Filipinos Aren’t Saving. Whose Fault Is It? [Expert Roundup + Tips]

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Although saving is one principle that is healthy for our financial future, it may not be as easy as it sounds.

Sometimes it’s even harder and requires a lot of commitment and budgeting to achieve. It’s no big surprise. 

In fact, if you don’t get a good grip on your finances,  you can find yourself in trouble in a short amount of time.

The simplest things often make the most significant difference, especially when you are just getting started on your financial journey.

importance of saving money

In order to not only survive but thrive as well, it’s important that you learn the best ways to save money because it is an essential commodity that helps you run your life

That’s why we reached out to other Personal Finance experts and asked them: Why do some Filipinos have a hard time saving money? How to overcome excuses?

Read all the inspiring answers and ideal tips below to help ease the process for you.

jason acidre

I think one of the biggest reasons is lack of financial education from the earlier stages of many Filipinos’ lives. It’s not taught in schools. 

And culturally, conversations about money are sort of taboo. So in turn, many young adults are welcomed into the real world who are not well-equipped in handling money matters. 

We weren’t taught what to expect, particularly when it comes to navigating our way through our personal finances. 

We do know that saving money is very important, but what many of us are unfamiliar with is how we could best allocate those funds (ie: emergency funds, short-term and long-term savings, retirement, etc…). 

And one of the best ways to overcome this and to be truly a “saving savant” is to make saving a habit. You can start through forced saving, where you consider saving money as a monthly expense. 

Start small (like 10% of your monthly income). Once it starts growing, you’ll likely get to look at it from a different (and more fun) perspective. 

It becomes more of a game to you (where you see your money life leveling up). And the more money you see in your savings account, the more you’ll get excited to work hard and get your next month’s paycheck (so you can add more to your savings).

thrifty pinay

Ameena Rey-Franc, personal Finance Blogger & Author

Try browsing several financial pages on social media, and you’ll see lots of them blatantly pointing fingers while advising that “It’s not how much you earn but how much you save that matters.”
While at some point it is true, that case isn’t always applicable.
In the world of Personal Finance, you have two options when it comes to saving money:
1. Save more by cutting down expenses
2. Save more by increasing income
Better if you can do both.
You see, no matter how good you are in decreasing your expenses, doing so has an “inherent limit.” You can only cut down expenses and save money up to some extent or a certain level.
But if you choose to increase your income, you are LIMITLESS! And this is what Filipinos fail to see, which results in having a hard time-saving. 
“You learn before you earn.” But most Filipinos do not want to go through the hard yards of learning a new skill or new opportunity simply because it is tiring, and the long days/months/years of acquiring these skillsets do not guarantee money.
That is why most Filipinos are easily deceived by “easy money,” thus falling prey to get-rich-quick schemes and scams.
How to avoid excuses? Realize and immerse yourself with the things I said above and remember that there is no magic potion to skyrocket your savings (unless you win the lotto).
With my answer, I hope to shed light that there is no denying the fact that “unlimited potential income can really come from the holy grail of wealth creation.”
miguel perez

Miguel Perez, Associate Financial Planner & Financial Advisor

We all have different priorities and lifestyle. Mahirap magipon, yes. Yung iba, they live from paycheck to paycheck kaya nahhirapan. Iba, buong pera ay napupunta sa pag support sa family, kaya nahihirapan. Yung iba naman, mataas ang emotions pag dating sa pera, kaya nahihirapan.

Siguro it all boils down to priorities. If you prioritize saving, then definitely you will find a way to save kahit maliit lang. At the end of the day, it’s all about discipline and your behavior towards money parin talaga. 

How to overcome excuses? Discipline. Small steps. Kaya lang naman we make excuses kase either takot tayo or we don’t know what to do. 

Start with what you can do now. Same applies with excuses pag dating sa pagiipon or pag woworkout for example.

mou sabiniano 1

Moulienne Sabiniano, Assistant Unit Manager & Associate Wealth Planner

Lahat kasi ng tao nagstart to build wealth. In building wealth meaning both seen and unseen. Seen like car, house and lot, etc. Unseen like investments and savings. People build wealth with their work. Yung iba talaga kaya hindi nakakaipon kasi super liit ng sweldo sapat lang. Yung iba sobra naman pero hindi nakakaipon parin and it’s because of their “hard earned money” mentality. Kaya from their hard work, usually naghahanap ang tao ng rewards nila. 

Some rewards are good kasi napepay nila ng bills nila and napapakain ang pamilya nila. But the bad way of getting rid of it yung mga flash sale, mga payday sale na hindi naman kailangan pero iniisip nila na ito ay trophy for my hard work. 

Usually kasi ang behavior ng tao pagkatanggap ng sweldo gastusin agad both good and bad way of spending tapos kung anong matira isesave niya. Pero usually naman kasi wala na talaga matitira dun lalo na if isa lang source of income ng tao. 

The right way of saving is yung tinatawag na “paying yourself first”. Meaning pagkatanggap mo ng sweldo mo dapat save mo muna yun percentage ng pera mo then you can spend na. You can start small as 5% of your salary muna until you reach 20% of your salary na nasesave mo na.

ready2adult ph 1

Charm De Leon, Personal Finance Youtuber

 I think a big one is our “Bahala Na” mentality coupled with the lack of financial education. A lot think that it’s impossible to be financially stable, so “why bother?”.

To combat this, we really need to make financial literacy accessible to all Filipinos.

eyl 1

Edmund Lao, Registered Financial Planner & Writer

Money is just an idea. and a lot of Filipinos have this wrong belief about money. Their most common reason is that they do not have enough money left for savings. 

The truth is that they just do not know the difference between wants and needs so that they enjoy spending now and leave things to fate (bahala na). They also do not know how to save. 

Since personal finance is not taught in school, they might have copied how their parents manage their money. Without savings, they run the risk of being buried in debt where the interest makes the money work against them. The deeper one is in debt, the more difficult it is for him to save.

All of these excuses have a solution. As early as one earns, he must pay himself first. Consider stashing away 10-20% of the salary and make sure to save it. 

Savings is the basics of personal finance. Without savings, everything falls. With savings, one can opt to put his money in investments to grow his money and avoid making excuses for not saving. Change in the money behavior and mindset is required to change his future.


Nikki Jurado, multipreneur, forex trader, art collector, author, and licensed finance coach | facebook logo Nomad Finance Girl 

It’s exactly like going on a diet – if you remove all the yummy stuff, it’s bound to fail. When budgeting and saving, removing the fun stuff will get you off track. This is why even if people know it’s important to save, they fail at it.

This is where the Money Jar System comes in. It allocates money for both the future and the present and ensures that you’re equipped for emergencies and still get to enjoy the only life you have.

Why choose between enjoying the present and being prepared for the future when you can always have both?

Final Words

Personal finance doesn’t have to be complicated. Saving doesn’t have to be stressful. 

 Start to develop a foundation of good money habits early on in your life. Your future will thank you.

Have you tried any of these ways to help you save money? Or do you have any other great cost-cutting tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to join this expert roundup? Click this link to fill out our form. 


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