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12 Tips on How to Save Money

By Jerome Herrera, Brighterlife.com.ph

Comments (31)

blthumb_savingtipsEditor’s Note: Following the first #SINAG Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Award in 2014, we will be sharing with you the winning entries in the coming weeks. Here’s one by our third  place winner Jerome Herrera.

Jerome’s financial freedom journey started when he left the comforts of his hometown to work in Manila. He quickly realized that he was on his own with nobody to rescue him if he encounters financial hardships. This led to create an emergency fund long before he heard about the term “emergency fund”. Pretty soon, he started reading up on financial literacy blogs and began investing in stocks, mutual funds, and UITF. Know more about him at http://allicanhandle.blogspot.com.


If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the many office workers who earn a lot but can’t seem to save money. After working for so many years, you still find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck. This article focuses on ways for non savers to become savers.
# 1 List All Your Expenses

While I live very frugally, there are moments in my life when I stumble or experience bouts of overspending. When this happens, I don’t budget and I don’t do any accounting on my expenses. I discovered however that one good technique which snaps me out of an overspending spell is starting to list all my expenses again. One of the reasons why listing all your expenses will stop your overspending habits and ultimately help you save money is that this practice allows you to get a snapshot on how much you actually spend.I recommend listing your expenses every thirty days or every two payroll periods. Do this for at least two months. During this period, bring a small notebook and a pen with you so that you can record expenses real time and won’t forget to record any purchase no matter how small it may be. Please remember to record every single expense including MRT fares, bus fares, coffee, cigarette, and even the coin you give to the occasional beggar. Every single expense must be recorded because they all add up.Remember to group purchases into categories like utilities, food, rent, fare, dining out, clothes, entertainment, etc.After pinpointing where you’re overspending, it is now time to cut down the amount of money you spend on that category.

# 2 Bring Your Own Lunch to Work

I know bringing your own lunch to work is very unpopular, either because it takes a lot of time to prepare it or it is embarrassing. I have had my share of taunts when I bring lunch to work. I remember a colleague asking me one time: “nagtitipid ka ba”? (Are you trying to save money?* believe me, it sounds more hurtful in Filipino) when I brought my baon (packed lunch) to work.

However let me tell you that you could drastically cut down on your expenses on food if you bring packed lunch to work. If you work in a call center in Makati, you are most probably spending about seventy pesos per meal. But did you know that you could already make two meals with that same amount of money at home? Don’t you always feel like those food concessionaires are selling you overpriced food?

One way to save money if you don’t cook is buying a small can of tuna which costs about twenty pesos and it would be even healthier.

While you’re at it, why don’t you stop buying overpriced snacks from the vendo and convenience store? Don’t you know that you can save money buy buying in bulk from the supermarket? Most of the things that vending machines and convenience stores sell can be bought by bulk from the supermarket at half their prices. The truth is a lot of the food sold in offices located in Makati is just so overpriced that it’s not even funny. You probably think that paying ten pesos for something that you could get at five pesos is no big deal but when you do this every day it will surprise you on how much you could save if you just stop doing it.

# 3 Eat Out Less

If you’re the typical office worker, you probably eat out on average four to six times a month. Every payday, you and your friends from work would probably go out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and treat yourself (and/or your friends outside work and family) to a restaurant meal. On weekends, you occasionally would feel tired to cook food and decide to just eat out. All this contributes to your expenses!

Eating out is harmless if you don’t make it a lifestyle. But when does it become a lifestyle? If it’s once a month, it is not considered part of your lifestyle but when you do it at least twice a month, then it is already definitely a lifestyle.

Most of you will probably realize that eating out is where a large part of your salary goes. I don’t blame you. Most of you will probably don’t even think about it when you pay about three hundred pesos a meal every time you eat out however I hope you start realizing that the cost those meals you eat at restaurants stack up very quickly.

