I was listening to this Linya-Linya Show episode a few days ago and they were talking about money matters and how the “fellow 22s” (listeners of the show) may enjoy having financial freedom earlier than the rest of the kids who don’t listen to the show. Chz. They talked about compounding interest, resisting online budol, pyramiding schemes, pagpapautang, etc. It’s a good effisode, Salve Duplito explains everything so well that even people who know nothing about investment can grasp the concept easily, but I felt it was lacking in the basics of spending and saving up your money.
Hep! Hindi ako expert ha, lalong hindi pa ako mayaman pero after working for a decade and handling and mishandling my money in more ways than one, I just felt compelled to write about my own money mistakes because feeling ko lang naman ha, mej intermediate na yung tips on investing na nabanggit sa episode. Over the years, I have learned that may tamang paraan ang tamang paghawak ng pera o ang paggastos nito – lalo kung hindi ka lumaking Ayala o Sy o Tan. Kung lumaki kang tulad ng mga nabanggit, hindi para sa ‘yo ang pang-hampaslupang learnings na mga ito.
Not paying attention to my Personal Financial Management class in college
When I was in college, we had a minor subject called Personal Financial Management and I didn’t pay any attention to it, as in wala akong maalala sa topics, kaya ayon, boblaks ang finances ko in the first few years, bukod sa maliit din naman talaga ang sweldo ko at hindi pa ako marunong makipag-haggle sa tamang sweldo noon. On a side note, sana itinuturo rin sa eskwelahan kung paano ang tamang pag-negotiate sa sweldo, ‘no? All I can remember was trying to finish requirements for that class so I can focus more on my major subjects. Little did I know, yun pala ang may pinakamalaking ambag sa totoong mundo kaysa sa Introduction to Mass Communication class na pinagka-stress-an ko many years ago. Nagkainisan pa kami ng groupmates ko at one point jusko hindi worth it.
What I Learned: Wala talagang ambag yung media theories sa buhay ko. Shattered lahat yan when I started working in the media. Kaiyak. But knowing how to handle our money is something we all should know how to do na sana yung mga PFM classes idudukdok sa isip ng bawat estudyante na tipong may disclaimer na “kung ayaw mong masayang ang perang kikitain mo pag nagtatrabaho ka na, ayaw mong mangutang o ma-scam or worst, maging taong grasa pagtanda mo, makinig ka sa klaseng ‘to” ganyan. Siguro mas nag-pay attention ako. Sa halip, bukod sa sarili kong pagkatuto sa mga kanda-leche-leche kong money decisions haha, I also learned from friends how they handle their money, yung mga real-life experiences at syemps, researched on the basics and tips of this and that when it comes to money.
And to this day, I still continue to look at loopholes on how I handle my money and try to make things better. Reddit has good stories from people on how they save up, even PESO Sense on Facebook if you want to learn from people’s firsthand experiences and mistakes. Kaka-inspire yung mga grabe mag-ipon dun!
Satrue lang, wala rin naman talaga akong iba-budget during my first year of earning money. As a minimum wage earner, laging ubos talaga sweldo mo promise. Tapos late ka pa lagi haha so may kaltas ka pa nyan. Jusko. Minsan, binabalikan ko yung days na yun tapos naiisip ko paano ako nabuhay sa ganoong klaseng sweldo every cut off? Jusko apaka-thankless. Haha!
Years later, I started earning better, but I still didn’t know how to handle my money. Basta mabigay ko na ang ambag ko sa bahay, all my money are as good as “yes, I will buy that shoes!” “Kain tayo sa masarap!” o “Nood tayo ng sine thrice a week!” Kung may matira sa ATM bago ang next payday, then yes, more money to spend! If wala, e di tipid-tipid!
What I Learned: There are a lot of ways to budget your money. It’s easier for people who gets the same amount of money every fortnight or every month, it’s harder for those who work freelance, because you have to be more mindful and predict your earnings and it’s waaay harder for those who run their own business. I do not have an idea on how they do it, wala nun dito hehe.
