Friday, October 24, 2008


Money makes the world go round, or so they say. In a world inevitably dominated by money and other material items, everyone must learn how to manage their money.

Ask yourself if you have the sense of proportion about money, a good sense in what's to be done with it, as well as a sensible approach to getting it and spending it.

None of us is perfect money-wise. What would you do if you had a windfall? How do you weigh your material needs and wants?

Here are tips from MSN Money about the ways to start saving.

Step 1: Retrain your brain

Saving money is a state of mind. Before you can start, you have to renounce the spending — and stop believing you actually need all the stuff you've been spending money on.

The next time you want to buy something, take the P50 or P100 out of your wallet, and stash it somewhere. See? That's called saving. You don't end up with stuff; you end up with MONEY. To retrain your brain, start thinking about the following:

Accept frugality as your savior. Become a closet cheapskate and emulate your frugal friends. Note that they fix the shower curtain instead of buying a new one. Sit down with Depression-era relatives and ask about economizing.

Seek inspiration. Get thee onto MSN or Google Search and type in "living cheaply," "frugal living" and "voluntary simplicity." Be inspired by the gazillion Web sites devoted to living on less!

Cry poverty — with style. Learn handy phrases like, "Let's eat somewhere cheap." And "Cab? No, I'll take the bus this time." It's less embarrassing than you'd think, because more people are in your shoes than you think!

Step 2: Now save it!

There are a thousand ways to live on less. But you don't want to make your life a misery. Here are some of the most painless ways you can economize without losing out on quality of life.

Go veggie. If you can do three meatless days a week (without substituting pricey fish), you could save P200 a week, which equals P800 a month, which equals P10,400 a year! Beans: Ya gotta love 'em.

Never spend a windfall. Take that holiday money from your folks, that P0.75 change from the grocery store, that P0.25 coin that somebody dropped on the street, and any other extras and save 'em.

Haggle. You'd be amazed at who will drop their prices, fees and interest rates — flea markets, banks, airlines, etc — as long as you know how to haggle.

Toss the catalogs. The most insidious form of spending temptation known to man or woman. Chuck them straight in the trash. Yes, including Victoria's Secret. Sorry, guys.

Don't pay unnecessary fees. Like the P15 you pay just because you're not withdrawing from your bank's ATM. Or the late fees for returning videos. Or those fat charges banks hit you with when you write a check that, well, bounces.

Never pay a pro. If you can fix the neighbor's car, and she can paint the bathroom: Do it.

Pay less for long-distance. Evaluate your phone bill and see how much you're paying per minute. Some dial-around codes or cheap calling cards may give you a better rate.

Never pay full price. If you must shop, discover your friendly P99-and-below-shop in the neighborhood or the online world of discount Web sites.,, and are good sites for cheap auctions, just be wary of scammers!

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