One of the reasons why someone would eat out a lot is laziness. If you’re just lazy to cook, then it is up to you to change. However another reason why you might be compelled to eat out a lot is your friends.  I remember declining a lot of invitations to eat out from my friends. Some of them stopped associating with me simply because I don’t like to eat out but the true ones stuck around and understood my decision to live a frugal life.

# 4  Smart Buying

The typical call center agent always has the latest gadgets. Let me tell you that spending your money on gadgets is absolutely the most stupid thing that you could do. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy electronics. All I’m saying is that you should know what you need or what you’re looking for and buy that. If you wish to take photos of your trips then go buy a camera but make sure that you’re paying only for the features that you need. If all you need is a point and shoot camera, then you can get one at around four thousand pesos and that would already take great photos. You don’t need a ten thousand peso camera which has wifi and other features which you won’t have any need of. If you need to call and send text messages then buy a cellphone but for pete’s sake don’t buy a smart phone which has so many features that you don’t need. You might feel like it’s sulit (or great value for your money) to buy a smartphone which costs only five thousand pesos with gazillions of features versus a basic call and text phone which costs a thousand pesos but remember that if you don’t need those features, then it doesn’t have any value to you.

This is also true for items that are on sale. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it’s sulit (worth it) to buy it. If you need it and it’s on sale, then it’s definitely sulit but if it’s something that you don’t need, DON’T buy it just because it’s on sale. Remember that if you don’t need it, it is of no value to you.

So many times, we buy toys like tablets, cameras, or smart phones because they are status symbols. Let me remind you something, it is better to impress people with your personality, character and intellect than with meaningless status symbols.

Another thing that you have to consider is that a lot of things depreciate. When you buy electronics and clothes, those depreciate. I remember seeing the Samsung Galaxy Tablet being sold at about forty thousand pesos when it initially came out. About two months after, it was only worth just a little over half its original price. So you see how fast electronics depreciate?

If you will really have to buy a smart phone, please wait for at least a year from the date it initially came out to make sure that you get a good deal. Remember that that phone of yours will be the “latest gadget” for only a few days.

To avoid impulse buying, try to postpone purchasing an item for a week or two. If after that time period you still feel like you need to make that purchase then go ahead and do so but believe me when I say that most of the time, we will often feel buyer’s remorse only a few days after making an impulsive purchase. So save yourself the trouble and just wait it out.

# 5 Staycations

Instead of going on vacations, why not have a staycation. I love staycations. I think they are the best things ever thought up of by humans next to toasted peanuts and garlic. There are many ways to have a staycation. You can have a DVD marathon with your friends or by yourself. You can also cook a special dish and invite your friends over. If you love books, then why not stay in bed all day long with a good book? Of course if you’re just a bed-spacer, a staycation won’t be really much fun. For people who don’t really have places conducive for a staycation, you can forego a vacation for a trip to the museum or the zoo. Come on, when was the last time you’ve been to the National Museum or the Manila Zoo? You’d be surprised at how amusing a museum or a zoo can be no matter how old you are. Of course it goes without saying that you should make sure to go with people you like to ensure enjoyment on your part.

# 6 Don’t Get Fooled by the Piso Fares and Group Buying Deals

One thing that these group buying websites and airline ticket sales have in common is they both create a sense of urgency among people. When you open these websites, make sure that you are strong enough to resist temptations. If you find a good deal on a group buying website, remember that the product will most probably be offered again. How many times have you bought something from a group buying website just because you saw that it was on sale for a limited time period and you didn’t want to lose a great deal only to see it being offered again the next day?

Now I have to admit that I’m a sucker for Piso Fares myself. I remember booking a flight on Piso fare last year but I never was able to go on that vacation. Luckily it was back when Piso fares totaled to only one hundred and fifty pesos for a one way ticket. I know people who book discounted plane tickets as expensive as two thousand pesos thinking that it’s okay even if they won’t be able to use them.  The logic behind this is they look at it as gambling. When you gamble you spend money in the hopes of multiplying your money. When these people book discounted plane tickets, they do so in the hopes that the ticket price would go up (and it does go up) and thereby giving them big savings. Of course there is also the possibility of losing money in gambling as there is also the possibility that you won’t be able to use your plane ticket (which you booked so far in advanced).

