cool vintage collectibles.

6| Check the energy use of your appliances.

Electricity bills can get pricey, especially when you live in Metro Manila. So before buying appliances, take a look at the label to check the energy use. Check the wattage of your other home appliances and see which ones are bumping up your bill. You might do well to replace it with a more energy-efficient and cost-efficient model.

7| Have a long-term mentality when shopping.

Consumerism demands instant gratification, but this can often take a toll on your savings. Before buying anything, think whether you actually need it and how long it will last. When buying clothes, think if that piece matches with at least five other outfits in your closer. When buying a trendy watch, consider if it’s worth will increase in a few decades so you can sell it for a higher price.


8| Cancel unnecessary subscriptions.

There are countless streaming platforms now available, but you don’t need every single one. Pick your favorite and stick to that. When subscribing to something, consider whether you can access this resource through other means. Case in point, cable. We hate to say it, but streaming is a more cost-efficient alternative to television, and the news is faster on social media.

9| Kakeibo your cashless apps.

Kakeibo is the popular Japanese budgeting system that adds a more mindful approach to spending. Kakeibo employs envelopes to set aside cash for certain bills and expenses, but since we’re going cashless, you could make your mobile payment apps your virtual envelopes. Divide your GCash, PayMaya, and other bank apps for Kakeibo’s categorized expenses: needs, wants, culture, and unexpected. The best part is that cashless apps record each transaction, making it easier to track your spending.

10| Gamify your spending.  

A fun way to increase your savings is to make a game out of it. Every time you get a P100 or P200 bill, put it in a non-clear jar. Don’t think about it, just do it. It’s a simple way to trick your brain into accidentally spending. After a few months, you could earn/save as much as P5,000.


11| Audit your expenses every month.

People mostly overspend because they don’t have a system in place that tracks their expenses. Set aside a notebook that details your expenses for the month so you can see where you overspent. In the same mentality as Kakeibo, practice mindfulness and put in the effort to make sure you don’t overspend in the next month.

12| Set a solid goal.

Rather than setting a financial goal, like a certain amount of money you want in your bank account, set a tangible goal, like a trip to Japan, yoga classes, or a down payment for a condo. When you think about the experiences you could invest in just by saving, it creates more incentive to skip unnecessary expenses, like an 11th cup of milk tea or takeout when you can cook instead. Having a real goal will do wonders for motivation, which is why it’s often considered one of the best tips for saving.


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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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