I just called MERALCO hotline 16211 and found out I have no bills to pay them for the month of March for our Cavite household. This happened because my parents (who are the current occupants there) have been staying with us here in Manila for more than a month now. They were supposed to stay here until after my brother’s birthday (February 23rd) only but they ended up staying longer than planned.
I can’t overemphasize the beauty and the advantages of living together as a family. Economically speaking, this translates to lesser expenses because we get to share meals, home supplies, and utilities. But this isn’t our normal setup and sooner or later, my parents will go back to where they like to live better, they’re humble Cavite abode.
Life is getting costlier than ever and each penny saved should be valued and used wisely. This thought got me into thinking about some practical household tips I’ve been practicing through the years that save me lots of money:
1. Buy some grocery items in bulk. I said ‘some’ because not all grocery items should be sourced aplenty. Items such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, powdered detergents and toothpaste, are better bought in bulk because we use them everyday. It would be wiser, too, if we would buy them in sachets so we could regulate their use and avoid wastage.
2. Divide and store fresh meat inside plastic containers before placing them in the freezer. This way, we could allot a particular portion for a particular use. In our case, it’s just my three siblings and I in our rented apartment and I seldom eat dinner at home. What I do whenever I buy kilos of various meat is divide them into several plastic containers for each mealtime for my three siblings. They would just get one from the freezer and cook it to their liking. Not only does it save me from the hassle of thinking what to feed them everyday, but it also saves precious time, resources and freezer space.
3. Fill empty plastic softdrink bottles with water. This is a no-brainer. We know how important water is and how water service here in Manila can be unpredictable at times. It’s always better to think ahead and prepare for emergencies. At our third-storey rented home, water service stops at 10:00 p.m. and resumes at 5:00 a.m. the next day. This storage of water in plastic softdrink bottles is actually the lesson we learned the hard way from this setup. But thinking about it now, it’s a wise and practical thing to do after all.
4. Keep track of the household expenses, including the last date of your grocery shopping. This will somehow give you an idea on how frequent you shop for food and household items and the amount spent in each supermarket trip. This will also help you in managing your finances, especially if you’re the breadwinner in your family (like yours truly). I’ve been doing this for so long and it proves to be effective in curbing our spending on grocery supplies.
5. Save water and electricity at all times. Simple to say but hard to do. I think the first step here is to inform all the house occupants of your plan to save and ask them to do their share even thru small courtesies such as turning off the lights that are not in use and doing the ironing of clothes in batches. At home, I shared my electric bill sentiments with my three siblings and asked for their help. I instructed them only one thing: to use the electric fan at night only when heat becomes unbearable. Never think I don’t show mercy. Our room is well-ventilated by natural air because we let our grilled windows open at night (sssssshhh, don’t tell anyone!). We’re on the third floor of the building, remember? We actually don’t need an electric fan to cool us during our slumber.
That’s all I can think of right now. If you know of more tips, please feel free to share and I’ll add them here.