12 Non-traditional but easy tips on how to save while working abroad
Many of us are in a foreign country to earn more, save and send to our families in the Philippines. However, with endless temptations like end of season sales, the latest must-have gadgets in the market, our friends’ incessant talk of exciting plans for the summer holiday; it is a challenge to save even just for money for fare back to the Philippines.
There are ways though to save up money without giving up so much of our much deserved R and R (rest and relaxation) and little pleasures. Follow some of the practical tips below and you would be surprised with the savings that you would be able to make.
1.) Set aside a monthly food budget. The first step is to try to find out how much you or your family spends monthly on food. If you don’t know the amount, try to collect your entire supermarket and other food bills for a month. Next step is to go through your bills to find out if there are items that you could have done without. To avoid unnecessary shopping try to make a list before going to the supermarket, and stick to it. Check out the website of supermarkets in your neighbourhood to find out about the items they have on sale, and buy the goods you need from cheapest supermarket. Lastly, to avoid buying more than what you need, do not go food shopping when your tummy is empty- because everything in the supermarket looks so delicious when one is hungry- and you have only enough cash for the goods in your shopping list remember! No more and no less.
2.) Do not carry your credit card or large amount of cash. To avoid unplanned shopping, only take with you a reasonable amount of cash for all the purchases you need to do. Do not carry big amount of cash with you and leave your credit card behind every time you go out.
3.) Recycle food leftovers. Try what the Italians have discovered and have started to do – recycle leftover food. Watch out for Tita Kathy’s tips on how to turn your leftover into an even more delicious dish. For tips check, out Tita Cathy’s post on reusing leftover food.
4) Drive to work with your colleagues. Try to arrange with a group of your colleagues to drive together to work, instead of driving alone, or using the public transportation, some European countries have very efficient transport system but could be expensive though. Better yet take out your bike and start biking. Many European cities have good bike lanes, make use of them.
6) Shop during seasonal sale. Take advantage of shops’ seasonal sale to buy your birthday, and anniversary gifts for your family and friends and stock them up till the time for giving away these gifts.
7) Choose cheapest way to send money. If you send money regularly to your relatives and extended family back home to the Philippines, choose the cheapest way or the remittance company with the cheapest rate to send it. For tips read Money Transfer Tips: Sending Money Back Home to the Philippines.
8) Barter clothes your kids have outgrown. Try to exchange your kids’ clothes that do not fit them anymore with the clothes of the kids of your friends or friends of friends.
9) Do not get sick. As much as possible keep, yourself and your family from getting sick especially during flu season by following basics hygienic rules, read Vanity Can Cause Flu. Even though visiting the family doctor in many European countries is either free or largely subsidized by the government, medicines can be quite expensive.
10) Potluck instead of eating out with friends. Meet with your friends at home, where each will bring and contribute his or her share, instead of eating out. Not only can you assign who would bring what but you can also enjoy different Filipino food your friends can make.
11) Do not buy on credit. Though shops may tempt you, don’t give in. If you want to change your sofa or your dinning table try to save up for it first. In addition to that before buying the new one sell the old one to a friend or through the buy and sell sites in your city or country.
12) Open a savings account. If you don’t have a saving account to put in all the money you are going to save up by following the above suggestions, this is the time for you to have one. Ask your bank about the different saving plans they offer to see which one fits your needs. In addition to the habit of saving you would develop, having a savings account will add to your credit worthiness with your bank – which could come in handy if you would one day need to make a loan, since saving up shows that you are able to manage your economy well.