Spell Saab

If you asked me 2 years ago what I knew about money, I would say I was pretty much like Rebecca Black’s awkward friend in her music video for Friday.

"I have no idea what I'm doing"

“I have no idea what I’m doing”

I had an accountant who deposited my checks and reminded me when my taxes were due. All I had known was that my bank account would be replenished and I would have enough to spend on food, clothes, etc.

Can you believe that I used to spend for gas monthly that amounted to as much as my driver’s monthly salary?! I had a parking slot in my condominium in Eastwood but I would send my car and driver to mom’s house in Antipolo because that’s where he stayed-in. I didn’t realize I was wasting so much money until I complained about my expenses and Jim said that I was definitely overspending. It’s these things that add up to the reason why I wasted so much of my hard-earned money all these years.

Aside from my ate Unna, everybody else in the family took up arts in college and we weren’t required to take up accounting. The only money-related thing I knew how to do perfectly was writing a check (thanks, mom!). In fairness to my mom, she’s also the one who taught me how to open my own bank account back in college and how to enroll it to access online banking. Long story short: as long as my bank account would never reach zero, I was good. I was doing great, or at least that’s what I thought.

Unlike me, Jim is GREAT with money. Slowly, he’s been trying to teach me how to manage my expenses to build a secure future. Nakaka-in love, diba?! I just want to share some of the tips I learned from him just in case you’re as clueless as I was before.

CLEAR YOUR DEBT

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As much as possible, DON’T use your credit card. If you must, make sure you pay for it in full every month. DON’T pay just the minimum fee. I did this for years not realizing I was losing so much money on interest fees! I told you I was pretty dumb with money. Huhuhu. If it’s too late and you absolutely can’t afford to pay the bulk fee, follow the next tip but instead of setting aside money for savings, when you get your income you have to prioritize paying for your credit card bill first. Try to pay at least half of it, maybe you’ll be able to get rid of it in just 2 months. If you must, only use your card for fixed expenses. I use mine for gas and I enrolled my Internet and TV cable bills to automatically be charged. My online subscriptions including Zinio and Audible are also charged monthly on my card. I’ve gotten rid of the shock that comes whenever my bill arrives because it’s always around the same number monthly. Side tip: make sure you actually use all your monthly subscriptions — otherwise, UNSUBSCRIBE!

INCOME MINUS SAVINGS EQUALS EXPENSES

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When you get your income, you set aside part of it for your investments. Only then should you pay for your fixed expenses and budget for your variable expenses. Sample scenario for working girls: you get paid 25,000. 10,000 you keep in your mutual equity fund account, 2,000 you set aside because you’re saving up for new running shoes. 8,000 you use for fixed expenses (electricity/phone bill/rent), the remaining 5,000 you budget for variable expenses (groceries, movie dates, and whatever you want). No guilt if you finish it all because you already set aside your savings! YAY!

HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND

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Just within the past year all of these things occurred: I got dengue, I got repeatedly punched by a bunch of drunk party crashers (remember??), I severely sprained my ankle (stupid manhole cover was in the way), and Joey got bladder stones (FvCK SODIUM!). I got a hospital bill of around 50k, needed to get a CT scan for the punches I took worth 14k, had to get my ankle x-rayed and underwent physical therapy for a total of around 12k, paid for Joey’s operation and meds worth about 20k. These are just a few of the things that took me and my wallet by surprise. Life won’t always be peachy, there are really some low points and you’ve got to be ready for them. That’s why Jim and I have been tucking away a little bit of our income to make an emergency fund available for such situations. Try to do the same and make sure you have at least 3-6 months worth of your salary on standby. I highly recommend opening a bank account for this. Do NOT touch for bags or shoes. Haha! This is also very useful in case you lose your job — you will have enough money to keep you adrift while looking for the next job opportunity. If you don’t have a fixed income (if you’re freelancing like I am) then you have to calculate your monthly expenses and how much you need to live comfortably for the next 3-6 months — that’s how much you should have in your emergency fund.

TRACK YOUR EXPENSES

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It’s a pain in the ass but it’s really effective if you’re diligent. Download an app on your phone. Jim and I use EXPENSE MANAGER. The interface isn’t as pretty as YNAB (You Need A Budget) but I haven’t mastered YNAB and he prefers the other app. Since he takes care of the budgeting for now, I just input my expenses and export it via e-mail whenever he asks for it. He then makes an expense report and we have monthly budget meetings just to discuss how we did for the current month and what to expect for the next. Believe me, we dreaded these budget meetings at the beginning because we would always end up arguing. I would get upset because I wouldn’t understand the process and I would just always give up. I am allergic to Microsoft Excel files. Jim had to talk to me and reassure me that just because I’m the woman in the relationship it doesn’t mean I have to take care of the budgeting for our home. He was happy to do it and all I had to do was listen. Now we pour ourselves some wine while discussing the numbers and we’ve been doing better than ever with our finances! YAY, TEAMWORK! If you’re not in a relationship with someone who’s good with money, I suggest you try to understand the You Need A Budget app because it comes with a lot of tips too. I promise I’m gonna master budgeting someday… Maybe today. Haha. After I finish this post. LOL. I am so much more conscious about my spending because I have to write it down now. When I’d go into Topshop I used to just blow a ton of money on clothes but now I think twice, even thrice, if I REALLY REALLY like something as much as Carly Rae Jepsen likes her crush.

