I admit it: I am a travel junkie. Like many others, I want to see the world as much as I can. But, this doesn't mean I blow all my savings on traveling. I consider travel, whether it be just a one-day hike or a simple weekend at the beach with friends, as a necessary expense and investment. That's why I learned to move my budget around and created a savings scheme to accommodate my lifestyle. Here’s how I budget my monthly salary of P25,000—tax deductions factored in, to afford to travel every month.
Tax and other deductions: P628.32 + P1,025.05
Net salary: P23,346.63
A P25,000 paycheck leaves you with about P23,346.63 due to deductions for income tax, PhilHealth, SSS, and Pag-IBIG. My number one tip? Think of your net salary as your actual salary. I also don’t factor in my bonus and OT pay, even when I do get them. This has a way of convincing me that I have less cash than I actually do, which makes saving money feel more urgent.
Food allocation: P6,000 (or P3,000 every two weeks)
Since I live independently (read: not with my parents), I have to fend for myself when it comes to food. I’ve given up eating out to save for travel because 1) you get sick of takeout pretty quickly, 2) cooking your own food is a lot healthier, and 3) it saves you THOUSANDS of pesos. I do the groceries on weekends and stick to veggies, protein, and other food that won’t perish too quickly, and prep my meals before the week starts.
Rent and bills: P5,500 + P1,500 (or P3,500 every two weeks)
I moved to a small apartment which I share with roommates. I live within walking distance from work and supermarkets, so that means minimal transpo fees. Split among the four of us, the cost of living gets pretty affordable on a modest income. I set aside this amount immediately after payday.
Savings for travel and shopping: P7,000
After setting aside the basics for food and shelter, I have P7,000 left for miscellaneous expenses—especially travel. I spend that on at least one weekend exploring the Philippines. Sometimes, I schedule a weekend trip to the beach with my barkada. Other times, I go on day hikes with fellow backpackers. If I have enough extra cash from the previous months, I combine it with a target month's savings to travel to other countries in Southeast Asia as well. Thanks to hostels, group travel deals, and airfare promos, this amount is enough. Besides, sometimes the best trips are the koboy ones!
Miscellaneous savings: P3,346.63
Through meticulous budgeting, I always have P3,346.63—14 percent of my net salary—in savings for emergencies and for the future. I consider this my “untouchable” amount. Every month, I transfer this amount to my Maybank iSave account. Opening an iSave account is easy, since it can be done through the Maybank2U PH App. I currently have more than P10,000 maintained for the iSave. iShop. iFly. promo. Every P10,000 earns you one raffle entry. So if you have P40,000 in your account, you automatically earn four (4) raffle entries. Preliminary draws are shopping sprees worth up to P300,000, while the grand prize is to a trip to the U.S.—and you know how it is when you’ve got wanderlust.
Per DTI-FTEB Permit No. 1591 Series of 2019.