Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Living within your means

Saving was not part of my vocabulary when I was growing up abroad.  We were not wallowing in wealth but I like to think we were better off than a large majority of the population.   A bulk of my dad's income was spent on family vacations. We might not have invested in a house & lot back home but I can enumerate 20+ cities we traveled to in Europe and Asia for leisure purposes.  So much so that when we had to go home for good, we spent a number of years renting instead of owning the places we lived in.

As fate would have it, I married a guy who lived an *austere lifestyle*.  Contrary to popular belief that tertiary instructors earn big bucks, it has been quite a task for me to budget his income.  Sometimes there would be days even weeks when his salary would be delayed (apparently it's normal for state owned universities) for various reasons, so I would have to dip into our savings to make ends meet.  Not to mention the period when he took out a loan (for our fertility treatments) payable for 3 years and 1/4 of his salary was automatically deducted.

Therefore, I have been highly conscious of ways on how to live within our means.  I am mighty proud I am able to implement these measures without breaking into sweat. For someone who easily perspires, it is a big deal!

Here are some tips:
  • Cut your utilities cost.  I noticed that we barely watch TV so I checked out the website of the Cable TV we were subscribed to and went for their most basic plan.  The number of channels are limited but most of them were the one I frequented so it fit my viewing habits. Instead of paying P780.00 monthly our cable TV bill is fixed at P499.00.
  • Whenever I don't use an electrical appliance, I unplug it from the electrical socket. Even when I just go down to cook or have my meals, I unplug the computer, the DSL modem as well as the electrical fan.  The same works for when I go back up I unplug everything downstairs.
  • Be sure to open all the curtains/blinds in your home so you won't have to switch on the light fixtures.
  • Most of the time, I eat lunch alone.  So I stack up all the dishes with dishwashing liquid in a small pail and wash them later after dinner along with the pots and pans I used for cooking.
  • I use ratty old clothes as rugs.  I do have many old clothes which no longer fit me.  I cut them into large square pieces and use them to dust off furniture and appliances on a daily basis.
  • Aside from rent, we spend most of our meager income on food. Grocery shopping is much easier when you have a list of items to purchase.  I have this rule when the contents of a food item is less than my thumb that is the time to replenish so I add it to my list.
  • I always buy sachets. Aside from the fact that they are cheaper, they are also lighter and not too heavy to carry in your tote bags.
  • In my opinion, promo priced items are not necessarily better.  For instance, some products come with an attached 'free' item such as a can of corned beef with a free sachet of chiz wiz.   Or those 'buy one, take one' promos, I stay away from them.   I always feel guilty when I have to throw away these free items since we don't patronize them.  Since I went on a diet, I have to stay clear of dairy products plus having an extra can of corned beef is not feasible since we are only two in this household.
  •  Always check the expiry dates of every food item you buy.  When arranging your pantry, put the items with the shorter expiry dates in front so you dispose of them first.
  • I always cook vegetables first once I reach home. They tend to perish right away and when kept longer in the ref, they get all 'wrinkled'.
  • Make sure to squeeze out every single bit until the last drop from the bottles of condiments, hair products, dish washing detergents etc etc.    Heck, I even use tiny pieces of soap, as long as they still have bubbles to lather, I'm game. :D
Well these are the tips I can conjure right at this precise moment.  If you have some more tips, do share.

*I love my husband and I don't mean to belittle his income but it is just the way it is.  When I first talked to his mother (based in the USA) over the phone, she told me they weren't well off.  I replied it doesn't matter, really.   When in truth I wanted to tell her in jest "hindi naman po pera ang habol ko sa kanya, kundi ang kanyang matipunong katawan" he he he.    


Photo Cache said...

LOL on hte last sentence :)

Toni Tiu said...

LOL on the last sentence too. Hahahaha!

Kayni said...

i agree with Photo Cache and Toni on the last sentence.

i also try hard to live within my means especially now that i have a lot of medical bills. another tip from my dad is - do not spend more than what you earn in a day.

DaPHne LAura said...

Yes Kayni I know a big part of income now goes towards maintenance dose of me and hubby.

Oh thanks for the tip from your dad - quite practical!