Category Archives: Money Saving Tips
Home-ownership is a major aspiration for most working Filipinos and their families. However, the majority of people who dream of owning property seldom have enough cash to immediately pay for a house in full. This is why many turn to housing loans for their property purchase.
In the Philippines, it comes down to either turning to the Home Development Mutual Fund (or the Pag-IBIG Fund) or a private lender, mostly commercial or universal banks, for the needed loan.
As you search on printed classifieds or online listings for your future home, it is ideal to know the differences between the two housing loan types available to you, as it not only affects what size of home you can buy and when you can buy it, it also affects your finances for the foreseeable future.
|• Pag-IBIG member for at least 24 months
• Must have completed at least 24 monthly Pag-IBIG contributions (can be paid in a lump sum)
• Must be no more than 60 years of age at time of loan application
• Have no existing loans that are in arears
• Have no existing Pag-IBIG loans that have been cancelled, foreclosed, or bought back.• Be legally able to acquire and encumber real property
|• Borrower must be between the ages of 21 and 65 years old
• Must have tenure of at least two years with present company of employment, or
• Have at least three years’ worth of profitable operation if running a business or practicing profession
• Must meet the minimum monthly gross income set by lending bank (commonly ranges between Php30,000 and Php40,000) per month
When considering applying for a housing loan, the first that comes to mind for most working Filipinos is the Pag-IBIG loan. As it should be, since all full-time employees in the country are required to make monthly Pag-IBIG contributions, and not taking out a loan when needed would make those contributions seem for naught.
The biggest advantage for borrowers when opting for a Pag-IBIG loan is that the requirements are comparatively not as stringent as that of private lending institutions, letting almost anyone who is a member apply. Simply making timely contributions, not being 60 years of age, and having other existing loans, or at least those not in arears, all but guarantees approval for a Pag-IBIG loan.
|• Maximum of Php6 million (can be sum of multiple loans)
• Subject to other qualifiers like the member’s actual need and capacity to pay• Loan amount must not result in a monthly amortization that is 35% of borrower’s total gross salary
|• The minimum offered by banks differ with each, with some like the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) offering as much as 80% of the total price of the property being purchased, as long as the loan does not exceed Php5million.
• The amount can also differ depending on where the property for sale is located, as is the case with banks like Philippine National Bank (PNB), whose loans differ between properties in and outside of Metro Manila.
While a Pag-IBIG loan is more accommodating for low-income borrowers, bank loans have stricter qualifications because they in turn are a more viable option for home-seekers who have pricier properties in mind. Private mortgages like those of BPI’s can cover as much as 80 percent of the total price of a property, as long as the loan does not exceed Php5 million.
In contrast, the Pag-IBIG Fund offers a current maximum of Php6 million via its End-User home financing program, or as a sum of numerous loans as the primary borrower or as a co-signer. Additionally, one does not need to be a depositor or member of the private bank to apply for a loan, or for that matter, make monthly contributions.
|Interest Rate||On June 1, 2015, the Pag-IBIG Fund decreased their interest rates to encourage more members to make use of housing loans:
6.5% – 3-year fixing period
7.27% – 5 years
8.035% – 10 years
8.585% – 20 years
9.05% – 25 years
10% – 30 years
*On July 2016, Pag-IBIG announced their lowest rate ever of 5.5 % per annum
|Some banks, like BDO and Metrobank, offer as low as 5.50% of interest for the first year, which is then subject to re-pricing:
6.25–6.50% – 3-year fixing period
6.88% – 5 years
8–8.5 % – 6–10 years
11.5–12.5% – 16–20 years
|Loan Terms||Often set a median of 15 years, but with a maximum of 30 years.||Generally between 20 and 25 years, but again varies with each bank, and sometimes on the purpose of the loan. PNB, for example, offers maximum loan terms of 20 years for loans used for the purchase of a house and lot, townhouse, condo unit, or for the construction of a house; and only 10 years for loans used for buying a vacant lot or for home improvement.|
Interest and loan terms are significant aspects of home loans, and for many it tends to be the decisive factors of considering what type, and how much, of a loan to apply for. Generally, Pag-IBIG housing loans are more favorable with regard to loan terms, as it provides borrowers a lengthier time to pay versus private bank loans.
While Pag-IBIG housing loans also involve less miscellaneous and processing fees, private bank loans may be the better option when it comes to saving money in the long run. Private loans’ interest rates, due to the constant competition between lenders, have the potential to decrease during the loan period. This is on top of the rates already being competitive at the onset of the loan.
Utilizing either a housing loan from Pag-IBIG or from a private bank remains the most efficient way to become a homeowner, but with a financial decision as significant as buying property, a lot of considerations must be made. While understanding the pros and cons of Pag-IBIG and bank loans through research is beneficial, it is still recommended to consult with loan officers and real estate professionals to reach the most informed decision possible.
Sources: PagIBIGfund.gov.ph, BDO.com.ph, BPIHousingLoans.com, PNB.com.ph, RCBCSavings.com, SecurityBank.com
N.B.: This is a guest contribution from Lamudi.com.ph.
Image via: flickr
Living a frugal life isn’t bad, but overdoing it can certainly have its repercussions. Being strategic and planning all your expenses without reflecting on your actions can defeat the whole purpose of living economically.
Focusing on just the numbers can take the fun out of your life. What’s more, putting too many restrictions on yourself and going overboard with budgeting can prove to be disastrous. Here are just a few disadvantages of being too frugal that you need to be wary of.
You Might Become a Cheapskate
In your efforts to save as much money as possible for more meaningful things, you might start becoming a cheapskate, and this is certainly not desirable. For example, availing freebies of skin and hair products you like is acceptable, but buying items that aren’t right for your skin and hair just because they’re cheaper is not!
You Could End up with Things You Don’t Need
Image via: flickr
Because you’re so obsessed with deals and discounts, you might end up purchasing a lot of things you don’t have need for and never will use in the future. So if you bought a hundred toothbrushes because the cost came down to a penny each, it’s time for a reality check!
In addition to this, people who have taken living frugally too seriously tend to hang on to stuff in the hopes that they’ll need it in the future. If your home is full of clutter that you don’t need right now, do away with whatever you can.
And Choose to Live without Things You Really Need
You might start giving up on things you need just to save some cash. If you’re living a difficult and uncomfortable life, you’ve already stretched it too far.
You Might Give up Frugal Living Altogether
Just like a diet that is too strict, a budget that doesn’t allow you to indulge in your favorite things can become suffocating. This can cause you to give up thinking about your expenses altogether and can be more destructive.
Apart from having the basic necessities, give yourself a break and buy that dress you’ve been eyeing for weeks or treat yourself to a dinner at an upscale restaurant once in a while!
It Can Be Lonely
Image via: pixabay
If you have found friends that share your love for frugal living, good for you! But if none of your friends live the way you do, you’re bound to be lonely at times. After all, no one wants a friend who worries about money all the time to tag along to a weekend party.
Of course some of your friends might understand, but only if you live frugally within the limits. And at no point of time should you get into competition mode and try outdoing your frugal friends!
Your Safety Is Compromised
Living frugally can cause you to turn a blind eye to your health and safety. Perhaps you don’t have a life insurance policy or you don’t bat an eyelid when consuming cans of expired food from your pantry.
Either way, you could end up spending a lot more money should things go wrong, so think twice before you act! Make sure you go for regular health and dental checkups, and get your life, home, and car insured as soon as you can.
Note that food that is cheap might be low on nutrition and if you eat too much of the unhealthy stuff, you aren’t doing the right thing. Eat healthy foods- they aren’t always expensive!
Also take care of your belongings- remember that a stitch in time saves nine. Delay getting something fixed and you might have to spend a greater amount of money later on.
So Are Your Ethics
Submitting multiple rebates by changing a few characters of your name and address for items that clearly state ‘1 per household’ is wrong. It is also wrong to expect more from people than you give them in return.
If you no longer care about your values and have started compromising on your ethics just to save a few bucks, you’re definitely on the wrong track.
