As a working millennial in my late 20s, saving money is a big part of my decision-making as an adult.
A few years back I wasn’t always good with my finances.
My income was spent mostly on shopping, dining, and traveling. I was a 23-year old millennial who cared about nothing but YOLO!
I was having a good time…
In 2017, my father got into a road accident (uninsured) and my freelance business failed. I didn’t see it coming and my financial reality dawned on me — I was broke!
Saving money is hard.
It’s like a love-hate relationship… all the time.
However, with the right shift of mindset, plan, and systems in place, here are the effective steps I took to save money in the last two years:
TIP #1: Automate your finances
Automating your finances is letting your money go to the correct accounts AUTOMATICALLY – without you consciously doing it every payday.
Here’s how it works:
Before I even get to see my salary, my bank account automatically transfers money to my emergency fund, pays my credit card and utility bills, and leaves me just enough money to spend on whatever I need (guilt-free!).
I first learned about this method from Ramit Sethi, best-selling author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
And it works.
Because you don’t feel guilty about dining out with your friends, or booking those airline tickets or buying those pair of shoes…
Because you know you’re only spending what you have left after the important stuff is taken cared of.
THE BEST PART: You only need one hour of your time to set it up.
How it works:
- Go to your online banking and explore their automatic transfer options.
- Open an automatic save-up account that earns interest. (This is an online-based savings account offered by your bank to serve as your emergency fund.)
- Enroll all your bills in your bank’s bill pay service.
It doesn’t matter how small or big your salary is.
If you don’t automate your finances, you’ll end up delaying your important bills and payments because your favorite clothing brand is on sale.
TIP #2: Pay your bills in full and on time
I cannot stress this enough.
If you don’t pay your bills on time, late fees add up quickly.
If your internet bill or utility bill gets cut off, there are late fees and reconnection fees.
If you pay only the minimum payment on your credit card, the bank still hits you with interest charges.
“Always remember that the more u leave your bills unpaid, fees against fees is a recipe for financial disaster.”
Most banks now offer convenient bill pay service that lets you pay your bills on time, so you can focus on more important things like your work or family.
Moreover, the service is free and it definitely saves you time and money.
TIP #3: Pay your debts regularly.
When it comes to debt, you have to be brutally honest to yourself.
How much do you owe?
Are you making regular payments?
Are you keeping track of late fees and interest charges?
Are you intentionally delaying your payments for your #TRAVELGOALS?
FACT: If you let months go by and make no efforts to repay, you will not only lose your self-respect but the respect of others too.
Commit to using 20-30% of your salary to pay off your debts. Live off of your remaining money and forget about that flight ticket sale for now until you’re completely DEBT-FREE!
TIP #4: Buy a health insurance policy.
Private health insurance policies are unpopular to most Filipinos. Everybody thinks it’s only for the rich and it’s a waste of money.
Well… think again!
According to the Philippine Statistics Agency, 54.5% of the country’s health expenditures in 2017 was from the people’s household pocket. Only 33% comes from government schemes like PhilHealth and 12.5% from voluntary or private insurance companies.
Medical bills put so much dent to a family’s finances.
Most of the time, if a family member gets hospitalized, it puts so much pressure on other members to contribute, causing financial stress and anxiety.
While PhilHealth and employer coverage gives you so much protection, it’s not enough for unforeseen critical illnesses and hospitalizations.
You may want to check affordable health protection plans from reputable companies like SunLife and PhilamLife.
Encourage other family members to do the same, too.
TIP #5: Mindfully decide what you want to spend on.
For three years now, I regularly practice mindful spending.
The concept is simple: I decide what’s truly important to spend money on, and what’s not, rather than blindly splurging on everything.
For example, I don’t usually drink coffee so you don’t see me in coffee shops like Starbucks. But I love hanging out with my family or friends so we love to eat out at least twice a month.
A friend of mine is an avid hiker and mountaineer so he makes sure that he buys quality equipment from branded stores. But he rarely goes out for movies or dines out in restaurants, or he has never changed his smartphone in the last three years.
Clearly define what a good life means to you.
Know yourself and your values that you know what’s worth spending your money on and leaving what’s not to pass.
TIP #6: Know when to say NO to friends and family.
How many times do you find yourself rushing to your friend’s or family’s aid?
If they borrow money from you, do you say yes and lend them the cash right away? Or, do you take time to say no because you’re not in a good position to help?
While I understand that it’s hard to say no to friends and family, your help must be given wisely.
After a falling out with a friend a few years back due to unpaid debt, I make it a policy to never loan money to friends. If in a rare instance that I really have to, I assure myself of my friend’s ability to repay. Otherwise, I politely tell them directly that I’m not in a good position to help.
Be honest to yourself and to your friend or family what you can and cannot do. If you wish to help them, do so in a way that you don’t bring their burdens upon yourself.
TIP #7: Enjoy life and do the things you love.
The purpose of saving money is for you to enjoy life now while you prepare for your life tomorrow.
Don’t overstrain or try to save too much.
If 10-20% of your salary is as much as you can comfortably save, be happy to keep this portion and adjust as you get on with the habit of saving.
As you read the end of this post, commit to yourself that you’re going to start with the habit of saving. Comment down below your commitment to saving and what you want to accomplish in life. I cheer for you!