GIVE YOURSELF A CASH ALLOWANCE

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I was so used to spending all my money without realizing it. It used to be that as long as there was a number greater than zero in my account, I would spend. I liked sharing my blessings too and I don’t think that’s all bad but looking back, I used to treat my friends to a lot of food, drinks and even trips out of town! My sister Maxx is still like that today hahaha! We all love her for it but I’ve been trying to help her understand that her money could be going elsewhere. We obviously got it from our parents: mom always encourages us to “go buy it!!” and my dad always liked living in the moment. The fact that we like to make everyone feel comfortable and happy enough for us to spend on making priceless memories is not bad at all. I just think we can make invaluable memories for much less. I decided to withdraw ONLY what I’ve budgeted for my variable monthly expenses so that I am forced to stick to it.

I am still learning a lot about money and how to be wise with it. Once in a while I like going back to my old self and telling Jim he should buy the shoes he wants. As long as we work hard, we should be able to make room in the budget for fun stuff! You gotta be careful: there’s a fine line between being wise with your money and being way too stingy. Even if you save a ton of cash, you don’t want to end up being The (Lone) Wolf of WALEY Street. LELZ.

♥,
Saab

May 20, 2015

Saab

52 Comments

  1. Reply

    Xania

    May 19, 2015

    This is one of my favorite posts of yours. :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 19, 2015

      Yayy :)

  2. Reply

    Anne

    May 19, 2015

    Hi Saab! I’ve been struggling when it comes to budgeting my allowance and articles posted by top magazines barely have helpful tips. I loved your article! Anyway, can you give a link or picture or whatever of the app that you’re using right now? A lot of apps show when I search for Expense Manager eh. :( Also, what’s the advantage of YNAB over your current app? Thanks!

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      We use expense manager (the one with the blue icon na parang may notepad and pencil) to simply keep track of our expenses. We don’t really use it for anything else although I know it can do so much more. I tried YNAB before and it has a great user interface (at least for iOS, medyo chaka sa Android the last time I checked) and you can even attend free online classes about budgeting on their website. Plus there’s a desktop app that can help you look at the bigger picture. I think I just need to take the time to practice using it before I can get the hang of it. There’s a fee if you continue it after a month but you can just torrent a trial reactivator (https://thepiratebay.vg/torrent/8372154/%5BMac_Win%5D_YNAB_%28You_Need_A_Budget%29_4_Trial_Reactivator) to reset your trial period every 99 days without losing any information. SORRY, ANTI-PIRATES.

      • Reply

        Lei

        May 25, 2015

        oh geez, I need that trial reactivator, haha, tried to download YNAB before but I got irritated because of the free trial so I end up not using it anymore. lelz. anyhoo, that app really needs an internet connection right?

        • Reply

          Saab

          May 25, 2015

          Just to sync! So you can just sync it at the end of everyday?

          • lei

            May 26, 2015

            will do!! thanks! :)

  3. Reply

    Camille Ortiz

    May 19, 2015

    Hi Ate Saab! This is a good read and I’m saving this article for future reference because I’m only a (fourth year) college student. Maybe blog something about how you were able to save your allowance during your college days? :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 19, 2015

      I barely had an allowance in college. I started working when I was 18 and I had no idea how to save! Just lived from paycheck to paycheck!

  4. Reply

    justine

    May 19, 2015

    From now on, every time I am in the mall, I will think twice, even thrice, if I REALLY REALLY like something as much as Carly Rae Jepsen likes her crush.

