Money Matters

'Good Utang vs Bad Utang': 10 Money Lessons From the Megastar Sharon Cuneta

Having a property to call your own is still the best investment, says Sharon Cuneta

Photography: Rene Mejia | @REALLYSHARONCUNETA on Instagram

Pictured above is the two-storey guesthouse in Sharon Cuneta's home in Mandaluyong. Find the full house tour here

Sharon Cuneta continues to be an inspiration to many, whether she’s talking about her incredible weight loss story, parenting style, or her strong marriage to husband Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. And now, thanks to her YouTube channel, we can easily learn from the Megastar herself, as she shares insights and tips on different topics like adoption, relationships, beauty, and even money.

In one of her videos posted in July 2019, Sharon reveals 10 of the best money saving tips she’s learned over the years when it comes to investment and savings.


Savings should always be a top priority.

 “Ang tao hindi yumayaman sa kinikita niya lang. Yumayaman tayo sa naiipon natin,” says the Megastar.

She gives an example: if you earn Php10,000 but your expenses amount to Php8,000, and you spend half of that on luxury items, then you need to review your priorities. “Naiintindihan ko na ang necessities pa lang, nakakaubos na ng kita… but you really have to pay yourself first. Ipon ka muna,” she says.

Don’t invest your money if you don’t know anything about the business.

 Sharon considers herself knowledgeable about real estate and admits that it’s where she puts most of her earnings. Not only did she learn from her late father, who made money buying properties, renovating, and then selling the properties at a higher value, but she also had the chance to talk to real estate and financial experts to get their advice on investments.


Still, Sharon considers herself a conservative investor, and one of the best money saving tips she’s learned is not to pursue a business venture that she knows nothing about. She adds, “Maraming stories about magigiting na OFWs na pag-uwi nila, may mag-yayaya, ‘Pare, sali ka sa negosyo ko. Tapos naubos lahat ‘yung pinaghirapan nila ng ilang taon, kasi hindi mo naiintindihan [yung negosyo].”

She suggests hiring an expert (if you can afford it) if you want to invest in a venture you’re not knowledgeable about. For example, since the singer is not familiar with stocks, she hired an expert to help her out. “Kapag malaki ‘yung investment, hayaan mo na sila, mas alam nila ‘yun,” she shares.


You’re not wasting money when you rent.

 A lot of people think that renting a house versus purchasing a home is like throwing away money, but Sharon disagrees. After all, Sharon spent five years renting a condo with daughter KC Concepcion when Sharon and Gabby Concepcion separated.

“I learned a lot in those five years,” the actress shares. “Remember: It’s like paying for a service. It’s like paying a roof over your head. Hindi talaga pagtatapon.”

But having a property to call your own is still the best investment.

 It doesn’t matter if it’s a small house, or a studio unit — if you have the opportunity, buy your own property. “Kapag may sarili ka na, nag-trabaho ka pa, pati mga asawa at anak mo nag-ta-trabaho, pwede naman kayong mag-sosyo at bumili ng isa pang property na pwede ninyong ipa-upa hanggang lumaki ‘yun ng lumaki,” Sharon explains. “Pagdating ng araw, tataas ‘yung value nun. Ibebenta ninyo, kumita pa kayo.”


Teach your kids to work hard for their money.

 Sharon reveals that she already had the entrepreneurial spirit as a kid. She would copy her classmate who would draw on a bond paper and staple more papers together to create a notebook. They would then sell it for 25 centavos each.

When she became a singer and actress, her parents did not touch her earnings. Then, when she got married (the first time), her father handed her a check with all her money. By then, she was already responsible for her money.

When she had kids, the Megastar made sure that they would also learn the value of money. If her kids Frankie, Miguel, and Miel wanted something, they would find ways to earn the money for it. “Miguel sells ice candy. Frankie will sell turon or banana cue. Miel will sell banana milkshakes ‘pag may bazaar nun sa bahay namin sa Laguna,” Sharon shares.


“Money is not evil. It’s people who are evil. Never become a slave to money — you make money your slave.” — Sharon Cuneta

The most stable businesses for the Megastar are food, shelter, and clothing.

 The shelter is real estate. “Pero ang pagkain, madetalye at mabusising negosyo,” Sharon clarifies. But if you have a knack for it, say, you have one specialty, you can try and make a business out of it. It’s a nice “raket” for stay-at-home moms: post it online, get orders, and if people like it, more orders will come through.

For clothing, Sharon shares she’s heard of success stories of people who buy clothes from Taytay and Divisoria and re-sell it at a higher cost. You can also try buying from Bangkok, Thailand (their markets are known for cheap and trendy clothes) and then re-selling them online.

Another one of the best money saving tips from the Megastar is to be wary of franchising. “Ang nangyayari, ‘yung franchise source ‘yung kumikita. Ikaw, hindi lagi.”


Always start small.

 One of the best money saving tips for Sharon is to not put all your earnings into one venture. “Para kapag hindi nag-work out, hindi ganun kasakit,” she explains simply.

If you can’t invest in stocks yet, she suggests doing time deposits. “Kung nanjan lang ‘yung extra money mo,” she says, “Kaysa papasok ka sa negosyo na hindi mo naiintindihan at sinusugal mo [ang pera mo].”

There is “good” utang and “bad” utang.

 Sharon doesn’t see bank loans and interests as bad. If you’re asking for a loan to purchase a house, you are loaning the time when you can enjoy living in the house while paying for it at the same time. “If you know your earning capacity, that’s a safe investment,” she says.

However, if you’re going on debt to pay for luxury purchases, then the Megastar considers it a “bad” debt. Don’t prioritize items that you use as status symbols — make your necessities the priority.


Donate to a good cause.

 One thing that Sharon loves to do whenever she gets her earnings is to “tithe.” A tithe is a one-tenth part (10 percent) of produce or earnings that is given as a contribution to the Church. It doesn’t just go to one Church — she would give to other religious institutions that she feels needs her donation.

“It’s really God’s money — it’s on loan to you. Ito ay blessing. Binigay niya, baka nga pinahiram lang. Ibalik mo sa kanya,” she says.

Spend money on your loved ones.

 Sharon says it’s ok to like money. Money allows you to give gifts to family and loved ones or take them to beautiful places where you can make good memories. So don't hesitate to spend money on travel — even if it’s just a short staycation.

“Pagdating ng araw, mamamatay rin tayo,” she says, adding that at the end of your life, you would not be thinking about your properties. You would be thinking about your loved ones.


So, one of the best money saving tips is to respect money but don’t worship it. “Mas masarap mag-enjoy ng kinita at bumili ng gusto ninyo kapag kaya ninyo nang asikasuhin ang lahat ng pangangailangan at meron pang natitira. Darating ‘yun,” she says.

Saan ba magandang mag-invest? Click here to read up on advice from a financial planner and grow your money!


This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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