“Hanggang Saan Aabot ang 20% Mo?”
Borrowing from that ubiquitous ice cream commercial, this is an important question today more than ever as the ordinance pushing for a 20% discount for solo parents at food establishments in Quezon City has been approved. Starting on the 20th of October, solo parents can get discounts at restaurants and other food establishments every first and last Sunday of every month upon presenting their “Solo Parent ID.” Solo parents should apply for this ID at the city’s social services department.
With inflation rates and prices of basic commodities constantly on the rise, this is a very welcome change for solo parents, albeit only in Quezon City. It’s a step in the right direction though, as its success in Quezon City might prod other cities and municipalities to adopt a similar ordinance.
If you’ve ever lived alone or within a single-income household, you’d realize that, although helpful, this food establishment discount is merely a small floater in the sea of challenges a solo parent faces each day. These challenges aren’t insurmountable, though, and with some dedication, you can save up for a vacation or some modern conveniences for your home in no time.
Below are a few tips to help you ensure that your income isn’t eaten up by your everyday expenses.
Create a monthly spending budget—and stick to it
Check your wallet or savings account right now and tell me where the rest of your money went this month. If you can’t, then that’s a problem. The only way to ensure that you know how you’re spending your money is by creating a monthly budget. You can use it as a guideline on what you can and can’t spend on from the month—and this means everything. Monthly bills, food, transportation, mortgage, child care, and every predictable expense should be included in your monthly budget.
Pay bills on time
As you go about your day, it can be easy to forget paying your bills—and let’s be honest, who would want to think about the bills you have to pay, anyway? Unfortunately, bills are a fact of adult life and it is your responsibility to pay them on time. Set up a system that will help you pay bills on time and avoid late payments. For example, you can automate bill payments via your credit card or online banking system. Most banks offer mobile apps nowadays so it’s easy to pay your bills anywhere as long as there’s an internet connection available.
Take note of “hidden charges”
Many of us have the habit of just looking at the total amount due on the billing statement without even checking the itemized list of charges. The next time you get your bill, see if there are charges there that surprise you. If there are, call your provider and ask for more information. If you know why you’re being charged, it’ll be easier to avoid these charges in the future.
When checking your credit card bill, for example, you should know what you’re being charged with. Sometimes your provider may charge fees you may not notice, which would be easy enough to see if you’d bother to check the itemized list of charges. You could also check out credit cards that waive annual fees and other charges, depending on the season and their current promos. Compare credit cards online so you’ll see their features side by side and choose what fits your lifestyle.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to be stylish. For clothing and accessories, check your neighborhood “ukay-ukay” place because these places can be a treasure trove of unique fashion finds. Just bring a face mask to protect yourself from dust and some patience so you can scour each aisle and corner for what you need—or want. You can also sell clothes and items in your home that you no longer use so you can stretch your clothing and accessories budget even further. Also check out online shops like Shopee, Lazada, and Zalora for special sales and promos.
“We can’t have everything” is a good mantra for those of us who want to save money and limit our spending. Starting today, try, no, force yourself to go without a luxury for a set period. For example, try going without cable TV for a few months; there’s always Netflix anyway. You can also minimize on snack items and sugary juice drinks that aren’t just hurting your wallet but also your health. Check out your monthly spending habits and see where you can cut down so you can save more.
For residents of Quezon City, this 20% discount can be considered a big win because it acknowledges the plight of the solo parent and how it can be a challenge to stay afloat during tough times. Especially today, solo parents need all the help they can get, and getting it from the local government is encouraging, to say the least.
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