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13 Things I Do To Improve My Finances

Monday, October 24, 2016
When I started this blog my goal was to only share my personal financial journey. I never thought that my posts would inspire others to create their own journey to financial freedom as well. Thank you for considering SavingsPinay is a resource blog for tips and information on budget, savings, investment, entrepreneurship, career and productivity and many more. 

I know how tough managing your money can be. Just like you, I have struggled to balance my budget and keep everything in order. But what I come to realize is that the little things and changes we do today matter a lot. Every financial decision you make can impact how your life will be in 10-20 years. And if you start strengthening your financial life and really building a strong foundation then your future self will surely thank you. Here are ways I have improved my finances and how slowly but surely I am getting on track of my ultimate goal to be a financially independent Pinay.

1. I set goals

I have always been a big fan of goal-setting ever since I was in school. I try to list the things that I want to accomplish and the next actions that can make them happen. You can refer to my 2016 Personal and Financial Goals for a list of what I've set myself up for this year. I still haven't updated it though since I am waiting for my Year-End review post. 

Anyway every end of the month I set my personal and financial goals in my bullet journal. Then I try to create a weekly goal based on my monthly goal. My monthly goal is all about numbers I want to achieve like "Earn 20,000pesos through event hosting" or "Earn $100 dollars on freelance content writing". For weekly goals most of the time they aren't number-based but really personal financial habits I want to succeed like "I will track my expenses everyday this week" or "I will read a financial book" etc.

Having goals enable me to be motivated all year, all month and all week long. I enjoy hitting my personal and financial goals especially those that involve numbers. READ: SavingsPinay September Quick Recap and Extra Income Report

2. I budget

The 50-20-30 Rule of Budgeting have helped me a lot to have a clear view on how I must use my hard earned money. Every pay day I use the template I created and really distribute my money wisely. This helped me to allot 20% of my money on savings and investments, 50% for my personal needs and essentials and 30% for extra expenses. You can read my post Where Does My Income Go for full details regarding this matter.

3. I track my expenses

One of the best personal finance lesson I learned thanks to the Internet is the importance of tracking your spending. A budget won't work that well if you miss this crucial step. Before I use a DIY Spending Tracker and then moved on a new spending tracker notebook before finally settling on my bullet journal for this activity. What I do is record where my money goes everyday and review whether I stayed within my daily budget or not. This also allowed me to understand my behavior as a consumer and my overall attitude when it comes to spending my money. 

4. I learn a lot about personal finance

I have shared a collection of my personal finance and investment books before and I am really happy that I have found deep joy in learning more about financial literacy. If you want to know my recommended personal finance blogs then click here. Also I try to share The Best of Personal Finance Tips and Must-Reads on my Weekly Notes. It's nice to learn new things about money every single day.

The thing is the more you know, the better when it comes to finances. Whenever you have time try to search for inspirations online on how others manage their money. It will definitely pump you up to start working on your own success story. Join the SavingsPinay Community on Facebook for daily dose of money inspiration.

5. I started saving for an emergency fund

Though my 52-week money challenge attempt this year is a big failure I am still happy that I got my baby emergency fund done (READ: Pinoys Guide on Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover). Currently I am adding as much money as possible to increase my baby emergency fund to a real one --- 3 months worth of my monthly expenses. 

For me it's better to save for an emergency fund now that I still have no financial responsibility and no debt to think about. Once I'm done saving up for my real emergency fund I can now focus on saving on other funds and of course my investments.

6. I invest for my retirement

My FAMI-Save and Learn Equity Fund is something I reserve as my retirement fund. I invest monthly on it hoping that in 10-15 years time it could give me a good  start up money for a business or something I can do once I decide to retire. I have envisioned an early retirement for me because I really don't see myself working all my life. 

Below are links to my posts about FAMI-SALEF:

My FAMI-SALEF Investment Update
A Special Guide on the New FAMI Investor's Portal
Reader's Question: What do you think are the best funds in FAMI that I should start with?
Reader's Question: How to Manually Compute for Your FAMI Earnings
How to Compute for Your FAMI Investments
Reader's Question: How does FAMI work?

7. I pay for a life plan

I know a life plan sounds a like a crazy idea for a 22-year old like me but it proved to be the best decision ever. It was my parents who encouraged me to get one when I learned that they are already done paying for their own life plan. Read the Three Reasons Why I am Convinced to Invest in a Life Plan too. To date I'm done with my first year of payment and the benefit are now effective. Four more years before I finish the payment contract and then I just have to wait for 16 years for the money-back guarantee. It maybe long pero considering I'm just in my 30's when that time comes I think it would help me a lot financially. READ: I'm Just 21 Do I Seriously Need a Life Plan?

