“Hi Arnel, I’ve been following your blogs for several months already. I’m Stephanie, a student from UST. I’ve read your inspiring story that was posted in a facebook group on how you picked-up yourself from being broke to what you are today. Having said that, What are the things that we need to be aware to avoid financial disaster?” – sent through email
Hello Stephanie, Thank you for supporting my blog and my advocacy. One of my motivations is to see people getting interested in personal finance. For couple of years, I’ve been teaching on how to handle finances properly and to lessen money mistakes.
I was a former broke and I believe you can best learn from somebody who went through the exact situation.
Now, you don’t have to experience similar financial errors yourself. This brings self-awareness on some red flags that needs to be avoided earlier. Here are few things:
1. Impulse Buying.
Buying makes our world round. We buy because that’s part of what we do as consumers. Where in fact when we buy, we already helped a business to survive. It is kind of give and take relationship to the society. But wait! When can we say that it is too much or it is beyond normal?
Before I got broke, I had this attitude of being a “one-day millionaire”. When I had money, then I thought I had a reason to be happy. What I always did, I spent my money to anything that I like to buy. It has become a foothold of poverty creeping into my door. It did not just happen overnight!
I’m not against shopping but when you can’t stop yourself and you’re always kating-kati to buy something even it’s not on your budget, you have to be careful. Many people have experiences of “buying now and regretting later”. Be always on guard and sets a limit. Buying can become a habit-good or bad and once you do it irresponsibly, financial mishaps comes in.
2. Unplanned Travels.
Building memories with your family and love-ones is one of the best things you can treasure in your lifetime. It is an investment you can have to build good relationships.
However, If travels are not plan properly, more often than not, it can cause troubles in the family. I asked my friend who always go abroad every year to travel with his entire family.
His answer was an eye-opener. He’s not only very prepared to do so but he makes sure that everything is set ahead of time. Mostly, he’s taking advantage on the airline promos since it is several months ahead.
I’ve even got tips on several online apps and sites nowadays that can cut large costs of trips and accommodations abroad.
When planning a trip, make sure to arrange it several months from the actual date. By enough time to prepare, vacation would be surely an unforgettable experience and free from worries. It is more fun travelling when the cost is lesser and you still have lot of extra cash left once you’ll get back home.
3. Costly hobbies.
We are always encouraged on work-life balance. I agree that it is essential to life and it works well with our health. However, I knew a lot of people who are willing to destroy their wallet, borrow money, and spend much using credit card in exchange to their beloved hobbies.
Two years ago, I’ve got a friendly confession from someone who considers herself a music-lover all her life. Her words hit me hard!
She told me that she spent so much time and resources going with her friends to concerts and events, buying high-end instruments and gadgets. Now she ends-up penniless and unemployed.
She told me that although she doesn’t regret on being a music fanatic but she was disappointed on spending all her savings to it. She could have left some.
If you’re hobby is forcing you to cash-out to the last dime then you may look for another hobby. There are a lot of hobbyists who were able to turn their hobbies into profit. Now it makes more sense to me.
One guy in our church who loves swimming, now he owns a swimming school. A lady who loves going to the gym, now owns a fitness center. What I realized now is that, it is still two sides of the coin. It depends upon you on how to make out of it.
4. Expensive Coffee.
Spending so much on high-end coffee shops may give you nightmares at night. I’ve calculated the expenses of expensive coffee for a year and the result is unbelievable.
After that, I’ve decided to stop ordering costly coffee when I’m not with my clients, not on a meeting or if I don’t have extra money yet set-aside for it.
5. Extravagant Lifestyle.
If you can’t live below your means then at least live within your means. When income increases, standard of living should be the same. I understood and applied it personally even when I was able to start having a substantial income.
Now, I still use the same phone 3 years ago, same laptop I bought 4 years ago and live on same apartment 3 years ago. Even now I can say I can already afford to upgrade, I insisted to stay the same.
I love living a simple life and I’ m happy about it. For me, contentment is still the greatest financial freedom.
One of the problems of younger millennials today is that they can’t stick to one company for long. It has become a habit now of jumping from one company to another.
In BPO Industry we’ve invented a terminology “call-center hopper”, which obviously means a person who has been transferring several companies already for a short period of time.
If you are doing this, you put yourself on the losing-end and vulnerable to being broke. What if something has changed and no vacant positions are available, what will you do? Without emergency fund, you’ll soon be buried to debts.
As an employee, I would always encourage everyone to stay in a company for longer time. It will not only give you provision for your family but it will give you more benefits if you’ll stay much longer. From there, you can start saving for your future.
Keeping your job will give more good than harm!
7. Excessive Dating.
It comes to my mind if you are single, dating should be planned wisely. “Excessive dating” is not good for your wallet (anything that is too much is bad, right?).
I understand that you always want to have that special moment together with the one you love but I’m sure you also want to have it sustainable.
You can talk to your girlfriend and schedule your romantic dates according to your budget. It’s not necessary that it has to be expensive. There are lot of simple yet lovely restaurants nowadays that you don’t need to sacrifice much from your pocket.