But as someone who has experienced earning through salaries and from freelance work, magkaiba sila.
When I used to do freelance, I was super, super stingy when it comes to money since I don’t know when I’ll get another gig na malaki. You really do have to be mindful of your expenses. I used to list all my expenses para alam ko saan napupunta pera ko. I rarely spend money on wants because I always think about “the rainy days.” Hindi pa ko ganun kagaling mag-negotiate for my work, so maliit lang din ang kita than other freelancers. I earn more on the side now that I know how to value my work. Sobrang laking difference!
As someone who gets the same amount every payday, my budgeting’s as simple as the zero-based budgeting system. I distribute my money on expenses, savings, and wants. Other people do the 50-30-21 system. Basta ako, whatever it is that you end up following, please please always put money on your savings account. It also helped that I first started listing down my expenses so I’d know where to cut back on expenses para sumakto. If kulang, e di raket ka. Kung may gusto kang bilhin, either raket ka or pag-ipunan.
If I do get a project, I divide it by three. Say for instance, I get a project that will pay me P30,000. I’d allocate 10,000 to savings, the other 10,000 to emergency fund, and the other 10,000 for my present self. I could spend it any way I want to or even save it if I want to. Basta guilt-free money for spending yun. Before, I usually put everything on my savings account, but it left my present self so unhappy because she worked hard for it, pero ni hindi man lang niya na-experience maski piso so she ended up having “utang to self” tapos nakaka-guilty din. Not a good feeling. So what I did, I rewarded her with guilt-free money to spend, because she earned it naman. Kahit gaano pa kalaki o kaliit yan, yan ang sistema na nagwo-wor sa ‘kin ngayon. 3k for a quick project? E di tig-wa-1k sila! Future self happy, crazy kailangan mo dagdagan emergency fund mo self happy, and present self happy. Everybody happy!
Too lazy to open a bank account separate from my payroll account
I remember treating my payroll bank account as my savings account na rin haha. Yes, ganun ako ka-naive before. Basta nasa bangko naman yang pera na yan e. Di yan mawawala. I was never taught to open another bank account separate from my payroll. Nor did I have the ‘common sense’ to do it, then. Sobrang YOLO wooh! I fell into the “bata pa naman ako, marami pa kong time mag-ipon” trap. And I fell hard.
Nung nahimasmasan ako, I tried opening one at the nearest BPI sa office, but BPI denied me of opening a bank account for reasons I will never understand. Kesyo ayaw tanggapin yung temporary ID na bigay ng GMA. (Hindi kasi ako regular employee) Kesyo bakit daw mag-o-open ng bank account and I was like ahm, para makaipon??? Di ko maintindihan bakit kailangang harangin ang mga tao na magbukas ng bank account kahit na sabihin mong reason ay para sa savings po. I got so pissed and humiliated na hindi ako in-allow ng dalawang BPI branch to open an account so I put it off for at least a few more months. Ang sakit ma-reject ha. Naisip ko, okay lang, ipon na lang siya sa payroll account ko, keri lang yan. I-track ko na lang nang maayos. Spoiler alert: hindi ko na-track nang maayos yung ipon ko.
So the little savings I had then was more volatile than the stock exchange. At one point, I’ll have 25,000 in it, then the next payday, I’d end up only having 17,000 because I splurged on yet another thing I was coveting back then. Taas-baba siya talaga. Tataas kapag may pag-iipunan, bababa kapag biglang may bibilhin o biglang magta-travel. Labo talaga mga mamsh. Di ko alam paano ako nabuhay before basta alam ko masaya ako, at sobrang carefree sa pera! Ah! To be young, wild, and free!