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 19, 2015

      ;)

  5. Reply

    Vanessa Salva

    May 19, 2015

    Ermergerrd! This is an eye-opener! I’m also used to spending for the people I care for, I treat my friends and I eat a lot in cafes, spend on this and that…. then I always end up, short or deficit of cash 2 to 5 days before the next pay… and I never even bothered to save for emergency funds or whatever kind of savings… and reading this was like, IT-TAKES-A-SHARED-EXPERIENCE-FROM-SAAB-FOR-ME-TO-WAKE-UP!!! Gosh. From now on, I am thinking of clearing my debts first (which I expect to be cleared off at the end of July), will start saving for emergency funds even bits by bits… then finally, I’d try to save for what you said as saving IN CASES if I’d lose my job. Oh my! This may sound easy but, this will need HARRRRRRRD WORRRRKKKK and INTENSE SACRIFICE! Gosh! Thanks, Saab! Btw, your my favorite blogger! <3

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      Hahahahaha!! Glad I opened your eyes, Vanessa!!<3<3

  6. Reply

    Kristin

    May 19, 2015

    I love this!! Budgetting and investments are my secret favorite subjects although di pako ganon ka expert HAHAHA but it’s really interesting… don’t you think? :))

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      It really is!!! I’m gonna allot maybe an hour a day reading up on budgeting so I can learn some more!:)

  7. Reply

    Denise Ibe

    May 19, 2015

    Even I am not knowledgeable about money, I do deposit some of my money in the bank but I feel safer when my savings are visible. Thanks for all the tips I’d be able to use it for sure! :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      Yay!

  8. Reply

    Mayee

    May 20, 2015

    Great, informative read! I do the 80-20 saving rule where you save 20% of your net income and 80% goes to all other expenses. In my case, I save 20-50% of my allowance every week since I’m a student. Works well for me! When I shop, I always ask myself if the item is a ‘want’ or a ‘need’. Makes it so much easier to decide if it’s really worth buying. Hope my tips help! :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      Thanks for sharing, Mayee!!

  9. Reply

    mary

    May 20, 2015

    nakakarelate ako, kase like you i also do not know where my money is going. nagugulat na lang ako waley na akong pera tas kung ano ano na nabibili ko. hahaha! there was a time na papasok ako ng office tas di ko feel ung damit ko. so i have to go to the mall pa just to buy clothes tas yun na ung susuotin ko sa office. ganun ako kabulagsak sa pera. pero nung nakilala ko si boyfriend ko, natuto ako pano magsave. true, mas nakaka-in love yung lalaki na marunong magmanage ng pera! hihihi! landi ng hihihi ko kainis!
    anyway, thanks for this. this also serves a guide for a person like me, on how to save money. it’s not yet late to start saving and investing your money for your future. :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      Hahhaha!! Looks like your boyfriend’s a keeper :)

  10. Reply

    ikats

    May 20, 2015

    Really wonderful tips Saab. My new year resolution this year is to save but hay almost half year has gone but I have not saved anything yet. It really should be more stricter with my expenses. I will give YNAB a try. Thanks for the tip.

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      You’re welcome!:)

  11. Reply

    Michelle

    May 20, 2015

    This is really helpful Saab!!! <3 Thanks for sharing your tips on budgeting and pointing out the importance of setting aside money for emergencies. I just want to ask if you invest in Mutual Funds? Is it really going to be worth it? I just find it dreadful to set aside money for it (every month) and only withdraw it when the the certain time comes (which is after several years pa).

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      Glad to help!:) Yes, we set aside some money and put it in a mutual equity fund account. I have no idea how it works though.. Jim takes care of it!:s Pero you should try it! Doesn’t have to be a large amount of money monthly naman eh so you don’t feel like it’s such a burden!

  12. Reply

    Rosalia

    May 20, 2015

    Opposite attracts.

  13. Reply

    Pat

    May 20, 2015

    Hi Saab, long time reader, first time commenter here. This is a really good article, and I wish I read something like this back when I first started getting my own money. I’m doing great now, but it would have been better if I know how to handle money properly. I wish they teach this more in school!

    I used to use an app for expense tracking as well, but it got screwed up in one of their updates. They lost my data, and the backup that was supposedly there for such circumstances didn’t work! I just went back to using excel instead, and have several backups of that.

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      Omg that sucks!!! But yes, my ate Unna also uses an Excel file for her expenses. She tried teaching me how to do it. But really, I can’t do Excel. I just can’t.. Give me a cute colorful app, please. Lelz.

  14. Reply

    Jarvis

    May 20, 2015

    Whoa. Thanks for this Saab. Just want to ask how do you manage to pay off your credt cards debts? I’ve been stuck with these debts and it makes me frustrated. Every time I try to pay off, there’s an emergency expense coming up and I can’t get rid of it. I’m 23 right now and I want to be free from it this year before I turn 24.

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      What exactly are the emergency expenses? Being a freelance creative, I don’t get a steady income monthly but it just so happened that when I learned about my money mistakes, I had just gotten paid a lot for a project. Jim told me to give up like 80% of my income to pay for my debt and just spend the rest of the month not spending at all. That meant I sacrificed a lot of time with friends and family, I really just stayed home a lot waiting for my next paycheck. Haha. The Internet and TV were enough to keep me company naman. Haha. Also, I found a lot of time to start writing again, opening more job opportunities! Try to really only spend what you need to. Use like 60% of your monthly income to pay your CC bill RIGHT AWAY and only live on what’s left. Kaya mo yan. Wag kang mahiya sa friends mo and just tell them you’re broke!! It’s fine! You’re 23! Be really kuripot this year. You’ll thank yourself next year!!

