13 Things I Do To Improve My FinancesApril 22, 2020
When I started this blog my goal was to only share my personal financial journey. I never thought my posts would inspire others to pursue their own journey to financial freedom as well.
Thank you for considering SavingsPinay as a resource blog for tips and information on budget, savings, investment, early retirement and many more.
I know how tough managing money can be. Just like you, I have struggled to balance my budget and keep everything in order. But what I come to realize is that the little things and changes we do matter a lot.
Every financial decision we make today can impact how your life will be in 10-20 years.
According to the famous saying, “Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”
Here are 13 Things I Do To Improve My Finances and how slowly but surely I am getting on track to my ultimate goal of being a financially independent.
1. I set goals
I have always been a big fan of goal-setting ever since I was in school. I try to list the things that I want to accomplish and the next actions that can make them happen.
Every end of the month I set my personal and financial goals in my bullet journal. Then, I try to create weekly goals based on my monthly goal.
My monthly goal is all about numbers I want to achieve like “Earn 20,000pesos through event hosting” or “Earn $100 dollars on freelance content writing”. My weekly goals aren’t number-based but more of personal financial habits I want to succeed at like “I will track my expenses everyday this week” or “I will read a financial book” etc.
Having goals enables me to be motivated all year, all month and all week long. I enjoy hitting my personal and financial goals especially those that involve numbers.
2. I budget
The 50-20-30 Rule of Budgeting has helped me a lot to have a clear view on how I must use my hard earned money.
Every payday I use the template to distribute my money wisely. This helped me to allot 20% of my money on savings and investments, 50% for my personal needs and essentials and 30% for extra expenses.
You can read my post How I Organize My Finances + Inside My Money Map for full details regarding this matter.
3. I track my expenses
One of the best personal finance lessons I learned thanks to the Internet is the importance of tracking your spending.
A budget won’t work that well if you miss this crucial step.
I used a DIY Spending Tracker and then moved on to a new spending tracker notebook before finally settling on my bullet journal for this activity. What I do is record where my money goes everyday and review whether I stayed within my daily budget or not. This also allowed me to understand my behavior as a consumer and my overall attitude when it comes to spending my money.
4. I learn a lot about personal finance
I have shared a collection of my personal finance and investment books before and I am really happy that I have found deep joy in learning more about financial literacy.
I also shared 18 must-read books on money, business, investing and productivity should you need any book recommendation. It’s nice to learn new things about money every single day.
The thing is, the more you know the better when it comes to finances. Whenever you have time try to search for inspirations online on how others manage their money. It will definitely pump you up to start working on your own success story.
Related read – Financial Literacy: The Key to Growing Your Money
5. I started saving for an emergency fund
This has been a long recurring goal since I started this blog. I have no words. I started investing my money early and I do have good benefits from the company so I became hard headed in this area.
I am still contributing Php 2,000 every month to this and automatically adding the cash benefits I receive such as holiday pay, medical allowance, etc.
Currently, I am adding as much money as possible to increase my baby emergency fund to a real one — 3 months worth of my monthly expenses.
For me it’s better to save for an emergency fund now that I still have no financial responsibility and no debt to think about. Once I’m done saving up for my real emergency fund I can now focus on saving on other funds and of course my investments.
6. I invest for my retirement
One afternoon I told my parents I’m investing in mutual fund.
It was 2014, I got fired from a content writer job and used the last salary I received to open an account. I told them I’m starting a retirement fund.
Both my Mama and Papa got surprised. At 21, I am thinking about my retirement already.
Retirement, like debt, is a topic I have never really gotten too deep here in SavingsPinay. I don’t feel as confident compared to others who are doing such great job on their journey. But I soon realize how important it is to invest for your retirement at an early age.
I have two equity funds reserved as my retirement funds. I invest monthly on it hoping that in 10-15 years time it could give me good start up money for a business or something I can do once I decide to retire. I have envisioned an early retirement for me because I really don’t see myself working all my life.
7. I pay for a life plan
I know a life plan sounds like a crazy idea at 21 years old. But it proved to be the best decision ever. It was my parents who encouraged me to get one when I learned that they are already done paying for their own life plan.