Living frugally isn’t bad, but you don’t want to forget the ‘living’ part when you’re focusing primarily on saving money. Frugal living is all about making wise financial decisions and not making life uncomfortable for yourself and your loved ones. Also, you can’t have your lifestyle decisions turn you into a laughing stock.
As such, drawing the line between what is and what isn’t acceptable is important. Whether you’ve just started taking your expenses into account or you’ve been living frugally for quite some time, the information provided here will help you examine your way of life and identify the mistakes you’re making by being too frugal.
Just relax and live life to the fullest- it’s possible to do so on a budget!
A lot of people do not know how to be alone. Some are scared, some feel lost, some feel lonely, and some just feel awkward. Imagine if we elevate that to traveling solo — alone in an unfamiliar territory, surrounded by people you don’t know, trying things for the first time — all by yourself. Sure, it can be daunting but more and more people think traveling on your own can be as exciting.
And guess who the new power travelers are? Women. A new survey by Booking.com revealed that 72% of American women have traveled alone and most of them feel more confident when doing so. For 65% of women, traveling alone is freedom. Traveling is also how they escape from the pressures of everyday life. And women are not just making these up. Travel really does affect one’s happiness. A Dutch study showed that simply planning and anticipating a vacation can give the largest boost in happiness.
Whoever you are, whatever it is that you do, and whatever your reasons are, do not deprive yourself of the joys of traveling solo. Who knows, maybe you’ll see for yourself what many women travelers are talking about. Here are the many benefits of traveling alone:
Your way, your pace
If you feel like sitting in a café for hours, no one will tell you that you are wasting time. If you feel like exploring seven tourist spots in one day, no one will tell you to slow down. You can wake up very early or sleep until noon. You do it your way and you do it at your own pace. There is no itinerary and even if you made one for yourself, you can just go ahead and break it. No one will drag you to places you don’t want to see and you won’t feel like you have to drag other people, too. You don’t have to adhere to someone else’s schedule.
You will meet more people
When you travel with your partner or with friends, the tendency is you will always stick with that group. But being alone gives you the chance to be more open. When you are alone, you are more likely to talk to other people even if that only means asking them to take your picture. Reaching out becomes more natural when you travel by yourself.
You are inclined to try new things
Aside from meeting new people like the locals, you are more inclined to try new things when you travel alone. You wake up everyday and you ask yourself “what am I going to do today?” There is this urge to go full circle — “I have travelled alone, it’s time I do new things by myself.” You can try bungee jumping or cliff diving and no one will tell you it is way too scary. You can eat exotic dishes and no one will tell you they are not clean. On the contrary, people around you will even cheer you on.
You learn to take care of yourself
This is something that most people learn in their 40s. When you know that you are alone, you always stay on your guard, always alert, and look after yourself. Travelling alone puts us in charge and in many ways, it makes us responsible.
Get as much “me” time as you want
There is something about “me” time that fascinates everyone. In the same survey by Booking.com, 46% of women want “to get time to myself.” One tip for solo travel if reflection and relaxation are among the agenda, get a hotel that allows you to reflect. You can do this even if you are going on a trip to busy beaches like Boracay in the Philippines. You can get a beach resort accommodation nestled away from the noise and the crowd. A luxurious and serene Boracay hotel accommodation, for example, will give you the space you want to think and reflect.
You are bound to travel light
No one will help you check in your bags or carry them around. When you are traveling alone, you will (finally) understand the wisdom behind travelling light. Let’s say for example, packing your bags for a Boracay vacation. You will learn to pack only the essential things you need for a Boracay vacation, or for any destination for that matter. You will assess and re-assess what you just really need and you will be surprised you can survive with just a back pack.
You will save money (hopefully)
Since you are on your own, you learn to budget. No one’s going to lend you money when you go short. In many ways, you can find traveling by yourself cheaper. There will be no companions teasing you to try this and that, go here and there, ride a cab when all your budget can afford is the train, or buy more souvenirs.
You develop confidence
Traveling alone presents a challenge like that of navigating a new city or that of learning a new language. But with these challenges come renewed confidence. You will overcome these challenges because you have no choice. When self-doubt comes crashing your confidence down, you say, “I have come this far. Why stop now?”
No one will filter the experience
You see the world the way you see it. No one will filter it for you by giving you a different perspective. Even if your views are compatible with that of your companion, the memories you will have of a place or an experience will always be compromised.
You will surprise yourself
At the end of the trip, you are most likely to discover something new about yourself — what you are scared of and what you like best. You will be surprised to find out that you can do certain things by yourself. You will be surprised at how you react to situations. Being alone does that to people. Because you are on your own, you learn to listen to your heart, which is a good start towards self-(re)discovery.
A solo journey is truly empowering. It gives you a stronger sense of self. It also relieves you of stress and tension. Travel has the power to make us happy, to trust ourselves, and to understand and appreciate ourselves more.
The very first time that I used my @agoda reward points was in this #hotel. If you are constantly traveling and would love to instantly book a room online, I highly recommend Agoda.com. So many accommodations to choose from and you can often get discounts if there are promos. The more you book, the higher your reward points which you can use as payment in your next booking. #agoda #hotel #onlinebooking
The very first time that I used my @agoda reward points was in this #hotel. If you are constantly traveling and would love to instantly book a room online, I highly recommend Agoda.com. So many accommodations to choose from and you can often get discounts if there are promos. The more you book, the higher your reward points which you can use as payment in your next booking. #agoda #hotel #onlinebooking http://ift.tt/18kEChO
For too many people, going on a dream vacation can feel like an unattainable goal. While it would be amazing to travel to exotic destinations like Thailand, Australia, Singapore or Jamaica, many of us think that we would never be able to save up enough money to travel to these places comfortably, even if we were able to score last minute vacation packages. After all, most of us have mortgages, tuition payments and other assorted bills to worry about.
Night shot of Marina Bay during our Singapore trip – December of last year.
Thankfully, this line of reasoning is completely wrong. You can go on that dream vacation, but it will require giving yourself a year’s time to plan and save accordingly. Here are some tips on how to save money during the year to go on your dream vacation.
Determine How Much You’ll Need – The first step is to sit down and calculate exactly how much money you’ll need to enjoy your vacation comfortably. While you want to create a figure that you can logically save up in a year’s time, don’t budget too much. After all, you want to have enough funds to truly enjoy your dream vacation.
Create a Plan – Once you’ve determined how much you’ll need, you simply need to create a plan determining how much and how often you’ll put money into your vacation savings. This is as simple as dividing your total amount by 12, the number of months in a year, or 52, the number of weeks. It’s a good idea to create a savings account for your vacation money. This way, you won’t be tempted to dip into it.
Stick To Your Plan – The most important aspect of saving for a dream vacation is really sticking to your plan. It will be tempting to dip into your vacation savings for little purchases throughout the year, especially around the holidays. However, sticking to your vacation savings plan will be something that you thank yourself for once the time for your dream vacation comes.
Get the whole family involved in this year of vacation saving. This is a great way to teach your kids about the benefits and rewards that come with diligently saving money. If you create a year-long plan and stick to it, you’ll thank yourself when it comes time to fly away to the destination that you’ve always dreamed of visiting.
Starting off in a new home isn’t cheap. Apart from the initial cost of deposits and agency or mortgage fees, you’ll have to stump up the funds to kit out your pad. The good news is, there are lots of money-saving tactics that you can employ in order to keep your spending down.
When you’re on the hunt for kitchen appliances and other items, make sure you shop around for both larger white goods and smaller appliances like toasters, kettles and grills. There are lots of deals available online, and by taking a little time and using price comparison sites to review a number of options, you stand a better chance of bagging a bargain.
Also, it can pay off to opt for second-hand products. These can also be found online auction and ad sites, as well as in charity shops and car boot sales. OK, so these items may not last as long or look as pretty as brand new versions, but they can save you a tidy sum. Of course, before you hand over any money for these items, you’ll need to make sure they work properly.
You might even be able to get some items for free. There are a growing number of reuse websites in cyberspace where people advertise products ranging from white goods to sofas that they no longer want. As long as you can pick the objects up, they could be yours for nothing.
