Going home riding the jeepney, you think about how great the day has been after eating out with friends. In the middle of the trip, you decide to pay. But your heart sinks—there’s nothing in your wallet.
Hopefully it doesn’t have to come to that, but yes, doesn’t it bother you that there’s always a possibility that you might have to walk all the way home?
Let’s ask our college friends how we can avoid such horror.
Accounting, accounting, accounting
Miracle Faith Crizaldo, a Multimedia Arts senior at De La Salle College of St. Benilde (CSB), suggests, “Keep record of your expenses. Monitor this by having a notebook.”
If you think this is boring, at least commit to tracking your expenses for one month. This will warn you of the temptations expense you could succumb to, something 19-year-old Anna Isabel Consulta, a Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management major, so aptly describes: “With all the free time I’m given in university, I definitely spend a lot more money than expected. A lot of temptations lurk around the vicinity, like Maginhawa Street and good old Katipunan.”
List down your day-to-day living expenses such as food, water and transportation. At the end of the month, list down your other essential expenses, such as rent, laundry or Internet connection.
Your “surprise” expenditures (like spending for a project or a new backpack) should fall under a different category, since you don’t spend for them regularly.
Once you know where your money goes, you can decide how to reallocate it.
Miracle Faith says, “For me, the best way to manage money is to know my priorities. Buy something because you need it, not just because you want it. It is nice to reward yourself sometimes, especially when you’ve done something good in school, but not all the time.”
To spend less, everyone agrees with this suggestion: “Bring baon.”
Says Anna Isabel: “Whether it’s having breakfast at home before your 7 a.m. class or bringing a sandwich for lunch, it’s definitely a great way to resist spending temptations.”
She offers another tip: “Always carry a water bottle. You can save as much as P25 a day.”
Micah Angelica Naval, a fourth year BA Journalism student at UP Diliman, adds: “Most colleges have water dispensers. Take advantage of it.”
AJ Takla, a junior in Music Production at CSB, says: “Do your own groceries. Buy pasta because you can eat anything with it —canned tuna, vegetables, meat, plain sauce, you name it.”
Johann Chan, a recent graduate of Business Administration (major in Finance) at UST, offers alternatives to buying books for school: “Buy used books from the higher year students and haggle for a cheaper price. There are also bookstores that sell reference materials at discounted prices.”
Micah Angelica proposes this alternative: “Find places with the cheapest photocopy prices.”
You can also save a lot of money if we exercise our rights. In commuting, Anna Isabela says, “I pay the student’s rate when riding the jeep. And if I’m not in a hurry to my next class, I just walk.”
We should also be vocal when our friends ask us to eat out. Michelle Guevarra, an 18-year-old BS Tourism Management major at FEU, says, “Choose the eat-outs you go to. If you can’t afford it, don’t go. You can also influence your friends to go where it’s cheap.”
Johann has a saying among his peers: “O, presyong kaibigan lang, ah (Friendly rates, okay)?”
He has other tips: “Take advantage of extracurricular allowances. Sometimes your competition clubs or orgs have a budget for eating out. Also try to find ways to get a scholarship. And if you’re in a situation where you might lose it, appeal for it. Some professors are willing to give a scholar’s cutoff grade if you appeal for it properly.”
Save and invest
Spending less money and spending it wisely allows you to save. But don’t spend it right away. Angelica says, “Save your money because studying in an art school like CSB requires a lot of materials, equipment, printing, etc. for projects. You can’t pull art out of thin air.”
Miracle Faith says, “Try to save at least 10 percent of your allowance so that you’ll have additional money for the weeks to come. Try to have an alkansya (piggy bank) or anything that can help you keep your money, so that you will not be tempted to spend it. It’s also good if you have something to look forward to so that you’ll be inspired to not spend too much.”
Angelica Viñas, a 21-year-old Multimedia Arts major at CSB, says, “Put your savings in the stock market and let it grow in time. COL Financial offers an Easy Investment Plan that allows you to invest without actively trading.”
Ask for more
Finally, if you think you still don’t have enough money, you can always ask for more. How to prove that you don’t have enough? Go back to your accounting. Create a report from your accounting logs and show it to your sponsor.
Your college days may be one of the best times of your life. But good times need good money. So, go ahead—eat, drink and manage your money wisely, for tomorrow you may have to walk all the way home due to bad budgeting.
Miracle Faith J. Crizaldo: A huge fan of Pop Fiction and a lover of wedding SDE’s.
AJ Takla: Part Egyptian, she loves Wes Anderson movies, day hikes, overnight beach trips and concerts. She’s also into photography.
Anna Isabel C. Consulta: An extrovert for the thrill of it. In her perfect world, 60 percent is for spontaneity and 40 percent is time spent with good books, with 1975 Starbucks music in the background.
Angelica Viñas: Closet retrophiliac, music junkie and peanut butter-phobic girl