(Updated March 22, 2017)
Year in and year out, most of us promise ourselves to save up for the entire year. Some of us even bought new coin banks in all sorts and sizes.
So the ultimate question is: How’s your savings now?
Money saving is like my promise to go on diet and earn the hot momma look. It is short lived. After a few weeks, I was able to come up with excuses why saving is hard or is it really?
At the end of this article, (it will be a long yet worthwhile read), you must be able to:
- Identify the reasons why saving is hard for you (and bust those reasons);
- Learn the benefits of tracking your expenses;
- How to effectively set financial goals;
- Discover the Ipon Challenge you are comfortable with;
- Understand what is increment; and
- How to surely stick with the Ipon Challenge.
“Money, money, money must be funny…” but actually it’s not. We all know how money saving could be a real challenge and pain.
I remember promising myself to set aside part of my income as my savings. However, I ended up buying something which made me feel guilty right after paying for it. There will be times that I shun going to groceries as I am usually tempted to get the things I don’t even plan to purchase.
Then I will think to myself: “OMG! Why is it so hard to save up?” I was mentally kicking myself too.
Why is it so hard to save up?!
Here are 5 reasons (so real I slapped my forehead because I was guilty with these excuses too).
- You don’t feel the immediate need
We take active action on things we prioritize. Why would you save for retirement when you need a new smartphone now? This sounds like procrastination huh?!
Why are you going to study today if the test is still a month to go? You still have more days to study. Then, you’ll be surprised that you’ve got just one day left to cram all the lessons in your brain.
Just like studying, saving takes time. Saving up may not give you a positive feeling right away but you need to start as early as possible. You may not need it now, but you’ll be thankful to have it when you get into financial crisis.
- You forgot how it felt to have nothing
There are times when people forget how hard it was to live with debt after debts. It seemed endless. Perhaps you have been living payday to payday until you had a salary increase. However, your expenses also increased so you go back to square one.
Technology also made spending easier. You can easily buy things online. With connecting in the internet and social media becoming part of people’s lives, a lot of Pinoys adds Wi-Fi or data into their budget. Don’t get me wrong. Having internet connection may be a need to most of us. However, be realistic enough by getting the right product within your means.
- Spending does not hurt right at the moment
Yes, you deserve a little fun. You worked hard for your money, you need to reward yourself. You drink and splurge on a Friday night but ended up with a hangover on Saturday morning. Much like spending.
You may feel happy with your new Jordan shoes, but you’ll feel bad after sometime when you are hit with the reality that you could have saved up for much needed things in the future. There are people who had no choice but skip eating lunch for a week just to buy a new pair of shoes.
And because you need to feel better, you go shopping again. Spurge. Feel guilty. Repeat. An endless cycle you thought is hopeless.
- Life intervenes
There is an old saying among old Filipinos. They say that saving up is like preparing for a disaster about to come. This is why one of my friends doesn’t save. She believes that every time she saves up, one in the family will fall ill. So when she needs money, she goes to 5-6. Spending your saving is cheaper than getting a loan from 5-6 with 20% interest rate.
When you try to save up, sometimes life intervenes. Somebody in the family gets sick. You lost your job. You needed to make house repairs. House rent increased. However, you should not lose focus on your financial goals. No matter how slow is the progress today, things will get better.
- Financial goals seems so far
When you look into your goals, it seems too far from your current salary. You get distracted and disheartened. Do not give up. Consider money saving as a journey you need to finish.
3 Types of 52 Week Challenge
- Basic 52 Week Challenge
The basic week challenge is very simple, everyone can do it at any age. You can even encourage your kids to do it. Start with a jar or a coin bank. Every week you need to put the same amount of bill until the end of the year.
Doing the math is simple and there is no need to take note of the number of weeks if you are not particular of keeping tabs on how much you already saved. If you want to keep records of how much is in your jar or coin bank, print a weekly guide and highlight the week you are able to put the corresponding cash in.
Children can be encouraged to put P20 a week in their own jars:
- 52 Week Challenge 20 pesos = P1,040
- 52 Week Challenge 50 pesos = P2,600
- 52 Week Challenge 100 pesos = P5,200
- 52 Week Challenge 200 pesos = 10,400
- 52 Week Challenge 500 pesos = P26,000
You can increase the amount depending on your means or preference. The challenge here is to keep up and not to skip even a single week.
It may sound easy, but as days and weeks go on, special holidays (mother’s day, father’s day, etc.), celebrations ( monthsaries , anniversary, birthdays, etc.) and super sales (50 to 70% off, rainy days’ sale, etc.) will surely come your way.
- 52 Week Money Challenge 2017
Start with a small amount which increments every week. Increment means increasing on a fixed scale. It usually starts on a small scale then it gradually goes bigger. This makes the challenge harder. It is hard enough to stay focus on saving money despite the temptations everywhere.
Each week the amount you have to put in your jar or coin bank will increase and you’ll have to tighten your financial belt more. It requires self-discipline if you want to be victorious in the end.
If you choose to start with P100, you are expected to put in P5,200 at the end of the year. That is like saving up P1,000+ a day from December 10 onwards December 30.
Another way to put it is every week from December 10 to December 30, you need to save P5,000 a week. This will not be practical if you are earning P15,000 a month with three kids to feed. How to choose the right increment?
Use 52-week kuripot money challenge calculator.
If the P100 increment seems too much for your pocket, then let a calculator help you decide.
