14 Simple But Creative Ways To Save Cash During Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic taught us many things – the importance of having an Emergency Fund or savings, learning how to value non-material things, how to be resilient, and the list goes on. Aside from these, the pandemic taught us how to adjust our lifestyle to be able to save more, especially now that there is a halt in overseas work.

The truth is there are tons of ways on how we can save cash during challenging times like this. In case you are looking for ideas on how to do it, then let this list guide you.

Creative And Effective Ways To Save Cash

  1. Set a budget – for everything. This is a must. Pandemic or not, having a budget is important because it helps you keep track of how much money goes in and out every month. This will also give you an idea on what expenses you can get rid of for extra cash.
  2. Grow your own food. Having your own fruits and vegetables backyard will help you in saving money instead of buying them from the market or grocery. Herbs are popular nowadays, but you can also plant calamansi, pechay, ampalaya, and other veggies in your own home.
  3. Unplug. Did you know that standby appliances could still consume electricity by as much as 10 percent? This could be added to your total electric consumption, which also means higher bill. Therefore, unplug unused appliances since it also promotes electrical safety and prevents the possibility of fire.
  4. Go for energy-efficient appliances. Even if they are in use, consumption cost will be lower, which means you get to save from electricity, too.
  5. Be mindful of your water consumption. Turn of faucet when not in use, use a glass when brushing teeth, use a pail when washing your car or watering the plants, and check for any leaks. Simple steps could go a long way when you save water. This will help reduce your water bill as well.
  6. Reduce alcohol intake. Yes, we all need to unwind but drinking alcohol could eat up a chunk from the income. Limit, if not get rid of it to be able to save more.
  7. Take advantage of sales and deals. 10.10, 11.11 – these are dates many are looking forward to because of sale and great deals online. If you NEED to buy something, then take advantage of these sales and promos so you could save more. P20 savings or free shipping fee are still savings.
  8. Let the light in. Opening your windows and letting the sun in is a good way to keep your home well-lighted. Take advantage of it since it saves electricity, too.
  9. Easy on takeouts. Cooking can be a tedious task but think about this: you get to save more. As much as possible, reduce your food deliveries.
  10. Always stick to essentials when doing the grocery. It’s tempting to buy the food you see in the supermarket, but do you really need it? As much as possible, stick to essentials. This is where you will appreciate growing your own food because you can skip certain items since you have them on your backyard. This means more savings, too.
  11. Cancel subscriptions you don’t need. Who doesn’t want entertainment? After all, we all need something to distract us from the negativity in the outside world. Still, if this form of entertainment is charging you with an amount that doesn’t suit your daily needs, then it might be best to cancel that subscription. There are many ways to keep yourself busy without breaking the wallet. But if you really need that streaming, then at least consider sharing. This way, you only get to pay half of the price.
  12. Make your own coffee. Who needs P180-worth of coffee anyway?
  13. Keep your bills. Doesn’t it feel good when you see P500 in the drawer that you accidentally forgot? If you have extra bills, then consider “hiding” them. This could come in handy during emergency.
  14. Don’t forget the coins. Surely, you have lots of coins lying around the house. Put them in a coin bank and use it. You might be surprised to find out that the coins lying around is worth a lot.

These are just simple adjustments but could benefit you in the long run. At this point, we need to think of ways to maximize and stretch the money we have, and these tips could help us become more mindful and careful with our spending. This could lead to bigger savings, too.

Know Your Rights As A Tenant, Especially In This Time Of Pandemic

One of the reasons why you decided to work overseas is because you want to have your own home. This is also the reason why you are taking multiple jobs while overseas to make sure that you can send money back home and save a few more for your future dream home.

If you haven’t fulfilled that yet, then that’s fine. Renting your own place could be an alternative – for now. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced you to go back home and wait for travel restrictions to ease to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

Since you lost your main source of income, which also means there will be difficulty in paying the rent, the question now is this: can your landlord evict you from the place you and your family are staying?

What are your rights as a tenant?

As a tenant, your rights are protected under the Rent Control Act of 2009. Some of your rights include:

  • Limit On Rent Increase – Although landlords can impose an increase in rent every year, there is a limitation as to how much the increase can be. Rent increase should be anywhere between two and 11 percent and must only be imposed once a year.
  • No To Excessive Deposit And Advance – Under the said law, landlord can collect not more than two months deposit and one month advance rent or a total of three months. This security deposit must be kept under the landlord’s account and will be returned to the tenant upon expiration of contract. Take note that these deposits and advance may be used by the landlord to compensate for losses such as failure to pay rental fee, unpaid utility bills, and/or damage to the property.
  • Eviction Must Be Legal – Eviction is allowed when there is a justifiable reason.