I guess if you earn five hundred thousand to a million pesos every year, then a few thousand pesos may not put a dent on your wealth. but if you’re earning less than five hundred thousand pesos a year, I don’t think you have the right to say that a few thousand pesos is nothing.

# 6 Stay Away from Bad Debt

I remember last summer when the heat was unbearable (which is fast becoming the norm every summer), my friend applied for a credit card simply to buy an air conditioner. It is sad to say that many call center workers have this mentality. I know people who would get a credit card just to buy a cellphone or a laptop. The worst part is most of them end up defaulting on their payments which is probably why most banks would deny credit card applications if they know that the applicant is a call center agent. Oh no, wait… that is not the worst part, the worst part is that most people apply for a credit card and max it out without any intention of making any payments.

In making big purchases, strive to save the money that you will need first AND THEN, make the purchase. Bear this in mind, if you have to get a loan to buy something then it most certainly means that you can’t afford it.

# 7 Create a Budget

Now assuming you have gotten rid of all those impulse buying, eating outs, and other wealth corroding practices, it is now time to learn about budgeting. Budgeting is critical for you to have a limit on your spending. To make sure that you are indeed following your budget, it is important that you still continue to record ALL your purchases. When making budgets, it is ideal to do it every thirty days or every two payroll periods

# 8 Make Sure to Track Your Progress

By making a budget and accounting all your expenses, you can now check the amount of savings you have each month. It is ideal to save at least sixty percent of your savings (especially if you are single and earning big).

# 9 Don’t Do Something That You Don’t Like

One of the things that you will have to check within yourself is whether you are doing something that you don’t like. In most cases, doing something you don’t like leads to overeating or worse overspending. When you dislike the work that you do (and let’s be honest; a lot of us hate our jobs), there is a high tendency of “rewarding” yourself with a trip to the movies, a shopping spree, a vacation, a dinner, or a gadget  at the end of a grueling week or every payday. If you find yourself “rewarding” yourself every week or every payday, why not “reward” yourself by putting the money away for the future?

# 10 People First, Then Money, Then Things

I have met a lot of people who would claim that the reason they are unable to save money is because they have to help their relatives or their parents financially. The bigger question I guess is how much money they actually give to their parents or relatives. You’ll be surprised to know that there are people who allocate less than twenty percent of their income but feel as if majority of their income goes to their parents or relatives.

The lowest amount of money (I think) a call center agent can earn is fifteen thousand a month. If you send thirty percent of that amount or four thousand five hundred pesos a month to your parents in the province, this will still leave you with ten thousand five hundred pesos. With that amount of money, you can still save three thousand pesos a month and live comfortably. You however have to keep your lifestyle in check. Of course if you give fifty percent of your income to your parents, then you have a really good excuse not to be able to save. You can still however save money with this scenario if you live extremely below your means.

# 11 Live below your Means

Living below your means is very hard. It is hard enough to live within your means let alone living below your means. Let’s look at how you can check if you are living above your means. A good indicator would be your debt. Do you find yourself with debt and living paycheck to paycheck? If you do, you are most definitely living above your means. For me, it is not enough to have five to ten percent in savings every month for you to say that you live below your means. I believe that you have to save at least forty percent of your salary every month in order for you to say that you live below your means.Being able to save five to ten percent of your income every month (I feel) is only living within your means. Of course, this depends on how high your income is.

# 12 Make Use of Available Resources

Instead of paying for internet, why not use the internet at your office. Call centers typically have computers available for use by employees wherein websites like Facebook are not blocked. Check with your HR if they offer shuttle service and take advantage of it. Some companies will have this perk. If your office has free coffee (most call center offices do), then take your coffee in the office instead of at home.

This concludes my tips on how to save money. I hope you received valuable information and will put them into practice soon. Remember that you can always contact me if you have any questions.


