A Coffee Addict’s Way to Save Money on Coffee!

Aside from finding ways to saving on food and transportation, another thing that I needed to address is my coffee addiction.

While I am not really a Starbucks fan, I use to get coffee from them at least once a week. When I moved to my new place, there’s a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf beside our lobby, and a fancy Starbucks branch across the street. I would spend my Saturday and Sunday afternoons in any of these coffee shops for about five months. I am so glad I made a decision to take saving money seriously before things get out of hand.My love affair with cafés is another thing. There’s something about these cozy places that I find irresistible, and I use to not mind spending money just to be there. Well, it has everything that attracts my soul – the warm ambiance, unique and artsy interiors, nice looking people, and of course the smell of freshly brewed coffee. But again, it comes with a price.

Back home in the province, this is where I sip my coffee every morning. If only I have a similar view of my own here in Manila:
How do you save money on coffee if you are a coffee addict? I’ve tried my best in the past three months, and I am making a slow but consistent progress.

I don’t buy coffee for more than P50.

Yes, fifty pesos is the highest I would go when buying coffee outside. So far, I have two sources:

McDonald’s – P45 for a large cup, with FREE one-time refill.
Country Style – P50 for a small cup (they don’t have size variants), also with FREE one-time refill

I’ve been a drinking coffee from McDonald’s since 2013. I tried Country Style’s coffee three years ago, and I’ve been their loyal customer since then. Not only that their coffee is cheap, they don’t cater to the usual young, loud customers, and I love that.

I am now brewing my own coffee at home.

Putting these mugs that my sister gave me four years ago to good use.

I had to start by buying a coffee maker which is actually not that expensive. You can get one for just P600 here in the Philippines; I bought mine for P799. As much as possible, I bring my coffee at work (that would be my second cup for the day). Buying the fifty-peso coffee that I mentioned above is just an alternative. I think, brewing your own is the best and most effective way to save money on coffee.

When comes to coffee beans, I buy local.

I never really paid attentions to coffee beans before as I thought I could just pick one from coffee shops or grocery stores. But when I was in Sagada last November, I fell in love with their coffee that I had to ask the server where they’re getting it. I learned that it’s an Arabica coffee from Atok, Benguet. I wasn’t able to get one from Baguio, so I searched for stores that sell them here in Manila. They’re a lot cheaper, and I say local farmer friendly. Here’s a sample price list that a Quezon City-based seller sent me:

No to 3-in-1 coffee.

Not only that they are too sugary, but what’s with all those powder? They fill up almost 1/4 of my cup! I have to be honest though, we use to love them especially in the province. I see them a lot at the office too. It’s cheap and instant which we all like, but I also decided to stop buying and drinking them. It is more of a health issue for me, but actually, you won’t really need them if you are brewing.




Creating my own coffee corner at home!

I am planning to have my condo unit renovated this year, and I want a café interior as a theme! I’d like to find out if that would further keep me away from cafés, I hope it will. I have lots of ideas on my mind and I can’t wait to make them happen. With this, I can imagine my social life going from zero to negative zero.

Don’t drink coffee at all?

I don’t think I could do this, ever. There were others who were able to do it, but I do not think this is an option for me at the moment. That would be too much of a challenge. Could you actually get rid of coffee?

I don’t know where my coffee addiction came from exactly, but drinking coffee is nothing but normal in our household for as long as I could remember. When I moved to the city for high school, learning that kids there don’t drink coffee came as a culture shock to me. I was amused that I was the only one in our class who drinks coffee.

I eventually stopped drinking coffee during my mid-teenage years until I graduated from college. Years later after landing my current job, it suddenly became a daily routine for me to go to a coffee shop. The addiction came with the feeling of no guilt at all for spending P100 or so for coffee everyday. Not until I created this blog, went through a financial crisis, and made saving money a priority that I realized P100 a day actually totals to P36,500 a year! That’s enough to keep me motivated and continue with what I’ve started.

Are you addicted to coffee too?

Is it Cheaper to Replace or Repair a Broken Appliance?

Lazada PhilippinesI bought an American Home coffee maker as a pasalubong for my parents last Christmas. Yes, it was more of a pasalubong than a Christmas gift. I wanted us to use it right away so I also brought home with me the ground coffee that my former boss sent me all the way from Costa Rica.

