Increasing one’s savings is among the most common challenges everyone faces, OFWs especially. It takes determination, consistency, and sometimes – a change of perspective to focus on growing one’s savings to achieve a bigger goal in life.
Also Read: Budgeting 101: Money Habits Best Learned in Your 30s
That said, there are many things people pay for every day, which aren’t necessarily worth it; simply because you can get an alternative for free. In this post, we will share some of the things you can cut back on in terms of expenses so you can focus on increasing your savings. Interested? Keep on reading…
Cutting Your Expenses on These 13 Things Can Help Increase Your Savings Faster
To get started, the first thing you need to do is to keep an open mind and imagine how you spend your day. Ask yourself: what are the things I usually do and purchase every day? If you can, make a list of these things so you can easily identify the things you can cut back on and take out from your budget list.
Here are some of the things you don’t need to pay for because there are free alternatives:
1. App and software – You might be tempted at first glance when you see ads promoting certain paid apps on social media (they’re everywhere right now!). However, you would do best to resist the momentary urge to download and pay for an app because there are plenty of free alternatives that you can get instead. These are called open-source software, which is basically as good as the paid ones.
2. Haircuts – Don’t give us the look with this one. Check out YouTube and you’ll see lots of videos on how to cut your own hair. A lot of people have done it, and they look fine. But if you’re not good with your hands or if you find it hard for your eyes to focus on the small details for a long time, then perhaps asking your spouse or a family member to do it for you is the better choice for you.
3. Mobile Data – Did you know that the President has signed the Free Public Internet Access Program (RA 10929) into law? This will enable Filipinos to have access to the internet in most public places. Sweet, right?
But for OFWs, this has been pretty much the norm in more advanced countries. However, do be careful when accessing these public Wi-Fi locations as these aren’t encrypted, meaning they aren’t secure and are prone to hacking by malicious entities. Moreover, these are virus hotspots. So, remember to take the good with the bad. In short, only access these when you’re left without any other options.
4. Storage Devices – Email and online service providers such as Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, etc. offer free cloud storage services, where you can store your files free of charge. You only need to connect to the Internet to be able to access them. With this, there’s practically no need to invest in USBs or hard drives right now since their purpose has already been fulfilled by the free cloud storage platforms we mentioned.
Here are some of the things you don’t need to spend on because you can get them elsewhere for free:
5. Bottled water – It’s quite a simple thing. Bring your own water bottle for your drink. Not only do you minimize your expenses, but you also help reduce the use of plastic when you buy bottled drinks.
6. Museum Fees – When it’s already safer to go out, some of the practical places you can go to are the museums under the National Museum of the Philippines. These are all open to the public and do not charge any fees at the entrance.
Alternatively, you can still opt to enjoy the virtual side of things by checking out some of the tours offered by the Department of Tourism, if you’re planning to go local or those offered in the Google Arts and Culture – just type in the places you want to see and take a virtual tour of the place as well as the pieces of art you can find there – all for free!
7. Text and Call Promos – Why register for any text and call promos when you can just use an online instant messaging apps like Viber, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger?
The best part of it: most of these apps are free to download.
8. Gym Fees – Some may say that the fees are more for the communal benefits they get from going to the gym. That may be true. However, if you’re only after a great workout, why not explore starting an exercise program at home? A good place to start is by checking out free workout videos on YouTube. There are even free apps that offer this kind of service. No equipment? No problem! How about using stuff at home for weights or to help you perform different types of exercises. The perk here is you can be as creative as you want!
9. Garbage Bags – Instead of buying garbage bags that are just more plastic you’ll throw out, why not just use the ones you got from the market or groceries? Oh, and be sure to segregate your waste stuff accordingly!
10. Bank Fees and Credit Card Memberships – The advent of mobile banking has created more cost-effective methods for sending remittances. That said, be sure to check out which options provide you zero fees for your bank-to-bank or bank-to-third party transactions (e., use of QR code, etc).
And before you max out your cash on hand, make sure to drop by a nearby bank ATM where you can withdraw some funds. This way, you won’t be charged extra for withdrawing from another bank.
When it comes to credit cards, make sure to pay your dues on time so you won’t be charged for lapsed payments. But if you’re a good payer, did you know that you can ask your bank to reverse the finance charges if you unintentionally fail to pay once? Also, remember to ask your credit card company to waive any membership fees so you won’t be charged extra on your credit statement.
11. Newspapers – Nowadays, much of the news can already be accessed through our mobile devices via the internet. But if you can’t get through your morning without reading the paper, you can drop by a café and read the news there instead.
12. Extended Warranties – It’s good to get warranties for your peace of mind. However, if a product doesn’t break down within its normal warranty period, it’ll most likely last for a long time. Thus, making that extended warranty fee unnecessary.
There have been consumer reports, which show that certain products rarely break down if they do at all within the extended warranty period anyway. Moreover, most appliances and electronics can be affordably repaired by third-service providers in case they have problems.
13. Landline Subscriptions – Nowadays, everyone’s main mode of communication are mobile phones. That said, if you prefer not to keep a landline, which is typically bundled with an internet package, then you can pick the package without it or if you already have one but would like to have it removed, you can inform your service provider that you would like a downgrade. This may cost you some charges at the beginning though, but it can spare you the headache from recurring charges.
There are many aspects of our daily purchases that we can optimize to help us grow our savings more effectively. It only takes a little reflection and a change of perspective for us to see these things and to be able to do something about them.
How do you minimize your expenses to increase your savings? Do you have other things you can cut back on that you would like to add to our list? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!
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