Actually, that's only partly true. While residents of Forbes Park are, indeed, drowning in cash, they're more of the exception than the rule. A good number of Makati residents fall under the "middle class" category, so you can bet they know a thing or two about keeping their finances out of the red. For example, they:
Use Public Transportation
Makati is already a difficult city to navigate — with one-way streets and the like. Even if you have a private car, you still have to deal with Metro Manila's horrendous traffic. Also, filling up on gas every now and then can be expensive.
Granted, using buses and jeepneys is only slightly better. After all, it's not like they can fly to their destinations if they're stuck in traffic. However, they do have a fixed route, and all things considered, they're much cheaper than driving a private car. If you work in the Makati Central Business District, for example, this handy dandy guide can help you navigate the area.
Purchase Groceries From Shopping Malls, Not Convenience Stores
As their name implies, convenience stores are more convenient. They're usually only a stone's throw away from most residences. However, there's a price for that: Their goods are always more expensive than their "mall supermarket" counterparts.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with buying from convenience stores per se. If you need something A.S.A.P., it's okay to pay a little more to save yourself a little hassle. But as much as possible, buy your goods from a mall. You'll be surprised at how "five-peso savings per unit" can add up over time!
Find Affordable Meals in Makati
Not all restaurants in Makati require you to pay at least Php500 per meal (though it may seem that way). Plenty of establishments offer complete meals for under Php200 — and they taste great too!
If you have enough time and energy, though, the best way to save money in Makati (or in any other place within Metro Manila) is to cook your own meals. For example, you have sites like Panlasang Pinoy to teach you how to cook authentic Filipino dishes. (A word of warning: Panlasang Pinoy recipes tend to be heavy on the salt, so you'll have to adjust that according to your tastes.)
Keep an Eye Out for Free Fairs, Events, Etc.
There's a reason we often post updates on events within and outside Makati. As you can see, many of them don't require you to shell out money to attend them. Hey, "more expensive" isn't necessarily "more fun" when it comes to fairs, events and concerts!
Have a Roommate
If you're like many Makati residents, you probably live in a condo or apartment. Even then, the monthly payments can be a pain in the wallet!
That's why you need someone to split the bill with. Financial pragmatism aside, a roommate can help ease your worries and loneliness while you try to keep up with Makati's fast-paced lifestyle. Of course, you'll want to do a little background check on your potential roommate first, just in case!
Read Reviews Before Trying Out Expensive Restaurants
As we mentioned earlier, Makati City is chockfull of stores, restaurants and other establishments guaranteed to burn a Jupiter-sized hole through your wallet. Being the adventurous type you are, you'll naturally want to try out all of them.
At the same time, however, you need to be picky. If you're itching to try out a particular restaurant, search for online reviews about it first. You can find these on sites like Zomato and MunchPunch. (Think of these places as the Philippine version of Yelp.) These places allow customers to rate and review restaurants all over the Metro (for Zomato) and the Philippines (for MunchPunch).
There are also the blog posts (like the ones Enjoy Makati does on a regular basis). Many of them focus only on pictures, only on the food and/or only on the place. Here on Enjoy Makati, however, we do our best to make our reviews as well-rounded as possible. If you have any questions, comments or violent reactions regarding those reviews, please let us know so we can note them for future posts.
Living in "The Wall Street of the Philippines" doesn't have to be ridiculously expensive. You can enjoy the city's delights, and still have enough money left over for the things that matter. So keep the tips above in mind, and enjoy your stay in one of the Metro's best cities!