Saturday, February 27, 2010

My financial stand

I went to the airport with my aunt this morning to pick up live crabs and shrimps from Roxas. They would be part of the grand and usual menu of my father's birthday dinner tonight. As usual, the house is tense with lots of activities such as cleaning, cooking and prepping up. This always happens and since we are lacking an employed driver right now, that just means it's either me or my sister who has to perform dreadful errands like driving, buying and practically doing domestic stuff. In all categories, I suck, so I'm actually doing them a favor by staying out of the house before everything else gets a bit pretentious and chaotic this evening. I believe my errand for this morning was enough contribution for now.

So here I am in the lounge of my gym waiting for my cycling class to start, which is about two hours from now. Beats anything than staying hot and driving in the smogged dessert of a metro.

I had an afternoon talk with my colleagues on how we are faring financially. It's a pretty sensitive topic for me because frankly, I have nothing else to share. I'm way below my target savings. and I'm not saying this just to draw pity. I don't exaggerate. If there's one thing that I really have to work on, it's my finances.

People on the outside would always think that I have lots of disposable income. I have a good job in a multinational company, since I don't have my own place yet I don't necessarily have house bills to pay, my parents are sustainable and I'm not a shopper. I don't buy clothes and shoes unless I really have to. I don't buy gadgets and I don't go to gimmicks. I'm a homebody in every sense. Immediately factoring these, people would think that I have so many savings and that my Starbucks trips thrice a week are worth nothing to me. For them I always find reasons to ask people to dine out when they would always point out that they don't have money, which makes me look that I'm the richer one. To be honest, I'm not.

My only vices are food and travel, which equally eat up my savings. It came to a point last year that I had to wait from payday to payday. I felt financially horrible. Though I still have the capability to pay my own bills. I do buy my own groceries, I pay my credit card debt, but at the end of the day nothing goes to my piggy bank, which is sad and isn't the case three years ago when in fact I was receiving poor working circumstances and lower salary then. I guess my lifestyle just upgraded and I began doing things that I want to do, which may not be tangible, but expensive. Food and travel are the things that I would have to curb for this year if I want something sustainable to purchase for myself like a house or a car. It's time for me to tighten my belt and to save.

That's why when colleagues my age talk about money I get awkward because that is the area that I'm not very proud of right now. I might become silent and project that nothing's wrong, when in fact I just don't want to discuss it because I've always been elusive with money. Money for me, especially if it's earned, is a resource to enjoy. If it gets drained out at least I'm happy, but I realized that it's not always good living on the extremes. That's why until that time comes when I will be able to master how to work my finances, maybe that's the time I'd feel more comfortable discussing money.

Upon my conversations with colleagues though, I may not be entirely proud of my financial achievements, but I'm thoroughly proud of my financial independence. I was listening to a few colleagues admitting that they still receive allowances from their parents even though they've been working for years. They receive allowances for everything like gas, car maintenance, food and travel. I could just sit there and be stunned that they still receive dole outs from their parents. That would never happen with me. I would not allow it. A 30 something female executive was given a condo-unit and a car by her parents and even a married colleague of mine has her credit card bills paid by her parents. I could just be astonished by their parents' understanding and generosity when it comes to these things. Though I'm not saying that my parents are not equally generous, but I've never asked them for anything since 19 years old. In that regard, I'm proud of myself. The only thing that I don't pay for is the house, since I'm still living with them, but everything else, it's me.

Aside from my insurance, phone and credit card bills, I pay for my own gas. I pay for my groceries and toiletries. I support Harvey and my travel expenses. And even traveling with parents, I shell out for my own tickets and accommodations. They never have to worry about me financially because I never asked them for anything since 19 years old and I'm still living a pretty happy life. Though they keep on checking on me if I still do save since they know that I splurge on traveling and treating my siblings to dinners most of the time. I just try to smile and put their worries for another day.

Nearly penniless and I may not be financially healthy right now, I still have something to be proud of. I cannot feel insecure with colleagues who whine about money just because they can't shop for imported brands. I cannot and will not feel insecure and distraught when some people I know willingly request for grand, material things from their parents and parade it in front of my nose as if it were their own, when in fact they never paid a cent. They could be willing daughters and sons who receive blessings non-stop, but I'm not like that. I'd like to think that I still have pride to achieve certain things on my own. I don't want to be a burden to my parents and I don't want to depend on someone else to survive. What I do enjoy and what I do love should always come from me and from no one else.

I may not be financially at the top of my game right now. I know I have made grand mistakes, which I don't regret. It taught me something important and made me realize that it's time to save and achieve something tangible for a change. Since I'm not the one to depend on my parents for financial support, I know that the challenge will be faced by me alone. Even with my present circumstances and listening to colleagues, I may be squirmish about money right now, but deep inside the silence also comes from another fountain of wisdom. I'm silent because as much as people whine about money and constantly parade their material acquisitions, I still pride myself for being financially independent since 19 years old. I do enjoy my money by doing the things that I want to do like travel, dining out and occasional splurges. I never have to ask support from anyone. I also may not have tangible things right now, but that will come in time. But rest assured that when I parade my new car, flash my new accessories and buy own my own space, that everything was brought from my own sweat and blood. That for me are things to look forward to and something to be proud of.

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