by Roberto Klemente R. Timonera
If you’re a college student, then you will experience being broke at some point, especially if you’re living away from home and are left to your own devices—financially and otherwise—for the first time.
One of these days you will end up with little to no cash and, at around dinnertime, you will end up asking yourself not what or where you should eat, but whether you should eat at all. A pedicab will suddenly look like a luxury vehicle.
Or perhaps that’s already happened to you and you’re silently dreading the next time.
Whether or not that’s the case, here are some things that might help you save up:
Know the formula: Expenses = Income – Savings. This is a really handy formula offered by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and a handful of other sources. The typical impulse is to spend as one pleases, and then save whatever’s left at the end of the month. It should be the opposite. Soon as you get your cash, set aside an amount as your savings—around 10% or so. Budget the remaining money accordingly. This way you will have emergency cash if anything happens (as well as money for the other areas of your life, and the future), and you will become less lavish as a buyer.
Make ukay more often. This one’s a no-brainer, but it’s a good habit to live by. Opting for the thrift store instead of rushing straight to the mall can yield a very pleasant surprise: a real Marks & Spencer jacket can go for as low as P50 in such places. Secondhand stores in general should be frequent haunts. For example: Booksale, where extremely rare (andsometimes autographed) books can be bought for P5.
Never buy expensive things on a whim. Meaning, just because there’s a 10,000-peso Iron Man figurine that bears quite the resemblance to its movie incarnation doesn’t mean you have to buy it there and then. Same goes for the exotic steak you see for the first time on the menu. Because if you do, you’ll be boring a giant hole into your wallet, and you will feel it. Students generally don’t have that much disposable money on their hands. It would be prudent to consider whether or not you really want something, and then save for it.
Do your own laundry. In most laundry stores, a kilo costs P18. If on average you bring 7 kilos of laundry each time, that would be roughly P120 per wash. Compare that with a 5-peso bar of laundry soap (which could last a good many washings). You can save a lot this way, in exchange for a few hours of handwashing every week. Also, this way you can personally see to it that your clothes are washed properly, since other services might end up discoloring them.
If you have the time, walk. While Dumaguete is teeming with pedicabs, part of its charm is the fact that practically everything is within walking distance. If, after class, you have nothing else to do and aren’t in a terrible hurry to be anywhere, try going on foot. It’s good exercise, and the city’s rural feel can be very refreshing to the mind, allowing for fruitful contemplation. Also, it’s a chance to see what’s new in Dumaguete; after all, dozens of cool buildings sprout here every year.
Know where the cheap food is. It’s true that food generally comes at a lower price in Dumaguete, but there are some places where it’s extremely affordable without having to taste grease or styrofoam. For instance, there’s McWhite’s Superplate along Katada St., where a cup of rice costs P5 and the sud-an (ranging fromsisig to monggos to silog meals) seldom costs more than P30; there’s Arlino’s café in Piapi (just a few paces from Nevas), where a 30-peso meal goes with a free cup of Korean coffee or hot chocolate; and of course, all the way in Daro, there’s Ekings, where 30 pesos can get you a spicy bowl of paklay and a lot of gritty corn rice. That combo will make you feel like you ran a marathon.
Well, there you go. We hope this article helps you make it through the month contented and always with money to spare.