Tips On How To Save Money For Call Center Agents- Although call center agents have relatively high-paying jobs, their lifestyle often eats away at their money.
Efren Ll. Cruz, a personal finance adviser, said that call center agents can spend all of their income in a short period of time, partly because they deal with high stress levels and fatigue from working late at night.
“They tend to spend, not regularly, but on expensive things. Like buying things from a 24/7 store which sells more expensive things. They ride cabs to work or going home,” he said at the Call Center Conference and Expo in Pasay City.
“Because they’re young, there’s a tendency to compete with each other, not just in the way they work but in the way they dress. I’ve heard stories like, in one call center, many of the ladies there have extended eyelashes. That will cost you,” Cruz added.
Call center agents also have unlimited Internet access, so some tend to buy expensive but low-quality things from the Internet.
He also explained that since call center employees leave work in the evenings, they have a tendency to feel like “it’s party time” and become a bit more loose with their activities, most of which lead to spending money.
Just like everyone else, call center agents always face the temptation to spend. However, Cruz said, there are ways to earn more from your high-paying job, simply by saving your money.
“You have to realize that it’s hard to save money. But don’t use that as an excuse not to save,” he said.
Here are some of Cruz’s practical tips on how you can boost your savings. These are based on his book “The Complete Pinoy Guide to Personal Finance.”
Control your spending.
Set a fixed target. The basic principle to follow is to spend less than what you earn and invest the difference. Set a money target or goal and implement a budget within a specific period of time (Example, “I want to save P2,000 a month for 6 months, then budget that accordingly).
Formulate a budget.
When you formulate your budget plan, consider your recurring expenses (what you always spend on) and your cash sources (before tax). Keep official receipts to keep track of what you spend on. See which activities you can cut back on or find alternatives. Example, instead of taking a cab all the time, try commuting or establishing a car pool with your fellow workers. Lastly, always stick to your budget.
Use ATMs wisely.
You may not realize it, but withdrawing money from your ATM, especially when it’s another bank’s ATM machine, costs you from P7 to P10. This may not seem much, but count the number of times you withdraw, and the total charges can buy you a hamburger meal.
Cut back on hidden costs by withdrawing from the same bank, withdrawing just enough for a particular period of time, and withdrawing in batches. Also, do not use your ATM as if it were your electronic wallet. Only keep enough money in your ATM account for daily expenses, and save the rest in time deposits or other forms of investments so they can earn interest. This will also rid you of the temptation of withdrawing huge amounts of money from a fund that you intended for the long-term.
Save even before you see your money.
Establish a contingency fund. This serves as your “rainy day” fund. Set aside some of your money every month until you can pool a big enough contingency fund that can weather you through several months in case of emergency. As a rule of thumb, this should be equal to 6 months worth of your expenses. If your monthly expenses total P20,000, then your contingency fund should be P120,000.
Use pre-emptive measures. If you can save before you even see or touch your money, that will help you control your expenses. You can issue post-dated checks to an investment company so you are forced to reserve part of your money for saving. You could also have an auto-debit arrangement with your employer.
Manage your debt wisely.
Many Filipinos can fall prey to this problem early on. Normally, use debts for large expenditures or emergencies (and not vices!). A principle to stick by is to repay your debts at the right amount and at the right time. If it is too large, don’t panic. You can:
- consolidate your debt into one or a few lenders who charge the lowest interest,
- take out a lower-interest loan against your home and spread the repayment time over a couple of years
- borrow from relatives at a concessional interest or sell off your assets
- perform a service that can help you pay back your debt
A little bit goes a long way
Join “paluwagans” at work. A ‘paluwagan’ system is a useful investment. Under this scheme, a group of employees sets up a common fund where each member donates a particular amount of money. Then they schedule who gets to receive the fund that particular week or month. This is a useful way of ensuring that you have an emergency fund pool, just in case.
Collect loose change.
As Cruz said, your pocket is a goldmine. Try saving whatever loose coins you have in your bag or pocket every day, and see how much that amounts to by the end of the year. You can have a fortune just saving loose change.
Realize the long-term benefits.
“It’s really just a matter of realizing that if you spend a lot of money now, you will enjoy the benefits in the future. It may impact your future finances when you already have your own family, when you start preparing for retirement. If your money is just for consumption, it really sets you back,” Cruz said. Think of money as a tool or means for achieving a “greater end” – like happiness, well-being, or satisfaction.