Three months to go and it will be enrollment time - it seems just a moment ago when you had to shell out money to buy Christmas presents and food for the holidays. How can you manage to save enough for your child’s tuition, with so little time left? Don’t despair; here are nine tips to help beef up your savings.
1. Unleash your business savvy skills. Get those creative juices flowing! Today’s online world makes it extremely easy to do business. Love to sew? Turn those colorful threads into a pretty dress. Enjoy baking? Offer to make cupcakes for your friend’s party. Passionate about beads? Put together lovely pieces of jewelry. Sell your creations online and ask friends to spread the word about your products. You can also do spring cleaning this month and sell unused items and unwanted gifts in a garage sale.
2. Opt to commute. Save on gas and parking fees when you choose to take public transportation. Getting on the bus or the Metro Rail Transit saves you also the hassle of driving. It’s best to avoid rush hours and the surge of commuters so traffic won’t be a bother. Another option: carpooling!
3. Brown-bag your lunches. Bringing your own lunches to work and school is not only a practical way to save some cash but also a good option towards a healthy lifestyle. Plan the menu with your family and get their suggestions. Check out cookbooks or swap recipes with your girl pals to come up with simple but tasty dishes.
4. Do a bit of overtime or get extra work. If you can, put in additional hours of productivity that can qualify for overtime pay. Ask to be part of a special project that pays extra. Consider taking extra work outside your regular one. One mom decided to teach a class at a nearby college every Saturday morning while another accepted extra writing assignments.
5. Say no to gourmet coffee. So you have your new Starbucks planner. But did you realize how much you spent buying all those cups of coffee to get it? For three months, try to avoid the craving for expensive coffee and choose to have a cup at home instead.
6. Save electricity. Limit aircon use to only an hour or two a night. Unplug appliances when not in use. Use compact fluorescent bulbs. Draw the curtains open to let in sunlight instead of turning on the table lights. There are many little ways to save on your electric bill, and these savings can translate to extra cash to help pay your child’s tuition.
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7. Reduce shopping for the unnecessary. Know the difference between a want and a need. For the next three months, commit to only purchasing what you truly need. Go to the grocery armed with a shopping list and stick to it faithfully. Ask relatives for any hand-me-downs that are still useful. Buy generic brands when possible. Choose water instead of unhealthy cola drinks. Skip your weekly manicures at the salon or do it yourself at home. Shop for local products instead of imported branded items. Learn to reuse and recycle.
8. Place a portion of your salary in short-term investments. Commit to setting aside a portion of your salary. It requires a lot of discipline so many money experts suggest putting the money in a separate account that cannot be easily accessed. There are short term time deposits and unit investment trust funds (most have minimum holding periods of 1 to 3 months) that will give you interest. If you received a performance bonus for a job well done at work, invest at least half of it.
9. Forgo that lavish vacation. Have a fun-filled Manila vacation instead! Hold a family meeting to get everyone’s ideas and vote on the best ones. Perhaps choose to spend a day to visit Intramuros and join a walking tour, or an afternoon to see the animals at the zoo. Ask for suggestions from other parents and you’ll end up with a lot of options. If you do choose to go out of town, be on the lookout for great deals. Airlines give a lot of discounts if you purchase your tickets early. Group buying sites offer great deals on accommodations and tours.
These real moms share how they plan to save for tuition fees over the next three months:
Eloisa Kempis Full-time preschool teacher and tutor Single mom of one girl aged 12
Because her daughter is a partial scholar, Eloisa only needs to save a smaller amount compared to other moms. She also opts to use the monthly payment scheme to make paying tuition easier on the pocket. Her strategy:
Peya Cid Part-time project manager whose husband is a banker Mom of two boys aged 16 and 11
Peya has taken on a part-time job to help augment the family income. She also manages their cash flow well and suggests using credit cards to pay tuition fees to give you an additional month to save more, plus the reward points and rebates help! Her strategy:
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Martha Santiago* Entrepreneur whose husband is a pilot Mom of four (two girls and two boys): ages 16, 15, 11, 10
Martha is entrepreneurial and dabbles in selling various items online, such as slimming coffee, perfumes and beauty whitening products. She recently received her license to sell property and hopes to be able to increase the family savings fund. her strategy: