A Practical Guide on Surviving Till Your Next Payday

Carmina Bayombong

Petsa de Peligro nanaman.

For hard-up students like you who have to shuffle time between part-time jobs and school, surviving until the next payday is definitely a challenge. While there are tons of ways to manage your monthly budget, developing the discipline to stick to a method may take a lot of time, especially when you’re not really used to saving.

Honing your financial literacy skills while young can work wonders for you when you start facing the real world. But did you know? Most adults who skipped on learning about money matters while they were younger are the most prone to experiencing the Petsa de Peligro syndrome. Brushing up on money rules and constantly practicing proper financial management is your road to a comfortable day-to-day life.

Regardless of how much you earn a month as a working student or full-time employee, there’s always a way to manage your budget. Below are five of the best ways to help get you through the next payday with ease:

Separate wants and needs

Saving money is as simple as separating what you need from what you want. Remember that living within your means should always be your top priority when you’re strapped for cash. This is not to say that you have to deprive yourself of enjoying your hard-earned money — this just means that you have to prioritize your actual needs and savings before your wants.

Do the Math

Take the time and put in the effort to plan out your monthly budget.

Planning your monthly budget is easier if you are earning a fixed monthly wage. According to the financial website, Numbeo, the average Filipino employee spends 36.9% of his monthly salary on food, 17.9% on rent, 14.1% on transportation, and 11.3% on utilities. The good thing here is that you can cut down on these expenses by considering other options. Instead of buying food from restaurants, try cooking your meals at home for a healthier and cheaper alternative. Consider realigning your spending habits to fit your budget as well!

Use a Budget Method

Once you learn how to be more practical with your spending, you are now ready to apply a budgeting strategy to your savings plan.

To set things up, begin with a savings target. How much do you want to save every month? This is where your rainy-day fund comes in — a good rule of thumb to calculate your ideal rainy-day fund is three to six months of your monthly spending.

Try to list down all your monthly expenses on a piece of paper. This can cover your food and transportation costs, rent, student loan payments, monthly bills, tuition fees, etc.

Once you have that written down, multiply it by the number of months you want to save for your rainy-day fund. Are you spending around P20,000 in a month? Then your rainy-day fund should at least be P60,000 — P120,000. No questions asked.

From there, work your numbers backward. How soon do you want your rainy-day fund to be ready? If your answer is a year, then you need to set aside P5,000 to P10,000 per month. This may seem like a lot, especially if you’re currently living from paycheck to paycheck — but this is where realigning your priorities comes in.
Finding it hard to save money? Realigning your spending habits is the solution.
Do you really need to spend on a P150 cup of coffee every single day? Is it really impossible to take a jeep instead of a taxi? Is it really that hard to walk?

Remember that once you have your rainy-day fund in place, splurging on new clothes or shoes wouldn’t be that hard to swallow when you know that you have enough money in the bank to last you 3–6 months without a consistent salary.

Don’t rush

Does it seem like you’re not saving enough? Don’t fret as most successful individuals had to start from the bottom and make their way up the ladder. Remember Henry Sy who started out with a small shoe store before becoming a retail tycoon? Or Socorro Cancio who first had to peel the paper off cigarette butts for coins before becoming the owner of the country’s leading bookstore chain? Every little amount you can save will count. With a little resilience and the right financial mindset, you’ll soon be able to distinguish good and bad investments and sharpen your money skills to grow what you currently have.

Develop foresight

The most important thing you have to keep in mind when planning your budget is to develop foresight — remember to plan not just for the next two months, but also the following quarter (and the quarter after that). Never settle on living from paycheck to paycheck, and set savings targets that will eventually make your life more comfortable in the next two to five years. Again, your rainy-day fund is essential for achieving peace of mind.

Carefully consider which investments are good enough to put your hard-earned money in, to achieve positive returns. Some of these can be in the form of mutual funds, a master’s degree, or student loans. Investing your savings in the right products or services can help you develop your financial know-how and eventually make you a successful, financially-literate professional.

Are you considering applying for a student loan to finish your college education? InvestEd, the leading provider of education loan programs in the Philippines can help you TODAY! Learn more about how you can apply for a student loan, here.