Interview: How to Save 50% or More of Your Salary
Only 4.6% of Filipino households surveyed spent less than their income, according to the 2012 Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Consumer Finance Survey. This means that saving is definitely possible, and others are able to do it. Saving a portion of your monthly income may prove to be challenging at first, so the best advice to get into the habit is to start small. Start by saving 5% of your monthly income, and as you get the hang of it, you can increase your monthly savings rate, from 5% to 10% or whatever percentage is realistic for you.

To inspire you to save 50% or more of your salary, interviewed 3 Filipinos who do just that.

Fenina Vito is 23 years old and works as an office manager for a business development company and is in the process of starting her own business.

Raymond Gabriel is a Pharmacist and Team Leader at 24 years old at an IT-BPM company.

JR Rosales-Caparas is 34 years old and works as an admin assistant in Qatar.

If you read their interviews, you will learn that their personal finance habits didn’t happen overnight. It took months and years before they started saving most of their income. Hopefully, this will drive you to start saving a larger percentage of your salary.

Was there a specific moment in your life when you realized you needed to start saving?

Fenina: My mom taught us to save for emergencies. My siblings and I were part of the Metrobank Fun Savers Club when we were younger.

Raymond: My family had financial problems due to excessive credit card debt. That happened when I was 20 years old and was already working.

JR: My parents taught me how to save since I was young. My mother had a drugstore in the province, and I would join her to the bank or when she talked to the medical sales representatives.

What was your 1st step to save 50% or more of your income?

Fenina: When I had my first OJT at a fast food restaurant, I found out how much fast food workers earned. It wasn’t much, but they managed to pay for their daily expenses. Since then, I became frugal because my goal was to save as much as I could. When I worked in the corporate world at 18 years old as a working student, I always tried to save Php 5,000 with an Php 18,000 monthly salary.

Raymond: I started with myself and conditioned my mind to just spend on my needs and be practical and frugal. Little by little, it becomes a habit and the rest becomes easier and automatic.

JR: First, my husband and I wrote down our joint income and then enumerated our expenses. After, we saw we could save at least 50% so that was “automatically” earmarked for savings/ investments.

What else do you do to save 50% (or more) of your income?

Fenina: Delay gratification; have a strong will to save. Know your priorities. Selecting your friends is also important because they influence your goals in life.

Raymond: Live practically and be creative. Why spend Php 2,000 a month for a gym membership if you can run for free at your city’s public parks? Do you want to travel and be adventurous? Just hike and enjoy a picturesque view at the summit with a minimal charge of Php 50 (DENR environmental fee). Y.O.L.O. does not always equate to spending. You can live a full life by experiencing simple, affordable moments.

JR: Automate your savings/investments (e.g. payment for life insurance is auto-debited from our bank accounts).Don’t spend too much on “wants”, and at the same time, budget or allocate money for these “wants”. Also, have an investment goal or project every year as a forced savings. One example is that our lot amortization will be finished this year, and I intend to use that freed-up money to either buy another property or add to my mutual funds.

There’s no overnight or magic trick that enables them to save half or more of their salaries. They purposely decided to live a more practical life by tracking their expenses, making a budget, looking for opportunities to grow and invest their money and for affordable hobbies and activities to avoid overspending.

Do you have more tips to help others start saving more of their income? Leave a comment and share your story below.