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7 Tips For Building Your Savings

Are money matters bringing you down? Read columnist Bianca Valerio's tips on little things you can do daily to stuff the piggy bank!

As the cost of living slowly but surely rises, so does the frustration: How on earth can anyone build a nest egg on such a limited salary? Well, believe it or not, as overwhelming as it sounds, it can be done. The question now is: how long will it take before it can ever really amount to anything?

Don't panic, girls, we're here to offer sound advice for your money concerns. Here are five sure-fire ways to get the money ball rolling all the way to the bank:

1. Take Note

Ever have those days when you ask yourself whatever happened to the P2,000 you had just the other day? You'll be surprised how fast money flies when you don't account for how it was spent. Let me share with you one of my ultimate secrets to success: Some people have journals, while others keep food diaries, but I have a notebook for expenses. That's right--you need to write down every single expense you make in a day, which adds up to a week, a month, and eventually a whole year.

A money journal will help you keep track of all your daily expenses, spending habits, frequent purchases, unnecessary expenses (you never realized), and how much you saved or lost in a given time. This way, you can compare month by month if you've improved on your money habits or not.

2. Ditch The Plastic

Credit cards are the easiest and fastest way to go broke. Unlike paying for something with cold, hard cash that slips out of your hands, signing a piece of paper does not fill you with the same sense of guilt. If you must have a credit card to earn a good credit score and the like, then keep your limit to a minimum. Another tip is to leave the card at home for emergency purposes only. That way, you won't be tempted to spend money you may not have even earned yet, or simply don't have.

3. Follow The Pros

You can't go wrong with money-saving tips from a billionaire like Oprah Winfrey! She once said in an interview that whatever amount of money you make, no matter how small, you should stash 20 percent of it away in a time-savings account so you can't touch it.

Then there's America's Next Top Model's Miss J Alexander, who shares in his book, Follow The Model, what his grandma taught him: "Whatever you make, save 50 percent. Spend the next 25 percent wisely and the other 25 percent foolishly!"

Depending on how much money you make and the lifestyle you lead, only you can determine a sensible yet disciplined rationing of your salary. Just make sure to stick to it no matter how tempting it may be to compromise here and there. Once you start cheating yourself and the system you implemented, don't even bother justifying your so-called expenses.

Click ahead to the next page to read the remaining tips!
4. Time Is Gold

We all love our extra minutes of sleep but that surplus rest can cost you. Tardiness can be expensive, as you'll realize when you are forced to take that last-minute cab ride or pay unnecessary Skyway expenses that could have been avoided had you woken up earlier to get to work on time via the longer yet cheaper route.

5. BYOB (Bring Your Own Baon)

Eating out easily adds up to your daily expenses, not to mention your calorie count if fast-food is the only option. Bringing your own food can save you so much money, plus you get to determine what and how much food you'll eat. If bringing home-cooked food isn't an option, at least bring your own water, rice (it's so easy to cook this), and other snacks that don't need any preparation to lessen the day's expenses. Which leads me to...

6. Coffee Breaks Break the Bank!

Those seemingly harmless cigarette breaks sometimes paired with a venti latte are just as harmful as the secondhand smoke you share with bystanders! Quit the habits of smoking and expensive coffee-drinking for the sake of camaraderie and convenience! Instead, bring your own sealed thermos or mug and coffee mix, so you can easily add hot water from the office pantry.

7. Party Responsibly

No, this is not another drug-safety appeal (though it wouldn't hurt, either), but as alluring as drinks with the gang on casual Friday sounds, your time could be better spent on more productive activities.

They say you should choose your battles well, and I say you should choose your gimiks just as wisely! Opt for nights out where you can network at an event for potential clients or future job references. Make the money you spend on cab fare, gas, parking, and that new outfit count! It'll give you new meaning to partying for a cause. In this case, your bright future is the cause!

The bottom line is, sacrifice and determination are essential to getting definitive financial results. It may be difficult to start practicing these tips, but just think of it as an exercise routine you need to practice before it becomes second nature. Your wallet will thank you! Good luck!

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