This calculator will let you see how much you have to save daily for five (5) days a week, daily for seven (7) days a week, and per week. This is because some people prefer to save only on weekdays, others save up daily, while there other Pinoys prefer to save up once a week. You will also see the Goal Progress each week. The Goal progress is supposed to be the money in your alkansya.
Let’s make it clear: the amount to save gets bigger each week. It will be sad to stop halfway of the year because you can’t handle the amount anymore. This will make you lose focus. Some people will give up and then start spending what was saved. What a waste of effort that will be, and you will lose in the challenge.
This online calculator will help you save time and will give you an insight on how much you can afford to save until the end of the year. This way you can be realistic with your goals.
- Reverse 52 Week Money Challenge 2017
Yes, you have read it right. This is the reverse version of the famous 52 Week Money Challenge. This means that instead of saving amounts which goes bigger a week, you have to save in decreasing amount.
A friend cited 3 points why this is more practical:
- As said above, one of the reasons that make saving hard is because it seems that you don’t feel it is possible to reach. If you start with the highest amount and then continue to decrease it, then it will seem to become easier. The heavy lifting is done. As much as you want to save, consider that Filipinos usually spend more before the year ends.
- If you start early in the year and you have left over money from your 13th-month pay, then you can start your savings from there.
- When you reach December, it will be easier since it is the season for parties and buying gifts. You will not scratch your head looking at the amount you have to save and the long list of things you have to buy. In case you are thinking that you might be tempted to spend your savings halfway, you may consider opening a savings account in a bank.
Now that you have decided which 52 Week Money Challenge you are going to take, you are done with the easy part. It is time for the hard part, putting it in action.
How to stick with the 52 Week Money Challenge?
- Set SMART Goals
- SPECIFIC – Be specific on what you need to accomplish. Print out your 52 Week Money Challenge guide and write your goal on top.
What will you do with your savings? Is it for “Emergency Funds,” “iPhone 7,” “Mountain Bike,” “Trip to Singapore,” or perhaps, “Wedding Rings.” You can even write the name of the person whom you are saving for.
- MEASURABLE – Set the criteria to determine if you have reached your goal. This is why you need to print out the weekly challenge guide. You can easily track your progress and you can motivate yourself by seeing how near you are to your goal.
- ATTAINABLE – Consider if you are financially capable of reaching your goal. Do not set impossible feats. Wag mong paasahin ang sarili mo. Be realistic.
- RELEVANT – Take some time to reflect of your goal. Is it worthwhile? Does it add value or meaning to your life? Then ask yourself how committed you are to your goals.
- TIME-BOUND – Set a specific deadline and time frame to reach your goals.
- Eyes on your Prize
When things get hard. When life seems to give you setbacks once again, do not stop reaching your goals. Keep your focus and remind yourself why you have started in the first place. This is a challenge you have carefully planned to finish victoriously.
Keep your eyes on the goal you have written on top of your 52 Week Money Challenge guide.
- Save your monetary windfalls
Happen to come by with extra income? Put it in your savings. My uncle once told me that if you have extra cash now, perhaps you have something important to spend it to in the future.
Having unexpected money today does not mean you have to spend it now. Resist temptation and keep it for emergency use. This can also help your reach your goal faster.
- Save even the loose change
Everything starts with the small amount. You will be surprised how much you could have saved if only you keep your loose change for a month. Keep an extra jar and put your coins there. You may use it to fill in the extra space in your alkansya.
- Money Jar System Budgeting
Keep track of your expenses. Money saving goes hand in hand with smart spending. Why? Because what you don’t spend will go to your savings.
List down all your expenses in a month. It’s fine if you do not finish in one sitting. Take your time at this step because it is important to know where your money goes. You can also list them to two columns: Needs and Wants.
Your expenses must be within your income. Pinpoint the items which make you spend more than you should. Cross out the things which give short term happiness but aren’t necessarily needed.
- Make a budget
Create a budget but do not forget to include a bit of allowance. This way if some of them changed its price, it won’t be hard to adjust. Take a look at your bills, reflect if you can tone down some of them. Do you really need to have the TV cable? Maybe some other service provider which can offer similar packages with lower prices. Save electricity and water as much as you can.
Use the 70-20-10 rule. The 20% is for your savings. Always pay yourself first. The formula must be: Income – Savings = Expenses.
The 70% of your income goes to your monthly expenses and 10% goes to your wants (because you need to treat yourself once in a while).
- Cash is King
After creating the budget, take out a couple of jars. Label them with the needs you usually spend on. Label one jar with “self-treat” and another one with “savings.” The rest of the jars could be for electricity, water, groceries, transportation, Wi-Fi/Data, and other financial responsibilities. Put in the allotted cash according to the label.
- Follow the budget
Get the money in the jar only when you are going to use it according to the budget. If you are going to buy some groceries, do not bring along the money for bills. If there are some bills or even coins left in the jar at the end of the month, put them in the “savings” jar.
- Keep all your receipts in a box. Continue tracking your expenses to help you find expense holes.
Saving can be a real challenge. Cash Mart wants you to reach your financial goals too. Follow Cash Mart’s blog to learn more about how to handle your finances, how to get an approved loan, avoid getting caught in uncontrollable spiraling debt and how to gain financial stability.
In case you suddenly need an extra cash but your savings is not enough, you can get an online loan from Cash Mart.