Comb the sales
Timing is also key. If you stock up on products for your property during sale seasons, you can benefit from impressive value for money. This may mean being patient for a little while, but if big savings are on offer, it could be worth your while.
Kitting your new house or flat out on a budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise when it comes to style. Often, it is the inexpensive little extras that help to make living spaces look and feel warm and attractive. Something as simple – and cheap – as adding some new cushions to sofas or placing a fresh bunch of flowers in a vase can bring rooms to life and suddenly make it feel like home.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/4929685747/
Boracay is tagged as the second best beach destination in the world. This is already not new to anyone especially among beach bums and tourists alike. But, for someone like me who grow up in Cebu and had been to its finest beaches, Boracay is not really that super great. I mean come on. When it comes to beaches, Sumilon Island here in Cebu is at par, and don’t forget Camotes, Malapascua, and Bantayan Island – these are just a few of Cebu’s best beach destinations. Also, Panglao Island in Bohol is majestic. The one thing that makes Boracay a wonder on its own is the never-ending-all-year-round activities that makes you want to come back for more. And, honestly, that’s the very reason why I’m planning to go back may be next year.
Exploring Boracay on a Budget at Night
I discovered that the most budget-friendly activity you can do in Boracay is to explore the island by doing a photo-walk during the night.
Compared to the “very” costly day-time activities, exploring at night is very friendly to your pocket. You don’t really need to buy anything. If you’re a first time tourist, taking photos is definitely a very rewarding and enjoyable activity you can do.
While exploring, you can splurge a bit and have a dinner buffet. In our case, I managed to haggle the per head price, from Php285 per head (for 4) down to Php284 per head (for 3+1). Yes, I got the 4th person free of charge. I’m that good in haggling. LOL!
For Php213 per head, we already have a very sumptuous dinner that was composed of poultry meat and sea foods. And take note, the drinks are bottomless. (; Another note: If you are in a “super” tight budget, you can skip the buffet dinner and just head to Andoks, Mang Inasal, Master Siomai, and a lot more cheaper options.
After we had our dinner, we were so full that we decided to stroll around. I found out that there are so many dinner buffet deals ahead of us – the very reason the woman who convinced us to dine in their restaurant tried her best to keep us by giving us a lower rate. Nice strategy!!
Compared to other famous beach destinations here in the Philippines, I can say that Boracay has the liveliest night life.
You will never get hungry because the variety of options is endless. From fresh sea foods, food stalls, fine dining, fast foods, and yes even a grocery store where you can buy canned goods and rice.
While strolling, we found some fun ways to take photos. At the beach side there were a few big photo-shoot studio umbrellas where we got our photos taken.
Farther ahead, we spotted a couple of sand castles. This one in the photo is not the usual fabulous sand castle I usually see but this is already okay. Note: After you take your photos, some kids will ask you for a donation. They are the ones who built the sand castles and they want you to compensate their effort. You have the choice to just ignore them or just give them at least five pesos. In my case, I gave them twenty.
One of the best highlights of our long photo-walk session was the dancing chefs. When we arrived at their dinner buffet area, we noticed a lot of Koreans and other foreigners having a good time taking photos with the restaurant’s chefs. Who doesn’t want to have a picture taken wearing a chef’s cap?
Although September is an off-peak season in Boracay, the clubbing life is so alive I would have tried going in a disco area if my mother was not with us.
And this is how the traffic looks like at 10PM. Tourists had just started to pour in.
While on our way back to our hotel, I was astounded when a policeman caught up with us and tried to check the photos I took with my camera. He asked me if I took photos of “him”.
I was like, really? You Mr. Policeman are overreacting. I told him that I was only taking a photo of the police vehicle as part of my Boracay documentation. In our way back to our hotel, we noticed some disturbances when a few policemen were apprehending a drunken tourist. That’s the time that I noticed a police vehicle and snapped a photo. It never occurred to me that a policeman in a tourist area would reprimand someone taking photos of her surroundings.
He tried to chitchat with us and asked where we come from and told us that he did the inspection for security purposes. I was like, really? They are expecting spies and conspiracies in this bloody island? I wanted to LOL but at a closer look, I did consider his excuse. Well, who knows? This can be a good aspect of the island – security. Still, I really find it friggin’ annoying and unnecessary. If you are a good policeman, you should know how to assess people.
And here, I save the best err the worst for last – in my long and previous online researches about Boracay, I never really seen photos like this one that I took. The results of my online researches all contain beautiful photos of the island – not a hint of the situation that’s being presented in the photo above.
When I passed by this young mother with her children, I can’t helped but realized that in the Philippines, the local/native people are the poorest of the poor. And it becomes very ironic especially in an island as rich as Boracay – a tourist destination that asks for massive terminal fee, and environmental fees at every entrance gate. Spell OVERPRICING and SCAMMERS – will write a detailed article about this in my next blog post.
Have you been to Boracay? Share your experiences, may it be good or bad. Goodnight. (:
Sunset Shot with Dude at Pitogo Island
At the end of October, Dude and I, along with Minette, will be moving to Pitogo Island. We will be basing there temporarily or for good (there’s no final plan yet). We’ve been planning for this move since early this year. Dude will be quitting from his office job this October for various reasons but one of them is to have a flexible schedule to travel with me. One of the reasons of our limited travel trips is his work schedule. Also, we feel that Toledo City is a hostile place to live in. It would be a relief to get away from this city. (Will try my best to write a separate post detailing about our misadventures here.)
Pitogo Island in front of me
In all honesty, I’m actually hesitant about the prospect of living there (though I fell in love with its scenery and the beauty of the surrounding islets), but this move also has to do with our financial stability. We feel that we can have more savings living in an island compared to living in a sub-urban area. Also, we have the peace of mind going to trips and travels knowing that our valuables are in a safe place.
My Travel Schedule for the last quarter of 2013
I write about our moving plan to give a detailed picture on how hectic our schedule would be a few months from now. Thus between our preparations to move and settle down in an island (this time), we’ll also be inserting in our schedule the remaining travel plans we have for the rest of 2013.
September 6 to 9 – Boracay
Screenshot photo from Boracay Live Cam – August 15, 2013 – That’s White Beach!
Definitely my first time going there!!! I’m sooo bloody excited that I booked our flight and hotel last June. We’ll go there during those dates to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Mama will be turning 48 this September and it’s really my long-time plan to bring her to a relaxing vacation because she’s so overworked “nannying” her grand kids plus all the “bone-breaking” work at home. I really can’t imagine my mother’s hard-work all these years. I intend to bring papa as well but he refused because there’s no one around to check on my younger sister and her kids (her husband is currently away due to work).
Frugal Tips in Booking a Flight to Boracay – I booked two one-way flights. Booking a round-trip flight would cost you more especially if your flight destination is to Bora. Luckily, I managed to grab four seats that were on sale. The base fare is Php399 (per head). (: In our flight back to Cebu, I booked the Kalibo to Cebu flight to avoid the very costly Caticlan to Cebu fare. Take note that the Kalibo to Cebu fare is not on sale but it only costs Php588 (excluding all kinds of taxes and fees that would make your head spin).
October 18 to 20 – Bacolod
We’ve been planning to go to Bacolod because it’s just a ferry away from Toledo City. Fortunately, a friend will also go there during the Masskara Festival. That friend told me that she knows a very affordable inn there with high speed Wi-Fi. Soulmate, a close friend of mine, will also come along with us. Pretty much excited for this. (:
Frugal Tips in Going to Bacolod – If you are base near Toledo City, the best frugal way to go there is via ferry. The fare is only Php200 plus. If you are from Cebu City, you have the option to travel by ocean jet or via airplane. Go for airplane if there’s a seat sale but the ocean jets are advisable if you’re on budget.
December 2 to 6 – Singapore
This is a big year-ender for our 2013 travels. I just got my passport earlier this month (after almost a year of processing!!). I’ve chosen those dates because December 5 will be dude’s (my partner) birthday. We’ve been planning for years to travel abroad together and 2013 is our lucky year. I feel so lucky (again) because I managed to book a one-way flight (Cebu – SG) when Cebu Pacific had a promo. The base fare is Php1, 499. Usually the base fare (if there’s no promo) is around Php4,000 plus. I booked a separate flight for SG – Cebu and got a promo fare but it’s quite expensive compared to the latter since it’s priced in Singaporean dollars. The total cost of the flight including all the taxes and add-on fees (back and forth) is Php7, 700 plus per head. That’s Php4,000 plus cheaper compared to regular airfare and a round-trip flight.