We used the coffee maker for a good five days, and it was working fine. I got back here in Manila before new year, and I was surprised to receive a text from my mom telling me that the coffee maker has suddenly stopped working. I called them and made sure that they are operating it correctly. My background in tech support was put to good use while asking them questions.

tightly plugged in to the wall outlet? – yes
power light on? – yes
does it make any boiling sound? – no
is it getting warm? – no
coffee dripping on the glass carafe? – no
is there water on the water tank? – yes
are you sure the power light is on? – yes
any damages on the unit? – none

Well, it looks like the coffee maker is not really working. By the end of January, I was back home and checked it myself. It is indeed broken and I was ready to bring it to the American Home Appliance repair center here in Manila.

I understand the rules about warranty, and I am confident that the one-year warranty for my purchase will be honored. There is no physical damage on the item, but in case they won’t honor the warranty, I made the decision of not paying anything for repair.

When is it cheaper to simply buy a new one instead of spending for repairs?

First, most electronics are always better when they’re brand new. Any repairs done to to the product often lead to more repairs. Before you know it, the total cost of getting it fixed is already almost the same as its original price when you bought it.

Second, this coffee maker is only P799. If it gets repaired for anything more than one peso, I’d rather buy a new one from a competing brand which I’m sure will last longer. I bought an Imarflex coffee maker for personal use this January, and I’m not seeing any sign that it will also malfunction anytime soon.

So when making a decision to whether or not get your broken appliance repaired, evaluate the costs. If it gets fixed, is there an assurance that it will take long before it starts malfunctioning again? Compare the repair cost versus the price of a new one, is there a huge difference?

The major rule is: if the repair will cost more than 50% of the price of replacing the appliance, you should get a new one.

How to Save Money on Your Phone Plan Subscription

Can you save money on your phone bill without totally cutting your plan subscription? I was asking my self the same question while reviewing my payment history with Globe. I can’t believe I’ve been paying P3,000-P4,000 for my phone plan in the past eleven months:

A quick throwback to almost a year ago when I decided to extend my 30-month phone plan subscription with Globe. I was originally subscribed to Plan999, and I upgraded to Plan1799 with an iPhone7 Plus handset (for P800 a month). That turns my total monthly bill to P2,599 for 24 months. Where does the additional P1,500 coming from? Excess usage!

What is the Excess Usage for?

Basically, the Plan1799 includes unlimited call to Globe and TM numbers, unlimited text to all networks, and a 10GB worth of data. I only call Globe and TM numbers, so I know right away that these charges are from my excessive data usage. We are all aware about the data capping that Globe and Smart are imposing. Well, because I do not allow myself to be limited by this data cap, I made the decision to pay the price. How much? P1,500 it is.

So if your plan offers a 10GB data for a month, every KB of data in excess to that is automatically worth P1,500. You’ll be paying for the excess charge anyway, so why not go unli with it? Here’s how my recent data excess charge was computed:

P1,339.29+%VAT equals P1,500 excess usage.

I understand that data is expensive so I feel that the excess charge is reasonable for a 55.6GB volume. This is the reason why I do not want to get cable as I could watch everything online. I am still hesitant to make that move to DSL or Fibr as I am more mobile as I thought; I can’t be without data when I step out of the house.

Now, how can we save on our phone plans???

Ask first if you really need the plan. Maybe consider cutting it after the contract expires, and go for prepaid. Nonetheless, if you feel that you are better off with a plan, decide on which plan is the best for you. Globe and Smart are quite flexible with their offerings, so determine which inclusions you would really want to spend on:

Data

If you have DSL at home, you definitely won’t need a high volume of data. Unless you travel all the time or you cannot live without streaming videos wherever you are, maybe it’s time to get a lower data plan. I would say 3GB is recommended for a month of regular mobile surfing:

Call and Text

Are you actually calling and texting all the time? If yes, the unli-text and call is perfect for you. Otherwise, get rid of it and look for a plan that includes a consumable option. Make sure to stick within that limit to avoid extra charges.

Other Inclusions!

Do you actually want all those inclusions? Perhaps your data allowance is already enough to cover everything, so check your bill for any unused inclusions. Ask your service provider to remove them if there are any.

Free Subscription that Auto-renews

Your plan may include free subscriptions to Spotify, Netflix, etc. They are free for a certain period, normally around 3-6 months and will auto-renew after that. If you do not want to keep the paid subscription for the succeeding months, contact your network and unsubscribe before it starts appearing on your bill.

