Payday is not until next week but your wallet is now empty. You scratch your head and ask, “Where did all my money go?” This scenario is not uncommon for the working class specially the Pinoy young professionals. The truth is, most of us single yuppies live from paycheck to paycheck. We are the generation that demands “work-life balance” that is why we like to work hard and party harder. We live like kings on a payday weekend and end up virtually broke on the next weekend. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the fruit of your hard work. Let’s all live and enjoy. Carpe diem! However, if you are one of those people who seriously want to solve the problem of running short on cash a few days before payday, don’t you think it’s time to ask how you spend your money? The first step toward financial stability is reflecting on your finances.
Take some time to sit down and list all your expenses for the month. You can do this on your day off or even on your coffee break. Now, what you will need is to create several lists of expenses on a piece of paper or you may use an Excel spreadsheet. Identify the average amount of your pay slips for the past 3 months. You may be earning a total of twenty four thousand a month from your call center job – make a mental note of this figure or jot it down.
The first thing you need to identify is the total amount of your monthly bills. This is really easy and anyone can do this. Heck, some people may already be doing this! Your monthly bills may include, rent, mobile phone, internet service provider, credit cards, cable TV, and other stuff like electricity and water bill. You may include your average spending on groceries under this list.
The second list of expenses you need to create is the cost of your fare allowance from your home getting to your workplace. Do you take the MRT or you prefer taking a cab? You should include your lunch money on this list as well. These will all be part of your “daily operational expenses” and you will need to multiply this into the number of working days in a month. Keep in mind that on average, there are a total of 22 working days in a month.
The third list would be your “lifestyle expense”. Do you usually drop by Starbucks for a cup of coffee before heading to your office? Do you buy snacks at the office vending machine? How about your weekend activities? How often do you go to the movies? How much do you spend when you go to clubs and how often you visit a spa massage? Anything that is on this list are all variables but, pretty much flexible because you can live without them or you can replace one activity with a cheaper alternative.
Now, you were able to identify your total monthly expenses, how much was left? If what was left turned to negative balance, then make adjustments in your “lifestyle expenses”. If there’s more money left, congratulations!
How much money do you really need to save?
The responsible thing to do is to keep 10% of your income in a long term savings account or investment. If you are earning 24k monthly, you must keep 2,400 pesos in your “life savings”. This 10% is non-negotiable and part of your income which you could invest, while doing so that money will get a compounding interest in 10 to 15 years for VUL, growth stock mutual funds or the stock market. Most of the commercial banks offer investment banking options which could help you attains your financial goals.
Start a short term savings account or open another savings account. Your short term savings must be versatile. This pot of money will pay for that new gadget you really want to purchase or use it as your travel funds if you take trips every 4 months or so. If you are considering a home renovation project or simply need cash for a “rainy day” use your short term savings account as your emergency fund, never withdraw from your “life savings”. Truth is, you’ll never know when you will finally decide to settle down and start having your own family, and your expenses will definitely change and will multiply. When that time comes, you will be grateful for yourself having the discipline in keeping that “life savings” untouched.
At the end of the day, the value of determination will be the only thing you need in order to build a savings account. Nelson Mandela once said “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” You have to start somewhere and the sooner you start your savings account, the better. Don’t be careless with your money but don’t be a scrooge either. Live and enjoy your youth but make sure to create a balance.
Mahj graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Economics at Dela Salle University Dasmariñas Cavite. Currently, she’s a freelancer and studying graphic design.
She was also a former fraud specialist of a Trillion Dollar bank .