Ninja Expenses (The Day After part 2)

Ways to beat your expenses!

In my previous article, “The Day After” I discussed how we should be very conscious about where our money goes on a regular basis. I also introduced you to “ninja expenses”—or those small expenses we normally ignore but can pile up if left uncontrolled.

With that in mind, let’s continue with another example of a ninja expense… drumroll please!

The Ninja is back!

Practically everybody in the Philippines has a mobile phone. No wonder, the Philippines is hailed as the “Texting Capital of the World” with the amount of SMS we send every day. We can’t deny it–we are social beings who love to connect with our families and friends in every way possible – SMS, MMS, BBM, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In every place and in every occasion, it is very common to see an individual madly texting away for some reason. And if they’re not texting, they’re busy updating their Facebook status or tweeting. Not to mention, posting a photo of what they ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Magnum, anyone?

 Cellphone load in all its forms – Auto Load, E-Load and Call Cards

Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that this type of behavior can get extremely expensive. For example, let’s say you get a really funny joke and decide to forward it to everyone you know. To get an unlimited service (same network call and text) is roughly around 30-40 pesos per day plus the cost to text outside your network! Not only that, but there are also apps and services we avail every now and then which can easily escalate out of control. I know of individuals who spend hundreds, if not thousands of pesos on these things on a monthly basis.  And the sad part is that most of them do not even realize that they are spending that much.

Shock-proof your phone!

Lack of regular monitoring is the number one reason that these types of expenses balloon out of control and shock you once you sum up the load you consume. With that said, what can we do to control this type of expense? One way is to get a postpaid line. You can take advantage of the shock proof plans that telecoms offer nowadays which vow to protect you from unexpected charges by putting a maximum limit to your bill. This way, you can easily monitor your monthly usage and adjust your plan and usage patterns to what you can afford.

What You Have To Know About Postpaid Plans

Unfortunately, postpaid plans are not entirely perfect solutions as they come with a number of obligations. The first is the lock-up period if you avail of the “free” phone and the second is the hassle of actually applying for one. And like what I always tell people in our seminars, there’s no such thing as “free” stuff, because one way or another, you are paying for it.

What else can you do? Beyond all the theories, what are ways that you can cut down on these expenses?

4 Ways to Lower Prepaid Expenses

1. Monitor your usage – keep all the text confirmation for your load purchases. Or better yet, list them down in a small notebook. This way, you’ll always know how much you’ve spent for a given month.

2. Allocate a budget – once you’ve monitored your usage, you can easily rule out unnecessary spending. This will help you create a limit for your load.

3. Plan your usage – Some unlimited services are best availed in a long term basis. So, instead of a day to day registration, find an alternative where you can register for longer days, usually this saves you some money.

4. Load up the old fashioned way–scratch it! – prepaid cards usually come at a discounted price when you buy them in malls (a P300 prepaid card costs around P275) and it has perks like free texts and call minutes. Plus it saves you from being a victim of sari-sari stores that charge you more than what you get.

No one else

The common components in all of these are the commitment and discipline to monitor the expenses.  As the term “ninja expenses” implies, these expenses sneak up on you because nobody pays any attention to them. Now, is it easy to monitor these expenses? No. Is it time-consuming? Yes. However, the plain and simple fact is that if we fail to monitor these things, then it is as good as saying that we do not care about the money that we work hard for. And if we don’t care for our money, then who will?

QUESTION: What other ways do you know to save on cellphone expenses?

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