When can a tenant be evicted?

The law allows landlords to evict tenants for the following reasons:

  • Expiration of Lease Contract. At this point, landlord has the option not to renew the tenant, especially those who are unruly and delinquent.
  • Overdue rental payments for at lease three months.
  • Necessary house repairs to ensure that the place is suitable and viable for living. In this case, the evicted tenant is given the priority to rent the place should s/he wishes to.
  • Subleasing the entire or a part of the leased property without the owner’s consent.
  • The owner or landlord will legitimately use the rented property. In this case, landlord must give notice to the tenant at least three months before the expiration of contract.

That being said, what constitutes illegal eviction?

  • If the landlord or owner decided to sell or mortgage the leased property, the new owner has to respect the existing lease contract. More importantly, the new owner cannot evict the tenant unless there is a justifiable reason.
  • Violating the Anti-Covid-19 Discrimination ordinance, particularly in Makati, Quezon City, Manila, Muntinlupa, and Pasig City. Landlord cannot evict the tenant regardless if you are infected or is suspected to have Covid-19. Consequently, healthcare workers cannot be evicted from leased property.
  • Failure to pay the rent during quarantine and grace periods are not grounds for eviction.

In case any of these situations happened, make sure you talk to your landlord first so you could come up with an amicable solution. Otherwise, you can request assistance from the barangay, which has the authority to settle disputes involving landlord and rental rights.

DTI Memorandum Circular 20-12

Under the said circular of the Department of Trade and Industry and pursuant to the Bayanihan Heal as One Act, property owners cannot evict tenants in ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ areas for failure to pay rental fee. There is also a mandatory 30-day grace period for tenants to start paying their rental fee.

The said circular also states that unpaid rents during the quarantine period can be settled in six monthly installments without penalties, interest, additional fees, and other charges.

Further, landlord must inform the tenant regarding the option to pay in installments.

Refusal to comply by the landlord could result to imposition of fine, jail time of two months, or both. As a tenant, you can also inform DTI regarding the illegal eviction practice so that appropriate criminal case can be filed to the landlord.

This is an extraordinary time for everyone, including landlords and tenants. At this point, it is best to keep an open communication with your landlord so you can negotiate and compromise. While you’re struggling to pay the rent, surely, your landlord is also in need of the rental payments to make ends meet.

As what they say, lahat madadaan sa magandang usapan.

Job Opportunity: How To Become A Contact Tracer

Finding a job during this time won’t be easy. Even if you want to work, there is no assurance that a company will hire you, despite your qualifications. Unfortunately, this pandemic affected most business, with many forced to close down to avoid incurring further losses. Until there is a vaccine that could put an end to the Covid-19, it will take time before we can all go back to our normal lives.

What can you do? Putting up your own business while waiting for deployment is a good idea. Apparently, there are many who are already venturing into this and it won’t be long before the market gets saturated.

If you’re looking for a good way to earn extra, then consider becoming a contact tracer.

But first, what is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is the process of identifying, evaluating, following up, and managing individuals that could have been or were exposed to the Covid-19 virus. If conducted effectively, contact tracing could:

  • Interrupt ongoing transmission
  • Lower the risk of spreading the virus
  • Inform and alert individuals who are at risk of getting the infection
  • Offer preventive care or counseling

As of this writing, the government allocated P5-billion for this and are currently open to hiring 50,000 contact tracers. 20,000 will be deployed in Luzon while Visayas and Mindanao will have 15,000 contact tracers each.

What does it mean to be a contact tracer?

According to the World Health Organization, a contact tracer has three main responsibilities:

  • Identification

As a contact tracer, you need to identify the possible individuals that the person with Covid-19 came in contact or interacted with. This includes members of the family, friends, co-workers, and even people in the places s/he went to.

  • Contact Listing

This responsibility covers creation of list of all contacts of the infected person. Consequently, those included in the list will be notified regarding the status of the person with Covid-19 as well as what they can do in case of close contact. Contact tracers must also provide necessary information on how to prevent transmission.

  • Follow Up

Contact tracer must also monitor symptoms and follow up contacts for possible signs of infection.

What do you need to be a contact tracer?

  • Ability to collect data
  • Understands and respects the concept of patient confidentiality
  • Great interpersonal skills
  • Can explain Covid-19 clearly and in a manner that is easy to understand
  • Must have ethical and professional conduct
  • Ability to conduct interviews while maintaining patient confidentiality
  • Must be resourceful in collecting, locating, and communicating not just with the infected person but also individuals with possible exposure

Application is open to ALL, although applicants with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Health-related course will be given priority.