What I Learned: If you can, open a different account for your savings, emergency fund, travel fund, o kung ano pang fund yang gusto mo. And if possible, open sa may mga mataas na interest rate when it comes to your emergency fund. Currently, digital banks like CIMB and ING yata are the ones that offer the highest interest rates, yes, special shawarawt sa kaibigan kong si Jet na nag-share ng tungkol sa digital banks. After learning about this, I moved my emergency fund to a digital bank. Bye, BDO!
Currently, I have (1) idle savings para sa ikatatahimik ng kaluluwa ko and for emergencies eme, (2) an account for revolving fund (where I put money for insurance na kinakaltas, paluwagan na hindi ko alam kung nag-start na ba this year, and pansalo lang ganyan pag naubos na yung sa payroll lol di ko alam para saan talaga ito), (3) an account for business before na gagawin ko na lang ngayon na for travel fund yesss umaasa talaga ako na makakapunta pa rin ako sa Reykjavik at makakakita in person ng northern lights, (4) an account for actual emergency fund, an (5) old account na payroll na nilalamanan ko pang-grocery lang (6) checking account where I put money for payment lang sa rent lol. And my (6) payroll ngayon.
People laugh at me when they find out I have too many bank accounts. Hindi ko rin maintindihan promise. But I intend to close at least two of them para mas maayos buhay ko.
Anyway, I’m still thinking if I should move my idle savings sa ING or yaan ko na lang siya dun since it’s the longest one I have, finally pinag-open din ako ni BPI lol. Kasi ang hirap na natutulog ang savings sa bangko gaano man ito kaliit o kalaki sa bangko. Talong-talo ka sa inflation sa totoo lang. Magkano na nga ulit baboy ngayon?
Not starting an emergency fund right away
It was only in 2018 when I learned that I need an emergency fund separate from my savings. I was mind blown. Lol. Akala ko talaga yung savings ko na na-start ko na pag-ipunan, yun na yun for everything basta may savings ka, dun na ung for emergencies, for travel, for hanash, etc. Kasi for years, umepeks naman sa buhay ko. Dun ako kumukuha for fun, for emergencies, for travel. Mali pala yon.
Buti na lang I have an officemate then who was so interested in keeping her finances always in check and told us the value of having an emergency fund separate from savings, etc. I think nobody told me about this because people think I have always been diligent with my money and/or I already knew about it. I WAS NOT as diligent as I should be with my money and no, I DIDN’T KNOW.
Growing up, we weren’t taught how to save money. Save from the usual, mag-ipon ka para di ka maghirap, mag-ipon sa alkansya, wala na kong naaalalang learnings sa pag-iipon. I remember living in “abundance” in the 90s even if my mom was a full time housewife then. Thankfully, wais ang nanay ko so we were able to get by with her salary and papa’s income when she entered the workforce. We were never really taught on the value of budgeting, emergency fund. Daily basis ang dating at labas ng pera sa yelohan ni papa, so daily rin ang “budget” namin. Mag-iipon kapag tuition for school, kapag kulang, uutang muna kay Sandra (our resident bumbay), si papa in charge sa needs, si mama in charge sa wants. We get by, kaya siguro walang lessons kung paano ba mag-budget nang tama ng pang-matagalan na may ipon ka pa rin, may tira for emergencies and future you. Wala rin kasi kaming emergencies before talaga na matindi. And if meron, nakakayanan naman. Natutunan ko lang nga na dapat part ng sweldo mo nilalagay sa rainy day fund nung nawalan ng work si Monica sa Friends tas sabi ng tatay niya, “Ten percent of your salary goes where?” “In the bank!” Other than that, I had to learn things on my own.
I was just lucky that I didn’t have to start in the negative. Meaning, my parents didn’t make us pay for our younger siblings’ tuition. Sure, there were times when I had to give school allowance to our youngest brother, and pitch in for his tuition, but it wasn’t that big. Thank you, PUP! Dose pesos pa rin per unit! But we weren’t as lucky as well in the sense na wala kaming lupain, walang sariling bahay, walang pamanang pag-aawayan at pagpapatayang magkakapatid. In short, saks lang – pag nagsipag ka at sinwerte ka, may chance kang umalwan ang buhay, kung mamalasin at tamad, handa ka na bang maging taong grasa?
