Ever since my parents gave me my last allowance almost five years ago, I’ve always been a financially stable person.
The key word here is stable. I always say flat out that I am not a rich person because I know a lot of people are richer than me because my previous salary isn’t that high. But you will rarely see me complain about money problems. And you will never see me struggling with debt.
Just as losing weight can be simplified to four obvious words, my financial stability can be simplified to four similar obvious words:
Spend Less. Be Content.
Simple advice, yet difficult to follow. For me, I have many reasons why I could follow this advice. This post will cover the top 3, in no particular order.
I’ve suffered through countless sermons from my mother about not wasting money. She’d tell stories of how she, a girl from the provinces in a family with 4 brothers and a sister, endured being poor throughout her childhood up to her college days.
I’m not saying that my respect for my mother convinced me to be as frugal as my Ilokano father. Personally, I think she was just bragging. Those annoying sermons made me want to prove myself to her that I can be better in handling limited resources than her. So I never asked for extra money from my parents back when I was in high school and college (I only started getting allowance when I was Grade 6 because we were “poor”). Heck, I even stopped expecting birthday and x-mas presents from my parents after my 18th birthday, but that’s another story.
And prove to her, I did: she currently owes a 5-digit amount from me, with no expected payment date (she’s also unemployed because of the recession).
So much for “teaching” me the value of money.
Similar to the previous reason, there’s also my anti-hedonist pragmatist/survivalist nature. Once a survivalist realizes that people are raising families in the provinces with only a fraction of minimum wage, understanding how one must use his money becomes a lot easier.
And finally, I also know how it feels to be hungry.
It was sometime during my third year in college. My boarding house’s landlady borrowed P300 from me and I thought that she could pay me back before the I’d exhaust the ~P100 left. Big mistake.
As she wasn’t able to pay me back (I think she made an excuse at that time), I had to go through 2 days without food. Two normal days in UP, that is. In other words, two days of classes and walking around UP to their respective buildings. In hindsight, I should have just borrowed money myself from my boardmates or orgmates, but pride trumped pragmatism at that time and I just decided to tough it out.
An org buddy did give me a monay as a snack while I was starving but it wasn’t enough. By the end of the second day, I was already becoming delirious due to hunger. I couldn’t remember the details (I was already delirious at that time) but somehow the landlady was able to procure P100 to allow me to survive for the rest of the week.
After that incident, I promised myself that I would never put myself in a position where I would be too poor to even afford a week’s worth of food.