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Grown-up Guide

Budgeting 101: The Four Commandments of Smart Saving

Budgeting 101: The Four Commandments of Smart Saving

Money makes things happen. It may not necessarily buy you happiness, pero kapag may pera ka, mas panatag ang loob mo na handa ka sa kung ano man ang mangyari. While the technicalities of managing money are usually taught in business school, hindi naman lahat ay business ang course sa future.

Ngayong nag-aaral ka pa lang, baka iniisip mong hindi mo pa kailangang pag-aralan ang tamang pagbu-budget, pero wala namang masama kung magsimula ka nang maaga, ’di ba? After all, kapag nagtatrabaho ka na, kakailanganin mo ring alagaan ang finances mo. Here are four commandments for you to follow para maging wais ka sa pagtitipid:

1. Thou shalt have S.M.A.R.T. #goals

This is the nitty-gritty part of saving money. To really get somewhere with your goals, you have to be SMART with them. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Here are a few guide questions for you to see if your goals are SMART enough:

SPECIFIC
● Ano ang pinag-iipunan ko? (What am I saving up for?)
● Pangangailangan ba ito o luho? (Is this a need or want?)
MEASURABLE
● Magkano ang kailangan kong ipunin? (How much do I have to save for my goal?)
ATTAINABLE
● Kaya ko ba itong pag-ipunan? (Do I have the means to save enough money for it?)
● May mas mura ba akong pwedeng pagpilian? (What are the cheaper alternatives?)
RELEVANT
● Gaano katindi ang pangangailangan ko dito? (How badly do I need this?)
● Matutulungan ba ang pag-asenso ko sa buhay kung bibilhin ko ito?
(In what way will this goal help me get ahead?)
TIME-BOUND
● Kailan ko gustong mabili ito? (Realistically, when do I want to achieve this goal?)

Kung masagot mo lahat ng tanong na iyan, malalaman mo kung magkano ang pwede mong gastusin, at magkano ang kailangan mong itabi tuwing pumapasok ang pera. If you follow this commandment religiously, you’ll know exactly when you’ll reach your goal!

2. Thou shalt save before spending.

Kailangang mayroon tayong savings. Alam natin ’yan. Pero madalas, nagtatabi na lang tayo ng pera kapag settled na ang mga gastusin natin. While understandable, hindi nagiging consistent ang ating pag-iipon dahil nauuna ang gastos. Before we spend our money, it’s better to set some aside first for our savings.

INCOME/ALLOWANCE – SAVINGS = EXPENSES

Kung ganyan, mas consistent ang savings mo tuwing nakakatanggap ka ng pera. Sabay nito, mas madaling magbawas ng mga gastusing hindi mo naman kailangan. Lalo na ngayon at may recession, gusto nating maging mas mapanuri sa kung ano ang pinaggagastusan natin—which brings us to the third commandment:

3. Thou shalt use envelopes.

Bakit envelopes? Kahit low-tech, very effective ang technique na ito. Here’s how it works: mag-assign ng isang envelope per expense and label them accordingly–medicines, load, school supplies, pamasahe. Next, compute how much you spend for each expense every month. Every time na makakakuha ka ng allowance or suweldo, place the exact amount of money you need for each envelope. And that’s it! Kung may matira, you can add it to your savings, or maybe get yourself a little treat!

4. But, thou can also use technology.

If paper envelopes aren’t your thing (thank you daw sabi ng mga trees), you can also use budgeting or spending tracker apps. Dahil lagi naman nating dala ang phones natin, it’s an easy and convenient way to keep track of our budget. And if you have a bank account, you can take things further by setting up an auto-debit arrangement. Every month, automatically nang made-deduct ang mga payment mo for bills and other regular expenses, para hindi mo na siya aalalahanin.

It’s not easy, but it’s doable.

Reaching your money goals takes a lot of discipline and patience. Wala namang yumayaman overnight, maliban na lang kung biglang manalo ka sa lotto na—let’s face it—malabong mangyari. But if you reframe the way you think, it will get easier. Instead of thinking that you’re depriving yourself, consider that you’re investing in the things you really want.

While it’s not really “investing” like how it’s defined in finance, binibigyan mo pa rin ng time and effort ang mga bagay na mas pangmatagalan kaysa panandalian. Just think of it as #selfcare. You’ll thank yourself later on.

 

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