But I no longer want to dwell on the financial education I didn’t get from my parents, because I still consider myself lucky enough and extremely grateful for having parents who shouldered their responsibility and obligation in paying for their kids’ tuition and raising them the best way they can afford. Others were not as lucky as we were.
What I Learned: Of course, after learning a lot when it comes to finances from Giezl, I opened a separate bank account for my emergency fund right away. Every payday, I put a fixed amount on it that I can use on a rainy day. This literally came in handy almost two years later when the pandemic hit and I quit my job last May. I was calm. Actually that was an understatement, I was for the most part, elated. Para akong natanggalan ng tinik sa dibdib because I was overworked and I was starting to feel unhappy and unfulfilled with my job. So I watched K dramas all day and didn’t bother to find a job right away because may huhugutan ka pa naman, oks lang yan. I was able to take care of myself mentally. It was one of the best decisions I’ve had because if wala akong emergency fund, I wouldn’t have had the courage to leave that job in the middle of a pandemic.
If you haven’t already, ideally, your emergency fund should be 3-6 months’ worth of your expenses or 3-6 months’ worth of your salary. Depende kung gaano katagal mo siya gustong ipunin. Pero ayon sa mga eksperto, mainam na unahing ipunin ang perang ito bago ang paglagay ng pera sa investments o stocks o bonds. Bakit? Kasi liquid ‘to e. Kung bigla mong kailanganin ng pera dahil nawalan ka ng trabaho, nagkasakit ka, o di kaya naisipan ng China na pahintuin ang buong mundo ng higit isang taon at magkalat ng bagong nakahahawang sakit na walang bakuna, prepared ka. Kung inuna mong kumuha ng kotse or condo, okay investment sila, pero magiging pera ba agad yan na madali mong ma-withdraw in an instant kapag kailangan? Hindi di ba?
“Deserve ko ‘to!” and other budol stories
Back when hindi pa ganun ka-sikat ang online shopping, nauubos ang pera namin noon sa pagsubok ng iba’t ibang kainan sa Maginhawa at Timog. Stress eating sa trabaho. Nakaere ka na? “Yes, kain tayo sa masarap!” Sweldo at ang dami kong pagod sa episode na ‘to? “Yes, I deserve those shoes!” Back then, meron akong jacket na ang tawag ko ay “my Abalos jacket” kasi binili ko yun after ko mag-shoot sulat at edit ng episode ni Abalos in 3 days! Pinapangalanan ko mga gamit ko in my mind after episodes na umere haha! I have shoes, dresses, and lipsticks named after case studies/guests from my shows.
What I Learned:
In retrospect, kakatawa siya pero sobrang wasteful! If only I had the self-control not to “reward” myself with things I wouldn’t even use years from now, ang dami ko sigurong pera. At one point, I had more than 50 pairs of shoes na umaabot pa ko sa point na tinatago ko ang purchases ko sa nanay ko kasi pagagalitan niya na naman ako sa binili ko. One time, bumili ako ng 6 pairs of shoes in one day tapos jinudge ako ng kaibigan kong si George. Aanhin mo ‘to? aniya. Natawa lang ako. I’ve had shoes na once or twice ko lang gagamitin tas di ko na ulit gagamitin kasi di ko na bet. Ugh. Sobrang sayang. These days, I only have around 15 pairs, still a lot, but a far cry from my 50 pairs just a few years back. In fact, ilang beses na rin akong natanong ng mga pamangkin ko bakit konti na lang sapatos ko, okay lang, mas marami naman akong ipon ngayon haha.
