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Money Guide: Budgeting Tips for the Filipino Family

It’s been a rough few weeks for everyone, especially with the rampant increase of COVID-19 cases. Families around the world are quarantined within the confines of their homes, counting down the days until the whole commotion subsides. For the most part, this is a perfect opportunity for everyone to catch up with their loved ones. A perfect chance to talk about their experiences within work and school before the whole pandemic even began. But with the looming extension of the quarantine period, many are concerned with their budget for the whole month. Sure, the quarantine period may have contributed to the families having more quality time, but quality time with your loved ones would amount to nothing if everyone goes hungry. This is  why it is important for everyone to do their part when it comes to managing the family budget.

However, that would not be much of an easy task, as due to the pandemic, work and productivity has been lessened. Of course, our heroic frontliners are working around the clock to provide utmost care and service towards the people who are in need of it, but for those who are not frontliners, their compensation and means of income is currently under wraps, and the notion of getting back to work as soon as possible seems like an afterthought at the moment. In such case, the proper ways of budgeting should be put into action. If the parents aren’t earning anything for the whole month, the kids should at least help out in lessening the overall expenses. Here are a few valuable tips in achieving just that:

1. Time to unplug!

Being in quarantine can bore a lot of people. We all need our daily dose of social media and television in order to connect with the outside world. This is well-recommended, as remember, being alert about the whole pandemic means being informed about the various safety measures done to avoid getting infected. But, these communication channels, in spite of them being well-recommended, doesn’t mean that they should be subject to over use. Almost all of the things that we use on a daily basis require electricity, your phone, your computer, your appliances, you name it. The impending arrival of your electricity bill would do much to help appease your stress towards the whole pandemic, as nothing is more saddening than to see a ballooned energy bill. With this in mind, it would be wise to lessen your electricity consumption. Use your cellphone to get a glimpse of the outside world, watch the daily news to get updates about the whole situation, but after such use, turn them off, unplug and take time to clear your thoughts. What usually makes a pandemic worst is panic, do not let fear get a hold of you. It is healthy to be informed with the daily news, but watching too much of it isn’t conducive to your mental health as well, especially when the negativity starts to sink in too deeply. Be informed, but do not get paranoid. Budget your energy consumption, budget your news intake, organize your thoughts, and get a low energy bill at the end of the month.

2. Conserving Resources.

Due to the enhanced quarantine implemented by our government in order to slow down the spread of the virus, every community has to abide by a given schedule. This schedule would give everyone a chance to stock up on supplies, at least for a few weeks, or until such time that the schedule would rotate for another round of restocks. Now, given that there are at least three (3) to four (4) days of interval until the next restock period, it would only be wise for every family member to not waste any portion of the supply, may it be food, hygiene products, or disinfectants. It isn’t just about running out of supplies, it’s also about running out of cash. Grocery shelves would usually be refilled by the next restocking period, but the same cannot be said about everyone’s salary, especially with the pandemic decreasing everyone’s productivity at work. You would not be able to work at your fullest if you are at home. Sure, you can work from home, but other transactions which would require your physical presence (such as contract signings and other logistic tasks) would not be possible, thus, affecting your performance rating for the month. The best thing that you can do would be to explain to your kids that the whole situation right now is very critical. They should not panic, but, they should also be cautious about the way that they spend the family resources. For example, if they want to take a bite out of the watermelon that you had recently purchased, they may do so, but they should be responsible enough to store any leftovers in the refrigerator, to avoid any spoilage. A leftover that is well-preserved would do wonders, providing everyone enough food to last a whole week. The same can be said about toiletries and hygiene products. When brushing your teeth, you should make sure to not squeeze any excess toothpaste. Just use enough for one brushing.

3. Purchasing Items Which Would Last Long

The best way to manage your budget would be to buy things which may last for a long time. There are food products which has a long shelf life. Opt for those instead of easily-perishable goods. If you prefer to buy fruits and vegetables, make sure that they are well-refrigerated. For other food products, canned sardines and meat loaf would be your go-to choice. Fresh products such as raw meat, chicken, and fish may last you a few days, but be cautious of their appearance as well. Even when frozen, they may still spoil fast, depending on how long they were displayed in the frozen section of the grocery store. Perhaps you may go for the ones which already underwent the process of curing, fermenting, pickling, and drying, just to name a few. Availing these food options would mean that you wouldn’t have to keep on buying a whole bunch whenever going to the grocery, thus, saving you a lot of cash in the long run.

These are just some of the most valuable tips in budgeting your resources (especially your money) during the pandemic. It is a must-do especially if you are at the receiving end of a financial assistance. Those who are managing and handling money remittances are frontliners, after all. Be sure that their efforts (along with the efforts of those sending over the cash assistance) would not go to waste. Practice proper budgeting.