Your jeepney fare for a 20-minute ride to work was just PHP12 before the pandemic. Now, it’s PHP15. Your two cups of rice plus an order of meat then was just for PHP60.00. Now, it’s for PHP70- PHP80. Thanks to inflation! Prices have skyrocketed in just a matter of months or a year. Your monthly paycheck stays the same though.
Budgeting has gone harder. Saving has gone almost impossible. Economic life has to continue. So, how do you recalibrate your spending and saving approaches amidst the continuous climb at the fast pace of consumer prices?
It’s Sunday. It’s time to relax from a whole week of work and work. So, I’m sharing some insights and approaches possibly worth adopting given the economic situation that affects every Juan. Yeah, it definitely affects you, too.
 Find Additional Sources of Income. Whatever side hustles that bring you additional income, even some hundreds, can be worth pursuing especially if they don’t eat much of your time and gravely affect your full-time job.
To tell you, the digital technology, causing ripple effects such as streamlined financial transactions, booming e-commerce, and express delivery services of goods, has opened lots of opportunities for earning additional income.
Apart from my full-time job as a private school senior high teacher, I also have three side hustles — tutoring which give me a clean PHP4,000 a month, blogging with AdSense monetization which brings PHP10,000 – PHP15,000 decent income, and online selling on Lazada with some hundreds monthly added to my capital (although I haven’t focused much on it given the physical demands for logistics).
 Don’t Turn a Blind Eye to Extra Fees. Extra fees are everywhere. You order food online. You pay for the delivery charge. You order an extra rice. You pay double its original price. You eat at a restaurant. You pay for the service fees. You buy your weekly groceries. You pay extra for the ecobags.
You get your extras for extra fees. You may not know, but you might have saved for not getting one or getting just what you need. You need to be conscious about your spending and other possible free alternatives. Otherwise, extra fees pile up for things that you won’t really need.
 Manage Your Online Accounts and Mind Your Transfer Fees. How many times in a week do you make ATM withdrawals for your daily or weekly expenses? How do you pay your utility bills — online or still at the payment centers? How do you send money to your loved ones?
Banking has gone digital, but fees are ineliminable. Your payroll bank may not have ATMs nearby. Plan your withdrawals then. Or if you could save on making a one-time transfer to your other bank accounts where you can withdraw without hassles and fees, better think about it. GCash to GCash transfers do not come with fees, but bank accounts to GCash and vice versa, even GCash cash-ins at nearby sundry stores, comes with fees. And they are not just one or two pesos.
 Sometimes, Eating Out Is Cheaper Than Cooking at Home. Yes, sometimes. It depends on certain factors. Especially for those living alone, cooking sinigang, for instance, is more expensive than just visiting the nearby carenderia and ordering a bowl.
A kilo of pork costs around PHP300. Vegetable ingredients, depending on how special you want your sinigang be, may cost more than that price. At the same time, you don’t want eating the same food for the next two days.
 You Don’t Always Have to Treat Your Coworkers. You’re Just Paid the Same. It’s World Teachers’ Day, and you’re thinking about buying gifts for your colleagues. Think about it, deeper. There is nothing wrong about it, but if you’re running on a tight budget, think whether it will be reciprocated. Better initiate an exchange of gifts. Let’s be practical.
Just because you are generous or the remaining single in your circle, it does not mean that you have to foot the bill for the Friday nights out. You should set limitations, or better choose to hang out with friends who understand what expenses really are.
 Don’t Let Your Savings Sleep in the Bank and Get Thinner and Thinner Because of Inflation. Make It Work. Keep a portion of your savings for emergency fund, though. You know the rule — something good for around six months of your living expenses.
You might want to consider growing it in stocks investment or using it for a small business venture. Just be careful with what you enter. Lending cash to your friends for a promised interest may not be a good idea, in most cases.
 Short-Term Loans, Even GCredit and Mobile Load, Come With Interests. Cut Them Off. It’s relieving that you can borrow prepaid mobile load or use GCredit or SPayLater for online shopping anytime you need. They are always available, plus you’ve got days or weeks to pay them. But those days are paid. You pay for the interests. Though these are minimal, but they are additional expenses still.
Better plan your mobile prepaid load top-up. Better plan your online shopping, or just do it whenever you have a budget for this. You might not know that you are overspending, way ahead you next paycheck. You might not know that you’re already living paycheck to paycheck.
 You’re Making Your Credit Card Just a Temporary Patch to That Big Hole in Your Budget. Think About It. You’re indeed short on your monthly budget, and you’re making you’re credit card a patch.
You, therefore, need to rework your budget; otherwise, your credit card bills will soon pile up until such time that you’re not just a month, but months, behind them. Not paying them off will soon cause you a big headache.
 Keep Your Lifestyle Simple. Your lifestyle may need an upgrade, but it may not yet be today. It can wait. You may not yet need that latest iPhone as your old one still works. You may still need to commute to work and take two or three rides as you cannot afford yet buying a car or booking a Grab car daily.
It’s a matter of priorities for now.
In the end, you don’t have to complain and complain about the PHP15 you pay for the jeepney fare. You don’t have to make that annoying face for the price increase of your favorite rice meal.
All are affected by the inflation rate. Others are desperate to earn a decent income to make ends meet as much as you are. But, it’s really getting harder, friend!
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