Saturday, January 3, 2015

Simple Living Checklist For A Working Pinay: On Commuting, Running Errands and Out Of Town Travels

Purchasing a car in the Philippines, as far as the Water Sprite is concerned is a luxury. To own one would mean having a hundred thousand pesos cash for a second hand Toyota car and a space for garage. Others got a brand new but mediocre car for installment plan but that would mean working her ass off and clinging into the position in the company in the fear of losing the job. That sounds complicated for the Water Sprite.

The goddess quality of the Water Sprite became apparent as she found joy in just taking public transportation to and from anywhere she go. During work days, she had to take at most 3 rides from home to work, and reverse. This article is about simple living checklist on commuting, running errands, and out of town trips.
Manila Jeepney
Photo: Manila Jeepney as acknowledged [here]

Simple Living Check #1: Always taking public transportation from places to places

It is wise to always take public transportation as it is abundant in the country's thoroughfares. With public transportation including tricycles, the Water Sprite could be able to share the ride with other commuters. While it is tempting to hire a tricycle for a special trip, the Water Sprite ought to avoid this as much as possible. One good thing in the town where she lived was such that taxi's were not available as compared to cities like Manila. Nevertheless, she never considered taking one when running an errand there.

Guilt: In each and every mornings going to work, the Water Sprite has always been rushing and she had to take a special tricycle trip so that she could get to work on time. This is one area in her daily routine which needed correcting. As for Water Sprite, this could be hard to break and requires a great deal of challenge.

Solution: Enhance time management, the Water Sprite will consider leaving home early so that she has time to wait for other commuters to share her ride and pay the minimal fare.

Simple Living Check #2: Walking, instead of riding, on short distances

The Water Sprite was always willing to walk on short distances from work, for example, to the next jeepney terminal. Except only on rainy days which meant soaking her shoes in water or getting herself wet. That would lose the sense of being frugal by allowing her shoes to get damaged easily and exposing herself to disease. Therefore, walking could be done on dry months. Walking then could give her the benefit of cardio exercise along with communicating with the self.

The Water Sprite also enjoyed walking along the streets of a new town, instead of taking a ride. This way, she could easily get familiar with the place while she observed people and building architecture.

Guilt: There were times when the Water Sprite could not leave work post early to the extent that it has gone dark outside. She would then feel unsafe walking so she had to resort to taking a ride.

Solution: Manage time carefully. She will need to do all she has to do at work so that she could leave her post on time and have safe time to walk in the streets.

Simple Living Check #3: Taking errands in batches and doing it in one, if not in adjacent location

This needs planning ahead. If for example, she needed to buy that hard to find Spirulina tablet in Tagaytay City which is about 24 kilometers away from her town, she would have to schedule it along with her dentist visit whose clinic is along the way in Silang, Cavite.

Hence, the Water Sprite would also consider to make a good plan on when to do other errands like grocery shopping, paying bills, taking stuff to repair, going to the salon, and other more activities needing to accomplish. Some of those must have done in just a day when applicable and she would have to pick just one location to do such batch of errands.

Guilt: Sometimes the Water Sprite failed to keep track of due dates thus, she needed to do just a single errand for a day.

Solution: She will have an accessible calendar, update it and constantly check what's needed to be done.

Simple Living Check #4: Doing one or two errands after work when applicable

This appears to be a combination of Simple Living Check #2 and #3. The Water Sprite could reduce the number of errands in a batch by taking one or two in a day. She could therefore walk from work, accomplish an errand or two, and then walk to the next jeepney terminal to take the first ride on her way home. As such, she was able to reduce the ride to two instead of three.

Guilt: Sometimes the Water Sprite could be tempted to look around in shops and be deceived to buy something unnecessary.

Solution: Stay focus. Focus on having no spending. Focus only on a planned shopping schedule (which would be talked about in the future post).

Simple Living Check #5: Booking flights early to purchase discounted airfare

Despite of being frugal, the Water Sprite considered out of town vacation once in a while. She would also consider trips to neighboring countries in Asia such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan and Hongkong. Vacation trips would be planned ahead, preferably a year before and hunt for special offers from airlines like Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines.

Guilt: None.

Solution: Not applicable.

Simple Living Check #6: Avoiding out of town trips on holidays

Most of the time, the Water Sprite did not consider trips on holidays. She wanted to avoid taking chance rides while competing with other passengers in every terminals. She wanted to avoid traffic jams. On trips like these, the commuter could not predict what time he or she would get to the destination. Trips were longer than the ordinary days so there would be a need to eat (not just once) along the way, which means extra budget on travels. This would be especially tricky for Water Sprite as her home town is off the island Marinduque.

Guilt: Not on Water Sprite's part, actually. The parents may feel being left out or not remembered on holidays.

Solution 1: Schedule family visit, at least once a year on ordinary days.
Solution 2: Let family members spend the holiday at Water Sprite's house. Arrange it in advance.

Simple Living Check #7: Planning out of town vacations ahead

Sometimes the Water Sprite considered out of town trips with no taking the plane ride. With regards to out of town vacations, with our without plane rides, it would be planned ahead just like being pointed out in Simple Living Check #5. It could be best to plan in advance to have enough time to research about the place (if unfamiliar), book a cheap room, write a good itinerary, and identify which attractions could be located in one town, which of those attractions could be walkable from chosen vacation house or hostel. With proper planning, the need for taking several rides on public transportation would be reduced.

Guilt: None.
Solution: Not applicable.

Here now concludes Water Sprite's first installment to Simple Living Checklist For A Working Pinay as 7 checks would be needing to practice to reduce expenses while saving money on commuting, running errands, and out of town travels.


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  1. I don't care too much for itineraries on a whole. Well what I mean is, I don't like to have my vacations regimented with every moment of every day logged and planed. I always like to do a lot of research and learning about the place that I am going and plan to see a few things and schedule or make reservations if I have to to but I also just like to relax and explore with out any planning at all and just see what pops up. Happy accidents are always welcome!

  2. @Bruce, I concur. It is best to relax and be spontaneous while in hours of vacation, but I personally always write itinerary so that i would be able to see things I wanted to see, and do I wanted to do. Funny though, itineraries never really happen from start to end, when I get there, but it helps to take note and remember what to do next :)