The Quick and Easy Filipino Homemaker’s Guide to Saving Money

Homemakers in the Philippines face a wide variety of challenges on a daily basis.

As the ones in charge of managing the household, they do so much for their families, often quietly and behind the scenes. They’re the ones who make sure that the home is neat, tidy, and well-maintained. Homemakers are also responsible for caring for the household’s young children. In addition to these domestic duties and a myriad of others, the Filipino homemaker is also usually the sole manager of the household’s finances. Since they have the most awareness of what goes on in the home and what their family needs, making ends meet on a single income also falls on their shoulders—and that can be a daunting task all on its own.

With prices of food, electricity, fuel, and other necessities on the rise, homemakers now have to think of creative ways to save money without sacrificing their families’ comfort and quality of life. Fortunately, living more frugally isn’t nearly as hard as it’s often been made out to be. Below are our top tips on how to save more money as a homemaker.

Tip #1 – Make a budget and stick to it.

One of the easiest ways to ensure having a tidy sum left over after the necessary expenses is to set limitations on how much you can or should spend monthly. This means drawing up a reasonable budget that takes your family’s necessities into account while curbing overspending. Budgeting is especially helpful for homemakers who often find themselves short on money at the end of every month.

There are several ways to formulate a budget. You can do it with a pen and paper, or you can automate the process with a computer program or an app on your smartphone. Start by making a list of all of your monthly expenses. It should include even small expenses like subscriptions to streaming services or newspaper deliveries. From there, just subtract the total from your household’s income to figure out how money you should have left over every month. After that, it’s simply a matter of staying “in the black”, which means never spending beyond what you can afford.

Tip #2 – Familiarize yourself with banking products that can help you make the most of your money.

Banks are always coming up with new and exciting offerings to attract more clients. Some of these products can be very helpful to homemakers looking to make the most of their money. For example, some banks offer credit cards that do away with annual fees entirely. Others propose high interest rates on their savings accounts for clients that can maintain a certain amount of money in them.

Accounts that double as banking solutions with rewards cards are also hugely popular in the Philippines. Robinsons Bank’s Robinsons RRewards Savings, for instance, is a product that offers a payment card that functions  as both a debit card and as a rewards card in one. To earn points, all you have to do is keep the account active and maintain a monthly balance of 5,000 pesos. These points can be used to pay for transactions at participating Robinsons stores and partner establishments, including Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Appliances, Handyman, True Value, and many more.

Tip #3 – Rethink your buying habits.

Sometimes, maximizing your budget isn’t about what you buy so much as how you buy things. You can save a lot of money just by changing a few of your purchasing habits.

For example, buying certain items in bulk will almost always be cheaper per unit. These usually include products that you and your family use regularly or go through a lot of every month, such as rice, coffee, toilet paper, soap, shampoo & conditioner, toothpaste, and laundry detergent, among others. Buying from the local wet market or a nearby supermarket instead of driving all the way out to a mall can also help you save on fuel costs.

Another way to save money while shopping is to do so with intent. Never go to the supermarket or department store without already knowing what you need to buy. This will prevent you from purchasing items that you don’t need on a whim. It’s also prudent to compare products and seek out more reasonably priced alternatives before committing to any purchases. Be brand-blind! For example, most local supermarkets sell their own versions of popular goods and products alongside those from bigger, more well-known brands. You’ll often find that the supermarket versions are cheaper, though the quality is the same. Finally, supermarkets often have a dedicated aisle or display for products they’re selling 2-for-1 or at reduced prices. Even if money isn’t particularly tight, visiting that area every so often can help you discover bargains on some of your family’s favorite grocery items.

Being smart about when you shop can matter, too. For instance, visiting certain bakeries around closing time can net you incredible deals on bread and pastries. You can also save a lot of money by shopping only during promotional periods or over major holidays, when most retailers lower their prices.

Tip #4 – Seek out every opportunity where money can be saved.

You can do a lot with a sensible budget and by changing your buying habits, but if you want to save even more money, you’ll want to look into reducing your household expenses. Making small but meaningful changes to your current lifestyle might seem insignificant in the short term, but the savings you gain from them do add up.

Take your electricity bill, for instance. You can save as much as 15% on your consumption simply by unplugging devices when they’re not in use. Switching from incandescent or fluorescent bulbs and fixtures to LED bulbs also helps you conserve energy by anywhere between 20% to 85%. Is the house too warm during the day? Minimize air conditioner usage by painting your walls a lighter color, which reflects heat instead of absorbing it. Finally, replacing your most regularly used appliances with more energy-efficient models also helps in conserving power.

Food is another area where you can save a lot just by making a few lifestyle changes. Meat, eggs, and dairy are expensive and are becoming even more so by the day. Eating less of them translates into instant savings at the checkout lane. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet and eating healthier also reduces your chances of getting sick, which in turn helps you avoid costly medical bills further down the line. If you have the space and time, you can also start growing your own food, an activity that can be both financially and emotionally rewarding. Finally, choosing to prepare your own food and to eat at home instead of splurging on a fancy dinner for special occasions can also really help your bank account fatten up over the long term.

Many homemakers also have to factor the price of maintenance medications into their budgeting. Fortunately, there is a way to save on those costs without sacrificing one’s health. According to the Department of Health (DOH), generic and branded medicines have the same active ingredient, the same method of administration, and the same dosage strength. Generic medicines enable you to continue complying with your medication needs without spending too much.

Unsubscribing to services is another great way to put money back into your wallet. To do this, make a list of every service you’re subscribed to, from cable television to video streaming platforms to gym memberships. In the case of video streaming services specifically, you may find that there’s plenty of overlap between platforms. You’ll save money by eliminating redundancy and canceling any services that you haven’t used in the last month.

When making certain purchases—such as household items, furniture, and clothing—it’s also a good idea to look into buying gently used or secondhand items. In many cases, this can actually be more cost-effective than buying something new but low in quality.

Finally, knowing how to take care of common household issues early can go a long way towards avoiding costly repairs later on. At the very least, you should know how to fix a leaky faucet, unclog a malfunctioning drain or toilet, and patch up dings and holes in the wall all your own.

Tip #5 – Have a goal for your savings.

Having a goal can help you stay motivated and can inspire you to continue putting away just that little bit more money every month. You can choose a short-term goal, such as saving up for a new TV or an overseas trip, or long-term goals such as putting a down payment on a dream home or saving up for your retirement.

Running a more frugal household to save money will undeniably be challenging at first. It’s not at all uncommon to feel as though you’re giving a lot up or are being deprived of certain luxuries. It will all be worth it when you see your bank balance getting higher each month, though. With these tips, you absolutely can live well while staying on budget. Once you’ve achieved your goals, go ahead and treat yourself. You most certainly deserve it!