Paper Bills

Do you really need the paper bill? Banks and other networks accept soft copies and print outs of your bill as a proof of billing. I don’t know which other purpose would you be needing the paper bill for. With Globe, that is P50 a month and they actually encourage their users to go paperless. Subscribe to paperless billing and save that 50 pesos (P600 per year)!

Source: Globe FAQs

Lastly, get a cheaper handset.

I want to keep my number so I am extending my plan with this as the major reason. I realized, I may not be wanting an iPhone again in the near future. I will also be going back to my old Plan999 after my current subscription expires, and will downgrade to a cheaper phone, most probably an Android. The expensive, new phones this year will surely get cheaper next year!

I get a lot of calls from Globe offering me additional lines, and I am always firm at declining them. Which reminds me – do not get an additional line! Unless you need them for business purposes, you do not want to pay for more than one phone bill a month.

How are you saving on your phone bills? Have you experienced switching from postpaid back to prepaid?

4 Reasons Why New Bloggers Should Join a Blog Contest

I remember joining my first blog contest ten years ago. My old page was just over a year old at that time, and Nuffnang Philippines just opened their second blog contest.

The mechanics are simple: write about your first memories of any Sony product and mention one of the new items that they’re launching! I tapped in to my sentimental side, and went nostalgic with my story:

Reading this post today, it’s so tempting to go back and edit. But I decided to leave it this way – raw and unpretentious.

I was selected as one of the 50 finalists and received an invitation to the awarding ceremony. It was to be held at the then newly opened SMX Convention Center. Sadly, I automatically eliminated myself by not showing up.

Almost a decade later, I decided to join another blog contest, this time through this site. I got a P1000 Sodexo gift certificate. Not bad.

So, can new bloggers join and win a blog contest? Yes. Most of these competitions are open to both new and old bloggers. The newer you are, the more that you should consider joining. This site was just four months old when I entered the Sodexo blog contest.

Why should you join a blog contest if you are a new blogger? Let’s see.

It’s fun!

Blogging may get boring after your first few months. A blog contest could keep the excitement going. From putting together your story, to publishing and submitting an interesting article, and then finally waiting for the results, the anticipation keeps you excited! Regardless of the outcome, you will for sure find something out of the experience to blog about next (hint: this blog post is an actual example!).

It’s an opportunity to get creative.

Writing a full article is already difficult. Writing an article and relate it to a topic which may not be very familiar to you is even more challenging. Being able to do so without sounding too promotional, and a**-kissing could land you a spot in the organizer’s short list.

Win or lose, the experience will challenge you to improve on your writing. If you could produce high-quality posts for a competition, you can duplicate that for a regular post.

You’ll be inspired.

Running out of new ideas and topic to talk about is normal. It is one of the realities that hit every blogger all the time. Joining a blog contest will not only push you to write something, but inspire you to create a high-quality post. You want to win as much as you want to publish another article, and you are sure that someone will scrutinize your post, so why not give it your best?

If you have a niche, it becomes more challenging. Go for it! These are just one of the small risks that you need to take in order to learn, and improve your blogging.

You need the exposure!

If you win, your blog will be published by the contest organizer. Not only that you get an instant monetary reward, Google will recognize your site even more. In the long run, the backlinks that your blog get from other websites will be your biggest prize. These links give Google the impression that your page is significant, hence, giving it a higher page rank.

If you have doubts, just keep going. Join not only for the prize and bragging rights, but for the experience and lessons that come with it. These blog contests connect you to other bloggers. You get to learn more about them and how they are doing in their niche, and consequently, on how you could level-up on yours.

I wish you the best of luck on your first blog contest entry! Keep on joining!

Money Saving Challenge Report: Month 1




I am happy that I started this challenge for myself. It feels great to have gotten that drive to do it, and having a blog to document my progress makes it even more exciting. I admit that I am not a saver, so being able to come up with ideas on how to save, and having the discipline to follow them is in itself already an achievement.

My first month of trying to religiously follow my own rules has not been very easy, I admit to cheating a few times. Here’s a summary of how my first month of saving money went.

1. Not booking Grab or Uber when going to work.

I’m just glad to have been able to make a jeepney ride for my commute to work a daily routine. Indeed, anything that you regularly do for 21 days straight can become a habit. Well, I’ve been taking a jeepney for almost two months now so my plan actually worked. I am saving not less than Php100 a day, and that’s great.

