Living within your means

Ever had that feeling that even after getting a salary raise (whether due to promotion or change of employer), it seems like your money is just sakto lang? I've been hearing this sentiment from my contemporaries for years now. Unfortunately, it is my story too.

My first job was as a PT staff in UST hospital (circa 2007) and back then I was just receiving the minimum daily wage of Php 330. If you do the math, that's Php 7150 per month, weekends not included. And let's not forget about the tax. So that's Php 6292 at 12% tax. In one kinsenas, I receive Php 3146. If I was absent for a day or two (mostly due to migraines), what I had left was Php 2574 to 2860. (Syet, ngayon ko lang narealize sobrang poorita ko pala noon. As if naman hindi na ngayon. Wahahha!). At that rate, I can still attend concerts and gigs back then. So the big question is, HOW THE HELL DID I DO THAT?!

After my short stint as a staff PT and clinical supervisor, I was unemployed for one summer. I only had one patient whom I visit 3x a week. That was more than enough for my food and to pay my bills which included water, electricity, prepaid load and DSL only. Simple, isn't it?

St. Jude College gave me my first teaching stint after having been invited to become a full-time faculty member. This led to another open door, a part-time teaching post in UST which later became my full-time job. At that time, I didn't know what to do with the amount of compensation I was receiving. Of course it was higher than the pay in clinics but I didn't want to put it to waste. At some point I was tempted to just splurge and splurge since I didn't get the chance to buy the things that I wanted when I was younger.

After much contemplation, I decided to send myself to school. I took my master's degree and was very satisfied with the investment that I made. The only material thing that I bought for myself during those times was my first DSLR. I controlled myself from buying anything else. After graduating, which meant the end of paying the ginormous amount of tuition fees (mahirap magpaaral ng sarili, imagine kung gaano kahirap para sa magulang ang magpaaral ng mga anak!!!), I was finally able to enjoy my salary as it comes to me without any tuition fee deductions. I was finally able to buy the things that I've been holding off while studying, however, I kind of overdid it! Hehe.

I had the interior of my apartment repainted, bought a new TV, washing machine, books, gadgets, I traveled a bit, etc. At one point, I was eating pizza deliveries and take-outs at least twice a week. Kaya nga ata ako tumaba. I was flabbergasted with the amount of money coming out of my pocket. Then there was that credit card era in my life where I bought stuff and paid by swiping here and there and everywhere (thanks to online shopping NOT!). Imagine the horror in my eyes whenever I receive my credit card bill. But I've defeated that phase already and I've made sure that I am never coming back to that sinkhole ever again.

Solo living puts a big dent on one's finances as well. Of course I have to shoulder 100% of everything including rent, electricity, water, postpaid lines (mobile and landline), DSL, and cable. Add to that the electricity and water of our condo in Manila, which nobody lives in (Php5.65 lang naman ang kuryente dun kasi nga walang gumagamit, hehe). But I've managed to pay everything on time, including two credit card bills which I always pay in full every month. To all the credit card holders out there, use them only if you plan to pay them in full the moment the bill arrives. Otherwise, don't use them at all or finance charges (interests) will eat you up.

Despite all of these financial challenges, I still think that the best way to avoid complete bankruptcy is TO AVOID LIFESTYLE MISMATCH. Most of the time, lifestyle mismatch happens when one wants to keep up with the latest trends, perhaps due to peer pressure or probably because they're looking up to the wrong role models--and of course the famous concept of, as cliche as it may sound, "keeping up with the Joneses". Here's what I've learned in my 26 years of existence: focusing on your internal satisfaction is still the best way to take care of yourself.  

The world will not throw you out into outer space if you're not wearing the latest trends in fashion. Mother Earth will definitely not punish you by limiting your oxygen supply just because you're gadgets are not in. You will not instantly vanish just because you decided to live within your means. So don't be hard on yourself. you don't need to stay ahead or laging uso but you also need not be too far behind in terms of investing on what matters most. Invest in your mind. It is your greatest asset anyway!

So to all my contemporaries who are still living with their families (there's nothing wrong with that), I hope you greatly appreciate your current financial security, the home-cooked meals and the company of your loved ones. And to my students, I hope you picked up something from this, perhaps an idea of how much your parents work their arses of just to provide for the family and to pay for the incredibly high tuition fees. 



linda a gabor said...

bravo....galing ah...

Rian G. said...

Thanks Ma! :)

Dimple said...

Congratualtions Ry! On your 27th, you have learned the lesson early on :) You have made the right decisions all along. You did invest on your mind and you didn't suppress your interests - which are both good.

Hooray for all the blessings. Happy birthday Ry! :)

anthony liu said...

Wow galing naman very independent! Well tama nga naman the more we earn, the tendency is that we will also spend more. bti nlng nakapag invest ka ng foosball haha pwede ka mag pa tournament nxt time haha! kaya dpt tlga pagisipan mabuti san pwede ilagay ng tama ang savings. kaya nga ngayon papunta kmi ni Marlo sa investment seminar, mutual funds etc. Kay Bo Sanchez ata. Tumatanda na tyo haha. We need to be more aggressive and expand our financial wallet :) Happy Birthday Rian!!! See you in Feb! :) Foosball Challenge!!

Rian said...

Yey! pareho tayo! attend din ako ng seminar this month. :) nagiging matooor (how toshi pronounces mature) na tayo. ang saya saya. haha! see you in Feb! babawiin ko ung korona ko ng foosball tourney.