Read the Three Reasons Why I am Convinced to Invest in a Life Plan too. To date, I’m on my last year of payment and the benefits are now effective. After 16 years there will be a money-back guarantee too. It may be a long time but considering I’m just in my 30s when that time come, I think it would help me a lot financially.
8. I improve my income
Aside from my full-time job I do side hustles to help me achieve my financial goals quickly.
I made a post on the seven different side hustles I did to make extra Php 5000 a month. Side jobs proved to be the best way to improve my finances and prepare for my future.
Hustling part-time changed my life for the better. It helped me accomplish the following:
- Boost my savings
- Increase my investments
- Have enough capital for a possible business venture or passion project
- Pay-off debt (credit card)
- Extra money for shopping, paying bills or vacation
On days when I don’t have anything to do, I work on finding new income streams. I have always been clear that I dream of a day when I can work freelance full-time and still satisfy my lifestyle.
Related read – 8 Important Reason to Start a Side Hustle
9. I try to schedule my shopping and dining out
I eliminate my temptation to spend by having a schedule when to shop and to spend money to dine out.
For example, I get my manicure and pedicure every first Sunday and 3rd Sunday of the week. I also do my shopping spree a day after the payday. Then, I set a pamper day where I watch movie and really go on a fancy dinner only once a month.
Setting a schedule help me avoid overspending and give me the right reason to spend on things. It means I only go shopping when I really have to.
10. I declutter most of my stuff
I recently had a big decluttering and realized how much money I waste buying things (from clothing to makeup to skincare items) I never even used. Just last week I have thrown away a pile of clothing I don’t use anymore as well as a big sako-bag of expired makeup and skincare items. It made me realize a lot of things that made me improved my finances:
- Invest on staple pieces when it comes to clothing and shoes.
- Invest of makeup that you actually need.
- Only buy a new skincare item if and then:
You have finished the one you are currently using.
Something expires already
Something doesn’t work well for you
- Keep everything as minimal as possible.
- Exert effort to buy only quality products and just take good care of things.
11. I still live with my parents
Though I give monetary gifts to my parents every now and then and pay for the bills and expenses, choosing to stay at our house now that I’m still single and still in my early 20’s is something that proved to be a good financial decision.
Of course, I dream of one day settling down on my own but for now being at home save me a lot of money on food. Included in my long-term goal is to buy my own house and lot and move my parents and my youngest sister on my care until I get married and have my own family.
12. I invest in myself
For me, the most important thing I have done to improve my finances is to really invest on myself.
I continuously improve my hosting skills which then give me the right to receive a higher pay. I also use my experience to widen my reach from being host to makeup and hair stylist to wedding coordinator etc.
Blogging on the other hand helped me gain exposure to brands that are willing to work with me for a reasonable price. It also opened opportunity for me to earn more than what my current day job offer.
And because of the many things I do I find it easier to negotiate for a higher salary. I tried to look for a job one day and I was surprised of how much employers are willing to pay me because I have developed my knowledge and seasoned it with proper experience.
13. I became in a relationship with my finances
Lastly, I made financial independence a quest. I became in a relationship with my finances. I find time to reflect on what works and what’s not working. I resolve the issues before it becomes worse. I make it my to do list to track my spending and fix my budget. It’s a commitment you have to you and your future self.
Final Notes from SavingsPinay
Years ago I was a one-day millionaire who didn’t know what she wants to do in her life. Fast forward to today I was able to declare my goal to be one-day financially independent.
I don’t have much but still I have my savings, my investments and my life plan secured.
Again, it is what you do today that matters. If I doubted investing back when I’m just 19 years old I’ll never learn how stock market works.
If I haven’t chose to use my talent as an event host for all occasion I am still living like an average person today — doing one job Mondays-Fridays and waiting for the weekend to arrive.
You can still improve your financial life. And the best time to do it is not tomorrow, not today but NOW!!!
Are you ready to improve your financial life?
Izza of SavingsPinay helps Filipinos bridge the financial literacy gap one content at a time by providing insights and tips on budgeting, saving, investing, side hustle and growing your net worth. Aside from this blog she also writes at www.izzaglinofull.com, a beauty and lifestyle blog for frugal Pinays and manages, www.izzagevents.com, a wedding and event business since 2011. For inquiries, topic suggestions or future collaborations email her at firstname.lastname@example.org