I Gave Myself a $25 Budget for a Week

I gave myself a $25 Budget for a week because I need to start paying for the money I took off my savings account while I was out travelling the past months. And I need to have a decent account balance for when I apply for a Korean VISA. And also because, frankly, I lost all my money-savings skills that I acquired last year. I need to have it back!

Is a $25 weekly budget in Manila difficult? Hell yeah, but it’s also possible. Hard as hell, but possible. I would like to point out that I live with my parents so breakfast and dinner are free! And this budget doesn’t include the misc. bills we have floating around. This is for the day to day living which includes commuting for work/trips, food, and a few hang-outs with friends/family.

Sunday

Morning: I took out $25 which is roughly PHP1,050 out of my main wallet and into my coin purse. This coin purse will be the one I’ll be using to condition myself that this is only the amount I’m allowed to use for the week.

Afternoon: My family and I usually went out every Sunday for church/mall after lunch. I asked my mom to drop me off to the Alabang Market and wait for me as I bought myself some lovely apples that will be my snack for the rest of the week – $1.43 for 5 apples. PS. Don’t buy fruits at supermarkets. I saw an apple at Robinson’s supermarket that costs $1.30 each. I also bought a pack of dried mangoes since I am stopping my junk food eating habit. $1.30.

Night: My mom cooks meals good for lunch and dinner since it’s cheaper. What we have for lunch is most probably what we’ll have for dinner with maybe a few variations of the side dishes. Free.

Total Spent: $2.73                  Balance: $22.27

Bring snacks to work.

Monday

Morning: After working out, getting ready for work, and eating pandesal for breakfast, in that order, I rode a tricycle then an ordinary bus for my ride to work. $0.86. I usually get hungry around 10AM if I only have pandesal for breakfast so I took an apple out for snack. I take advantage of the free water at the office so I don’t need to bring/buy bottled water every day. They also have free coffee but I don’t drink those so…

Afternoon: I dropped by Shakey’s to avail their promo of Spaghetti Meatballs for only $2.35 ala carte if you have a Supercard – which I did. It was a satisfying lunch and I asked for house water to complete the meal. Carbs.

Night: I took an air-conditioned bus for my ride home because the heat is intense then stopped myself for taking a private tricycle ride home and chose to ride the jeep instead. Free dinner at the house, again. $1

Total Spent: $6.94                   Balance: $18.06

Fast food is not the cheapest option. Also, it’s fattening.

Tuesday

Morning: Left-over rice from the day before can make awesome sinangag! Add some eggs and longganisa and you’ll have a delicious breakfast! These two are always available in our fridge. Took the same ride for the way to work. $0.86

Afternoon: Went up to the office’s pantry and choose a rice meal for only $1.31. They have adobo which is my absolute favorite. Ate half of my dried mangoes later on for snacks.

Night: Rush-hour traffic and a hot climate are the worst combination ever. Had no choice but to take an ordinary bus on the way home because it’s the only one available. You know how much fun it would be to take an Uber instead? So tempted but not worth the $13 it would cost. $0.83

Total Spent: $9.94                   Balance: $15.06

Taking a longer route via public transpo is still cheaper than taking an Uber.

Wednesday

Morning: My dad was going up to the service road anyway so I hitched a ride to skip riding a tricycle and go straight to the bus station. Score! Munch on an apple for morning snack. $0.67

Afternoon: Same lunch price, different menu. $1.31

Night: Same way home. Munch on my leftover dried mangoes while on the bus. $0.83

Total Spent: $12.75                 Balance: $12.25

Use coupons and take advantage of rewards from cards, etc.!

Thursday

Morning: Free breakfast, same way to the office. Office-mates invited me to go to Starbucks and I have a free drink courtesy of my Starbucks card so I didn’t pay any additional penny. I also have two Php150 voucher for Starbucks but that’s for another day… $0.86

Afternoon: I signed up for a lunch and learn session at work. This means I get to have free lunch while listening to a short seminar/discussion about new technology. Yey. Munched on another apple for late snack.

Night: Had no choice but to ride a bus that is one stop farther than mine then had to round-trip back home. $1.40

Total Spent: $15.01                 Balance: $9.99

Say “yes” to free food! Always.

Friday

Morning: Oh, hey, I still have a big part of my budget. Took an air-conditioned bus to work to celebrate, lol. $1.02.

Afternoon: Bought some rice meal for the pantry again. I also have more apples but I’m sick of apples so I bought a banana from Mini-Stop.  $1.67

Night: I’ve said it over time and I’ll say it again: commuting in Manila is hell. I took a bus then a private tricycle towards our house because TGIF. $1.14

Total Spent: $18.84                 Balance: $6.16

Find a way to cut/share the costs.

Saturday

Morning: I gave away my apples to my cousins. Did my nails myself rather than getting it done professionally.  I have a lot of nail polish around the house. Watched some chick flick while I do. Free.

Afternoon: Invited my high school friends to hang out at the house. We watched some movies on the TV, gossiped, and ordered two boxes of pizza and carbonara. Price shared equally among us. $5.55

Night: My friends didn’t want to take the left-over pizza home (almost one box) so I shared it with my brothers and mom for a late night snack. Munched on two slices while doing some blog work.

Total Spent: $24.39                 Balance: $0.61

What did I do last week that I didn’t do this week? Last week, all my lunch were from fast-food chains; which costs at least $2.38 per meal. That’s at least $11.90 per week. I didn’t bring snacks so I ended up buying from Mini-Stop which is around $0.71-$1.67 per stopover; at least $3.55 per week. I used to always take a private trip tricycle on the way home that adds $0.47 per day; $2.35 per week. It’s really the little things that add up the cost. My $25 last week would really last only until Wednesday and that’s stretching it.

I can’t believe I still have change from my $25 this week! And if I remove my pizza Saturday expense, I can go for a budget of only $20 a week. I hope I can keep this up for the next coming weeks!

Huge shoutout to careercontessa for letting me do my own version of I Gave Myself a Budget of $___ for a Week! This one’s for a $75 budget for a week in LA  and this one’s for a $100 budget for a week in NY.