ENTRY # 4: APRIL
We received our 14th month pay!
Yep, our company doesn’t do the usual thing where all bonuses are given towards the end of the year – which I think is a good thing because it’s deadly (on my finances) for me to get extra cash around December. This is because I can easily get swayed to spend, especially when I see everybody around me with paper bags on their arms. I often end up shopping myself, justifying it with “tutal Pasko naman”.
But let’s go back to my update. With the windfall, my savings is now at P72,000.
It’s actually not much of an increase, considering the fact that the extra I received was close to a month’s worth of salary. But then I shelled out some money for a hotel staycation during the Holy Week break, enrolled my son in swimming lessons, and got a little something for myself – so there.
I also needed to buy thermals and jackets because I would be traveling for work. The good news is that this spree is reimbursable, and when I get my money I would put it into my savings as well. (Or it might be spent on my son’s tuition fee. Haha! Enrollment is coming soon!)
But you know what’s great? I’m actually beginning to feel like I can do this. Keeping my money intact has become a little easier because I’ve been very conscious about my account balance. It gives me a dose of satisfaction knowing that I have such amount to my name, as this is the most I’ve saved in a while. Fingers crossed, I do believe that I can sustain this – even after the challenge!
ENTRY # 3: MARCH
What a roller coaster month it has been for my finances!
Remember the P12,000 I was able to save (read my previous entry). That got practically wiped out.
The money mostly went to shopping: for my own clothes, because there were several work-related formal events and I seriously had nothing appropriate to wear; and shopping for my son’s clothes, because he went through a growth spurt and all of a sudden, most of his shoes won’t fit anymore while all of his clothes made him look like a suman (but a cute one at that, lol).
Just as I was contemplating to concede from the challenge, I received one good news after another. For starters, I’ve finally paid off a debt I owe to a friend, from whom I borrowed money a few years back due to an emergency. I’ve also topped up my mutual funds investment, which has actually earned around P400 already – not bad!
And I finally got the talent fee for a project I worked on last year. We also received a bonus at work! That is how, at this point, my savings is now at P62,987. Hallelujah!
I have to admit: part of me feels bad because it could’ve been a bigger amount had I not spent what I earlier saved. I’m also a wee bit nervous about upcoming events that will surely affect my money situation, such as upcoming trips, my son’s summer lessons, and his tuition fee. Will I be able to see those through without causing such a huge dent in my savings? I guess we’ll find out a month from now. Good luck to me!
ENTRY #2: FEBRUARY
There’s bad news, and there’s good news.
The bad news is that I wasn’t able to save as much as I had been planning to. My strategy was to save a minimum of P10K a month to ensure that by December, I’d reach and even exceed the target amount of P120K. How did I fare two months into the challenge?
So what kept me from hitting my target? The little things. When my husband works overtime and would be late in picking me up from the office, I jump at the chance to go to the salon and pass the time there. I like taking walks during lunch breaks and that should be harmless except I work near a mall which is my kryptonite. I usually just brush off the amount I spend during these little outings, justifying that it’s not that much anyway. But when you add them all up, the total is a pretty significant amount and could be two weeks’ worth of pamalengke!
To address this, I once again started the basic practice essential to financial security: listing down my budget allocation and expenses. I have to say it helps, because whenever I want to spend on something that hasn’t been budgeted for, I am forced to think really hard about whether I could do without that item or service. Also, I’ve started bringing books to read for when I need to wait, and lunch baon that I could eat before I take a walk in the nearby park (instead of the mall).
The change in habits, I would say, is the good news – a simple act that could pay off big time if done consistently. And hopefully I’d be able to keep it up, so there’d be more good news in the months to come.
TOTAL SAVINGS: P12,000
ENTRY #1: JANUARY
What am I getting into? This was the question that I asked myself when I agreed to be part of the challenge to save Php120,000 when this year comes to a close. There is pressure in being held accountable to a financial goal that is publicly exposed, as compared to doing it on my own and not having to share the outcome with anybody else.
I think the pressure comes from the fact that I haven’t exactly been taking care of my finances. While I can be diligent in attending to financial responsibilities like household needs and paying off debt, I haven’t exactly been persistent in terms of monitoring my finances, let alone saving for rainy days. Though I have some money put aside and recently started investing, both are not a lot at this point. At 35, I’m pretty sure I’m lagging far behind my age group (even people who are younger than me) in terms of financial standing.
But then, maybe the Go120K Challenge is exactly what I need. For starters, it could teach me to examine my spending thoroughly. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I would have the habit of being more conscious as to where my money is going. Second, it could also train me to look at long-term goals, which is something I seem to have lost when I started earning more. I was actually a good saver when I was younger, but I guess I got blindsided by bonuses and sideline earnings, making me complacent.
So I’m hoping that this challenge would be sort of like tapping into muscle memory: reminding me how to save and, in turn, boosting my confidence that YES I can do this! And when December comes around, I can parade these newly-formed habits and mindset shifts as the best prize that I could take away from the challenge, worth much more than the amount I will actually be able to set aside.
And with that, let’s get things started. P120K before 2016 – challenge accepted!
ABOUT THE GO 120 MONEY CHALLENGE
For some, saving money is no easy feat. There will be ups and downs, cravings and big red SALE signs on malls all throughout the year that can topple their resolve. But as we have always believed here in Brighter Life, saving for a brighter future is possible for everyone.
And so the Go 120 Money Challenge was born, Brighter Life’s saving race to a Php120,000 by the end of the year. Starting today, we follow the journey of three individuals as they take on this challenge and achieve their financial goals.
Got questions or recommendations? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at editor @brighterlife.com.ph.