Budget management is really getting to be more difficult nowadays given the weekly increase of fuel prices. I'm just so lucky to live in a city where the cost of utilities are slightly lower compared to most metropolitan areas. Here are some "corner-saving" tips I can share that can help stretch the peso:
- LAUNDRY/IRONING - Washing of clothes are done once a week, ironing same thing but 2 days later; to save up on water, I've been using P&G's Downy 1Banlaw, the fabric conditioner requires you to rinse laundry once to get rid of all suds and detergent.
- GROCERY SHOPPING/WET MARKET DAY - Close monitoring of my pantry is very useful because I can actually schedule grocery shopping and only do it when I need to replenish my stocks already. Short, frequent trips to the supermarket actually cost more in the long run since you need to spend for transport every time you go to the store and there's higher chance of impulse buying. Grocery shopping is done every 2 weeks, while wet market purchases are done weekly on market day - when there's more supply of seafood, meat and vegetables which would mean lower prices.
- PRODUCTS I PATRONIZE - Although I'm really the type of person who goes for quality over price, I've discovered that there are some products that are actually of good or equal quality as the better known brands but don't cost as much. These are some of the products I use:
fabric conditioner - DOWNY 1Banlaw (refill pouches)
liquid hand soap - Watson's on Buy 1 Take 1 deal
dishwashing liquid - PRIL (refill pouches)
vinegar - DATU PUTI (refill pouches with 20% more)
soy sauce - DATU PUTI (refill pouches with 20% more) or SILVER SWAN LAURIAT (refill pouches)
choco drink - MILO (refill pouch with 20 g more)
milk - ANCHOR FULL CREAM (refill pouch) & ALASKA (refill pouch)
coffee - NESCAFE (refill pouch or single-serve sticks)
juice - pouches for 1-liter serving
hotdogs - HAPPY BOOSTER (same taste as Purefoods TJ but much cheaper)
tomato-based sauce/paste - CLARA OLE
pasta - SPIGADORO
catsup - DEL MONTE (refill pouches)
cooking oil - MONA/JOLLY Canola Oil
- CHANGING FOOD PREFERENCES - Both of my children are growing up preferring fish and chicken over pork or beef and they know how to eat their vegetables. This has been a huge help in maintaining our budget. We have fish, chicken and vegetables almost everyday, reserving maybe 2-3 days in a month where we enjoy pork or beef.
- CONSERVING ENERGY - Although we can't get rid of our air-conditioning habit, we've maintained a strict time range when we use our air-conditioner. It's built-in timer helps in keeping our use to a minimum (5-6 hours at night). We also make a habit to turn off lights, appliances and plugs that are not in use.