And that’s just the shoes! Imagine the clothes! The skincare! Jusko. These days, naaalibadbaran ako sa maraming gamit that I still frequently declutter, whenever I can. I’m not saying I am now able to not give in to impulse buys and purchases, but I’d like to think I know better now. Add to cart lang, di muna iche-checkout. Check out lang kapag alam mong gusto mong dalhin sa buhay mo ang gamit na ito even five years down the road, otherwise, bakit pa? Bilhin lang kapag kailangan. Kapag one month na pero naiisip mo pa rin, e di bilhin mo na.
It also helped that I live in a small space at nagkaron na ko ng sense na ayoko na ng maraming kalat. I find joy in seeing my place na hindi visually cluttered. Problema ko naman, furniture and plates and other tita tingz are more expensive. Haha! But at least they’re functional naman. Lol. The shit I tell myself, no? Basta ang ending, mas maayos na ko ngayon. Promise, peksman, mamatay man!
Not making my money work for me
When I started saving up, ang saya ko every time nahi-hit ko yung goal ko for the year or month na savings. Kaso mo, nawawalan pa rin ako ng pera because of inflation. Yung value ng pera ko, hindi na ganun kalaki ang value next year. Tapos ang interest rate, meh lang. Mas mahal pa ang pamasahe sa jeep. Talong-talo.
What I Learned:
Thank God for friends talaga na maalam sa pera ‘no? A few years ago, a friend invited us to join a coop handled by his mom. Every month, maghuhulog kami ng certain amount, kung ano yung kaya mo lang, bahala ka, tapos ipapautang yun, then at the end of the year, susuweldo kaming lahat, with interest! na mas malaki pa sa bangko! I treat it as my extra 13th month pay, pandagdag sa napakagastos na buwan. So everybody happy!
Kung wala ka namang ganyang option, pwede ka ring mag-upgrade ng Pag-IBIG mo! May MP2 fund na pwede mong paglagyan ng ipon monthly. Voluntary ito at pwedeng kumita ang pera mo up to 8%! Downside lang dito is hindi mo siya pwede galawin for five years, kaya nga sinasabi kong magsimula ka muna sa emergency fund since yun ay madaling withdraw-hin kung kinakailangan.
Some friends naman are into side businesses, I tried that, but hindi talaga para sa akin. Kaya ang ginawa ko ay…
…investing! NOTE!!! Hindi ito malakihang investment tulad ng usual angel investment na alam mo. Kung ano lang din yung maluwag sa bulsa mo na kaya mong mawala o malugi, yun lang din ang invest mo. Another friend got me into this, nag-start lang talaga kami sa kumustahan. From k drama to Park Bo Gum and our fave oppas, update on their kids, I started asking about investments and stocks since sabi ko nasa journal ko matuto and lo and behold! Isa sa ‘min may alam na okay and we all said we want to try it too! So ayun. I invested and we’re just waiting on the returns by next week! If it goes well, I’d probably just re-invest para yes, sabi nga ni Salve Duplito, mag-compound ang interest. O pak, may full circle!
I still want to know more, especially when it comes to real estate because that’s a lifetime commitment, although so far wala pa naman akong balak bumili, because you’ll never know, if another Duterte takes the Malacanang seat, baka mag-alsa balutan na talaga ako. I’ll probably decide by 2022. Mag-iipon na lang muna ako. Mukhang masaya naman nanay ko sa pagtira malapit sa beach, mukhang sasaya rin ako dun kung sakali, uso na naman ang WFH, so beke nemen. Kinikilig pa nga ako sa idea ng pagtira ng ilang kembot lang sa beach, so let’s see. But until then, I will keep on trying to learn more about handling my finances better, para mas masarap na ang tulog ko sa gabi.
On that note, kung may ambag kang learning or pro-tip in saving, share it! Because sharing is caring! Sabay-sabay tayong umachib ng financial freedom! Bye!
P.S. Bawal ako utangan, wala akong ipapautang. Thank you. Bow.