Once upon a starry night, we were informed at work that instead of a Saturday – as we had been used to for years already – our pay would be credited to our payroll accounts the following Monday.
The disappointment that ensued was palpable. Some people wanted to complain, but they couldn’t because technically speaking, it was really payday Monday.
Some of those guys who were supposed to hang out with friends during the weekend or take a stroll in the mall for a little fun or go somewhere exotic for a much-needed getaway decided to just spend the weekend at home and wait until the money bell rang.
And others who simply needed the pay just so they could continue to feed their families went scurrying here and there for loose change that might help them get by until the clock struck “go” on Monday.
Problem was the cavalry came to the scene too late for a rescue. Instead of the expected 6:00 that Monday morning, the pay was credited to our ATMs at 7:00 p.m., and at 4:00 p.m., people’s Facebook statuses were already glaring red, yellow and green.
Follow the way of the ant
And then good old Aesop’s diligent little ant, all of a sudden, became the hero of the day. Indeed, much had to be learned from the ant who worked without pause for days on end to save for the rainy days. But then again, one may ask, what if a person’s salary is just enough to pay for his living expenses?
Take down notes
The answer, in my opinion, is plain and simple: Sit down and take time to analyze your spending habits. If you don’t have a budget yet, now is the time to come up with one. And if formulating a budget is too daunting for you to begin with, let’s start with a notepad and a pen that you will need to take with you anywhere you go from now on.
Every single day, any amount you take out of your wallet, you will have to write down on your notepad.
This way, you get to track your expenses. At the end of the month, check your notes again and determine which ones are needs and which ones are wants.
Wants vs. needs
From the wants list, if you look closely enough, I’m sure there is one or two in there that you can start eliminating right away. If you can’t live without coffee, you probably don’t need to drink gourmet coffee from Starbucks or Figaro or Gloria Jean’s every time you need a fix.
If you live near your place of work and you have to take a cab everyday because you always wake up late for staying up late, it’s probably high time you organized your schedule and slept earlier. And even better, you can start walking to work.
If you always eat out for lunch, start packing your own lunch. If you don’t know how to cook, learn how to. If you have cable and you rarely stay at home, you probably don’t need a cable subscription anymore.
Everyday, engage yourself in a game. Challenge yourself to specify an amount to save and stick to the goal. At the end of the month, if you meet all your goals, treat yourself to something you really want that’s not necessarily expensive, like a book from a discount store.
There are a thousand and one ways to dress a chicken. I’m sure there are more than one thousand and seven ways to save ten pesos here or a hundred there.
After all, the only person who can limit your imagination, your resourcefulness, your creativity and your power to control your financial future is yourself.
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