Frugal Trips in Booking a Flight to Singapore – Never book a round-trip flight unless the airline company announced that they have a round-trip promo which very rarely happens. Book two separate one-way flights to avoid paying more.
Praying and hoping for good weather during these scheduled trips. I’m so happy that I’m slowly realizing my dreams to travel this year. I’m looking forward for more trips next year.
In my recent travels, I found a few mobile apps that are very useful when I look for special deals and promos (to lessen my expenses). Using these apps doesn’t guarantee that you can immediately get cheaper deals, but if you know how to use them (and if you are a wise user), you can definitely get a great bargain. The following are my top 5 apps ideal for budget traveling.
Kayak is a travel search engine that lets you search for flights (across all available airlines), hotels, cars, and a lot more. In my case, I use it to look for the cheapest airline promos and deals. Unlike other travel search engines, Kayak lets the users filter search results from the cheapest to the most expensive deals. To get cheaper deals, make sure to book on weekdays and book a month or a few months before your travel date.
Definitely the most useful app I’ve been using for quite some time now. Agoda allows its users to search for hotels all over the globe. Just like Kayak, it has a filter functionality that allows users to view the results of their searches from the cheapest to the most expensive hotel deals. If you are a registered user, you can get some special deals and they also offer reward points in every hotel that you’ve checked in. Those points are convertible to cash which you can use to pay for your next check-in.
This app automatically grabs every booking details in your email and organizes them in chronological order. Tripit is very useful for people who have no time to plot their travel schedules. It helps you save time and puts your mind at ease knowing that you can check all your travel details in one place, well-organized and updated.
4. Google Earth
Instead of a map, I prefer to use this app in checking for places and locations I wanted to go to. Aside from the very detailed satellite and aerial views, it also helps me in getting street details that are very important when I’m commuting (especially when I’m riding in a taxi). Most taxi drivers would intentionally change your route so that they can charge higher fare. This is very useful if you are traveling to a specific place for the very first time.
This is the only app in this list that I haven’t used yet. Though I’ve already did some mock bookings, I haven’t decided yet if I’m gonna use this in the future. I feature this here because it has been reviewed in a few famous budget travel sites (and the feedback is mostly positive). AirBnB absolutely has the cheapest accommodation listings ever. Unlike Agoda, its listings are not focused on hotels but accommodations from AirBnB hosts. These hosts are ordinary people or fellow travelers who are accepting guests in their empty houses, apartments, rooms, or even bed spaces. The accommodation set-up is done between the guest and the host. Though it is very tempting, my cautious self is a bit hesitant due to the fact that a stay in a place with a complete stranger is very risky. But, I’m not closing my door on this.
Have you used any of the apps featured in this post? Do you use mobile apps to lessen the hassles and expenses while you travel? Share your experiences and tips below. (:
Location independent lifestyles have received a great deal of press in recent years, and it’s easy to see why they’re such an attractive prospect for many. Instead of tying yourself down to a mortgage and a traditional job, you too could roam the world, settling only where you like, for as long as you like.
If you’re on a budget and want to see the world, it’s a brilliant option. Here’s why.
Longer-term accommodation is often cheaper
When you’re booking accommodation as a holidaymaker, you often end up spending a lot more than what is really necessary. When you’re free to stay in your destination for a little longer though, you could pick up some fabulous deals. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to book some accommodation for a week or so when you first arrive, then get out in the local area to work out where exactly you want to stay and what’s available.
Immersing yourself in a culture is more rewarding than just taking a holiday
A getaway to Hongkong or Bali, for example, can be very exciting and rewarding, but can you imagine how much more you would learn if you were able to live like a local for a few months or more? When you embark on a location independent lifestyle, this is very possible. With nothing to hold you down and no long-term financial ties, you can choose to stay for as long as you like.
Technology is making the world a smaller place
Being away from home doesn’t have to mean losing touch with your nearest and dearest. Wireless internet access is now readily available across the globe, and will often be free or very inexpensive. You could Skype your loved ones every day without ever having to spend a penny!
You can work on the road
With advances in the internet, running your own business on the road is becoming more and more achievable. Whether you’re a freelance writer, graphic designer, web developer, affiliate marketer, or just about anything else, there could be a way to make it work from anywhere in the world. This means that you’re no longer tied to traditional traveling jobs, such as bar work or fruit picking.
You can live a minimalist lifestyle
Having lots of ‘stuff’ doesn’t make people happy. In many cases, it just holds you back and gives you more things to worry about. When you’re living a location independent lifestyle, you’re forced into traveling light and only packing the things that you really need. Not only can this be very liberating, but it’s much cheaper! Spending your cash on experiences rather than material objects is regarded as being one of the happiest ways to live.
As you can see, you don’t need a huge budget to live a location independent lifestyle. With some careful planning and preparation, it’s a way of living that’s available to all.
Have you ever thought about trading your usual routine for a life on the road? What’s holding you back?
Moving can be a costly endeavor, even if you try to do most of the moving yourself. After all, there are so many details to be tended to, many of which cost something. For instance, the process of turning off utilities at the old place usually incurs a fee, as does turning on utilities at the new one. With this in mind, it helps to know what while there are some financial aspects of moving that just can’t be helped (you need lights, right?!), there are some other ways you can mitigate the cost of moving so that it doesn’t break the bank (not even your personal piggy bank). Consider some tips to take you in the right direction:
Yes, it would save a ton of time to have a moving company come and pack for you, but they often add on this service for an arm and a leg. Avoid this by having over a few close family members and friends for a packing party. For the prices of a few pizzas and a bottle or two of wine, you can solicit some help to get your stuff into boxes without paying the high cost for a moving company to do it. However, if you are going to use one longdistancemovingcompanies.co is a cheap mover.
Move at an off-peak time of year
Peak moving season is during the summer, when many people try to relocate without the hassle of school and during work vacations. Avoid this by moving in the middle of the year. Rates to move may be much lower at this point of the year.
Transport your vehicle
This applies for those who own cars or any types of vehicles. This may seem like an unnecessary cost, but sometimes, time is money and there are many other things that you can do to get your move running more efficiency than driving your vehicle to the new destination. Instead, this is one area where you can get a great deal and take this off of your to-do list. Ask about a first-time transport discount if this is your first time transporting a vehicle; many companies will give you a break, even if they don’t have an existing program. Moreover, you can often get a great deal on packaging auto transport with other moving services to avoid paying too much more out of pocket for your vehicle to be moved. Contact a1autotransport.com for all your car shipping needs.
Do the house prep yourself
Oftentimes, when moving into a new place, the landlord or former owners will go to great lengths to have it cleaned for you. However, this often comes at a cost. Instead, opt to do a lot of the work yourself. Forgo the added charge to cut the lawn, clean the cupboards and replace the floor-mats and take the do-it-yourself approach. Have the local neighbor’s kid clean the front-yard and backyard for a fraction of the cost and clean the house from top to bottom, room by room when you move in. You may be surprised by how these small cuts to your moving budget can save you money significantly when you move into a new home.
The list of expenses that demand us to hand out more and more of our hard earned cash seems to grow longer by the day. As if not inconvenient enough, times remain tough for many of us when it comes to finance. Couple that with the recent research suggesting that the key to happiness is saving a little money each month and this means we really could all benefit from being able to cut back when we hit the stores.
- Have a list: Whether you are intending to buy one item or a week’s worth of groceries, writing down exactly what you need and sticking stoically to this list will save you from parting with extra money.
- Have a budget: When the time comes to buy an expensive item, such as a car or electrical appliance, work out your maximum budget and only shop within that range.
- Ignore unnecessary offers: Sure, something may be on sale at 20% off but does that mean you need it? It may be cheaper than before but you would still be paying out money that you could have otherwise saved.
