Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our subscriber list to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly in your inbox.

The Great Cutback: Gen Zs share post-holiday season spending tips as freshmen in their working-adult era

You know what’s left after the Christmas shopping rush, the seemingly endless parties and the “childhood healing” shopping sprees?

It’s a wrung-out wallet. 

As newbies to the game of adulting, it is only natural for new working young adults to feel overwhelmed by the new responsibilities they have over their adult money.

The recently concluded holiday merriment is the first of the many celebrations they will get to spend their hard-earned money on. And as expected, there are a few lessons to be learned on how to be better spenders for the next one.

With that said, here are some of the tips shared by four Gen Zs on how to get back up after the season of giving.

No to overpriced coffee

There is such a thing as “coffee culture” in the workplace. Coffee breaks spark up conversations, and today, most cafes are built to become the second co-working space for everybody. 

Coffee culture is everywhere on social media. It’s the place where everybody shares their love for coffee. However, with its popularity, it’s not surprising how some cafes have overpriced coffee. 

Thus, for Joanne Ramos, a 23-year-old sweet coffee lover, she decided to cut back on expensive coffee after the holidays to make sure she’s spending her money frugally. 

“When I went back to work after the holidays, no overpriced coffee muna, ‘saka nagbabaon ako ng snacks if possible para less gastos,” Ramos said.

Alecia Rivera, who works in the marketing industry, even said that she had to pack extra food to work so she could avoid buying food from restaurants near her workplace

“I was forced to lessen my cafe purchases and control my online shopping urges,” Rivera said. 

Many people have criticized how expensive coffee can be in popular cafes. Experts would argue that it is the preparation that goes behind coffee that people are paying for, from bean to cup.

Fresh graduate Ruth Fajardo, who now works for a non-government organization, advised that people should find the balance between treating oneself and saving for one’s future expenses. 

“For example if you’re a coffee lover, it’s better to learn to appreciate a 130-peso coffee than yearn for a 200-peso coffee with the same taste,” she said. 

Photo courtesy of Ruth Fajardo (@ruthjoyceee)

Commit to commuting

It is no wonder why ride-hailing apps like Grab, Angkas, and Joyride are so popular. It is convenience in an app.

For 21-year-old Matthew Jucom, who works for a virtual assistant sourcing agency, he said that whenever he wanted to go out, he would set a limited amount for that day.

“As much as possible, I really choose commuting, ‘yung totoong commute, whenever I go outside,” Jucom said.

A 12-minute ride, or a five-kilometer ride, in Grab already ranges from P150 to P220, which is far more expensive than the P13 minimum jeepney fare.

Commuting has been useful for Ramos as well. According to her, there were still a few unexpected outings after the holiday season, so she had to extend her spending. 

Moreover, January was a big month for Fajardo and that is why she really needed to cut back on three things: riding the tricycle, snacks after work, and buying Kpop photocards and merch. 

“January is my birthday so I spent some of my spendable savings for the concert I’ve been praying to go to, plus a little pamper for me and my mama,” she said. 

Steer clear of e-commerce shops

Online shopping gives the convenience of shopping anywhere while avoiding big crowds. For people who love shopping online, they love coming home from work and seeing their parcels delivered

However, the easy access to these online stores is also the door to impulsive shopping. 

For this reason, Rivera had to uninstall these apps so she could find no reason to “check out” the items in her cart. She often finds herself scrolling through these stores to find her next buy during her free time.

“That’s how accessible these things are now, also very tempting ‘yung convenience niya,” She said. 

This was echoed by Jucom who experienced this too, especially during the peak of the pandemic. He said that he has stopped shopping online for things he does not need since last year.

“I really used online shopping as a form of coping mechanism. It felt like there was always something to look forward to whenever I checked out something,” he said 

He said that he has changed his mindset and used these apps only when necessary. For the meantime, Jucom sought the same kind of satisfaction whenever he’s out spending time with his family.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Jucom

In the same way, Fajardo went to these apps whenever she’s looking for a cheaper price of the same product she saw in the malls.

“I also sometimes use it to see if there are some things that I can buy cheaper online with the same quality like socks, charger cord, or sports attire,” she said. 

Be a wiser gift-giver for the next holiday season

There will always be a first time for everything. People are supposed to celebrate it and learn from it. When it comes to managing money, finding the strategy that will fit one’s lifestyle and capability is usually trial and error.

Looking back at her shopping behavior from last year’s celebrations, Ramos learned that knowing how one spend’s their money for the holidays can help avoid impulsive spending.

But at the end of the day, she knows that she can earn back the money she spent for the holidays. 

Mas important for me ‘yung memories and experiences and the happiness that I shared with people during those times na gumagastos ako,” she said.

Similarly, Jucom emphasized that gift-giving should not be about the amount. He said that he looked for local brands that sell high quality products for a lower price.

‘Yun naman kasi top priority ko sa pag-reregalo: dapat something na magagamit nila,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rivera said that keeping track of one’s spendings and saving receipts can help one shift into healthier spending habits.

Makaka-help rin siya to create a more systematic way of saving up while still having enough resources to spoil yourself and the people you love,” she said.

With that said, she acknowledged the pressure for Gen Zs to save up for their future, saying that saving can start slowly. 

Hindi naman kailangan malaki agad, you’re going to get there pa-unti unti, dadami rin ‘yan. You just have to establish a disciplined and systematic way or habit of money spending that works for you,” she said.