It may seem difficult to get out of a financial rut, but these habits can get you back on track.
For many, their 30s usually serve as a milestone in life wherein they expect just about all aspects of their lives put together—career, personal, and even financial. But as many know, not everything planned rolls out the way one would hope. This includes the financial aspect. It’s a common occurrence for 20-somethings to be struggling with their finances or find themselves deep in debt.
In fact, Manulife conducted a study that they shared with Manila Times stating that 10 Filipino investors are in debt, placing Philippines second in Asia with individuals experiencing high levels of personal debt. So how does one escape—or better yet avoid—financial crisis? Here are 5 ways to hop into smart financing:
 Avoid Unnecessary Spending. It’s not as simple as it sounds. Cutting off unnecessary luxuries can take a toll on someone who isn’t used to it. But removing your daily frappucions isn’t the only means of eliminating any temptation to shed a few bucks.
Consider carefully before committing to long-term or installment basis spendings. If it benefits you more to opt for a prepaid phone rather than a postpaid one, it’s better to choose the smarter option. Take a step back as well before completely committing yourself to a credit card. Even with a small credit limit, it’s still difficult to find yourself in a lot of debt to a bank.
 Savings First Before Spendings. Effective saving and spending habits can go the distance. While most people spend their earnings on bills and basic necessities and then save the remaining, it may be much more effective to practice this habit the other way around.
Why not consider setting aside your savings first? It would be much more helpful if your savings are a fixed amount to. Keep this in a separate account to avoid touching it, then make do with the remaining amount in the budget.
 Track and Plan. While many may think that tracking their spendings and planning their budget is an obvious tip, not many people actually practice. The two habits go hand-in-hand: Tracking your spendings lets you know what you actually spend most on. Sometimes, the tiny but frequent purchases actually add up to be most costly. While planning a budget sets a realistic goal as what you should and shouldn’t splurge on.
If it’s a bit too tedious to track your spendings, there is now a long list of app options that can help you track your spendings. This way, you’ll only need to quickly flick open your phone and jot down something you bought that day.
 Look for Another Channel of Earning. If you have the luxury of time to do freelance work, why not try to? Not only can you earn a bit more on the side, it’s a great way to update your portfolio especially if your side hustle is related to your job specialty.
Consultancy, or freelance gigs can go a long way. It’s added income that can help give a hand on your daily spendings or add to your overall savings.
 Don’t Just Spend, Invest. If your top question is always how to save, maybe it’s not just a matter of saving, but rather investing. Investing may take a bit more time to experience the turnaround profit, but it guarantees better cash back then money simply tucked away into another savings account.
Scour for options to invest. If you’ve got a sizeable amount, you can consider a time deposit. Or if you’d prefer something more long term, you could look into purchasing property. A lot of individuals take into account purchasing a condominium unit, renting it out so that technically the renter pays for the monthly rent, then reselling the place for a huge profit later.
Regardless of what financial state you may be in now, it’s never too late to start making smart and efficient financial decisions. It doesn’t have to be too difficult to get out of a financial rut before stepping into your 30s. A change of spending, saving and investing habits may just work in your favor.
Loren Dimaano writes insightful personal finance and investment articles for Lamudi Philippines.