- Avoid bulk buying: Buying items in bulk and storing them is often recommended to save money. While it works for some items, for others they will simply deteriorate in quality or expire, rendering them useless and wasting your money.
- Make friends: Being friendly with the locals really can save you some cash when it comes to getting services. Be it plumbers, decorators, builders or hairdressers; mates rates can come in very handy in times of need.
- Shop at night: If you head to the supermarket or grocery store at night you can uncover some great bargains. Items that are sold fresh, such as bread, milk and eggs will often be reduced in price.
- Book in advance: Paying for travel is never cheap but the earlier you book plane or train tickets, the cheaper you will get them.
- Be wary of finance deals: Opting for a finance agreement (read more here), where you pay for an item in installments, may seem like a good way of avoiding a hefty lump sum but you will be committed to a lengthy contract and are required to pay interest, meaning you pay more overall.
- Compare prices: Whether online or by visiting a number of different stores, looking around and comparing rival prices is often the most reliable way to find the best deal.
- Shop alone: Having others around you when you shop can be distracting. Often they will talk you into buying extra items you did not need and so going alone and sticking to your list is often your best bet.
- Haggle: You will never know if a seller might reduce the price unless you ask. Even with existing contracts such as phone or internet providers, you can contact them and threaten to take your custom elsewhere unless the price is reduced; ultimately they would rather get some money from you than nothing.
- Cheaper isn’t always better: Opting for the cheapest option might save you the most money initially but poor quality goods will not last, meaning they will regularly need replaced. Avoid designer brands but maintain decent quality.
Each of the above measures may not seem enough to make a big difference to your finances by itself but combined together; these simple, easily implemented tasks can be a powerful combination, becoming a habit and saving you money before you even know it. In this day and age, a frugal life is often the best life.
In these tough economic times, many people are starting to feel the pinch. Getting out and seeing friends is an important part of your social life though, and it can be difficult to think of exciting things to do when you’re on a budget.
Here, we take a look at five ways to enjoy time with friends without breaking the bank.
Host a dinner party
Going out for dinner can be expensive, though it’s something that so many people enjoy. After all, what could be better than sharing good food with good friends? While restaurant bills can add up to hundreds if you aren’t careful, hosting your own dinner party can be remarkably cheap. Buy your ingredients from the local market, and consider asking friends to bring along dessert and drinks. You might want to invest in a few pieces to make the occasion special, such as high quality champagne flutes, which you’ll be able to use again and again.
Look out for discounts and coupons for events
The internet is a great resource when it comes to finding discounts. Sign up to daily offer sites, or just keep checking back with your favourite businesses. With lots of competition out there, they want to keep your interest and get you through the doors! You can also get money off vouchers when you’re signed up to certain mobile phone networks. From restaurants to bowling, there’s something out there for everyone.
Make use of happy hour
Sometimes, saving money is all about picking the best times! A few rounds of drinks in your favourite bar could cost less than half of the usual price if you go during happy hour. This isn’t just the case for pubs, either. Many restaurants and cinemas offer special deals for those who visit outside of peak times. Find out what’s available at your usual haunts. Why pay more for exactly the same?
Try new things
Most people fall into the habit of doing the same old things weekend after weekend. But if you’re willing to try something new, you could be amazed at how much cash you’ll save while having a great time. Activities such as walking, for example, offer a fun way to get fit without spending a penny. When you get your friends involved, it could be an interesting day out. Pack a picnic and take along a map, just in case! Similarly, many councils offer free taster activities, covering everything from exercise to pottery.
If you’re struggling for ideas for your next social gathering, why not give one of these a go? You have nothing to lose, and you could discover an exciting new hobby or interest.
This article was brought to you by Ruth Jones on behalf of Gurasu. Gurasu specialises in fine crystal products for the more discerning customer, with ranges that include crystal vases, glass tumblers and much more.
Anyone who wants to lose weight or lose the belly fat must perfectly understand that to achieve that goal, diet and exercise should go together. Not just one, but both. But given our modern trying times, another key factor comes into the picture: budget. And honestly, it plays a very big role in your goal plan, especially if one adopts frugal living as a lifestyle.
While researching diet plans and weight loss techniques over the internet, I have found numerous articles that encourage dieters to eat high-protein meat like turkey, red meat, or salmon. Consume healthy unsaturated or monosaturated fat that can be found in avocado, olive oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, and the list goes on. Eat green vegetables like lettuce, celery, cauliflower and the list goes on. And every time I go to the supermarket, the prices for these diet foods are very expensive. Yikes!
As for the exercises, the famous action plan for dieters is to hit the gym. Most gyms require membership fees that do hurt the budget too.
So what do frugal livers do?
Start with the Right Mind
I think it starts with the mind. Why do you want to lose weight or your belly fat? Determine what motivates you, and create a mantra for it. Say it to yourself over and over again. While trying not to eat your favorite unhealthy food, say that mantra. When you get tired and your knees already hurt from too much exercise, say that mantra. If your motivation is weak, chances are you’ll be ditching your goals sooner than later.
Every body is Unique, Your Body is Unique
Listen to your body. Which time of the day do you feel most hungry? In spite of all the diet and exercise, why am I not losing pounds? How do I stop myself from grabbing another cup of rice, or ordering another round of drinks? And why do I eat less but gain weight and fat so fast? When you determine the answers to the questions above, then likely you’ll adjust your eating habits, self-control, and again, motivation.
Eating the Right Food
Now here comes the food part. Yummy, but in dieting, the word is sacrifice. Though it requires a lot of sacrifice, it does not have to be sad or deprived. Studies show that skinny people enjoy their food and do not gain weight easily because they savor it and chew it properly, before grabbing another. So try to enjoy your food on the table, and not devour it. And make sure to eat the right food. Right. Food. Set out a diet plan that is budget-friendly.
Eat oatmeal or whole wheat bread for snacks.
Eat less rice, hence you can save money.
Drink lots of water, it is cheap.
Eat a lot, and I mean a lot of fruits and vegetables. Eating a lot of it does not harm the weighing scale, even so, is more healthy and beneficial for your weigh loss goal. Fruits can be expensive, so try buying them in the market where the price is still within supplier price. Apples, mangoes, banana, are good options for breakfast or dinner. Then you can eat rice on your lunch. Or whatever makes you comfortable. I can not stress enough the importance of fruits in a diet plan, because it is highly recommended. I think it is one of diet techniques that is mostly ignored or overlooked. Fruits help flush the fat from your body, make you less hungry often, and do not make you feel bloated.
Avoid oily food, you don’t want to add more fat in your body.
Ditch the soda and other high sugar-content juices. Drink green tea, or hot water with lemon.
Here comes the hard part. Ditch the junk food and fast food. They contain a lot of salt, preservatives, and monosodium glutamate. When salt content enters the body, it retains water in the body which in effect, can make body look bulgy. They contain a lot of carbs too.
Exercise: Move a Lot
After knowing your diet plan, choose where you can exercise. You can jog in parks that do not collect entrance fees. You can do yoga in your home. You can lift weights using improvised tools such as a water bottle that contains sand, it becomes heavy. Other improvised workout routines can be the following:
At your home, try to do planking, push-up, and sit-up for 30 minutes everyday.
If you have stairs at your home, use it as a workout source. Climb first stairstep with left foot, then right foot. Step down using left foot, then right foot. Repeat for 5 times.
This is yet the best cardio exercise for me: jumprope. I swear I lost few pounds pounds after jumping ropes for 30 minutes everyday for 2 weeks. It is not just cardio, but also an overall workout routine that enhances muscle flexibility and mind-arm coordination. It works a lot of part of your body: arms, legs, knees, stomach, and thigh.
But if you have no time for exercise, go aggressively with your diet plan and try to move a lot. If your work involves sitting whole day, try to stand and have a short walk every 20 minutes. You can maybe go to the restroom, the kitchen, or talk to your friends. After work, if you live nearby, you can just walk the distance. Or if you commute, try to walk to the farthest jeepney or bus stop. At home, you can wash laundry standing up. Cook food. Watch the TV while doing something productive like cleaning. The key thing is try to move a lot.
