While we all aspire to be financially independent and empowered by our 30s, not everything goes as planned all the time. We know how frustrating it is to painstakingly save up only to have a sudden expensive need pull you back to zero. Don’t worry—it happens to the best of us. What is important is knowing how to get back on track while tweaking your money habits in order to avoid painful financial hits in the future.

If you’re having a hard time recouping what you've spent, here are a few ways to get the ball rolling:

Review your budget.

Since it’s back to the drawing board, you might as well own it. Find time to review your budget and see where you can temporarily cut corners. No matter how small the amount is, set aside money for savings even if you’re currently paying off a huge debt. Remember that the whole point is to rebuild your funds, so it’s important to always pay yourself first. To do this, you could…

Transfer a portion of your suweldo to a savings account right away.

Whether its with hard cash or through an ATM, immediately pipe a certain percentage of your salary to your savings account. Some say that you’ll need to put in at least 20 percent of your monthly earnings to effectively save, but when it comes to finances, one size doesn’t fit all—you’ll need to carefully customize what you put in based on your lifestyle. An article on CNBC says that in your 30s, you need to “have the equivalent of your annual salary saved,” so if you’re earning P360,000 gross a year, then you should have P360,000 in the bank. A tall order? Maybe, but it’s a solid, clear goal to go after.

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Be realistic about your saving and spending goals.

While we know that you’re wondering about how people your age seem to be much better off than you are, you don’t need to feel bad about where you’re currently at. Think of it as a speedbump you’ll drive past soon enough. That being said, you don’t need to make yourself feel miserable by forgoing everything that makes you happy just to save. There’s a very fine line between being thrifty and depriving yourself. Find the right balance and you’ll eventually get back on track.

Always have cash on hand.

While this seems counter-intuitive, being liquid can actually train you to quit swiping your card or withdrawing from your savings account each time you make a purchase. You can do this by adjusting your budget in such a way that you still have money for miscellaneous expenses. Just keep the money in your drawer at home. It sounds old school, but you can think of it as your financial buffer. It really comes in handy when you suddenly need cash for any reason—and you won’t feel guilty about tapping into your actual savings account.

Declutter.

Decluttering doubles as doing an inventory of your possessions. You’d be surprised about how much you actually have, and how many times you’ve bought a certain item just because you thought you lost it. (Case in point—I recently decluttered my work area at home and found that I have three mason jars worth of pens.) It’ll also give you an overview of what can still be used and sold off at a discount, and the money you earn from that can go directly to your savings.

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Sign up for a life insurance-investment plan that will automatically debit your contribution from payroll account.

These days, you’ve got so many investment plans options to choose from. A life insurance with an investment facet is a basic pick, since aside from protecting your family from the expenses that your eventual death will cause (macabre, but you have to prepare for these things), it also acts as “forced savings” which you can pull out after a certain amount of time—inclusive of the interest it has earned. Depending on your age, your health, your goals, and your earnings, an insurance/investment advisor can give you packages to choose from, some for as low as P2,000 a month.

Monthy contributions can usually be paid over the bank counter, but it may be better to hook it up to your payroll account so that you won't need to worry about deadlines or whether or not you have enough to shell out on a certain pay period. Treat these plans as something that you save and forget until the next rainy day. The good thing about them is that you know you have something to fall back on when needed, so make sure to pick a reliable financial company to help you efficiently protect and manage your funds.

H/T: The Everygirl

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