Many people would usually complain that there is always nothing left in their salary for emergency expenses. However, if you look closely at their lifestyle, it is easy to notice the gaps and money-wasting habits.
I learned that listing your expenses, however insignificant, is a critical money habit to acquire early on through the years.
By doing so, it would be easier to check which part of your day-to-day expenses is causing the leak in my personal finance.
Just like how the small positive habit of listing your expenses can help you grow your money, small negative money habits are surely hurting your wallet. Here are ten:
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1. Lotto Tickets
Lotto tickets may not sound like a lot because they would only cost P20 per ticket. But if you are someone who buys a single ticket every weekday for a year (P20 multiply it by 264 days (22 days per month)), it would easily be P5,280 of wasted money that could have been used somewhere else, like an emergency fund.
It is even joked but hints at the truth that the probability of getting hit by a car going to the Lotto outlets is higher than hitting the jackpot.
2. Bottled Beverages
Bottled waters and soft drinks are not-so-common money-wasters because you need to drink after a meal. The problem with this is bottled water would cost around P10 to P20, and soft drinks, around P15 to P50.
I once had a co-worker who never drank water from the office water dispenser because of bad experiences. So for every single office day, he would always buy 500mL bottled water from 7-11, which costs P20.
If we annualize his expenses in bottled water alone, not to mention his not-so often coffee and soft drinks, it would easily be P5000. Imagine that!
The best way to avoid buying unnecessary beverages is to keep a personal water bottle that you’ll bring everywhere you go. It would not only save you money, but it is also healthier.
3. Fast Food
Funny as it may sound, but fast food is the staple food for many office employees in Metro Manila. It is not only unhealthy but also more costly than home-cooked meals.
However, because many employees don’t have the skills and time to cook, so they just buy ready-made fast food for convenience.
Fast food can easily cost around P50 to P100 for the cheapest meals, if eaten every weekday (22 weekdays per month), will cost from P13,000 to P26,400 per year.
But don’t be too hard on yourself. You can still buy your favorite fast food occasionally.
Smoking kills. If that is not enough for people to stop, they may consider the financial side of their unhealthy habit.
Some may justify smoking to relieve stress, but continuous smoking is dangerous for the user’s health and their family.
A conservative estimate of smoking five sticks per day at P5/stick will translate to P9,125 annually, which could have been spent elsewhere. Ironic as it may seem, but many low-income individuals I know spend hundreds of pesos every day on cigarettes.
For stress relief, exercise is a great alternative!
5. Signature Coffee
Coffee is almost an essential part of adult life, not only in Metro Manila but also in the provinces. So, the occasional signature coffee from Starbucks, CBTL, or Coffee Project would never hurt, wouldn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong, it is still nice to drink in coffee shops because of the ambiance, but if you just take it out, it loses some of the values you paid for it.
On the financial aspect, if you buy a P150 coffee twice a week, that will amount to P15,600 per year.
A cheaper alternative is to brew your own coffee. There are a lot of coffee sellers on online shopping sites and easy-to-use coffee brewers like Moka Pots or French Presses.
6. Alcoholic Drinks
Like cigarettes, alcoholic drinks are a substantial money-wasting habit because they can have long-term negative effects on your health.
Sure, there are times when we want to hang out with friends, families, or co-workers, but you can always drink coffee instead.
My friends and I are coffee people. We talk better when our minds are clear. Remember that you don’t need alcohol to have a good time.
Gambling is dangerous because it is highly addictive. We all heard of or even know people who lost their livelihood, life savings, properties, and even left by their families because of this addiction.
Many people get hooked on gambling, thinking that that was a one-time thing and they will never get addicted until they’re wrong.
So as early as possible, avoid gambling, especially the casinos and online sabong, which have a history of breaking families and friendships apart due to neglect and the unpaid debts to finance their gambling addictions.
8. Trivial Items From Online Shopping
Online Shopping in the Philippines made a great leap during the 2020 pandemic for many isolated people. Many more people were “nabudol” into buying items that they didn’t need through various Facebook pages.
So to avoid buying trivial items that you don’t really need, It would be financially wise to avoid virtual window shopping altogether to save money.
Like many things listed above, online shopping is addictive, and pairing it with credit cards will worsen bad financial situations.
9. Always buying branded items
Brand names are often just that – brands. They don’t necessarily guarantee the best quality, except those already proven and tested through time.
However, cheaper and sometimes even better local brands are available for everyday items like clothes, toiletries, and food.
By buying local brands, you are also supporting the small business owners selling their products, and you can also save a few hundred – do it for a year, and you can surely save thousands.
10. Late Credit Card Payments
Credit cards are tricky. If used properly, it will bring you convenience in financial transactions, but if used carelessly, you can be certain that it will bring financial ruin – and this is not an exaggeration. You may read a post I wrote about credit cards here to know how I use my credit card.
If you don’t pay your credit cards on time and in full, your bank will charge you interest. Remember that interest that compounds through time will eat your finances as long as you don’t pay them as soon as possible.
Many bad money habits are all around us, and if we’re not careful, we may quickly adapt them.
But the best way to avoid many of these money-wasting habits is really about making better choices and delayed gratification.
Always remember that a peso saved is a peso earned, and if you are guilty of many of the listed habits above, then, by following this post, you may save more than a million pesos after twenty years.
PS: We have great graphics added for this week’s post from a great friend of mine, cray.z. We’ll see more of these cool illustrations in the coming weeks!
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