Tips on How To Save for a Trip
- Check your phone bill
Yes, we live in the social media and technology generation, but do we really need that unlimited internet? Do we need to pay Php 1500-2000 a month? Check out your plan and see if it’s working for you. Globe has a service now where you can monitor your usage online. I realized that I really didn’t need unlimited internet. I have wifi at home, and in a lot of places now, so most of the time, I only need my data plan when I have to immediately post on my social media channels. From my monthly bill of Php 1400, I reduced my plan to “My Lifestyle plan” and I now only spend Php 798/month:
Php 499 for unlimited call and text to Touch Mobile and Globe
Php 299 for 1.5GB worth of data
That’s an extra Php 600 savings.
If I need to message someone who uses SMART or SUN Cellular, I just use the social media channels like Facebook, Viber, or Whatsapp. Most likely, that friend is online.
Check out globe my lifestyle plans if you can work out a way to lower your bill here.
- Cut down on your coffee
I used to spend Php125-175 on coffee every day. I love coffee shops; that’s where I work, I hang out, and that’s where my friends and I spend hours and hours just talking.
But really, do I need that Php 125 drink every day? Aside from the extra calories, it’s unnecessarily quite heavy on the budget.
- Check your credit cards/reward cards for possible freebies
BPI credit cards, for example, give out Chow king or Jollibee coupons once in a while. If you are to spend for grocery or for utilities, then at least check out what offers your cards can provide so you can use that one that provides the most benefits. Some cards provide discounts on rooms, flights and other things. Learn your credit card’s worth and use it to your advantage.
At home we have BPI Skymiles Mastercard and a Citibank Premier Miles Signature Visa. Both credit cards earn airline mileage, but Citibank wins with the Php30 to a mile compared to BPI’s Php 45 to a mile. For foreign currency transactions like USD or AUD, Mastercard gets the lead, having only a conversion charge of 1.75% as compared to Visa’s 3.525%.
Tip :Read the article that The Travel Guy Shops wrote about the best credit cards in the Philippines.
- Check out your utilities
Is there something that you don’t necessarily need?I got rid of the TV cable service in my room. I stream most of the stuff, and watch the local channels anyway. I also ditched the landline. I realized I hardly ever use it.If you do see a need for it, then at least keep it to just one (we used to have two).
- Check your bank for savings/investment options
Banks have various products to help you save. You can set a specific amount to save automatically on a monthly basis.
Better yet, if you don’t need the money immediately, ask your bank where you can invest for the period of time that you can afford not to use it. At least, your money is growing and it is not too accessible that you get tempted to use it.
- Plan ahead
Back when I was a preschool teacher, I knew exactly when the school calendar would end. I knew when I was free; I knew when I could leave. In effect, my friends and I could plan ahead. We thought of destinations, pegged dates for it, then signed up for airlines’ newsletters so we can be alerted when they go on promo.
Sometimes you can get an airline ticket for hardly anything. Heck, you can now fly to Australia for Php9,000 roundtrip, if you’re lucky to catch that promo, as compared to the usual Php 40,000+. Check out credit card promos too. They often tie up with airlines and offer hard to resist deals.
- Have a garage sale
My friends and I are a big fan of this. No money? Get rid of everything you no longer use.
There are a lot of clothes rotting in your closet; if you’re waiting to fit in them again, chances are you probably won’t. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, sell it. Have a garage sale and earn money from these items.
Similarly, if you see a garage sale, take a look. There might be a lot of good second hand objects, coats, clothes, bags that you can get for a really good deal. It’s a win-win situation.
Even better, now there are sites like OLX.com and Duriana where you can sell your garage items online. These have a wider reach, plus they cater to more people. Just put a little bit of effort into photographing your pictures and posting them for sale, then tadaa!!!… you’ve converted something into cash.
- Cut down on the Movies
I spend a minimum of Php 500 for a movie outing. Cinema tickets cost an average of Php 250, plus snacks, plus lunch or dinner after, plus parking fee. Movies have gotten way too expensive. Buy DVDs or stream and watch with your friends at home. Throw in some popcorn or Boy Bawang or Tuna Mayo + Crackers—–perfect for a good hang out.
- Cut down on the Alcohol
Clubbing and alcohol? Cut down on the alcohol expense. If you must indulge, then buy them at the grocery and gather at a friend’s house—–play spotify, grab some chips, play a game of “have you ever” or anything. This allows your to still bond with your friends while less heavy on the budget.
- Eat cooked food at home and cut down on the fast food.
Eat at home instead. If you have to meet out, then just go out for dessert or coffee—-that’s a lot cheaper than another Php 250-500 on a full meal.
- Give up the gym membership,
No, I am not telling you to sit all day and be unhealthy. Once you get the feel of how to work out then there are a lot of cheaper alternatives. You can go biking or running around the village. You can invest on a pair of dumbbells and you will be fine.
There are a lot of Apps on your phone that you can follow to exercise; use these. For exercising, you need discipline, and not a membership. If you must, then apply for a month or two then revert to doing things on your own. Ask your friends, you may have one who is in the field who will gladly give advice, or if you are lucky, make your exercise program.
- Attend Free Seminars
I come across a lot of those at Eventbrite. You can always pick up valuable lessons/skills from those workshops that may help you earn some extra cash on the side. Some of them are free.
- Become a freelancer
A lot of people offer services online. Find out what skills you have and put it to good use. Check Upwork, Freelancer and other online jobs. You can come up with something for sure, and you can do the work even while you’re on the road.
Tip: Enroll in Horsepower.ph for HR benefit perfect for freelancers and Small Medium Enterprises. You have HR benefits despite not being in a company.
- Download an Expense Tracker App
These will help you keep track of your money. Set aside a small amount each week or month for your travel fund. This is how I partition my own earnings each month: one part for savings/investment, another part for utilities, and still another for my travel fund. Having a definite amount for utilities will help you stay within budget and not overspend.
- Reduce the monthly spa, nails and haircut
You need these, but assess when you do need to have them.
Learn how to do your own nails; just keep them tidy.
Get a good hair stylist and have him/her cut your hair in a way that’s easy to manage and you won’t need a lot of maintenance.
Instead of going to the spa, ask your friends and family to give you a 5-minute massage if you are stressed. Or do home service massage instead; it’s only Php 250 during weekdays for 1.5hours. It saves you the trip, its way cheaper, and you get what you need.
- Opt for basic clothing
It is easy to style basics however way you want. Go for mix and match. Have key pieces that you can use in many ways. Don’t go for the too colorful and too trendy ones. If that’s the case, you will find yourself having to buy more and more clothes.
- Check out grocery promos
Look for possible buy 1 take 1 items, and also check the double your points days. It will help you save because eventually you can deduct from your grocery bill, that seems almost good as cash.
- Rent out your extra bed space/room on AIR BNB, or find a room mate
I didn’t do this, but it’s a possibility you might want to consider.
- Do free activities
Instead of planning all the expensive trips while you are in your home time, go hiking, go museum hopping (they offer free entrance days), go to parks and enjoy the scenery. Look for the cheap/ free stuff you can do with your friends so you can still continue to live your life while you are saving for a trip.
- Cancel your subscriptions
Check your subscriptions and see if you really need them. In a digital world, it is easy to read/research online.
I guess as a Filipina, I am lucky to still live in my parents house rent free, as majority of young Filipinos do, until married. I used to work as a preschool teacher, and yet despite my small salary, I managed to travel for 3 months every summer (March- June) with whatever I saved. Find out on my next article how I stretch my cash and make it fit.