On a side note, I am totally boycotting Uber until they fix their system. My bad experience with them happened when I started considering cheaper alternatives for my commute. Ironically, it was very timely because now, Uber is no longer an option.

For my safety, I still book a ride from Grab when going home after work, often between 1 and 3 in the morning.

2. Less and less fast-food.

Fast-food is my weakness. It was my main source of “nourishment” for the past 15 years or so, and that makes it very difficult to remove from my system. Needless to say, cutting down my fast-food intake from 2-3 times a day to 2-3 times a week was a great improvement.

Which means, I have to learn to prepare my own food. I can’t cook, so cheap canned goods are my savior. Thankfully, I am not your typical Filipino who can’t survive a day without eating rice. I can live with burgers and fries for a week, but I am substituting that with bread and healthier sandwiches that I buy from a bakery near my place. Soon, I plan to prepare my own sandwich and bring it to work along with my coffee. Speaking of which:

3. I am now brewing my own coffee!

I just bought a coffee maker, and ordered an Atok Arabica ground coffee with that. Moreover, the coffeemaker was purchased using a P1000 Sodexo gift certificate that I got from joining a blog contest in November. Wonderful!

I am a supporter of local produce so I am going for the Arabica coffee from Benguet. I learned about it when I was in Sagada last November. Coincidentally, I saw some Instagram posts about the Beguet coffee, and the hard works that local farmers put into harvesting and processing the beans. That inspired me to patronize their product even more.

Now, along with these money saving habits, I just started saving my 50 peso bills again. Let’s see how much I would save at the end of the year. I’m also thinking about doing my groceries by bulk. I mean because I am your typical lazy guy, I don’t go from aisle to aisle inside the grocery. I buy what I need one at a time, and I don’t mind if that means a daily trip to the grocery store downstairs where I live. How are you saving on groceries?

I realized, I might be able to save if I buy a one week worth of groceries at a time. This is also to make sure that I won’t end up ordering food online when I run out of food supplies. I work until 1 or 2 in the morning so other than the 7/11 in our building, my only option when I’m hungry are 24-hour fast-food deliveries! I would want to avoid that as much as I could.

Lastly, I am taking advantage of the cold January weather and decided to unplug my AC. The electric fan is more than enough. This started in December and my electric bill went from approximately P1600 to P350! Awesome!

Earning $0 from my First Month of Doing Affiliate Marketing

Back in November, I started learning my way around affiliate marketing as a “new blogger”. See, despite my 10-year blogging experience, I never really focused much on blog monetization. I never had the courage to take risks, and I admit, I was too lazy to learn.

In the span of two years, from 2007 to 2009, I use to connect with several bloggers. It was just pure past time, and connecting was a way to attract followers. Although I ventured into paid posts just like most of them, I never really understood how one could make serious money blogging. I eventually stopped when paid posts became scarce.


After a few years, my fellow bloggers who continued monetizing their blogs went on to become sources of viral articles. I would often see their posts being shared on social media. I was amazed and envious at the same time; I wish I didn’t stop learning!

Fast forward to ten years later, here I am starting over again, eager and excited to explore more of what blogging has become. That’s how I came across affiliate marketing.

So how much did I earn after a month of doing affiliate marketing? Zero. Nothing. $0.

Now, you must think I am crazy. Who in their right mind would want to embarrass themselves by publishing about a zero earning? And would anyone be interested to even read an article about not earning a single cent after a month of doing affiliate marketing? I don’t know either. But I did promise to share my experiences, and I think talking about starting from absolutely nothing is not really a bad idea.

So what are the affiliate marketing programs that I signed up to? And what went wrong? Let me discuss.

Amazon – Probably the most popular affiliate program available in the world wide web. While they have a very wide selection of products to promote, I find it difficult to find one that would fit in my blog. I thought gift cards are quite close, so I selected that for my first banner.

Lazada – I think Lazada is popular amongst bloggers in Asia. While Zalora is for fashion and lifestyle bloggers, Lazada is more like Amazon, so it caters to a broader audience. I knew I cannot do Zalora, so I went for Lazada right away. I like the fact that they have regional offerings, so you can select one that targets your reader’s locations.

Agoda – I thought it was appropriate to try Agoda as I am bound to publish travel-related posts at anytime. You get a commission for every booking made from your affiliate link; now I envy travel bloggers!

