Thursday, February 26, 2009

300 / wise up

And now, a few words from our sponsors. I’ve had a couple of reviews in my laptop that I couldn’t publish because I wanted my next post to be meaningful. I logged in to Blogger and saw that so far, I’ve written 299 posts. I wanted my 300th to be at least a little substantial and so in the meantime, they’re staying in my hard drive. I’ll probably post them over the weekend. I feel like a proud father. My little baby has grown to 300! Gushing aside, here’s this week’s post.

My feet are killing me. If my right pinky toe could speak, I bet I would only hear profanities coming from its feeble little mouth. About a couple days ago, I tripped and ripped my work shoes. I’ve had that pair for about six months which is pretty good since I like to walk a lot and my feet are pretty big. I didn’t really think it was a bad thing until I realized that the average lifespan of a pair of shoes should at least be a year. Anyway, my situation has me wearing these Florsheim torture devices. It was a pair my uncle sent me from Jersey and to my horror it’s at least one size too small. So far, it’s been hell disguised as black leather shoes.

I’d get new shoes but here’s the thing: I’m broke. A lot of my friends think that I make a lot of money but lately, I find myself living from paycheck to paycheck. One time, I sat down and tried to make a budget. I set aside some money for my parents, some for “savings” (in quotes for pathetic reasons), some for hanging out with friends and the rest I divided into the total number of days I had to be at work. I probably stuck to the budget for about two days. After that, I gave up all efforts to manage my finances.

I can’t even talk to my friends because I’ve maxed out my phone. They disconnected my service about a week ago. I sent an email asking for my current charges and apparently I even went over my limit. Have I become such a spend-hog?

I know that recently, I’ve been quick to draw my little cash card. Sometimes, the machine won’t even take it because I’ve sorta worn out the magnetic strip. It’s just whenever I think of reducing my expenses, I feel so deprived and I end up buying more things to pacify my feelings. The things that I buy are not even things I can really use in everyday life. Mostly, I just get little snacks here and there. Back at home, I tallied my receipts and I realized than almost half of my paycheck goes to food- pathetic for someone who lives in a home that’s never without it.

It’s just that for the longest time, I never really felt the need to start wising up financially. I always had at least a couple hundred pesos by the time the next paycheck comes in. I guess when you feel secure, you get complacent. I always felt like I would never be totally without. All that changed this week when I had to bring packed lunch to work. I had to avert my eyes whenever the Starbucks siren beckoned me to order a Chai tea latte. They stuck me on the morning shift so I have all this idle time in my hands and I literally have to stop myself from thinking of ways to spend the last of my paycheck. This week, I’m surviving on the amount of money I would typically spend in just one day. I feel like cheap cigarettes in a fancy box. To the outside world, I look like I can afford things but underneath my long sleeved shirts and my undersized shoes, I’m effing broke. Excuse me while I wallow in self-pity.

I heard about this concept called 10-20-70 from this nice little family in church. Basically, you take the first 10% of your paycheck and set it aside for tithe. 20% goes to savings and you have to live on whatever you have left. It’s cute because even their kids do it. I once thought I could do it, too but ever since I started working, I probably tithed about two or three times. For savings, I have zilch. My only major expense is the money I give to my parents and that’s not even a lot considering how much my friends give their folks. I have a friend who gives P8,000 every payday. That’s basically 100 venti Chai tea lattes a month. I couldn’t believe it. How was he able to do it? Where the hell is my money?

I was staring at the walls (because I couldn’t afford to go out. Boo.) when I decided that I would do it. I would start wising up with my finances. How hard could it be? All it takes is a little discipline and I know that if I really set my mind to it, I can do it. I’m good at these things, I said to myself. For starters, I’m going to use my phone sparingly. I need to remind myself that my fingers don’t just dial, they also text. I’m also going to start tithing– not because I have to but because I seriously want to. God’s given me so much and what’s a tenth of all that to show my gratitude? I’m going to start saving because I know that nothing’s permanent. Not even my “permanent” tooth fillings are permanent. I won’t save just to get more things. I’m thinking of opening a bank account once I’ve saved enough. That way I have a strong umbrella when it rains. Right now, my biggest challenge would be living on the remaining 70% but considering that it’s still a lot compared to the amount of money people on the streets live on, it shouldn’t be that hard. All these things are easy. There’s nothing a determined mind and a starving wallet cannot accomplish.


  1. I like the 10-20-70 idea. :) I may start implementing that.

    It's really hard to manage finances. In fact I do that for a living and yet I could hardly apply it to my own money. I guess sometimes, it all boils down to how disciplined one is. :) Haha.

  2. "I guess sometimes, it all boils down to how disciplined one is. :) Haha."

    i think i need more discipline. sweldo na tomorrow and i have to remember to start saving. *sigh*

    "In fact I do that for a living and yet I could hardly apply it to my own money."

    so you're a professional money-saver! haha well it's always harder to take our own advice.

  3. tenth of all that to show my gratitude? -- hmm... i think im not religious enough to buy it

    ayy... hay naku dalawa tayong broke... the metaphors are to die for...

    let's play our little game again along Kalayaan Ave


  4. "ayy... hay naku dalawa tayong broke..."

    ayus lang! sweldo na tomorrow!

    "let's play our little game again along Kalayaan Ave"

    saya nga eh! let's!