Under this capitalist system, a personal economic crisis only happens when you do not have an income. Or, you have a regular income, but what you receive does not necessarily cover all your monthly expenditures. A person considered financially “stable” is someone whose monthly net income is positive, meaning there is still a sum of money left for savings. For this article, I would like to share how best to keep yourself afloat, meaning in the positive, despite this economic crisis afflicting most of our fellow Filipinos.
- First, to be positive, your goal is always to have money left after expenses. For you to do just this, make a small income pie. How many percentages do (1) rent, (2) food, (3) transport, and (4) utilities occupy in your pie? These four things are what you need for you to survive. Not being able to pay for all these four (4) things consistently puts you at risk of slipping down the economic and social ladder. So, whatever happens, do prioritize these things. DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO SLIP DOWN THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF POVERTY.
- Let’s say that you already did the pie, and it shows that rent makes up more than fifty percent of your expenditures; what do you do? First, if this rent is a mortgage-related payment, ask yourself: Is your payment record good? If yes, then perhaps you can consult the bank you borrowed the money for the house for some remedies. Another tip: if you haven’t used your Pagibig Fund or SSS, maybe time to apply for a transfer. Do this if you are certain your membership standing is good, meaning you have paid more than the required payments for PAGIBIG.
- Now, try sub-leasing a portion of your house if all these are not possible. You now have extra money to cover half of your mortgage loan.
- What if you are renting? The best thing to consider is this: do you have a relative that is more economically stable than you and willing to share space with you? Now, this is only viable if your relative’s place is somewhat near your place of work; otherwise, if it is far, it’s useless to move there if you jack up your transport costs in doing so.
- Now, what if your transport costs are high? Tip no. 1: Do ride pooling. Ask around in your neighborhood if there’s someone who drives a car and wants to share the costs. Tip no. 2: buy a bike but only if you have the physical strength to do those bicycling daily. Forcing yourself to use a bike to scrimp some money is stupid if it leads to you getting sick. Medical bills are more expensive than that bike and those savings.
- Try walking a kilometer or two. This may save you a few pesos and even contribute towards a healthier you. The goal is to cut the distance between your workplace and your house.
- Okay, we are now down to utilities. The best way is for you to ration electricity. If you are an office worker and your job involves research and writing, do this at night when electricity rates are cheaper. Using electric irons, or do you do your laundry thru a washing machine? Do all these at night, preferably at midnight.
- Do you have appliances at home? Try to unhook those which you do not necessarily use. Or, when you finish using an electronic device or gadget, remember to unplug them afterward.
- Okay, now about food. I do not suggest that you drastically cut your allocated food budget. Why? Because you need to be healthy, especially during distress and crises. It is stupid to cut down on food expenses when you need all the nutrients for your body to weather crises.
- Review all your “extra” bills. What are these bills? First, your credit card bill. How many entries do you think are just frivolous and you can do without? Cut them, especially those that the bank or a company bills you every month. Do you have monthly payments for online services? Temporarily cut them and keep those you need to do your work.
- Second, do you have monthly membership dues that you don’t need? Cut them.
- Do you have a vice that you spend for? If you are a drinker, cut the drink. if you smoke, smoke fewer packs. Or, buy a whole ream of cheap cigarettes. Ream costs are way less than buying individual packs.
- Crises bring out both the best and the worst in people. I know– I experienced it in my life. You often lose your bearings, sometimes your wits, as they say, when financially unstable. When you experience financial hardships, your mind should always be sharp. Calm yourself. You lose precious time worrying about it. Use that time to be productive.
- Example: do you have assets that you can use to generate monies? If yes, then, time to dispose of some. What if all your assets have been spent? What do you do?
- Assess yourself. Do you have a skill or a talent that you think is enough to generate extra income? Are you an excellent writer? Do you have the skill of convincing people? Do you have selling skills? Are you an artisan? Do you cook? Do you do some construction or are you a D.I.Y. guy? Do you dance or sing? Then, do some sleuthing and open yourself for some writing or selling gig. It is not a shame to get a sideline. The fact is, many of our fellow Filipinos have two or three jobs. Make yourself useful, particularly during crises.
Admonition: DO NOT BE EMOTIONAL WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE HARDSHIP. YOUR GOAL IS NOT TO SLIP INTO POVERTY. DO NOT FRET NOR INDULGE IN SELF-PITY. YOU WILL JUST WASTE PRECIOUS TIME.
PRAY FOR GUIDANCE. LET GOD GUIDE YOU TOWARD THE RIGHT PATH. EVERYTHING IN LIFE HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN THE AKASHA FILES OF GOD. MEANING, WHATEVER IS HAPPENING TO YOU RIGHT NOW, THINK OF THEM AS THINGS YOU NEED TO EXPERIENCE EITHER BECAUSE YOU NEED TO LEARN FROM THEM OR BECAUSE THESE THINGS ARE BUT CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR PREVIOUS ACTS. THERE IS SIMPLY NO REASON FOR YOU TO DOUBT THAT THERE IS ALWAYS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THAT TUNNEL (UNLESS YOU’RE TRAVERSING THAT TUNNEL AT NIGHT :-).
REMEMBER– LIFE ALWAYS SURVIVES. YOU SEE THIS IN NATURE. LIFE SURVIVES EVEN THE HARSHEST DESERTS OR THE COLDEST OF POLES. EVEN IN THE ARIDEST LANDSCAPES, WE SEE LIFE.
THE LESSON OF LIFE CAN BE SUMMED IN ONE SIMPLE WORD: HOPE. WHEN THERE IS LIFE, THERE IS STILL HOPE. AND WHEN THERE IS HOPE, THERE IS ALWAYS CHANGE. AND CHANGE ALWAYS BRINGS YOU SALVATION. AMEN.