JVZoo – I honestly do not understand JVZoo. Well, I guess it’s very typical for a newbie to try and explore things and later on asks “what was I thinking”? I am not comfortable at giving out my credit card details upon signing up, so I give this one a pass at the moment. But I’m pretty sure I’ll reconsider in the future.

Bluehost – Since I started buying virtual real estates, I’ve always wanted to try Bluehost. However, GoDaddy has cheaper offers so I would end up ditching Bluehost. Bluehost nonetheless approved my affiliate application and I was very excited to start. A few days later, I received a notice about an issue in the tax form that I submitted. I never bothered checking what was wrong. Also, I realized that Bluehost may not be a perfect fit for my niche so I guess that ends my Bluehost dreams. Ironically, I would see Bluehost ads from Adsense being displayed on my pages so I guess that is it.




GoDaddy – The only one that rejected me. It’s sad because I am a GoDaddy customer. I bought this domain from GoDaddy and subscribed to their hosting plan too. Oh, well.

ConvertKit – Okay. This is most popular amongst bloggers that I follow. The problem is, I still don’t understand how it works so I haven’t started using it yet. It just looks complicated to me and until I get to fully articulate what ConvertKit is all about, I don’t want to be publishing anything about it. I know it may be simple for others, but as goes my tagline – “layman’s term” is what I am promoting. I want to be able to talk about it in my own simple words. Just like JVZoo, I am not closing my doors on ConvertKit yet.

So there you go. So far, I am only actively publishing Amazon, Lazada, and Agoda at the moment which means I will need to have wide readership before I could actually earn something. But I am optimistic that I’ll be able to reach my first payout with them one day, and when that time comes, I will definitely be talking about it.

This is my humble affiliate marketing journey. While I am a bit disappointed, I don’t consider my first month a failure. As what they say, it is just the beginning. I am still learning, and I know there’s a lot more to come.

Cheers!!!

Why I am Choosing Grab over Uber

I have been a regular Grab and Uber rider in the past seven months. Prior to that, I was only booking Grab Taxi as I thought Grab Car was too expensive. I tried using Uber when they started accepting non-credit card users. I have been a loyal Uber rider since then.

I started booking Grab Car when I found out about their point system. Since then, I would juggle between these two, often picking the one that offers a lower rate. From my experience, Uber is cheaper 9 times out of 10. This is regardless of the time and location.

Here are my other observations:

Grab:
– rates are often more expensive.
– no location pin!
– drivers are nearer, five minutes away at an average.

Uber:
– fare is often cheaper.
– location pin is absolutely very helpful!
– allows business profile.
– drivers are often too far, 8-10 minutes away at an average recently.

So why am I choosing Grab over Uber? The 100 peso cancellation charge just sucks! Two weeks ago, I booked an Uber at around 3:15AM and the driver was just one block away. I’m not sure if it’s a glitch on the app, but the driver did not seem to be moving. I waited for 10 minutes and his position hasn’t changed. There is definitely no traffic in the area at 3AM. The fact that he’s not moving made me feel “unsafe” for some reason. Even if the app is not working, he should have already arrived in my location in less than 3 minutes.

My battery was running low, so I hastily went to Grab and booked another ride. The driver arrived in less than 5 minutes, while Uber still says the driver is 3 minutes away. It’s been like that for the past 15 minutes.

My mistake was not cancelling the Uber booking, and not contacting the driver. I arrived home with a dead phone. I charged it and went to bed.

I woke up at noon seeing the messages from the Uber driver, along with the app notification that I’ve been charged with 100 pesos. Looking at the timeline, the Uber driver arrived in my supposed pickup location after over an hour:

1 hour and 22 minutes travel time, for a distance of less than 500 meters, at 3-4 in the morning?

I reported this to Uber and I received the usual copy-pasted responses which I did not bother reading. I was a chat and email customer service support rep for three years, so I know a canned response when I see one. They knew I am not a happy customer, and may never book Uber again so they sent me back my 100 pesos as credits. I still went on and removed my credit and prepaid cards as form of payments, and ready to uninstall the app anytime.

We’re lucky that we have Grab as an alternative here in the Philippines. I don’t mind the higher rates, for as long as the rules are reasonable. In fact, I’ve already earned enough points to be a Platinum Grab member two months ago. On the other hand, until they fix their service, I hope I won’t have to use Uber ever again.


