How not to keep losing your hard-earned money
Christmas is over and we’re on the first few weeks of the New Year. Many of us now find ourselves with a lot less money than we once had. Admit it: You kinda spent a bit too much and now you’re worried about the payments you have to make. This is not the best way to start the year.
We all have to plan better and start actively managing our finances. Filipinos are too used to being galante, just living for today, or both. There’s this idea that one should always share blessings and that’s true. However, you can’t feed the entire barangay. You can’t always feed your entire extended family either.
Many Filipinos deal with “maraming umaasa sa akin.” Fact check: No, it doesn’t have to be like that. The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency tells new overseas Filipino workers something like this: You are not your family’s savior and you don’t have to send all your nieces and nephews to school. (Yes, I heard this myself and if you didn’t, maybe you should have.) It seems like a selfish way to think but the reality is that you did go abroad to give yourself a better life and help your family. However, that does not mean you should bleed yourself dry.
Think of it this way: If you always allow yourself to be the family’s milking cow, you may just end up with nothing and when there’s a serious situation with a real need for help, you may not have anything to help with.
What is crucial here is being able to manage your finances, planning your budget, and allocating your funds this early. In fact, no time is really early enough when emergencies strike. The time to start managing finances is obviously NOW.
For this purpose, we need to assume that you are at least not in debt. Debt complicates things. Sobra. You can more effectively plan a budget for the year if you don’t have the extra burden of a looming debt payment.
The first few steps of managing your finances involve doing a budget and this is deceptively simple:
- How much do you earn? (Monthly and the bonuses separately)
- List down the non-negotiable expenses: Food, school, clothing, rent or mortgage, gas, water, medicine for parents, etc.
- How much is for leisure? (You know – dinners, movies, the occasional shopping spree, etc. You can’t be all serious.)
- How much do you set aside for savings? (You do, right? Save for the future and not so you can just spend it later.)
- Is there anything you expect to be left?
That’s just the first stage because all plans are inadequate and they are proven or disproved by the realities of life. You have to test your plan for one whole month. Nothing beats a good plan than testing it against what it’s supposed to prepare for. This way you see what else you should have planned for – maybe you forgot to allocate money for the repair of your house’s roofing or you actually wanted to do some repairs to the house since summer is around the corner and you forgot to set aside money for that. Or (who knows?) maybe you just kept spending on those unplanned getaways or shopping binges that you actually have much less than what you had expected to have at the end of the month.
What about all those things you still have to send to the family back home? Surely there’s a better way to do that. And there is. You can start doing the smarter thing by signing up now at www.beamandgo.com/member/signup. Registration is free and you also get Php 50 worth of credits you can use on your first transaction.
This and other issues are dealt with in our LearnAndGo Workshop Series. We have them in January, April, and May of this year and do have more planned. It is here you can learn not only about taking better care of your finances but also how to invest, making good investments and even taking care of your kids.
Meanwhile, stay glued to these pages for the next parts of this blog post. Money is important. Let’s all learn to manage it better together.