Once, when one of my kids was still quite small, we were crossing the street when I chanced upon a 10-cent coin on the road. I stopped, picked it up, brushed away the dirt, and kept it. “Mom, why did you pick it up? That’s just 10 cents!“, my kid asked me. I told my kid, “Everything has value. Even if that was just 5 cents, I’d still pick it up.”
At home, I keep large medicine bottles after the contents have been consumed. I have transformed some of them into coin containers, labeling them by denomination. They come from leftover change from parking places, change from purchases, even coins I find lying around the house. And when there is enough for at least P100, I send the coins to the sari-sari store nearby for exchanging into paper bills. It goes into our family savings.
Little things count. Little things add up.
For two years now, I’ve had a Bubbly account, an audio social media platform. When I realized that most of my listeners were from the C-D income brackets and were mostly located in Mindanao and the Visayas, I did an experiment.
I made a series of Bubbly posts over a span of a few weeks. In a student series, I gave several tips on how a student could save up on their allowance alone. That was challenging because some of my listeners would leave comments saying they had only enough for pamasahe (transportation fare). If you are a student and you are reading this post, here are some I can suggest:
* If the route is not dangerous and if done in broad daylight and good weather, alight a couple of stops before your regular stop and walk the rest of the way. You save a few centavos on bus or jeep fare.
* Bring baon instead of buying snacks
* Replace a bottle of soft drinks with plain water
* If you know how to prepare food items, you can sell to your classmates. In grade school, my mom made very yummy polvoron and I sold packs of polvoron to my classmates. I actually filled an upright alkansiya (piggy bank) with coins from my sales. When our house was robbed while we slept, my noisy and heavy alkansiya was spared. But that is for another story…
* Look out for paid work opportunities like doing errands or tasks for neighbors or friends. If you are good in math and science or any other subject, you can even try to find part-time tutoring or student assistance work.
In a Christmas save-up series, I challenged my listeners to set aside money each day beginning in August when I made the post, till Christmas.
It was to be their Christmas budget for gifts, food, and savings. I made them decide on a budget, divide it by the number of days left till around Christmas, and see if they could set that amount aside. EVERY DAY. CONSISTENTLY. They could also start with an amount that was easy for them to set aside by foregoing some luxuries they would indulge in, like a beer, cigarettes, or a movie, and add these amounts to their savings.
A few months after that challenge, I checked back with my followers on Bubbly. To my delight, one female student had P300 saved while another guy already saved up P1,000 for Christmas. Several others had similar feedback. More than my happiness at learning they did it, I am sure they were very pleased with themselves. With will power and determination, saving up is really possible.
Start today. Check how you spend. See if there is anything you can do without. Begin an alkansiya and build it up until you can start a bank account. What you do today may seem insignificant but when seen from a 10-, 20- year horizon, it amounts to a lot.
Good luck! If you have any questions about how to save or you’ve got saving tips of your own, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.