Are Ilocanos Really Kuripot?

This is one of the many regional stereotypes in the Philippines which I could personally identify with being an Ilocano myself. The funny thing is, I didn’t know that the rest of the country is stereotyping us as “kuripot” until I got in to college.

I don’t know the story or history behind this, but I could only assume that most of our ancestors are just being thrifty. Kuripot means stingy in English, but I find being thrifty more appropriate.



See? Ilocanos are not the richest ethnic group in the Philippines, and most of our forefathers probably started as farmers and fishermen. They had to make ends meet, and was not exposed to anything extravagant which could have tempted them to spend a lot or even gave them the idea to splurge.

My grandfather was a farmer, fisherman, and a hunter. He hunted to literally put food on the table, not some hobby or just for fun thing. He grew up during World War II, and never set foot to school. He was illiterate; I remember him turning the pages of a classic Filipino comics and was interpreting the drawings as he couldn’t read the texts. When I started high school in the mid-90’s, he was surprised when he learned that I was getting a weekly allowance of a hundred pesos. He thought that was way too big. His knowledge of the value of (Philippine) currency was 20 years too late.

Clearly my grandfather didn’t know money. If he was alive today and I bring him to Jollibee, he would get overwhelmed at the price of the cheapest value meal. He would probably never want me to pay 50 pesos for a meal when the supply of rice and native chicken back in his farm is overflowing.

Why am I saying this? It’s my personal theory of where this stereotype came from. Our ancestors were not very rich and educated. They are practical, they’d rather fish, or plant and harvest their camote than buy them at the market.

I honestly feel offended when someone calls me kuripot. If I was, I would have already saved a lot of money. I wouldn’t have had credit card troubles. And I wouldn’t be blogging about finances today.

But yes, I’ve learned my lesson and I thought it’s time for me to live up to this stereotype! I should be kuripot from now on. I already started not taking Uber or Grab when going to work. After seven years of relying on food deliveries, I already stopped using fast-food delivery apps. I am now learning how to cook, and limiting my fast-food intake to only once a day. I am buying my own coffee maker so I won’t be making that daily trip to some coffee shop anymore. Today and moving forward, being kuripot is life!

So, are Ilocanos’ really kuripot? Hell yeah, we should be!


4 Budgeting Tips That First Time Workers Should Know

Fresh out of college and you just landed your first ever job – congratulations and welcome to the real world! You must be thinking about what to do with your first sweldo now, and let’s be honest, most of you would probably spend them on:

  • Celebration! Treat your co-workers, your friends and family. Before you know it, your first sweldo is gone!
  • Get that item you’ve always wanted to buy, or anything that you’d like to remember your first sweldo years from now.
  • Bills. Especially if you are renting, you’ll be sharing on rent, water and electric bills.

This is how we normally budget our first salary. We do not really think about saving yet, and that may be alright. However, if this has been going on for a few months, it’s time to re-think about how we are budgeting our money. Months could turn to years, and that is when living from paycheck to paycheck happens – if you never put your plans of saving money in to practice.

Ten years ago, I got my second job here in Manila and I still didn’t know how to save. My supervisor, who was just about 2-3 years older than me was traveling around South East Asia and I remember asking, how could she do that? She must be receiving a really high pay! Those were the days when seat sales or Peso fares are not a thing yet, so traveling was a lot more expensive.

She actually sat me down and gave me a few tips about saving. She was the one who first told me about the right formula (literally) on how to save. Here are some of the basics on how to budget your salary that even old timers like me need to know.


1. Pay yourself first.

Upon receiving your salary, put away a certain amount for your savings. The formula is always salary minus savings, and spend only what is left after savings.
Stick to this rule! The earlier you put this to practice, the better. Make it a habit. Immediately save a certain amount as soon as you receive your pay, then forget about it. Whatever is left is the only money you have until the next payday.

2. How much should you save?

Ideally, 20% of you income should go to your savings.

If you have been working for a while and still having a hard time to save, go small. Maybe 10%? This is considered too low for many, but for the rest of us who are not savers, starting small does the trick. Again, you need to make saving money a habit, and if you’ve been used to spending all your money, starting big is not going to work. Chances are, you would go broke a week before payday and you would end up “stealing” from your savings account. Try to start small until you can make saving a habit, then add more as you progress.