8. I improve my income

Aside from my full-time job I do side hustles that helped me achieved my financial goals quickly. I have my event hosting career which I shared the full details of my journey last week [read here]. I also started freelancing in my spare time through content writing. Another way I earn is through my blogs and YouTube. Side jobs proved to be the best way to improve my finances and prepare for my future. 

On days when I don't have anything to do I work on finding new income streams. I have always been clear that I dream of a day when I can work freelance full-time and still satisfy my lifestyle. 

9. I try to schedule my shopping and dining out

I eliminate my temptation to spend by having a schedule when to shop and to spend money to dine out. For example I get my manicure and pedicure every first Sunday and 3rd Sunday of the week. I also do my shopping spree a day after the payday. Then I set a pamper day where I watch movie and really go on a fancy dinner only once a month. Setting a schedule help me avoid overspending and give me the right reason to spend on things. It means I only go shopping when I really have to.

10. I de-clutter most of my stuff

From clothing to makeup to skincare items I recently had a big de-cluttering and realized how much money I waste buying things I never even used. Just last week I have thrown away a pile of clothing I don't use anymore as well as a big sako-bag of expired makeup and skincare items. It made me realized a lot of things that made me improved my finances:
  • Invest on staple pieces when it comes to clothing and shoes. 
  • Invest of makeup that you actually need.
  • Only buy a new skincare item if and then:
    •  You have finished the one you are currently using.
    • Something expires already
    • Something doesn't work well for you
  • Keep everything as minimal as possible.
  • Exert effort to buy only quality products and just take good care of things.
11. I still live in my parents house

Though I give monthly monetary gift to my parents and pay for half of the bills and expenses, choosing to stay at our house now that I'm still single and still in my early 20's is something that proved to be a good financial decision. Of course I dream of one day settling down on my own but for now being at home save me a lot of money on food. Included in my long-term goal is to buy my own house and lot and move my parents and my youngest sister on my care until I get married and have my own family.

12. I invest in myself

For me the most important thing I have done to improve my finances is to really invest on myself. I continuously improve my hosting skills which then give me the right to receive a higher pay. I also use my experience to widen my reach from being host to makeup and hair stylist to wedding coordinator etc. Blogging on the other hand helped me gain exposure to brands that are willing to work with me for a reasonable price. It also opened opportunity for me to earn more than what my current day job offer. And because of the many things I do I find it easier to negotiate for a higher salary. I tried to look for a job one day and I was surprised of how much employers are willing to pay me because I have developed my knowledge and seasoned it with proper experience. READ: 7 Ways You Can Invest in Yourself.

13. I became in a relationship with my finances

Lastly I made financial independence a quest. I became in a relationship with my finances. I find time to reflect on what works and what's not working. I resolve the issues before it becomes worse. I make it my to do list to track my spending and fix my budget. It's a commitment you have to you and your future self. 

Final Notes from SavingsPinay

Two years ago I was a one-day millionaire who didn't know what she wants to do in her life. Fast forward to today I was able to declare my goal to be one-day financially independent. I don't have much but still I have my savings, my investments and my life plan secured. Again it is what you do today that matters. If I doubted investing back when I'm just 19 years old I'll never learn how stock market works. I haven't chose to use my talent as an event host for all occasion I am still living like an average person today --- doing one job Mondays-Fridays and waiting for the weekend to arrive. 

You can still improve your financial life. And the best time to do it is not tomorrow, not today but NOW!!!

Are you ready to improve your financial life?

If you want to book me for your event just email me at | 09479666698

Is Financial Independence a Realistic Goal for Pinoys?

Friday, October 21, 2016
Last week I shared to you my goal of becoming a financially independent Pinay. How I want to live a life where I am entitled to more than I can actually afford. That I want to live a life where I can pursue a career of my choice and still get a grip on my finances. And that I want to live a life where I can easily give and share my blessings to others without worrying what will happen next to my funds.

My post opened a number of questions from curious readers whether financial freedom is really possible.  Today I'd like to give you a clear road map on how early financial independence can be a doable goal and why you owe it to yourself to be one day financially free. 

The Journey to Financial Independence

Financial Independence is defined as a state of having sufficient personal wealth to live, without having to work actively for basic necessities. It means you accumulate greater passive income that can cover your expenses even without you working for it. Personal financial independence is a life long process. And it's something you can only achieve if you start now.

If you read my About Page you'll know that my magic number in terms of retirement and achieving total financial independence has been 30 years old. I know it sounds too ambitious and I am still currently far from that state to be honest. But I am working on it every day. And nothings gonna stop me from my quest to financial freedom. Even if I don't hit my target retired at 30 know that everything I do today will help me be still in a way better financial life by that age rather than doing nothing at all.

Is Financial Independence possible?

I've read countless of blogs and articles of people who have achieved financial freedom in life. They were able to create the life they want without stopping. How? Below are the main factors that play a lot of role to make the impossible possible and one day be financially free. 

