My husband recently attended Chinkee Tan’s financial seminar and he came home bringing a Do-it-Yourself Moneykit. It comes complete with Chinkee Tan’s book Till Debt Do Us Part and everything we need to get ourselves started in managing our finances. It got me thinking to list down practical things we have been following to avoid making unnecessary expenses when we can. Please note that whether you are married or single, you need to have your financial goal in mind and it becomes easy to know which ones you should not be spending on and it makes it easy to say ‘no’ to what I call ‘surprise or unnecessary expenses’. Keep in mind that a fool-proof money plan is not exclusive to those who have money crisis. All of us, in whatever money status we are in, can benefit from having wisdom in managing finances.
- Make use of your rewards and perks card
More than having these cards, be on top of what is being offered to cardholders. Most are so fast about signing up but not diligent enough about what to use these rewards and perks cards for. Most of the other perks card holder for a pizza restaurant do not know that they can actually get a second pizza free on offered dates, or that a rewards card from a leading department store will give you seasonal discounts like the one I got from International Women’s day (yep, the marketing arm of companies are getting creative about these and you can get perks and discounts even on an ordinary calendar day).
- I never do Groceries while Hungry
This, I know, that if I end up doing grocery while hungry, I almost always end up getting more food items than I need, end up rushing up to finish and not having enough time to compare prizes or worst, pick up items I do not usually get or have quantity that is more than I need from a regular grocery day. Of course, if you shop with kids, this is a no-brainer. My kids also tend to get too many food items from the shelves when I take them to join me at the grocery hungry. Oh, by the way, having a grocery plan if you do not want to bring a list, works wonders. I know what I will pick up even before I go close to the shelves. So please help ensure you do your item comparison before you get to the grocery. Develop a conscientious consumer mindset and do your research before you head to the stores.
- Dilute your dishwashing liquid
This explains why it is still cheaper if you buy a mid-priced dishwashing liquid. Because these are the only ones you can dilute your water while getting the same result you want from your dishwashing. Also, buy a container once and then do a refill, moving forward. If you haven’t got a basin while you do the dishes yet, start having one and you shave off water expenses.
- Do your own hair color, or train how to do it
Having a need to cover my gray hair almost every month (yep, that’s my silvery gray hair if I fail to color it), I have learned overtime to get an over-the-counter hair color and apply it at home. I started with asking someone to help me do it then I have eventually learned how to do it, myself. It saves me at least a thousand pesos monthly plus saves me time to queue at the salon. Except for the occasional hair product or hair treatment reviews I need to do as a blogger, I always opt to color my own hair, when I can.
- Bundle cable and internet plans
We used to have a little over a thousand worth of homephone plan but realized that we can have most savings if we go for mobile plans (enough for everyone in the house) and signed up instead for a bundled cable and internet plans for half the prize of the homephone plan!
It is critical to raise relevant questions and exercise your consumer rights at all times. Opportunities to earn and save are everywhere, we just have to be diligent and wise enough to know. I know of the best mommies who sew their own dresses, create their own gardens, and even paint their own rooms. Make each a fun adventure with your family or with your kids and you get additional bonus of creating memories out of money-saving techniques.
Tune in to Lorly’s (Making Working Moms Work (author) first and upcoming podcast interview due out on 11th of September (12Sept Phl Date) at http://www.workingmotherhood.com/podcasts/ (also available on iTunes)