At some point, you've probably looked at your finances and thought, "Saan napupunta yung pera ko?" And if you were being honest with yourself, alam mo naman talaga kung paano ka gumastos, even if you don't track your expenses.
Right now, considering the year we just had, it's understandable if you aren't in the best shape in your financial journey. And maybe you're not in a place where you can even think about saving up again—living paycheck to paycheck is the reality for many right now—but for those of you who are, we asked experts for their advice on how you can get back on track.
Financial advisors Jem Empaynado and Chieri Nagase are the women behind TIPid, a platform that aims to help people gain financial freedom. Here's what they have to say.
1. Ask yourself: What's the reason behind your money problems?
You're trying to save money, but one month, it's doable; and the next, you're unable to. Why are you struggling to stay consistent? Pinpoint your problem and work from there. TIPid advises, "if you are struggling because you have debt/s, you have to make a debt payment plan. If needed, figure out a way to earn extra to pay off these debts sooner. You can do so by finding a side hustle online or even selling you pre-loved items."
2. Keep track of your expenses.
Where exactly is your money going? Before everything else, you have to make sure you are paying yourself first—but what does this mean? "Commit to paying yourself (through saving or investing) a specific amount or percentage every time you get your income. Opposite to what Filipinos are used to, you should be paying yourself first before budgeting the remaining amount for your expenses," says Jem and Chieri.
3. Consider having dedicated accounts.
"We recommend opening separate accounts that are strictly for your savings, emergency fund, and/or investing. This way, you will not be tempted to touch it. Always remember that you do not need a lot to start; it can begin with small amounts. Work your way up until you develop the habit. It takes a lot of discipline and small, consistent efforts to be able to save up for something."
4. Automate everything!
Here's a technique not a lot of people take advantage of: "Set an auto-debit arrangement during payday so that even before you can touch it, something has already been set aside for paying yourself first." You can do this with your bills, too, so that you instantly know everything is taken care of. It helps you focus on the bigger picture when it comes to your money.
5. Have a budget for online shopping.
We're not trying to tell you to stop—we're all about self-care, here. It only reinforces the notion that you can't have fun if you're budgeting or financial planning. To be a responsible spender, consider setting a monthly budget for your personal expenses.