After all the partying during Christmas and the New Year, you might find yourself peeking into your wallet and seeing nothing but air. Understandable since it’s the end of the year after all. And what better way to end it with a bang?
However, the arrival of a brand new year calls for the planning of a brand new budget.
It’s likely that whatever your initial budget will be, it will change several times throughout the year. What won’t change though is the expectation that prices will just go up, up, and up.
So before those things happen, why don’t you decide on what unnecessary costs to cut to make your life easier? Better get to it before you find yourself struggling to get your head above the water!
Alcohol and tobacco
17.3 million Filipinos are smokers and the Philippines is part of the top ten countries in Asia when it comes to total alcohol consumption. Just from these numbers, you can immediately imagine how much money Filipinos spend on alcohol and tobacco yearly.
With the increase in taxes due to House Bill (HB) 8677 on tobacco and HB 8618 on alcohol set to start on January 2019, we can almost be certain that the amount will go up.
Understandably, it’s not easy to stop smoking. Nicotine is an addicting substance and the longer you smoke, the more your body begins to rely on it. It’s nearly impossible to go cold turkey. However, even just slowly cutting down on your consumption can be a big help on your budget, and hopefully your health.
Alcohol, on the other hand, does not actually contain a substance that makes your body reliant on it. Instead, research suggests that it increases the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Alcoholics become addicted to the feeling of the pleasure the endorphin brings. Unlike smoking, it is possible to go cold turkey, but there are other pressures (such as social engagement and events) that could potentially sabotage attempts to stop.
Also, many Filipinos turn to drinking when facing problems. As mentioned above, endorphins make it easy for them to forget pressing concerns. However, we all know that those problems won’t disappear even if you forget about them.
While alcohol does bring a sense of pleasure, it’s better not to use it as an escape. Nor is it good to overindulge in it once you get the chance, doing so could lead to dire consequences once you sober up.
As our Ms. Universe 2018 said, “Everything in moderation,” so moderate your substance consumption and you’ll have more money in your pocket for more important matters.
While the TRAIN Law did help many low-income to middle-income families earn more money, it also increased the prices of several necessities, most notably, gas. While the prices of fuel have been falling these past few months due to dropping demand, the excise tax will soon add P2.00 per liter likely sometime this 2019.
It doesn’t help that the price in the world market is heavily affected by the decisions of a few countries. Just recently, Russia, the largest producer of crude oil in the world, decided to cut their total oil import by 60,000 barrels on January 2019. They plan to continue reducing their production during the following months as well.
It’s difficult to predict how exactly the prices of fuel will change in the future. It’s best that you prepare by finding ways to make your gas usage more efficient like carpooling, driving slower (to decrease drag and fuel consumption) or turning off the engine while waiting.
Filipinos, on an average, spend over nine hours on the internet per day, the 2nd longest time in the word right behind Thailand, and the most convenient device to use is, of course, the smartphone.
With a total population of 104.9 million, 70.9 million Filipinos are mobile phone users. And with the rise of more affordable smartphone brands such as Cherry Mobile, Oppo and Vivo, more and more people are purchasing smartphones.
However, ask yourself this: Do you really need a replacement?
Unfortunately, for many Filipinos, it has become an obsession to always buy the newest release, to get the highest specs, to have the latest model, despite the fact that their old phone is still in perfectly working condition.
It is both a waste of money and resources. You don’t really need the latest phone to send messages or make calls, or can you really spot the difference between using your one-year old phone to take a selfie versus using the camera of the latest model. The picture will get compressed anyway when you upload it on Facebook.
So why don’t you skip that new model release and save yourself a couple thousands of pesos at the same time?
Nowadays, when you say ‘trending’ people immediately think of what is currently big on social media. However, a decade or so ago, trends were more often than not connected to a certain cut or way people wore clothes.
Like how the understanding of the term has changed, so do the fashions of our time. The term “trend’ right now is often thought of a short phase of fascination, like how few years ago, the “hipster” look was popular but can be seen less today. In truth, this is what should be called a “fad.”
Trends are styles that last years. That’s why when people say the 70s or 80s, we immediately can imagine what sort of clothes were worn back then. Meanwhile, fads quickly pass and things bought during this time often find themselves discarded in very short order. Following fads will not only waste your money, it will also take up space in your closet.
When buying clothes, you should prioritize the current trend and your personal preference, of course! For example, instead of choosing a singular style of clothes, try to stick to tasteful basics like a button down polo with clean lines or the famous LBD (little black dress). Choose things that can easily dressed down for a casual look, or dressed up for more formal events.
Remember: Fashion passes; style remains.
In recent years, more Filipinos have begun to dabble in the world of online shopping. Not only is it more convenient, it can possibly even be cheaper than going to a brick and mortar store.
Unfortunately, because of the ease and convenience of online shopping, spending money has never been easier as well.
There are several tactics online vendors use in order to get you to spend money. They could send you discount codes with a minimum purchase requirement, offer free shipping with the same condition or even limited-time items to urge you to buy immediately. And with your credit card just a few buttons away or a Cash On Delivery system in place, it’s very easy for you to fall for their tricks.
First and foremost, before buying any non-essentials, make sure that you really want it. Take a week or two to mull it over and see if you still want it after that period. Another way to save some money is to purchase everything you want to buy at the same time instead of adding more things in you cart to reach the free shipping requirement every time you see an item that interests you. Another pro-tip is to check the prices of wanted items before an expected sale is announced. More often than not, vendors will exaggerate the price drop of a certain item in an effort to make it seem more valuable.
Basically, if you want to take advantage of the convenience of online shopping, you should at least be smart about it and do the necessary research.
Some of the items in the list are easier said than done. However, if you want to remain financially healthy throughout 2019, following them is but the tip of the iceberg. If you have to, add them to your New Year’s resolutions and do your best to stick to your guns.
With the money you’ve saved from reducing your spending, surely you’ve put aside quite the amount as savings. If you’re a resident of Bacoor, Cavite, and Batangas, then the Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank is your one-stop spot for opening your own savings account. All transactions are real time, erasing any and all the hassle that you may experience in other establishments. So what are you waiting for? Visit Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank now – we assure a fast, easy and secure transaction.