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Skipping the usual long intro today, I’ll be sharing 39 frugal practices which you can adopt while on a tight budget during the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) — which are all decent and may still be observed even after this crisis.
 Grab the opportunity to make free fund transfers as most banks and financial institutions, even EFT providers, have temporarily waived convenience fees amidst the pandemic.
 Consolidate all your household utility bills, look for a powerful app, such as GCash and Coins.ph, for a centralized online payment channel, and avoid overdue payments that normally come with penalties.
 Consider loading up your prepaid mobile phones through apps that offer discounts and cashbacks. Don’t forget to redeem rewards points as mobile data and other promos from time to time.
 Start migrating from ‘call and text’ to ‘chat and videocall’ communications especially if you have a postpaid broadband at home. Chat services are even available on free data.
 Make the most of your loose change and smaller bills to make minor purchases. You can have a jar in your room for these because they still make up the budget.
 Prepare a comprehensive list of items to buy before heading to the grocery to avoid budget leaks through the extended quarantine days.
 Prioritize grocery items such as food and ingredients that have multiple purposes, those with longer shelf life, and those which even leftovers can still be reprocessed.
 Have the fresh meat — chicken, pork, and fish — divided per planned dish in separate containers before storing in the freezer.
 If you can buy in bulks, do it and freeze extras. Buy also fruits and vegetables that are in season at the wet market.
 Avoid buying cooking ingredients — oil, soy sauce, and vinegar among others — in retail at the neighborhood sundry store. Buy them rather in volumes to make extra savings.
 Skip food deliveries to avoid the higher service fees brought by stricter quarantine guidelines. Sacrifice a little waiting in long queues at the supermarkets.
 Visit wet markets especially on weekends for cheaper yet fresh meat and vegetables. However, take measures and consider the health risks of making physical contacts with random people.
 Haggle with the wet market vendor over the price and save a few coins (e.g., asking as a patron if you could pay just an exact amount of PHP50.00 instead of PHP52.00, less the coins).
 Browse patiently through the market stalls (if still feasible) to find quality products and best deals at lower prices. Don’t settle for those convenient and higher priced at the frontlines.
 As much as possible, go to the grocery all by yourself. You don’t want to get influenced, buy less important items, and end up going beyond your set budget.
 In the same way, do not entrust the grocery to someone who does not have the necessary skills. Doing so will just give you a headache or a big budget nightmare.
 Plan your meals ahead of the week (or better, before going to the grocery). Don’t forget to include in your meal plan the breakfasts and snacks.
 Prepare more vegetable dishes over plain meat. Vegetables are healthier and cheaper. Sautéed veggies in an ounce of meat can save a meal or two.
 Innovate with your recipes and prepare budget-friendly yet still delectable meals out of the received relief canned goods.
 Try alternative ingredients that are reasonably cheaper and readily available without compromising much the taste of the dish.
 Employ additional techniques when cooking (e.g., using pressure cooker to make the meat tender and soaking mung beans for a few hours) to save on LPG.
 Gather all family members around during meals and snacks to track individual food consumptions and preferred diets.
 Master the art and science of storing, reheating, and recooking leftovers from the last good meal. The truth is, you can make something even more delicious than the original out of these leftovers.
 Engage everyone in productive home-based activities between meals and snacks for them to forget about their food cravings and checking the fridge from time to time.
 Regulate the use of toiletries — sanitary tissue, bath soap, shampoo, and others — and avoid wastage.
 Strategize, or possibly schedule, your house cleaning, laundry, and even dish washing to avoid wastage of detergents and liquids.
 Wash bedsheets, comforters, blankets, and pillowcases while still summer. Skip the use of dryers and have them rather dried under the scorching midday sun.
 Do the usual practices in conserving water. Use a glass of water instead of running tap water when brushing your teeth. Clean vegetables in a pan partially filled with water.
 Do not encourage or attract overeating and overconsumption. As much as possible, keep bulk supplies off the sight.
 Cut down (if you cannot quit) on your vices and follow the government ordinances on liquor and smoking bans.
 Initiate alternative recreational and educational activities, such as board games and kids workshops, to skip Netflix and save on electricity bills.
 Don’t let the kids ruin the budget with their wants and cravings, rather teach them about money by setting an example. If you don’t, somebody else will, and that’s a big risk.
 Turn off redundant lights and unplug gadgets and appliances during siesta (after-lunch sleep) hours and before hitting the hay at night
 Do minor DIY repairs by yourself while on a quarantine and skip the calls for costly repair services.
 Declutter and identify stuff that can still be sold in a garage sale possibly after the community quarantine.
 Cancel (or put temporarily on hold) your gym subscription and start your home-based fitness exercise through available apps and videos available online.
 Hold family meetings (or over dinner) on household chores, daily productive routines, frugal practices, collective goals, and even future family affairs.
 Sit for a while, make an account of, and analyze all your finances — receivables, household budget and bills, savings, and investments.
What works on my end may not work on yours, but I hope that somehow you get insights and consciousness about the covered aspects of household management where you can apply your own frugal practices.
In the end, what matters is not whether you have enough or not, rather your capacity to make informed decisions for an effective and efficient household management. For those who run on a tight budget though, you can at least stick to it and possibly make some savings with these frugal living practices.