Nothing will teach you the value of money more than having a job. When you’ve personally put in the hours, you become more careful with every peso you spend. And you’re suddenly eager to learn all the money hacks to make sure you always have enough.
It’s no wonder working students are financially savvy; They have to make sure their hard-earned money covers all the bases—from paying the tuition, helping provide for the family, and setting aside cash for the “wants.”
So we asked working students to share their 9 money-saving tips:
Baon is life.
Baon will always be the fool-proof way to save money. This hack helped Robert De Roque, 23, manage his expenses while paying for his schooling throughout college. He advises, “As much as you can, avoid eating out. Preparing home-cooked meals will save you a lot of money. Needless to say, it’s also healthier!”
Skip the drink.
Robert’s follow-up tip: “If you can’t avoid eating in fast food restaurants, order ala carte meals instead of value meals with softdrinks. It could save you around Php20, and save you from diabetes. Haha.”
You don’t really need a postpaid plan.
Charles Janoras, 25, developed his discernment for wants vs. needs while being a working student for over a year. He says, “Network providers . . . offer free [Facebook] Messenger. So you can always be in touch with your friends and family. If you really need to [get a postpaid plan] though, look for the best deals that don’t break the bank.”
Avoid borrowing money at all costs if it’s not urgent.
Charles adds, “Buying that new mascara on sale is not urgent.” So do you really have to borrow cash to make that purchase?
A helpful tip is to follow the Three Day Rule: When you see something you like, wait three days. If you still want it after three days, go ahead and buy it. But there’s a chance you didn’t really need the item and will be glad you didn’t buy it right away.
“Set a budget and swear to God you’ll stick with it.”
Robert suggests to make a list of your daily expenses so you can monitor your funds wisely. “There [are] a number of mobile apps for tracking your expenses. Or like me, you can go old school and just use Excel.”
Do not go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.
Ever noticed how all the food in the grocery looks delicious when you’re hungry? You’re likely to grab everything you see and end up spending too much. Researchers say your body—when hungry—produces hormones that make you unable to resist temptation.
For Robert, it’s the same thing with going to a 3-day sale where you’re likely to give in to impulse. According to him, “Your life guide in spending should always be: Do I really need this?”
Make money out of your skills.
A part-time job is a great way to ease the burden of school costs and everyday expenses. And you don’t have to look too far to figure out what you can do. Take it from Hancee Villa, 23, who worked several part-time jobs as a foreign language teacher, student assistant, and tutor for about two years.
She suggests, “Reflect what you’re good at and look for a fitting part-time [job].” Her bonus tip: “Being a student assistant for [the] university library is the best because it’s not stressful, you get unli electricity and internet . . . and [it’s] easier to study during ‘work.’ ”
Live by the “Income – Savings = Expenses” rule.
Before you treat yo’ self with your own hard-earned money, set aside funds for the essentials—food, fare, and school needs first! Also, your future self will thank you for allotting savings for emergency incidents, photocopying costs and other expensive school requirements.
Use all the free stuff in the university.
Seek out free stuff and you shall find! Instead of buying coffee at a cafe to use their wi-fi and electricity, why not find a free electrical outlet at the school library or hallway?
Let your resourcefulness lead you to all kinds of zero-cost solutions. Hancee lists down some of the free stuff you can find at school: “[student] org pakains (suki ako niyan hahaha), water dispenser, buildings na libre saksak for laptops, [and] free coffee.”