from the way i've been going on and on about shopping for home stuff, traveling, and treating myself, you might have begun thinking that "hey, there's this single girl in her thirties who knows nothing about saving money." either that or you might have started entertaining doubts about my being heir to the ayala fortune. but, since the latter could not be any more farther from the truth, then let's just stick to the premise that given my habits, i'm waldas.
well, that's where you're wrong. here are a couple of things i do to make sure that in spite of a lowly associate's salary (and it's tiny, believe me) and my gastadora ways, i am able to live within my means:
1. the moment i receive my salary/allowance, i immediately partition it to the various items in my budget
largely owing to the training i received from my mother, i work with a monthly budget. i therefore am fully aware of the average amount of my bills and immediately set aside money for the various items. included in the budget items are my monthly tithe, utility bills, phone bills, and weekly personal allowance. i also set aside money for savings, as well as shallow things such as "personal maintenance", so that i know exactly how much i have to spare (or to splurge) at any given time.
2. i never withdraw (or perform any other transaction for that matter) with another atm
given that banks now charge for inter-bank transactions, i make sure to avoid another bank's ATM like the plague. while you might think that P10 (or is it more now?) is just chump change, you'd be surprised at the amount of money you actually lose if you add it all up. and remember, banks now charge even for balance inquiries.
let's not even get into the US$3 that cirrus charges should you make the mistake the transacting with one of their ATMs. true story: a friend was in the province and immediately needed money. since she couldn't find her bank's atm, she decided to transact with another bank's ATM which bore the cirrus sign. since she needed more than P20,000, she withdrew several times until she was able to get the amount she needed. at US$3 per transaction, imagine how much she was charged for making a simple withdrawal. now, of course, given that it was an emergency, she didn't exactly had a choice, which brings me to item #3 ...
3. i have emergency ATMs
since i never transact at another bank's ATM, i usually make sure that i have an "emergency" ATM with another bank from another network. this means that in the event i cannot withdraw from my payroll account in an emergency, i can always withdraw from another bank.
4. i practice credit card responsibility
translation: i do not have a credit card. well, technically, i do, but it's merely an extension card of my aunt's credit card who, notably, monitors my spending. well, it's not that she questions each purchase but let's just say the one time i went on a shopping spree at aldo she texted to ask what i spent a significant amount of money on. that said, i am quite careful in swiping my credit card knowing not only that i would have to pay it off in full at the end of each month (her requirement) but also cause i know that any fiscal irresponsibility can be easily seen by my aunt (and communicated with my dad!)
5. i pay bills before the due date through my atm payroll account
the ATM is a wonderful thing. instead of lining up to pay, or withdrawing money to pay my bills, or issuing checks, i pay most of my bills using my atm. that means no barya issues and no late charges. i remember that there was one time when i forgot to pay the meralco bill but thankfully, since it was still before midnight of the due date, i was able to pay on time, albeit only a few minutes before the day it would be overdue.
6. a good sale is my friend
i thrive on books and shoes, and not necessarily in that order. that said, i try to curb my spending on these things by making sure that i never (or almost never) buy anything full price. there was a time i was able to stock up on P20 to P30 books from national bookstore. and, while i did leave francesco one time with three pairs of shoes, the unexpected spree cost me less than a night at a hotel. not bad, considering that the shoes were all made of leather.
7. my prepaid phone is always on immortal text
well, since they stopped the immortal promo yesterday (how hateful i was too lazy to load up my phone sooner so i could have converted a P500 peso load to immortal text, boo), this might not apply anymore, but let's just say that phone companies have the best promos for prepaid telephones and so while i have a line to ensure that i can always call and text without fear of running out of load, i have another phone which i use to avail of a whole lot of promos which help me save more money in the long run.
8. i compute, compute, compute.
i'm the girl who has a calculator at the grocery checking which bag of laundry soap gives me a better deal. i read labels (do you know that shampoos and conditioners are now 90ml and 180 ml from the previous 100ml and 200ml sizes?) to further aid me in making decisions -- for example this brand of tissue might be cheaper but each pull is actually smaller than the slightly more expensive brand which might mean that i'll need more tissues. i also compute my car's mileage (hence the switch to petron which i think helps my car to be more fuel efficient).
9. i comparison shop
i know where the cheapest unleaded gasoline is on my route. i know the price of chippy in grocery stores. i never do my grocery (unless needed) at sm (cause it's more expensive). at times it could get tedious, but at the end of the day, and with good planning, you'll never really have to go out of your way to get the best deal out of anything.
10. and i don't begrudge myself if i don't get the best deal once in a while
i know that a globe P500 load card is only P490 at mini-stop, but considering that it was terribly hot during lunch, i decided to just buy it from 7-11 which was nearer. and, while things may be more expensive from SM hypermart, if i'm already there, i figured that as long as i'm not buying major things and just a tube of toothpaste, the extra P2 wouldn't be so bad. at the end of the day, there's no use worrying when i could just be happy with the purchase, right?
and there you have it, my money OC-ness made apparent.
*image from http://www.uwe.ac.uk/studentservices/saws/