Is there a required training before you can become a contact tracer?

As of this writing, TESDA is offering an online course for contact tracer training.

With the help of the Department of Health and other health industry experts, TESDA was able to develop a training program that equips potential tracers with necessary skills needed for the job. The aim is to provide “world class and competent human resources for contact tracing.”

The training program will run for 15 days, which includes both online and face-to-face learning.

You can access the free training here.

How much can you earn?

Contact tracers have a salary grade 9, which means you can earn at least P18,000 every month.

Take note that the job is only temporary. although the agency is pushing for one year employment. Nevertheless, this is a good source of income in the meantime.

Where to Apply

The Department of Interior and Local Government, including its regional offices, are responsible for handling applications of potential contact tracers.

Are you interested? Simply visit the DILG office near you to apply because who knows, you might be qualified.

Project EASE: P10,000 Financial Assistance For OFW Children

According to the Department of Education, there are seven million Filipino children who did not enroll for the school year 2020 – 2021 (1). This is not a good sign.

Unenrollment may be due to several factors: lack of confidence on how effective distance learning is or limitation on tools and access to technology. On the other hand, the most common reason is lack of funds as a result of the parents’ unemployment.

For OFW families, this could also be the problem. The OFW sector is heavily hit by the pandemic as thousands of migrant workers were either repatriated or no longer allowed to leave due to strict restrictions whether in the Philippines or host country (2).

In line with the this, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or OWWA launched Project EASE, an educational aid for OFW families.

What Is Project EASE?

Educational Assistance through Scholarship in Emergencies or Project EASE is an education assistance to qualified college-dependents of active OWWA members whose employment was affected by the pandemic since February 1, 2020. By active members, this could mean:

  • Land-based workers
  • Sea-based workers
  • Balik Manggagawa

This educational assistance provides P10,000 per annum for a maximum of four years.

So far, the agency allocated P400 million for the implementation of the project on its first year.

Who are qualified for this educational assistance?

Eligible dependent of active OWWA members include:

  • Child of married or single parent – OFW
  • Sibling of single OFW

The beneficiary can also be an incoming college freshman or currently enrolled in college.

For married OFW couples, you are only entitled to only one slot.

Take note that if your dependent is already getting other educational assistance from OWWA such as Education for Development Scholarship Program or EDSP, ODSP, or ELAP-Education, then s/he can no longer avail of the benefits of Project EASE.

What are the requirements?

  1. Accomplished Application Form. You can access the form by clicking on this link.
  2. Valid passport of OFW-member
  3. Flight ticket of boarding pass or arrival stamp/sticker attached in the passport. This will serve as evidence that the active OWWA member arrived in the country after February 1, 2020.
  4. Official Receipt or other proof of validation that will show that the OFW is also an active OWWA member
  5. Student-applicant’s proof of relationship to OWWA member such as Birth Certificate for married or single parent OFW OR Certificate of No Marriage and Birth Certificates of both the OFW and the sibling if active member is single.
  6. Certificate of Grades of the student-applicant indicating the grades from last school year or semester. Take note that there should be NO failing grade in any subject.

How to Apply For Project EASE

  1. Fill out the online application form.
  2. Submit all the requirements through the OWWA RWO email. You can check this link for the OWWA Regional Welfare Office that covers your area.
  3. You will receive a tracking number or serial reference, which will be sent on your registered mobile number or email address. You can use this reference to monitor the status of your application. In case of incomplete documents, the respective OWWA RWO will also inform you through SMS or email.
  4. If approved, OWWA will send you a Scholarship Agreement. Download, print, and then sign the document. This must also be notarized.
  5. Send the Scholarship Agreement via courier on the designated OWWA RWO that handled the application.
  6. Financial assistance will be sent to the designated bank account. Take note that the bank account must be under the name of the beneficiary. Otherwise, you will be required to open a savings account under your child or sibling’s name.

Keep in mind that this educational assistance will not cover your child or sibling’s entire tuition fee. Nonetheless, it could help augment various expenses like books and other school materials.

For more details, you can visit OWWA website.

Note: Balikbayad is NOT affiliated or related with OWWA. This article is merely for informational purposes only.


(1) https://rappler.com/nation/teachers-group-says-millions-students-still-unenrolled-july-13-2020

(2) https://www.manilatimes.net/2020/08/11/opinion/editorial/repatriation-of-ofws-is-a-national-obligation/753655/