Hello 2020! What better way to welcome the new decade than with a sound financial plan, but you have to start somewhere to build your wealth this year. Having a budget can help you take charge of your financial future. Here are tips on how you can best use your hard-earned peso.

1. Keep track of all your expenses.
From that impulsive milk tea purchase to that sofa bed you bought on a three month installment basis, record everything you spend your money on. If you can, compile past bank and credit card statements to have an estimate where your money is going every month.
2. Consider using an app.
In a world now run by technology, there’s no excuse for you not to take advantage of the free apps that will automate and even categorize each of your expense to help you analyze where the bulk of your expenses is coming from. You’d be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a significant amount.
3. Use cash.
We all know that the swipe feature of credit cards make it easy for you to overspend. Using credit cards allows you to spend money you don’t have thus putting you at a great risk of incurring debts.
4. Pay your credit cards on or before the due date
To avoid costly charges from unpaid balances, pay your credit card bills on time. Set an alarm on your phone so you don’t miss it.
5. Invest your money.
Where should you start? The good news is no amount is too little. It’s alright to start small. For beginners, why not give a Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) a try? UITF pools the funds of investors to create a large fund managed by an investment manager. Banks offer UITF investments for as low as P10k.
6. Have an accountability/lifetime financial partner.
When you know you have a buddy monitoring you like a hawk, you’re less likely to stray away from your goal. You can be each other’s accountability buddy.
7. Cancel subscriptions and memberships that you no longer use.
Ask yourself how often do you really use these services?
8. Look for community events that offer discounted, if not free events.
Cutting your spending doesn’t have to involve cutting enjoyment from your life.
9. Listen to free podcasts.
There are a lot of personal finance podcasts available and you can tune in to them for free.
10. Unsubscribe from promotion emails from online shops.
Do away with being tempted to click on that flashing sale sign. You’ll be more inclined to spend money you otherwise wouldn’t have!
11. Remove stored credit card information from online accounts.
Having your information saved will make checking out a breeze but the inconvenience of you having to enter all those again will make you think twice of “adding-to-cart” items.
12. Eat out only when it is necessary.
13. When you do eat out, scout for deals beforehand.
There are apps which allow you to get discounts from participating establishments.
14. Download travel apps.
Going on an overseas trip? Booking accommodations? Compare prices first before you book.
15. Replace bulbs at home with energy-efficient ones.Turn off the lights when not in use. Did you know that plugged-in devices eat up a minimal amount of energy? So unplug those gadgets like that electric kettle sitting on the sink all day. 
16. Bundle phone and internet services.
Save a significant amount when you consolidate your phone, TV and internet in one plan.
17. Create a grocery list and stick to it.
Avoid doing the grocery run when you’re hungry as you’ll spend way more than what you actually need.
18. Buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk is the way to go. Think of household staples – laundry detergent, fabric conditioner, toilet paper, etc. Consider buying the unbranded brands in the grocery store.
19. Do potluck parties at home.
Throwing a party? Hold off on that restaurant reservation first, why not invite your friends over at home and do potluck?
20. Cook meals at home.
Store it in containers and reheat on days when you’re too busy to prep a meal. Not only will this save you money but it’s also a healthier alternative. Bring packed lunch to work, too.
21. Cut back on grooming expenses.
Consider having a mani-pedi or your haircut done on a monthly basis if you’re doing it twice a month.
22. Walk.
If you can walk to the office, the better. It’s not only good for your pocket but for the environment, too.
23. Sell items you no longer use.
Rummage through your closet and turn your excess clutter into extra cash. As a bonus, it will make your space more welcoming and enjoyable to be in.
24. Have “no-splurge” days.
Commit to buying nothing for a day and see how liberating it is.

25. When you are tempted to buy something, sleep on it or wait for a few days to see if you really need it.

Indeed, a budget reveals more than how much money is going in and how much you are spending. It reflects your priorities, and it speaks louder than any resolutions you may have promised during the new year. After all, you only reap what you sow – and a budget ensures that our limited resources are planted accordingly. 

Rachelle Carpio

Rachelle is a 30-something mom to a 3-year old Riri. She has spent several years working at investment banks and asset management firms in Singapore before finally deciding to come back home in 2014. She is currently doing risk management at a reputable bank.

She has handled front, middle and back office roles in the past but being a mom is her most challenging role to date. When she isn't looking at figures, she shares her motherhood journey through her blog - wondermomma.net and Instagram @wondermomma.ig.

She still considers herself a new mom and since having been widowed 2 years ago, she get by with the love and support of family, friends and the amazing mom communities she have become a part of.