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How to save up for beginners

If you've read my previous post, I've recently married the love of my life. :) So began our budget plans, and whatnots.

Oh, who am I kidding?! Our budget plans started WAY BEFORE and we are still in the process of learning how to save!

Here's the scenario:
I was a resident physician (READ: Doctors recently passed the Physician's Licensure examination has the option to continue training as residents to go to their desired specialization for 2-7 years such as Surgery, Internal Medine, Pediatrics and the like) and he is a Database administrator.

Resident physicians go on 24 hours duty aside from the usual 7AM to 5PM required hours during weekdays, and usually weekends are more lenient 8AM to 12noon, unless you're on duty and have to stay until the next day. In our contracts and simple due to the fact that we are mere humans, it is needless to say, we CANNOT by any means, have 2nd jobs. We simply do not have time and mental capacity to hold another income generating anything -- be it online jobs, holding private clinics, etc.

Resident physicians receive "allowance" or salaries on a bimonthly or monthly basis somewhere between Php 10,000 (minus 15% tax IAMNOTEFFIN KIDDING) to 40,000. This usually depends where you train. I got to be paid along the lesser spectrum.

Luckily, my fiance is not a doctor in training, he has more potential to earn as a DBA. Since I started receiving my paychecks, albeit low, my parental support stopped. Sure, grocery shopping here and there, they shouldered my rent for the 1st year, but everything I need, my fiance provided.

Since we were planning a wedding, we had to think of ways on how to save. Here's how we did it, not flawlessly mind you, and not completely -- but here's how:

1. Change your mindset.
Childhood to college, we were raised into consumerism thinking that we have to get jobs to buy this and but that. Before, we planned to buy Wii, the latest phones, live in a bigger space. We just have to wake up to reality that we really do not need so much material things! I think, for us, it took 2 years for us to change our mindset. It's hard, especially if those who surround you have so many, and you don't. But just keep your priorities straight and you'll shift the hell of your present paradigm in no time!

2. Savings first.
See, I like to write things on paper, list and computations. Even after reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, our mindset still hasn't change dramatically so we always save the money left after all the spendings.
We realized after 1.5 years that this should not be the case.  We were still in the rat race back then, thinking how we still lack money even when my fiance's income is getting bigger, thinking the only way to save is for him to get another job for a bigger salary. WRONG!
The problem with that is we are easily swayed to get money from our savings when we need extra cash (usually for something you don't really need).

So what we did was subtract 5% from our combined salaries. Placed it in a mutual fund account and then calculate spendings later. You can make the percentage as high as you want, but you have to subtract your savings first and think of it as if it did not exist. Never look at that money again as a liquid asset.

3. Open up a "Savings account"
Open an account on the same bank as your payroll. That way you can automatically transfer your monthly savings per salary period. This way, you really cannot see your money, less risk of spending it instead of saving it.
This is difficulty for us because we have different payroll accounts, but we just opened one at BDO for convenience.

4. Avoid late fees
We are late to realize that we were paying about Php 1000 plus per month due to late fees simply because we were too lazy to pay! Of course there are times when we overspent, like the months near our wedding date, but it was really crazy that we are paying late when numerically, we are able to pay all bills with our combined salaries.

5. Face your fears
This is related to number 4. See, my husband, and I think, most males suffer from the double standard that they have to be the breadwinner. Egos are crushed when there's a perceived inability to make ends meet.
Every time I bring up accounting our present expenses with my husband, he becomes annoyed by my efforts, postponing each time. When I finally convinced him to compute with me, we finally understood what we need to do -- just avoid late fees and save up on food.

In our case, our combined salary was enough. But when its not, maybe you can cut back on your bills by cutting your phone expenses? Do you really need all that data when you have unlimited internet at home? Do you really need to go online during your daily commute? Are you fully utilizing your gym access? Other memberships you can get rid off? Maybe you can move to a smaller space, or one nearer your workplace to lessen your transportation cost?

Confronting your budget once and for all will help you gain perspective to achieve #1.

6. No more Eat Outs
This consist a bulk of our budget. Since I am a doctor and have bad hours, we usually eat out for dinner almost daily. For years, we had resolutions to save by just cooking at home. It was only 2 months into our marriage that I stumbled upon a tip that changed our lives (atleast for the past month).
Before, we went to the lengths of meal planning and grocery shopping, but food just ended up spoiled, ingredients unused. The secret pala is PREP TIME. Crazy as it may sound, but this simple process helped us prefer eating in that out almost instantaneously!

We plan that every Sunday, we go to SIDCOR for buy food. I want to eat organic meat, hence my preference. At first, we had proper meal planning: rotisserie chicken, use the left overs for chicken sandwich, buy veggies for salad. Then as soon as we arrived home, the first stop was the kitchen. We cook the chicken, eat our lunch, then proceed to cutting up the remaining chicken and storing it to reusable containers. For salads - we skin and slice all vegetables: carrots, beans, zuccini, etc. By doing so, as the week progressed, it was so simple to put together a salad since we need not pull out a knife to do that. 4 straight weeks, we ate out once a week. That, for us, is success!

Now we have less leftovers and our spending for food decreased dramatically.

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Those are, I think, some essentials into saving up for beginners. These are lifestyle changes that you must do before you proceed to advanced stuff such as going into stocks, etc. An important point I wanted to drive at is that beginning to save is a process. I have seen so many lists of how to's before, but applying it to your self is really not so easy as it may seem. Results are not always fast. Sometimes, the path is slow, but hopefully, steady.

I wish our struggle/journey into savings may help and suit you!



This post first appeared on Travelling Cheeseheads, please read the originial post: here

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