I would like to think that most of us would like to save money. We have different reasons to save and a ton of excuses why we are not doing that, but the fact is, at some point in our working life, we ought to have that feeling that we need to stash away something for our future.
The biggest hurdle to saving money is getting started. Saving is viewed as a tall order, so difficult to accomplish that most of us never even bother to try.
If you are one of those people that find savings as a painful task or struggling to start, then read these pain-free tips on how to start saving money from ordinary folks with extraordinary creativity on how to save money.
1. ‘The hidden 20’
Mario, a retiree and a Church leader piloted a savings program in their church community he called the “Hidden 20.” He says the Hidden 20 are your loose P20 bills. The program simply asks people to set aside and put their P20s inside an envelope, hidden, as if not existing. At the end of the year, the participants of the program then decides how much of their “Hidden 20” savings they’d like to allocate for church donation and what portion they’d like to spend for their Christmas holiday.
Try to recall how many times a week you get hold of a P20 bill. At a minimum of, let us say, once a day, you could hide a total of P140 in a week. Multiply that with 52 weeks, and you’ll end up P7,280 richer by the end of the year! Whether you choose to give some to your church or keep everything, it is entirely up to you. Find comfort in the fact that you were able to go from zero savings to something.
2. ‘Nickels, nickels, nickels’
Joyce, a bookkeeper, has a savings program quite similar to Mario. The difference is that Joyce treats all her P5- and P10-peso coins as invisible money as if they are not part of the currency circulating in the Philippines. She maintains a separate purse she brings everyday to work where she puts these coins. At the end of the day, she would empty that purse and remit the coins to her pink piggy bank. Joyce has been doing this for some years now, and she says that on average, she ends up saving between P4,500 and P5,000 that by December, she has that much for buying Christmas gifts for her parents.
“This is the only way I can save right now,” Joyce said. “My salary is not that big for me to afford to save thousands right away.”
If you are one of those people who forego savings because of the size of your salary, I’d like to tell you this: “If you cannot save a penny from your small salary, do not expect to save a thousand from your huge salary.”
3. ‘The 13-week savings challenge’
Anne, a mother and a private school teacher, started implementing a savings program with her co-teachers last year, similar to the popular 52-week savings challenge you see on the internet. They call their version the “13-week savings challenge.” The mechanics are the same as those of the 52-week challenge, starting with P50 in the first week, proceeding with a P50 incremental increase every week until they reach week 13. When they reach that point, they reset the required amount of weekly savings back to P50. That’s the difference with the other scheme. They find that it will be highly improbable for them to allocate P10,100 for week 49 to 52 as what the 52-week challenge suggests, given a salary of only P18,000. See their savings guide in the table below:
Anne mentions that they do the savings program every quarter and gives them an additional P18,200 at the end of the year. “It is like getting an additional one-month bonus pay,” she adds.
It is but normal to associate savings with the words painful, daunting and even impossible for it requires a change of habit, perspective and moving out of our comfort zones. Yet by starting small and a bit of creativity, savings can be pain-free, encouraging and possible!
Jesi Bondoc is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. He is the director of My Wealth MD and Partners, Inc., specializing in investment advisory. You can send your money questions at email@example.com and they’ll be answered on his next article. For more info about Registered Financial Planner program, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or text <name><e-mail> <RFP> at 0917-9689774.