Image used under Creative Commons from Holger

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Financial Rescue LLC (@FRescueLLC) on

Very helpful tips for all Filipinos, especially the younger generation. Pay off debts and save, save, save. You can never go wrong by saving money, however, small that is, as long as you do it consistently. Cheers to a brighter life!

maria ericka on

Wow I’ve learned about this tips. Thank you for sharing,very helpful!

Aljun Ido on

It means a lot. Super helpful, i will do this because those problem written above are my problems too. THANK YOU !

Ayra Velasquez Dimaapi on

I was a call center agent before and I was kinda grossed out to where people spend their money just cos they earn more than the industry standard for entry level workers with no degrees. A lot of call center agents are the usual “victims” of the instant gratification mindset. Yosi breaks, drinking after shift up until noon, credit card debt, branded clothes, eating out, delaying of bills payment, latest gadgets, and a long list of poor money decisions and family planning. A lot of it has to do with mindset, control, lack of financial education and resisting temptation.

I didn’t smoke before, I partied like crazy, and I still do (though I discovered smarter ways to spend less while still enjoying this lifestyle). That’s probably where some of my “burn money” goes. Anyway, very few people are able to get out of that lifestyle. I was one of the lucky ones cos I was able to meet like-minded friends in the industry and we influenced each other to spend and save money better.

Included in making better money decisions is sticking with people who will influence you to be the better version of yourself; people who are in control of their future and are not easily swayed by temptations. Remember, if you hang out with 5 idiots, you’re the 6th; if you hang out with 5 smart people, you’re probably also the 6th. Get influenced and start making better money decisions, a lot of financial content is available online.

    Ed on

    Thank you, Ayra for the nice words of wisdom. Noted.

Leo on


Add ko lang:
Mahirap ma master lahat kaagad. So, focus on 1 tip at a time 😀. For me, na master ko na ang no. 1 😀, nahihirapan ako sa no. 3 😂👍. Thanks.

juanalvin on

Thank you very much Jerome Herrera for this write up’s. No wonder why you won 3rd placer in sun life sinag award”,)
Very “in” and related to the people whose working in a Call Center Industry. This is one proof that not all “agent” are stuck up on that miserable life. You and others (count me in) are awake to know the importance of the money that we are working so hard. I’m also a call center agent, I started to change my life- my money relation and the investing mindset last year. Its very hard- especially we are not wealthy family (like most of the call center agent situation), plus your the bread winner and the fact that apcourse I have personal things to think too. But, with a mindset that you really want to escape on this condition, I surpassed this problem. I’m still working on my masterpiece and thats my goal- to become financially freedom inside and out.”,)

By the way- my broker is COL financial, please feel free to contact me at 09175083422- I love to meet people with the same interest that I have- mabait po ako don’t worry lol.”,)

Also, I would like to become a financial adviser someday like my idols-you, Randell T, Marvin G., FQ Mon and Fitz V.- want also to create a blog/website regarding my financial journey”,)

Thank you very much for the space!
All love-vin*.*

    Jerome Herrera on

    Hi Vin. Thanks for your comment. I actually wrote this article with call center agents in mind. Congratulations on what you have already accomplished and good luck on your dreams and aspirations. 🙂

    Please check out my other articles on Saving and Investing here: http://allicanhandle.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_14.html

Allan Mantaring on

Nice article and money saving tips, that can everyone benefit on it. Its right the really hard to save money, as my experience even you received more salary still the same situation every time we almost out of money. Thank to financial education, it really helps me a lot to open my mind and save for my future.

Karen on

It’s just sad you focused on call center agents for your examples. It sounded like an open letter for them.

    Avaya on

    Rather than sad, it’s timely since there are a lot of call center agents nowadays and BPO companies are booming in the country. I am not a call center agent but I somehow felt connected to the article, so more it is like an open letter to everyone who are struggling financially or those who wants to learn how to be financially free. 😉

Angelo de la Paz on

I will work on this! I’m a call center agent and all of my problems for saving money are all written! Haha, natamaan ako pero I admit that it’s all true 🙂 THANK YOU!