  15. Reply

    Camille

    May 20, 2015

    Pasintabi, pero naiyak ako dito!!!! Hahahhaha nakakaiyak yung part na nagaaway kayo pag nag-mimeeting, (actually ung pagmimeeting nakakaiyak din sa tuwa) at kung papano niyo hinandle yun at yung sinabi ni Jim!!!! Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhu so happy for you saab!!! Ang taas ng EQ ko badtrip hahaahhahaha huhuhuhuh

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA you had me at “pasintabi” hahahahaahaha <3

  16. Reply

    Pauline Pernada

    May 20, 2015

    Ang witty nung kay Gotye at napakanta talaga ‘ko!! Hahaha. Anyway, thank you for the tips! It’s really hard to be frugal these days and I’m worried I won’t be saving enough for the future. Your post is a big help! <3

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      Hahaha ako rin natawa kay Gotye! Good luck!!

  17. Reply

    Monica

    May 20, 2015

    Sobrang ON-POINT nito (yun ba term ng mga bagets today?). I used to travel, go to concerts, buy latest gadgets, food trippin, shop until my card goes “awa na girl”. Until this year, I promise myself no more sarap buhay kind of life. It was really hard to let go of good things. Good things where your friends are always present. Ang hirap na maging loner. Pero naisip ko, mas loner ka kung wala kang ipon, dba? So now, sobrang save-up talaga and budget. My next goal is mutual fund. Para may pera sa future. Way to go, Saab! Cheers to us, late bloomers! Hahaha

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 20, 2015

      Thank you!! Let’s do this!! I just started re-learning YNAB!!

  18. Reply

    Jamie

    May 21, 2015

    You and Jim <3 (not even that close to trying to relate this to your point but you and Jim!!!!!) <3 <3 <3

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 21, 2015

      Hahahaha

  19. Reply

    jay

    May 21, 2015

    this is a very informative and well-written post, easily one of my favorites from your blog. i hate to be a stickler for grammar, but “revert back” is redundant. you’re quite a good writer, so i’m pretty sure it was an oversight.

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 22, 2015

      Thanks for pointing it out! Edited it already <3

  20. Reply

    Robert

    May 22, 2015

    Thank you, Saab.

    Indeed very helpful! :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 25, 2015

      Yay!!

  21. Reply

    Ley S.

    May 22, 2015

    Woohoo! Thanks for this, Saab! I’ve been planning to be more responsible with my money. This gave me a lot of new ideas, and I got even more inspired. :) Gotta love the GIFs, too! :D

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 25, 2015

      Hahah happy to help!!

  22. Reply

    Nica

    May 27, 2015

    This post is very helpful! I do have a hard time in saving my money as well. What do now is track my expenses and set goals. For example if I “want” something I set a goal to save a certain amount of money first before spending on my “wants”. Whereas with the “needs” I prioritize on what is needed now.

    • Reply

      Saab

      May 27, 2015

      Very good!<3

  23. Reply

    Debie

    May 29, 2015

    I always track my expenses (and collect receipts!) and use Excel to compare expenses monthly or yearly. It helps me to think twice in taking out money from my wallet! :) I self-learned budgeting as well! Thanks for these ideas, Saab! Definitely one of my favorite posts of yours! ;)

    • Reply

      Saab

      June 1, 2015

      YAY <3

  24. Reply

    Yana

    May 29, 2015

    Hi Saab! I really love this post. Back in freshmen and sophomore year of college I always had money to spare pero pagdating ng junior and senior year nagugulat na lang ako na there’s no more money left from my allowance! I’ve always been so lazy with keeping track of my expenses, but I guess that’s the only way to know what expenses I tend to overspend on (but I’m pretty sure it’s food huhu). But anyway, thanks again for this post! It’s inspired me to keep a closer eye on my expenses and budget. :)

    • Reply

      Saab

      June 1, 2015

      Yes go!! We’re always on our phones anyway, might as well use it to track our expenses :) It really helps!!

  25. Reply

    Khaz

    January 11, 2016

    ” I was pretty much like Rebecca Black’s awkward friend in her music video for Friday.”..
    “I have no idea what I’m doing” ~ tang1na tawang tawa ko
    wait pwede ba mag mura dito LOL
    bakit ngayon ko lang nabasa to hahaha

    • Reply

      Saab

      January 11, 2016

      :))

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