Lessons in Frugality

I keep getting comments that tell me I’m “lucky” I have the means to go on trips in and out of the country. Let me clarify this: It’s not luck. It’s a matter of frugality (saving money).

Fun FACT: I only received around Php11,000 a month in my previous job. I was able to go to a 4-day Vietnam trip, all expenses included, with that one month’s salary. (Of course, it took me around 3-4 months to save that amount since I had to pay bills, eat, etc.)

Fun FACT: Aside from Christmas and birthdays, my parents haven’t bought me anything outside of basic necessities since fourth grade. All my books, shoes, games and most of my gadgets were bought by me, from my allowance. My last year of high school’s allowance went into buying an iPod Mini. Some of my first year allowance went into a 150G external hard drive. My junior year in college got me an Ipod Classic. My last year of college’s allowance all went to a 4-day Hong Kong trip with my friends.

It’s not “luck”. It’s setting a goal and doing everything to achieve it.Β It’s as simple as writing this:

Goal: Hong Kong Trip (Ticket, Hotel, Food, Ocean Park Entrance Fee, Disneyland Entrance Fee, Shopping Money)

Amount Needed: Php35,000

How: BRING LUNCH TO SCHOOL. SPEND ONLY P50 FOR DRINKS/SNACKS A DAY. TAKE JEEPS TO SCHOOL EVERYDAY.

and sticking to it. Make it a commitment.

Oh my, that lipstick is so cool! I’ll buy it.

Stop. Think. Do you need that? Do you really need it? Are you out of lipsticks? Is your answer ‘No’ or ‘Not really’ to all three questions? Then why are you shelling out money for it, when you know you have to save for something else? Come to think of it, do you need that new pair of shoes? Do you need to go out for drinks every Friday and Saturday? Chances are, you don’t.

Do you know how much one spends eating lunch in a restaurant? It averages to Php200 a day, Php1000/week. Do you know that Php200 can feed you for at least three days, if you prepare your food at home and just bring it to work/school? Plus, preparing what you eat has the double advantage of making your eating habits healthier. Surely, what you can prepare with veggies, viand and rice or sandwiches will be a better alternative to the MSG laden and salt-rich fast foods.

It’s not luck. It’s simple math and control over spending habits.

I know it’s stress relieving to shop once you get your paycheck. But the happiness you derive from that is so fleeting, compared to the happiness you’ll get once you achieve your goal. You can be the girl with all the make-up and clothes she doesn’t need or the girl whoΒ traveledΒ the world.

It’s your choice.

If you want tips on how to form a frugal habit, you can check this article.

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