Sony on

I really loved reading your article. It has a lot of great points and it is an ideal way of planning good finance. I would like to add about considering the fact that not everybody has the same spending habit may it be a want or need, these all need to be considered for a sound financial plan. Just to ask, I found that the article is inspired by the call center or a call center experience, isn’t it?
Overall, I would like to be part of a circle that will create sound and good financial advise to the public.

Adam Trinidad on

Thank you sir Jerome! Kung babasahin napaka common, perokaramihan saatin lalo na yung mga kagaya na nagstart palang mag ipon eh, napakalaking bagay etong article mo sir. Yung number 1 and 2, natatawa ako kasi hindi ko nagagawa yung mga yun, pero nasa isip ko na. Siguro kulang lang ako sa motivations, kasi inisip ko, kung hindi ngayon? Kelan pa? So I decided to start saving. Pero hindi ko alam kung pano magstart. Good thing is nakita ko etong article nyo. Thank you po ulet!

Jansell on

Very helpful! Thanks for these tips! 🙂

Sapat pa ba? – Life on

[…] Here’s the bit view from the article : 12 Tips on How to Save Money […]

Doromal Kristoff on

I think you may add that you need to have an inspiration to save. Saving with a definite purpose why u are saving will be of great help to actually save cause you know where your money is going. In addition, instead of saving you may invest in mutual funds or insurance plans to gain more income and secured future.

Mac on

is there a way that we can track our progress? Just like an app or web software?

joey on

hi im joey and i am working as feild officer.. salary ko is umaabot din ng 30k dati nkka tipid ako nung sumasahod ako ng 12 to 13k a month may sobra pa.. but nung sinwerte ako nka pag work sa malaking company.. dumami expenses ko at nwalan ng disiplina.. pero binago ko agad yun dahil naramdaman ko sa sarili ko na wat if biglang mawala ang blessings.. kaya eto todo tipid at planning sa tamang paraan ng pag gamit ng pera..

Chinkee Tan on

Good reads jerome ! Thanks for this article. Your words motivated me to start a frugal life and how to spend money wisely, props to you!

Rachel on

Thanks. 🙂

jm on

thank you very much. 🙂

Aiza Marie on

These tips are indeed helpful to every Filipino who are experiencing poverty. I am fond of reading articles like this and this one has made me more motivated and eager to stay with the lifestyle I have now wherein I know that living below your means will definitely give you a secured future. Thanks for the enthusiasm! Mabuhay ka!

    Junnel L. Tabique on

    Hi I’m Junnel and im working as field engineer. I’m learning about the tips and come up with my decision to take a savings for the coming month and i start it this march first week. Thanks and i know 40% of my income must be save even in just to focus #1 tip…

daynielle tolentino on

Even students can use this tips.. At a very young age they learn to save their money. Thank you so much for this tips

jhosua on

these tips are so very important.

Arienne mayhay on

Listing all the expenses everyday will eventually help so much to save money, in that case I/you/we will easily determine what I/you/we badly needed from my/your/our wants or demands. So I/you/we can lessen my/your/our expenses in buying these and that thing which is not totally needed for myself/yourself/ourselve that tip really help so much not only to myself but also to others.

Glysaroj on

Very interesting! Thanks for the tips my friend 🙂 God bless you

Eri on

I think income still plays a huge factor. I used to work as an agent for a large call center Baguio City, with a salary of 10k per month. I moved around six times, just trying to find somewhere I wouldn’t burn myself out. Rent ranged from 2.5k-3k, my highest water bills were 800 (via delivery), while trying to lower the water bill I’d spend 180 per week on laundry. Then there’s food, taxi fare (jeepneys aren’t available late at night) and other costs.

I work in Metro Manila now and have only started to save 40% of my 21k income. Thank goodness for the big cities.

alviz on

Thank you so much for this!! super appreciated

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