Take it One Day at a Time
There are no shortcuts. And it takes a significant amount of work. Nothing that is worth having comes easy. Just like any goals in life, shedding a few pounds and fat in the body needs discipline, work, and honestly some sacrifices. But enjoy your journey and don’t be too hard to yourself. Make it a lifestyle and not just a one-time or weeklong phase. Just like in the practice of frugal living, spend wisely. So choose your food wisely. Choose your motivations wisely. And you’ll just wake up one day and realize you have conquered yourself, and the reward is you lose some pounds and fat. Success!
About the Guest Author
This guest post is written by Cathy Tejano, a technical writer, blogger and a vegetarian-wannabe. She blogs at Lens and Pens.
We are living in difficult financial times, so one of the most important lessons for your children to learn is how to put money aside for a rainy day or for unexpected situations that may be around the corner. It can be tough to get children motivated by saving money, so we’ve come up with some great ways to get them involved:
1. Start them young
Children live in the moment and find it really hard to hold onto their money once they’ve got it, so start them young! Teach them to drop coins into their piggy bank from when they are a toddler, and help them understand why it’s important to let those coins build up before spending.
2. Open a savings account
Take your child to the bank and open an account in their name – this will help them feel part of the process and understand the importance of saving for the future.
3. Reward their efforts
Let’s face it, saving is pretty boring when you’re 10 years old and would rather rush out and spend, spend, spend! Make sure you praise their efforts to save whenever you can, and encourage them to treat themselves sometimes too.
4. Goals and dreams
As your child gets older, talk to them about their dreams – do they want to travel the world, buy a house or train to be a doctor or a vet? What does that mean for their savings? Help them to see how much they will need to achieve their goals.
5. Talk about money matters
Children need to understand about money and realise that they can’t have everything they want or everything they see on TV. By talking about how much things cost and the true value involved in saving up for something special, you will help your child understand how finances work.
6. Set a good example
Remember that your child will learn by example, so create your own piggy bank and make it clear that you are saving up for a trip out, a new sofa or a better car. This will help show your child that saving is a part of normal daily life.
7. Match their savings
Of course in these tough financial times this won’t always be possible, but if you can, offer to match whatever your child manages to save and help them achieve their goals even faster. Or if you’re not in a position to put in money, why not ask friends and family to let your child do odd jobs to raise more cash?
8. Save as a family
In difficult times, families stick together. Help encourage your child to understand the value of saving money by doing it as a family. Whether you’re saving for a holiday, a trip to the cinema or a new pet, make sure you all talk about how close you are to your goal and celebrate when you get there. Your child will love being part of your world, and it will teach them valuable lessons about the importance of saving and being patient.
Encouraging your child to save money will teach them vital life skills such as patience and determination. Saving money will also increase their confidence and help them to stay focused on their goals. By teaching your child these skills you really will give them a fantastic start in life.
About the Guest Author
This post is written by Ealing Trading, who provide cash loans when you need them most.
Before I will rant about the advantages and disadvantages of my newly bought pocket wifi unit, I will list first my expectations and well-thought reasons why I choose to subscribe to an internet service that would bleed me out Php999 every month (with no option to unsubscribe for 2 years).
For someone like me who tried to live frugally (though I often fail), buying another internet gadget and subscribing to another internet service is definitely a big decision to make. Between the lifestyle that I badly want to maintain and my work, I tried hard to create my own reasons why I need an internet connection all the time.
1. There’s no stable internet connection and signal in the places where I frequently visit outside Cebu.
During holidays and my partner’s work vacations, we often go to his hometown, a small island that’s detached from the main island of Bohol. My USB broadband stick doesn’t work there and I’ve been scouring for ways to solve my internet connectivity problem. The thought of getting a pocket wifi has been playing in my mind with the hope that the signal should improve and would allow me to work even if we’ll stay there for a long period of time.
2. I need a back-up internet connection if my broadband connection at home will break down.
Since I’m a self-proclaimed prepping advocate, the thought of having no internet connection back-up worries me a lot especially in times of calamities and in instances that disruptions of my broadband connection will occur. As my work requires me to be online all the time, internet connectivity is always in the priority of my list. The tediousness of going to internet cafes is something that I don’t want to experience again.
3. I plan to increase my frequency in traveling, thus I need an internet connection all the time to stay connected with my work and clients.
Who doesn’t want to travel? Everyone loves to go to their dream destinations without sacrificing their work. This is one of the biggest reasons why I get a pocket wifi. Though most hotels and coffee shops nowadays have wifi connections, the thought of not worrying if I can have a connection every time I entered a pub or check in into a hotel is quite liberating. The days of asking passwords and become frustrated when the wifi connection doesn’t work is gone. Working anytime and anywhere is very exciting.
4. If my pocket wifi will have good connection and signal at home, I plan to discontinue my broadband subscription on October to minimize expenses for my monthly internet connection bills.
This is something that I’ve been thinking for a while now. I still have second thoughts in discontinuing my broadband connection because so far it is quite fast and reliable. We plan on moving again at the end of the year, thus the possibility of disconnection is always high. But, the thought of only having a wifi connection is something that I can’t see myself doing. In my line of work, a back-up connection is a must. Therefore, this reason is just a mere alibi. LOL!
5. To minimize my coffee shop expenses and avoid hanging out in expensive coffee shops just for the sake of getting a faster internet connection.
Obviously, this is my 2nd biggest reason. Hanging out in coffee shops to get a faster connection for work is really expensive. Also, I don’t plan to keep on avoiding places which I really like just because they have no wifi.
Lastly, though this is a bit silly and lame, I bought a pocket wifi because I want to check-in (in Foursquare) in all the places that I go to. Very, very lame but this is something that I personally crave. Why? Just because. Haha!
Do you own a pocket wifi? What are your main reasons why you bought and subscribe to it? I hope you also have some valid reasons like mine (except the last one). (:
N.B.: This guest post is brought to you by Roy Duffield, a fellow blogger from the UK. Hope you will learn something from his tips. – EOD
As kids we tend to think that life is free, and it’s hard to imagine that we’ll have to get jobs one day. We picture our dream lives, doing what we want, going where we want, when we want. All the while “Grown-ups” are telling us we are wrong, that one day we’ll become grown-ups ourselves, realise our mistake and have to settle down, get a job, get a mortgage, pay the mortgage, etc, etc…
For a while I feared this may be true…and then I discovered travel, and I became a kid at heart again.
The truth is, travel is a lot cheaper than you think, and whether you are tramping or travelling in luxury, there are always ways to save money, which in turn means that dream trip can last as long as possible.
Here are my 5 top tips to travelling cheap:
A major reason why a lot of people don’t travel is the cost. They say they can’t afford hotels. Well, I’m here to prove those people wrong. The cost of anything is relative to the GDP of the country you’re going to. Therefore, what we might class as a fancy hotel, can cost almost nothing in the cheaper countries in the world. Furthermore, when you think about it, you pay rent back home don’t you? Now say your rent is around £300 a month. That’s £10 a night, and trust me, there are a lot of nice places (nicer than a £300/month flat) out there for less than £10 a night…
Go long haul!
…which brings me to my next point. The other reason people often think travel is expensive and thus can’t understand how others do it, is because they’re thinking too short-term. One of the biggest expenses when going on holiday is the flight. Since most people only get a couple of weeks off work at a time, they are used to short holidays of a week or two. Now think about this: if a flight to Florida costs £450 and you go for 2 weeks, that’s £225 a week on the flight. However, if you go away for 3 months, backpacking the States, you’re only looking at around £35 a week. Much more affordable. Go away for a year, and the flight, spread out, barely costs a thing. Some great ways to extend your trip include learning a language as you travel, teaching one, or any other kind of work abroad (see below).
And there ways to cut down the cost of travel even further! Couchsurfing.org is a great example of how, if you are prepared to think outside the box a little, you can travel for practically nothing…and you also get a much richer travel experience, meet more locals, and so on. As long as you’re prepared to give as well as get – so, for example, offering to cook a meal for your hosts, teach them a skill, or about your own culture or traditions – this is the option for you! And don’t forget to ask the people you meet about their own money saving tips! Locals always know the cheapest places to eat, drink and shop.