3. Now, do you feel that you are not earning enough to be able to save?

A higher salary is not a guarantee either. When you earn more, you will tend to upgrade on everything. When I started working, I thought my salary is just enough for my budget on spending. There’s not enough left for saving, and that is because I was not following the formula. I thought I’d be able to save when I get a better-paying job. And so I thought.

I spent five years in my second job, and experienced salary increases every year. But it never felt enough. Why? Because I kept on upgrading my lifestyle too. That’s how some of us have been conditioned to think. Let’s put an end to this mentality!

4. Are you renting?

Make sure that only 20% to 30% of your salary is going to your rent. If your rent is more than 30% of your salary, look for a cheaper place. There are also lots of ways to save when you are renting, and I discussed them in this post:

How to Save Money While Renting

If you are not renting, it means that the amount you are saving should not be less than 30% of your salary. Try 40%!Again, start early. Save while you are young. Always pay yourself first. A healthy bank account could mean a lot of things later on – being able to afford insurance and investments at an early age, bigger chances of getting approved of your home or auto loans, and even your credit card applications.

Banks will be offering you stuff such as a reward cards and other promos. Above all, the sense of security knowing that you have money to use in case of emergency is priceless!

I wish I’d known all these before I graduated. I wish there was a mandatory finance or budgeting classes to enroll in. Are they now teaching these in schools?

7 Things you Need to Know Before Getting your First Credit Card

Have you been wanting to get a credit card? Have you tried applying for one but got rejected? Here are some credit card facts that may help you decide or gauge if whether or not you are ready to own one. These are all based on experiences and not a professional advice. I am sharing them because I myself did not know these when I got my first credit card ten years ago. I would have maintained a very clean credit record if I did. At that time, I have just started working and I didn’t know anyone (who owns a card) whom I could ask for advice. So here we go.

1. Credit card is like a loan. A bank will lend you the money, and you will need to pay them back. Which means that ideally, you should not be using the card in buying stuff that you can not afford to buy in cash. Credit cards are helpful, and in fact could help you save money in many ways if you know how to use them smart.

2. Credit cards will not make you rich. Instead, it could lead you to spending way beyond your means and accumulate debt. On the other hand, a credit card can become a useful tool when you know how to use it wisely as mentioned above. Items that you can buy via installment plans at zero interest is a common example; you won’t need to shell out a huge amount at once but rather pay it in months. You can also take advantage of various promos, get discounts, earn points, and the like.

3. Never look at the required “minimum payment”. Instead, check your total amount due and pay that amount in full. The minimum payment is calculated at ONLY 1% to 3% of your total outstanding charges. Paying only the minimum is like adding up interests to your debt. Most people who ran away from their credit cards and got “black listed” have started from doing this practice. Again, always look at the TOTAL amount due and pay that full amount on time.

4. Late monthly payments are reported to credit bureaus. Which is why you need to know that owning a credit card requires you to be very disciplined and responsible. Going back to number one, if you cannot buy an item in cash, avoid buying it with a credit card.

5. What happens if you stop paying altogether? You can never run away from your credit card debt. Aside from not being able to qualify for another credit card, you may not get approved of any form of bank loans in the future. Your record will be sold to credit card debt collectors who will in turn harass you in forcing you to pay. These collectors are unprofessional, rude, and ruthless, you don’t want to deal with them.

6. If you are new to the work force, aim to save money first before getting a credit card. I recommend having at least Php50,000 in your bank account, or more than thrice your monthly salary. Why, you ask? Because the credit limit that banks will give you will be based on your income and is often more than twice your monthly salary. Just in case you get to max your card out (spending up to the maximum limit), you have at least a fund available to pay your balance. This way, you won’t be relying on your salary to pay your debt. This could make you live from paycheck to paycheck, and you don’t want that to happen to you.

7. It is not scary to own a credit card. It is only scary if you don’t know how to spend wisely. If you splurge on things you could hardly afford and if you have debts or loans, do not get a credit card. If you have no savings, do not get a credit card. However, if you know that you are responsible and you can control your spending, there is no reason for you to be scared. Again, if you are smart and wise, you can make your credit card work for your advantage.

Are you ready and responsible enough to own a credit card? You can try applying for one from Security Bank. Start by clicking on this referral link: https://www.securitybank.com/m?10124001601.

I wish you the best of luck! Let us know if you get approved. Most importantly, remember these advices when you start using your card.