Is your wallet ready for another ECQ? 1

Turn ECQ into ESQ (Enhanced Savings Quest) and hunt for the best deals

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at Aug 09 2021 03:20 PM

Is your wallet ready for another ECQ? I confess my wallet isn’t, even though I am assured of a salary for the next two weeks.

We may not feel it right away, but pragmatic that I am, I tend to agree with New York-based Moody’s Investors Service that the now 18-month old pandemic has inflicted “deep” economic scarring to the Philippines. The international financial research firm most recently warned that the strict lockdowns plus the spike in COVID-19 cases due to the deadlier Delta variant could pose ongoing risks to the growth of our economy.

How do we then turn another crisis – that is the latest ECQ – into opportunity or ESQ and launch enhanced savings quests? Here are five simple things that you can do to ease the burden on your wallet.

#1 Change the way you pay

Are you still withdrawing money from a bank or ATM and paying for bills in a branch or payment center? If yes, chances are you are also paying extra with convenience fees, not to mention the cost to you such as transportation plus the risk of exposure to COVID-19. It’s about time you discovered digital currency. 

Not only can you pay for bills from anywhere at anytime with your phone or computer, many digital currencies are also going to reward you. I used to pay my PLDT bill with a credit card online and then discovered I can get rebates if I do it via PayMaya or ShopeePay. Try it and pocket not just the convenience fee but additional savings.

#2 Change the way you shop

After turning off notifications to online shopping sites, I realized I have taken back control of when I will shop. Yes, it’s good to know about sales, but not all sales are good for you and your wallet. Now, I plan my shopping around sale dates and compare prices and deals across shopping platforms. One item may be cheaper in Lazada but if I get free shipping from Shopee, that’s the way to go. A friend invited me to try out Pick A Roo and that got me a generous first-time user discount and she got rewarded too. 

We all need to shop, so I am not here to tell you not to. But if you get the timing right and the best site to buy it from, it can cost you a great deal less. You may walk away with some free items too.

#3 No harm in haggling

When shopping with selling platforms, you can chat the seller to ask not just for more information on the product but also for a better price. While some sellers are not willing to negotiate, others are more accommodating and there is no harm in at least trying and haggling. I’ve gotten discounts as low as P5 to as much as P1000 so my advice is to go for it. Some sellers can be rude, and I take that as a sign to look elsewhere. After all, if I have a problem with their product, their attitude already showed me I also won’t get much help.

#4 Reap the rewards for your loyalty

Last year, when I realized this lockdown will not be over in a few months, I called my utility bill companies and negotiated for better plans. I was actually ready to cancel some accounts. Stuck at home, I don’t really have much need for an unlimited LTE plan. I also did not need a second mobile number. To my surprise, both Smart and Globe countered with retention plans that fit my budget. I got discounts on my monthly bill and a much cheaper monthly plan. It helps that I always paid my bills on time and was considered a valued subscriber. If you are also looking to cut back on subscription costs and monthly expenses, you can use the forced downtime from ECQ to make these calls and explore better deals.

#5 The world is shrinking, and so are shipping costs

I used to be a loyal shopper at a healthy store because they had many options. Then I came across iHerb and realized the other store was quite expensive. To be honest, I already knew they were expensive but I did not realize they were that expensive. So I tried to shop with iHerb and was worried that the shipping cost would make me faint. To my surprise, even with overseas shipping, they came out cheaper. Their coupons and vouchers helped ease the shipping cost so I have added iHerb to my list of go-to stores. Lesson learned here: do not be a complacent shopper but always explore and hunt for better deals. 

One final word: as much as you can avoid it, try not to take on any new debts. Unless it’s for a family or medical emergency, better to have fewer debts and less interest payments to make. Some companies are actively recruiting new clients and I have blocked many numbers for spamming me with their offers. Do the same and don’t even read about their low rates or sign-up gifts. The reason they can offer a gift is because they will make a lot more money on you if you choose to bite and borrow. Unless you absolutely need it, tightening your belt is the better way to thrive in this ECQ and any other Qs up ahead.

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.