And while we’re on the subject of travelling for free, hitchhiking is another great way to meet people, get deeper into the culture of the place you’re travelling, and save so cash that would’ve gone on buses, trains or even flights. You’ll also get more freedom than with public transport and you can choose which roads to travel, where you get on and off, etc. Just exercise some caution. There are plenty of great sites with tips for safe hitchhiking.
Work while you travel!
Finally, all of the above focus on how to cut your spending, but what about using travel as a way to make money? Whether you want to WWOOF (work on an organic farm), in a call centre, as an au pair, in a bar, or as an English teacher (TEFL), there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you all over the world, from Sydney to Cusco, Varna to Kamloops. If you’re a keen writer you can even make money from your blog, or also as a freelancer. There are plenty of organisations and websites offering various travel benefits in exchange for online content, whether it be a free room at a hostel, or a more long-term set up.
I hope you found this inspiring. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll all be on the move, livin’ the dream. But until then, happy travels! Don’t forget to let me know what you think or ask any questions in the comments.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.
About the Guest Author
This has been a guest post by Roy Duffield. Why not check out his travel stories and notes from the road.
N.B.: When I was a student, I scrubbed floors and cleaned office furniture to free my parents from the burden of college tuition. Though I worked as an assistant to our College Guidance Psychometrician, my daily tasks (aside from conducting exams and checking test papers) involve taking on menial jobs and running errands. Looking back, I am quite proud of myself as I managed to graduate from college without debts and even helped my parents to minimize our expenses.
The daily allowance my parents gave me was only Php50 ($1.23). It was quite small for a full-time working student with a big appetite. But, I managed to squeeze it with the help of the little allowance I received as a working scholar. I still can’t forget that I often brought rice from home to school to listen my lunch expenses. And I only eat Chinese Ngohiong with it so that I would only spend around Php10 for my meal.
When I was a student, I can’t remember that I entered and ate in any fast food chains. This is the very reason why I’m quite amazed these days watching students going in and out of fast food restaurants and other expensive diners. Either they are really well off, or they just don’t give a damn about money.
Below is a guest post by my fellow blogger, Linda Forshaw, that teaches students these days on how to minimize their expenses and be more responsible in handling their parents’ money. – EOD
Living a frugal life is not about going without the things that you need; rather it is about living a life that avoids waste, extravagance, and unnecessary expenditure. As a student, money is likely to be tight, so there is never a better case for living a frugal life than while you are at college. Here are some top tips to help you do exactly that.
A budget is always the first place to start
When attempting to live a frugal life as a student (or in any other capacity for that matter), creating a budget should always be the very first thing you do. Include all income (from scholarships, student loans, part time work, and parental contributions) and all anticipated expenditure. Understanding how much you have to “play with,” is paramount to keeping on the financial straight and narrow.
Free is good but affordability is better
It goes without saying that free is always a good option. Whether it’s hooking up to free wifi to avoid data charges or joining your local freecycle group, you never know what you can pick up for free (and would otherwise have paid for). Cheaper (although not quite as attractive as completely free) is a close runner up. Adopting the mantra that every time you need something you will try and find it cheaper is a good plan. A good place to start is making full use of grocery coupons and visiting the store toward closing time to pick up any discounted food stuffs.
Sharing is sensible
There’s a lot of truth in the saying that “two can live as cheaply as one,” so imagine the savings that can be made from teaming up with more than one other person. As a student, most of your peers will be in the same boat financially speaking, so team up to help each other out. This could involve any number of things. You could each buy a textbook from a required reading list, start a supper club (whereby one of you cooks each night), or team up to benefit from bulk buy discounts, The possibilities to make savings are fairly endless.
Alternatives can be attractive
Always be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. It can be as simple as when you fancy watching a movie, renting a DVD instead of forking out for an extravagant trip to the cinema. It could be that you really need a haircut. Could you wait until next week and bag yourself a cheaper appointment with a trainee hairdresser? This is all about seeking viable alternatives to the things you want or need. If you can’t wait for a better deal, remember to always ask for a student discount. Such discounts might not be widely advertised by a company, but they are often available.
Living frugally as a student doesn’t mean you won’t have any fun. You’ll probably have just as much fun as the other students in your class. The only real difference is that you’ll be getting a better deal.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License. Credit.
About the Guest Author
Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A contributor to Degree Jungle, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay
N.B.: Have you been thinking how to save electricity and lessen the frequency of buying new bulbs every time they got damaged? Or, perhaps are you planning to cut off on energy cost by buying solar-powered appliances? If you have these thoughts then you may continue reading below. The following guest post is from my fellow writer, Sam Peters. – EOD
Elektrostandard LED light bulb
You may be cutting down on the weekend meals or trying to shop smarter, but you may be unaware of huge savings that can be made through green installations at your home. Apart from the potential savings offered by these installations, they’ll also make your home self-reliant. Here are some of the options you can go for.
1. LED light bulbs
These are low-energy consuming lights that can last for up to 20 years. For brightness, they use 90 percent low watts per hour compared to incandescent lights. They lead to savings in light and bulb purchases as well as in energy. They’re an investment worth looking into, and the cost only averages around $20 per unit. They’re a top choice when it comes to green home installations. Custom LED lightning installations also available to consumers.
2. Energy-saving adapters
Many of you would be fond of using consumer electronics at your home; laptops, smartphones, tablets, video games etc. Did you know they account for a total of 13 percent energy consumed at homes? This was reported by CEA, and the cost of charging and running these devices goes up to $191 per year.
Energy saving adapters (AC/DC) are now being manufactured by companies such as Green Plug. They’re made to give the devices the exact amount of charge they require, and shut themselves down automatically once the required amount of power has been given to the specified device. They’ll lead to money savings if you regularly charge devices and other electronic items.
3. Outdoor Solar motion sensor light
Apart from green installations inside the house, you could save some bucks by tweaking your home from the outside. The outdoor solar motion sensor lights provide you ‘free energy’ to use, They use the sun to charge themselves, and the charge goes on for up to 2 weeks.
They’re also brighter, and stay on during power outages as there’s no electricity involved. Therefore, you save in terms of electricity as well as home security.
4. Programmable thermostats
Thermostats have been around for a while, but advances have been made to make them more energy efficient, leading to savings. The thermostats are now being equipped with advanced sensors and algorithms, and they even allow for cloud computing.
These high tech thermostats can lead to a 30 percent decrease in average annual energy bill. An example of such as thermostat is Nest Learning Thermostat by Nest Labs.
A separate account can be maintained for spending on the listed and other green additions. Researching banks that offers the best interest rate on savings accounts would result in some options.
Apart from savings accounts, there’s also an option to go for current deposit account by comparing cd rates of different banks.
Photo used above is under Creative Commons License. Credit.
N.B: Here’s another informational guest post submitted by our friends from FoodInsurance.com. – EOD
While food storage is something you know you need, it isn’t always that easy. If you are on a budget, the cost of prepackaged foods can be insanely costly and it might be tough to imagine buying enough for 3 months, let alone a year. The trick is to save money wherever you can.
Internet stores frequently have better deals because they don’t have the overhead costs of a brick and mortar store, so check prices both online and off. Shopping online also eliminates a lot of impulse buys that might occur in a supermarket.
Buy in Bulk
Most times, you can save quite a bit of cash by simply purchasing more of an item. You can frequently get wholesale prices by purchasing a certain amount.
Get Free Shipping
If you are shopping online, you should never pay for shipping, particularly if you are buying in bulk. Don’t meet the minimum purchase limit? Find someone to split the order with you.
This tip is so obvious; it almost doesn’t belong on this list. However, there are some tricks to using coupons that can save you even more, so find out if you can use coupons during sales or stack coupons (use more than one on a single purchase) to get products for free or very low prices.
Buy What You Eat
There’s not much point in purchasing something on sale if you’ll never eat it. Remember that food needs to be rotated out of storage as the expiration date nears, so if you don’t eat it, you’ll end up throwing it away and wasting money.