You Need to Really Want It 

Your desire to be financially free is important to help you go from zero to hero in less time. You can only do something you really want, right? Spend a day to really sort things out in your financial life and set your heart, mind and soul to the idea of becoming financially independent. 
  • Create a personal definition of "financial independence" for you.
  • Find out your current financial status through calculating your net worth. 
  • List your goals that will help you achieve total financial independence.

You Have To Continuously Work For It

Financial independence is the end-goal and it consists of short-term and long-term goals in between. This means you need to be ready to work hard for it to reach your overall freedom to money issues. 
  • Stay on Track of Your Finances.
The first sure way that you can work for your financial freedom is by being on top of how your money moves.  From how much income comes to how much money goes out of your system.


  • Have a Budget
We often take budget for granted. We only create one once we are already running out of money to spend. Budgets comes as an option rather than a necessity. This mindset should be changed. A good budget can make you rich in the long run. It could give you a blueprint for a stronger financial foundation.


  • Maximize Your Income
Let's face it, more income means more money you can save, invest or use to sustain your living expenses. Do not be satisfied with a single source of money try your very hard to open other income streams that will help you get to closer to your dream.


  • Be Debt-free
Debt will be a big hindrance for you to achieve financial independence. As much as possible try to avoid debt or pay it off as early as possible. When paying off debt it's better to do the snowball method or  focusing on those that have higher interest rate then moving on the low-interest rate debt. Below is a before, during and after debt tip you can use:

Before making a debt
  • Assess whether it’s a need or a want. 
  • Find possible alternative that can cost you less.
  • Find possible creditor/loan solution have no/less interest rate.
  • Create an agreement (possibly written) on the payment method as well asthe deadline.
During the debt
  • Avoid making additional debt.
  • Create a good creditor-debtor relationship.
  • Have an open communication with your creditor.
  • Pay on time the whole amount with interest(if any).
  • If you can’t pay the debt on time, let the creditor know as soon as possible. Let him/her know the honest reason why and ask for an allowance.
  • If it’s a credit card delay then talk to your bank and ask for possible solution that you can pay. I know one who wrote a letter to the leading bank and was given a payment method that is so much easier to do thought takes longer time. Still he is responsible enough to pay.
After the debt
  • Appreciate your creditor by thanking him/her for the financial help.
  • Don’t make another debt just when your current debt ended.
  • Still have an open communication to your creditor.

  • Start saving money
The earlier you save money the better it would be for your finances. Make sure that you automatically save a portion of your income as cash reserve for future or emergency use. How do you save? Start small. Do not over commit on the percentage of your income that goes to saving. If you still can't do the 50% of your salary on savings then don't. It is way better to start with 10% to 20% of your income then go higher as your source increases. What matters most is you save consistently.


  • Learn to Invest
Saving won't make your money work for you. That's why as early as today you need to learn how to invest. There are a number of investment vehicles available for you to choose. Be wise on what vehicle will satisfy you as an investor. Why Should You Invest Your Money?

- If you care about your future then you should invest.
- If you want financial peace...invest.
- If you want your money to generate income to earn interest...invest.
- If you want your money to work for you aka passive income...invest.
- If you have long term goals that will need a higher amount of money...invest.
- If you want to amplify your current life...invest.
- If you want to learn more about how money how money works...invest.


You Have to Build Your Own System to Success

It is important to remember that only you can define whether the financial independence is really a realistic goal you can achieve in 10-20 years from now. You need to establish the system that will get you there. From what budget will enable you to so to what investment will give you the right number to retire at peace.

Everything starts with you and ends with you so only YOU have the power to change your current state. Recognize the need to implement change in your habits and routines so you can start working on your financial freedom system. I think what I notice the most is that people who want to retire young and achieve financial independence are reading and learning a lot but do not act. 

You have to build you own system to success. No self-help books can build the road for you. If you don't act on it then everything will be put to waste. So try to start and learn how... NOW.

Final Notes from SavingsPinay

So if you ask me if Financial Independence a Realistic Goal for Pinoys, my answer is short and simple --- YES!!! As long as you want it, work for it and build a system that will work for you. Again as I've always mentioned it is indeed a life-long journey and everything you do today matter. Every decision you make can contribute to your financial success.

PS. I created today's post as a primer on the eBook that I'll be releasing before 2016 ends. One of my to do list before 2017 is provide a quality reading guide for every SavingsPinay reader. It would be FREE and will include far more pages and learning from last year's Making Your 2015 The Best Year Ever eBook

"How to Be A Financially Independent Pinay : A Step by Step Guide for Every Juana". Release date will be posted soon.

Is Financial Independence Your Goal Too? What Age Do You Want to Achieve It?