Yesterday when I got home from my trip to Antique I did a routine check of my site stats, and I was pleasantly surprised on the amount of views gained by my previous blog post: “Track Your Spending.” So I would like to continue sharing the lessons I learned about managing my finances. My fixation for today is how I am learning how to live on less.
When you start getting excited about how much money you can earn by slowing your spending and saving your money, you will probably come up with all sorts of creative ways to continue with your present standard of living – like I did – but do it on LESS. The two main rules to remember are: Pay retail as little as possible, and plan ahead. Because if you wait until the last minute to buy things, you will most likely pay anything. That’s because you don’t have a lot of choices if you really need it. For example, if you know that your computer keyboard is missing some keys and almost ready to retire, start looking early for good deals on a replacement keyboard. Don’t wait until it dies and you have to sacrifice your work. Out of desperation you will probably run out and buy the first keyboard you see.
Clothes are another example. Like me, maybe you have also been paying retail for your outfits and buying a lot of them. But you can actually continue to dress nicely by putting more thought into what you are buying by buying secondhand. If you’re not ready for “ukay-ukay” or thrift stores, you can still buy classy, designer fashions at bazaars and sales. Bazaars are markets where vendors converge to sell various goods, mostly RTWs and are common here in the Philippines.
There are endless other ways we can live well on much less. Whether you shop at retail or thrift stores, remember always to shop with a conscience. You won’t be saving much by being a thrift store shopper if you buy more than you need simply because you think you are getting all the great deals. I am emphasizing that point because that has happened to me countless times before. Talk about buyer’s remorse. LOL! So the next time you are in a store and are about ready to part with your money, ask yourself what that purchase will do for your life. Really. Where are you going to use that purchase and how many times? Is it going to last long? Are you willing to give up your money in order to have this thing? Try to think twice. In my case, since I am human like everyone else and succumb to consumer seduction here and there, what I do is try not to bring a lot of money whenever I go out. I bring just enough for the activities that I am doing for the day. And of course I bring my notebook with me so I can write down and track my spending.
You can also read books on saving money. Many such books tell you how to save money on everything from snacks, clothes to funerals. Remember, if your goal is to save, then figuring out ways to live just fine on less can be a really fun challenge. Even if you don’t have the goal of changing the world or even your life, one immediate goal can be to see how fast you can get out of debt or see how fast you can double your money by saving and investing. However, if you don’t have some kind of goal in mind, cutting costs and living on less can be no more than a dismal exercise of being “kuripot” (stingy).