Get Food That Lasts
Opting for freeze dried food allows for up to 25 years of storage, so you don’t have to rotate it out very often at all. This eliminates the need to purchase food for storage on a regular basis and saves money.
Buy Whole Foods
Processed foods often cost more because of the processing. If you purchase staples like rice, oatmeal and grain, it will not only provide more nutrition, but offers some savings, as well.
Most stores have specific times of year when they offer items for sale. These are usually on rotation, every 3-6 months. Buy a few extras next time products you need are on sale to add to the food storage.
Preserve Your Own Food
If there’s a deal to be had on fresh peaches, that can benefit your food storage, provided you know how to preserve it. Canning, freezing and drying are all methods of adding fresh foods to your storage. In season, you should be able to buy and preserve your own fruits and vegetables for less than the commercially tinned items.
Buy Ingredients, Not Meals
While full meals are handy to have on hand, you can save more if you get the individual ingredients and create your own meals later. You’ll also have more flexibility.
Food storage doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Work slowly and with a plan and you can get everything you need for less.
Photo used above is under Creative Commons License | Credit
N.B: Another way to save money if you are celebrating your birthday (that is not mentioned in the guest contribution below) is by celebrating it with someone who has the same birth date as you. (In my case I will be celebrating my birthday with “soulmate” later this month.) You can save money if you do it this way because you can split the expenses between the two celebrants. The celebration will also become more meaningful and more memorable because you are celebrating it with someone who was also born on the date that you were born. Double celebration! (Advance Happy Birthday, Soulmate!) – EOD
Birthdays are often associated with a sense of having to spend money. There is birthday party planning that takes place, cakes and sweets and then the costly tradition of presents for the person celebrating their birthday.
What are some of the ways that you can cut down the expenses of birthdays and create a frugal celebration?
Use what you have on hand to create a birthday meal. If you follow proper food storage ideas, you can celebrate with a birthday dinner featuring your favorite dishes without having to make a trip to the supermarket. Keeping things on hand like sugar and sweets can help to make the special occasion just a bit sweeter.
In addition to making the dinner with food that is already on hand, you can choose to host a pot luck dinner. Inviting friends and family members to join in the celebration and bringing something that they also made at-home can be a great way to make the special occasion even more special without causing people to spend money on the presents.
Skip the store-bought presents. Skipping the store bought presents can help you to celebrate the birthday without breaking the bank. Rather than traditional presents and cards, consider making presents at-home. Presents that are made are more heartfelt and they are more likely to create memories that the person is going to look back on fondly.
If you are going to celebrate the birthday outside of the home, there are some things that you can do to reduce the celebration expense. Check local restaurants and entertainment venues. There are many places that offer free foods and services on your birthday, just make sure you have identification with you to prove that it’s indeed your birthday.
Checking the local community pages or online classified advertisements, you can find free and cheap events that are happening in the city or town. Planning the birthday around one of these events can be a great way to reduce the cost of the party and help to explore something new in your own backyard.
For children’s birthday parties, there is often the expectation to spend more money. Having a simple birthday party at-home and inviting only family or friends to celebrate the occasion can be a great way to tone down expenses. For presents (from the child’s godmothers or godfathers), you may consider asking books as gifts (it doesn’t matter if it’s brand new or 2nd hand). Books can last for a very long period of time and are good souvenirs the child can keep.
You don’t need to splurge money during birthdays. The most important thing is you celebrate it with meaning and with the people that matter the most to you.
Photo above is used under Creative Commons License | Credit
About the Guest Author
Note: Here is another guest post from our friends from DailyBread.com on how to save money by buying coffee in bulk.
Photo: Jeff Kubina. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
The price of coffee has escalated over the last decade or so, and this is bad news for coffee lovers, especially those who like good quality coffee. Many find they have to choose between reducing their consumption, and going for a cheaper and poorer quality brand. However there is another option and that is to buy it in bulk.
Bulk coffee buying is more commonly done by cafes and restaurants, but there is no reason why it should not be done by individuals as well. It is obviously much cheaper than buying in small quantities from your local store. In fact you are likely to pay a mark-up of anything up to 300% for the convenience of buying near your home.
One way of buying coffee in bulk is by using the wholesale merchants who normally sell to restaurants. They offer excellent deals for buying in large quantities, and they are not concerned as to whether you are an individual or a business. The more you buy the bigger discounts you get.
Wholesale coffee is more likely to be available as coffee beans rather than ground coffee. You can find just about any brand you choose, including organic coffee beans which are more expensive. The two basic types of coffee which can be purchased wholesale are Robusta and Arabica, Arabica being more expensive as it is harder to grow. The majority of companies use a blend of the two in their products, but if you prefer the Arabica flavor, as many people do, you should ensure the product you buy contains more Arabica than Robusta.
The easiest way of buying coffee at wholesale prices is via the Internet. This way you can have access to the widest selection, and shop around for the best prices. The main drawback to buying on the Internet is the shipping costs, so you should take care to check locations, and ensure that the distributor you choose is as near to you as possible. If you are not comfortable with Internet shopping, you can obtain coffee in bulk quantities at big box stores such as Costco, though the choice will not be nearly as wide as on the Internet. Some of the big office supply stores also stock coffee in bulk, for supplying to workplaces.
An alternative way of buying coffee in bulk is through joining a coffee program――nowadays these are usually online. The best way to save money is to join a plan by which you have a specified amount of coffee shipped to you each month. Check the terms of the plan carefully, as different companies set different minimum amounts.
Whichever way you buy your bulk coffee, you need to store it carefully. Most people advise storing it in the freezer, but others argue that this spoils the flavor. If you store it at room temperature, ensure you use a completely airtight seal and make absolutely certain that all moisture is excluded. Labeling your stocks with quantity, date, and the amount you paid will help you keep check on how much you are saving by bulk buying.
It is not difficult to save money by bulk buying coffee, but if you are a home user, be careful not to go overboard. Avoid buying more than you can use, and remember that it is difficult to get a good flavor with a home coffee maker.
My grocery shopping early this morning was greeted by mobs of shoppers in Gaisano Metro. I have no idea that they were having a 1-Day Crazy Sale. I had a moment of doubts if I will go in or not as I really hate doing grocery with lots of people bumping on me and the never ending lines in the counters – really a mood changer.
For me, grocery shopping is like a therapeutic routine task. I really, really feel good when I’m looking, choosing, and buying the items in my list, and, if I only have a source of never ending cash, I will do grocery shopping the whole day until my feet hurt (LOL!). That’s how much I love it MINUS the mobs of shoppers and long lines, of course.
That’s the amount that I managed to save after buying two items that were on sale. I had sale discounts for the canned goods and the vegetable oil. (Tip: Be sure to check the expiration date before buying any on sale items.)
I can’t help but chuckled at how petty it is but when I give it a second thought, Php18 ($ .44) is never a petty amount. If in a year, Metro Gaisano will have a grocery sale 24 times (and let’s just say I keep on saving Php18 from every sale) then I will have a total annual savings of Php432 ($10.8). That can already pay two and a half months of water bills. Just imagine two months of not worrying how to pay for water. (Note to foreign readers: Cost of living here in the Philippines is very low compared to cost of living in Western or European countries.)
Avoiding Processed and Sugary Foods
When I entered the grocery section leading to where I get my bothane gas, the items below were screaming “BUY ME! I’m On Sale! Buy ME!” As usual before I could think, I already have 2 bundles in my cart but before I can push my cart to the bothane gas section, I quickly returned them and never look back.
I have high sugar level and I know fully well that I’m a potential candidate for diabetes. My Lola (grandmother) and Tiyo (uncle) are both diabetics. My uncle got his leg amputated, and then eventually died. My Lola is still currently suffering from it. This blogger, on the other hand, is trying her best to lessen her sugar intake and she surprisingly manages to enjoy eating half-cooked ampalaya (bitter melon) every breakfast.
Oops, before I’ll end this post, here’s a photo of the busy counters. That’s just the right-end corner; the busiest were those ones in the main aisle.
How much or what have you saved from your grocery shopping this weekend? Share them by commenting below. (: