Clutter or Cash

Don’t you wish you can swap your clutter for cash?

In 2007, I became active in learning about Entrepreneurship and as a result a lot of people tend to ask me how to make extra money.

Earning money requires some form of knowledge in a specific process as well as time, effort and attention.

If you want to sell a specific product or service you need to know the product or service and you also need to know the people who buy the product or service in order to reach out to your market well.

After some discussion about this, people tend to shy away whether the product or service they are considering is a good or bad one because of the amount of time, attention and effort involved.

In a lot of cases, people don’t have the available resources on hand to earn extra money.

The good news is, you can get identical benefits to earning more money with less effort in shifting your focus on keeping your existing money.

Think about it for a moment.

Let’s say you spend four days a month to earn an extra few hundred dollars, you can, alternatively spend the same amount of time or even less not spending few hundred dollars a month.

Both activities will allow you to allocate the same few hundred dollars.

Best Selling Author Robert Kiyosaki is known for the statement, “Savers are losers.”

To an extent, I agree with his expanded explanation that earning more money is the smarter thing to do compared to trying to save more money.

But if you’re in a position when you don’t have the means to earn more money, then you can follow the path of saving money to give yourself some resources to pursue earning more money, should you wish to do so.

Unfortunately for the masses like us, many of these financial guru’s are marketers and part of their training is to communicate in a language that encourages people to spend money.

So if you’ve been unable to make extra cash, then there’s still hope.

Take note:

I’m not against hard work but I believe there are different options aside from acting like a hard working machine.

Early on in my career, I, like most people started with below minimum wage and I was fairly happy.

My career was inclined toward sales and business development so as time progressed, I made more money.

My income grew to six figures and I quit that job due to burn out.

I moved to a career that pays less but came with less stress but despite that, the job pays fairly well and isn’t bad if I were to compare the income to several people my age.

However despite my high income I wasn’t really happy with how much I make and often neck deep in debt  and usually living from paycheck to paycheck.

Then I saw that things aren’t going to change unless I changed my spending habits.

When I decided to adapt minimalist principles in my life and decided to slowly eliminate the non-essentials weighing me down.

Here’s a list of things I stopped doing to keep my cash:

Note: This post was originally written in 2010 so many of the numbers may be outdated as the cost of goods tend to increase over time. Please make your own computations on how much you spend.

  • Stopped eating out. This is where most of my money goes. I always worked in a place close to malls so grabbing a bite is fairly easy. Most of the food that’s easy on the budget will make you want to go another round and you’d be surprised how several multiple meals will add up Annual Savings Php. 78,000
  • Stopped buying snacks anywhere – My workmates have a habit of buying snacks from a next door 711 store. There’s also one in the condo I stay in. After realizing it I decided to stop this too. Annual Savings Php 18,200
  • Stopped smoking- The biggest expense and the hardest to quit. Annual savings Php 10,950. Future medical bills I might have saved on may be worth a few million pesos.
  • Stopped using the Laundry Service. I started doing my own laundry. I do it every 2-3 days and I just spend about thirty mins to finish. Annual Savings Php 9,600
  • Stopped commuting daily.  I used to commute to and from the office to my home in Paranaque and I spent about 150 per day. I moved close to my workplace. Annual Savings Php 54,750 Update: In 2015, I bought a bike and began biking to work, minimizing the cost of my commute. In 2016, I began working from home and only accepted work projects within walking and biking distance from where I am.
  • Stopped buying a car- When I realized that everything I need is pretty much walking distance from where I live I figured I would have to ditch this goal.Annual Savings Php 73,000 plus the cost of the car Php 500,000
  • Stopped buying books-I used to buy books on a regular basis and now I try to borrow or read ebooks. Annual Savings Php 12,000
  • Stopped playing games- I used to play network games with my brothers from an internet cafe almost every day. Annual Savings Php 36,500
  • Stopped watching tv- I get to keep my cash and my time. Annual cable tv savings Php 7,200. Annual electricity savings 7,200 and the cost of buying a decent TV set is Php 35,000
  • Stopped going to Starbucks- I go to Starbucks for my meetings, to hang out with friends or simply to find a home away from home. I’m a cheapskate back then so I don’t go more than once a day and I only get one drink. Annual savings Php 36,500
  • Stopped buying Magazines- I used to buy two or three magazines a month. _In case you’re wondering, this used to be FHM, Men’s Health and occasionally a Martial Arts or Popular Mechanics Magazine._ Annual savings 3,500
  • Stopped collecting Toys, Scale Model Kits, fiction books I used to buy Gundam, Military vehicles and Action Figures. Annual Savings Php 24,000 Note: In 2016, this hobby returned and true enough, I spent over Php 24,000 buying Anime figurines and Nendroids. I’m trying to keep my collection small but I expect to spend another Php 50,000 building up Macross Delta’s Walkure and Love Live: A School Idol Project’s µ’s and Aquor’s characters as well as Guts from Berserk in his Golden Age Arc appearance, Black Swordsman and Berserker Armor.
  • Stopped updating phones. This is a tough one. While I do my best to not buy phones, I end up receiving good deals from my friends so in a year I end up spending Php 15,000-30,000 on buying phones. The Php 5,000 amount is again, from 2010 and the cost of phones have increased since then. This had been difficult for me really but my intention is to keep a phone for over three years before purchasing another one and to always purchase the “last year’s model” instead of the latest version.Annual Savings Php 5,000.
  • Stopped buying gadgets. This might cover laptop, technology and other tools and like the smarthpone has been difficult for me. Since writing this article I have gone over five different laptops (including two MacBook Pro’s and I’m itching to buy another one), an iPod touch (I got this as a gift and I’ve been using it since 2010), several iPhones (3g, 4, 4S, 5S, another 5S, 6 and 6s), and iPad Mini (first generation), a Hard drive and more. Damn! I really didn’t get to keep this promise. Annual Savings Php 5,000
  • Stopped Going to concerts. Used to go to concerts a lot. Since the time of this writing, I’ve only been to a few concerts, all are really good and have become precious memories. Annual Savings Php 12,000
  • Stopped going to bars Annual Savings.Yes! My friends rob me when I go out to drink so I avoided it like the plague. Php 24,000
  • Stopped going to drinking sessions. Not as costly as drinking at bars but given how many factors are at play at home drinking sessions, some days it’ll cost less than going to a bar and some days it’ll cost way more than going to a bar. Annual Savings 24,000
  • Stopped Going to the gym. Update: This I admit is a bad decision on my end. Going to the gym has prevented me from getting caught up with my bad habits. While I saved a very specific amount of money per month, not going to the gym had me more vulnerable to overeating, alcohol, smoking and bad company in general .Annual Savings Php 24,000

Total Savings over Php 441,400

How to Get Started

  • Stop spending too much! use what you have and do what you can.nuff said.
  • Use a 30 Day List-hold yourself back from spending by deferring your purchase for 30 Days.
  • Make sure you really need something and really need something before buying anything.
  • An annoying question you can ask yourself and a good test of finding out if an item is really worth buying is to ask yourself if you are willing to use it until you die or are you willing to carry it around with you without replacing it forever? Update: I see many things as temporary now and consider the price of many of my purchases as “renting” instead of buying. Maybe change the “forever” to use for five years. The more appropriate question I ask myself is “Am I willing to buy and pay for this again at full price if I lost this item today?
  • Focus on people not stuff because people will appreciate you more if you spent more time and attention with them instead of cash.
  • List your expenses and include everything so you can make smarter decisions in future purchases.
  • Look for things to stop spending money on.
  • Eliminate expenses slowly. Start with what you can eliminate now and look for expenses that you would like to trade for extra cash.
  • Update: Also begin to eliminate activities, commitments, appointments, that are neither profitable nor enjoyable. One reason why we are overwhelmed and time-deprived is that we have overcommitted to a lot of low value activities.
  • Be Patient and watch the savings grow.

Updated: Friday, August 24, 2018 and a note from present day Kevin:

I have enjoyed going though this post. I made a lot of bold statements and strong opinions about the things I wouldn’t spend on. Luckily I’ve stuck to some of them. I have also stuck with some of them 60-80% of the time which is better than nothing. I’m happy I have posts like this to help me monitor my personal growth and progress.

I also saw how I’ve changed as a person and how far I’ve developed my focus and attention to detail.

I’m coming clean. Most of my articles in 2010-2015 are incomplete. Some sentences trail off. In a lot of cases, I’m trying to say something but I’ve been really clumsy with my words or I had been very unspecific. Some just end without a complete thought. The eight years practicing writing have made me gradually better at communicating with the written word.


Thank you for reading.

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