This is the second part in this series, you can read the first part here.
Credit cards are not all that bad. Having one actually contributes to learning self-control and establishing your credit score–which is measured in terms of character, capital and capacity. If you have a credit card now, decide on what should be your cashless transactions. In my case, I only use it mainly on booking airline tickets and transactions with large amounts. For everything else, I want to pay in cash. Tip: There are credit cards now that offer free lifetime membership fee and no late charges.
A lot of millennials are lured into retail therapy. For some people, having a bad day becomes a license to treat themselves with a new bag or a pair of the newest sneakers. Whether you have a credit card now or not, always try to pay in cash. Studies have shown that there is a certain psychological “pain” that we experience whenever we pay in cash as compared to using credit cards. Dr Dan Ariely (Duke University) said, “to counter the retail therapy trap, pay in cash.” Tip: If you think it’s a hassle to always withdraw money from ATMs when you are in malls, you can always use your debit cards.
Online shopping and social media
Getting your hands on the fresh-off-the-market phone is becoming easier and easier these days with the proliferation of online shopping sites: Lazada, Shoppee, Carousell, OLX, etc. Interestingly, artificial intelligence of these e-commerce sites are getting better and better too. Case in point, when you browse through bags in Lazada, and then switch to your Facebook app, you might observe that the same bag is now in your newsfeed. If you’re not smart enough, you might think that IT’S A SIGN! So, while our online data privacy is not fully protected yet, we will always have this kind of episodes. One more thing– to make online shopping more tempting, we get to see our friends on our social media sites buying the things that we want to have too. Tip: It all starts with awareness. Make sure that we know how online sites are playing tricks with our minds to make us spend more.
Going places is always good as long as we are not just doing it for the ‘gram. Travels make us appreciate other people’s culture and have a deeper understanding of ourselves too. They say that one becomes more nationalistic when you travel to another country. But whether it is a local or international travel, you must strive to have a travel fund. Honestly, we don’t have this yet, so as a couple, we are very strategic when we plan for travels. Now that we have a kid, we have to think it over and over again before deciding to book that next flight. Tip: Before we have those #travelgoals, let us work on our #travelfundgoals first.
In the past, I have always considered a bonus pay as a ticket to pay off my debts. This simply shows that I don’t live according to my monthly means and have spillover expenses which eventually accumulates over the months and I wait for my bonus pay to save me from all these extra expenses. So how can we change this vicious and stressful cycle? Treat your bonus pay as a bonus, an extra, a reward. Tip: Don’t overspend every month and wait for your 13th month pay to pay it off.
Saving and investing
One suggestion on how you can begin to save is to start SMALL. You can challenge yourself to save as low as 1% of your salary. For instance, if you have an income of 15,000 pesos, you can save 150 pesos monthly. For others, they start with at least 5%. It doesn’t matter how much you start with as long as you increase them at at least 1% every year or after 6 months.
Alicia Adamcyzk said that “one of the most common questions people have about getting their finances in order is how to possibly save enough for retirement when the numbers are so overwhelming. Life is expensive, and putting away 10 percent of your salary per year seems painful at best and impossible at worst.”
Tip: After you can have a steady savings every month, you can start options for investing. Most of insurance plans these days have an investment component. Meaning, you get to see your money grow and withdraw it when the right time comes. Variable universal life insurance (VUL) is a form of cash-value life insurance that offers both a death benefit and an investment feature.
As a Christian, tithes always come first for us when we budget. And while the the old testament in the Bible talks about giving the 10% of our income to the Lord, the new testament mentions about cheerfulness (2 Corinthians 9:7) and the promise of the Lord when we give (Luke 6:38). If you have just started work or are convinced about the beauty and gladness in giving, then you can start with 10% of your income and challenge yourself to increase it year after year. Tip: If your church has a bank account, you can auto-transfer funds monthly.
Lastly, my wife and I made a promise to each other to always give to the cause of missions (Matthew 28). John Piper once said that when it comes to missions, a Christian has only three choices: go, send or disobey. Once in a while I get to join missions (both local and abroad) with globalLead Southeast Asia but I am constantly grateful that I get to send missionaries through giving. Tip: Try to look for missionaries or a missions organizations to support.
And there you have it, the 10 aspects in your personal financial management.
If you missed the first part of this Money series, you can read it here.