I’ve been a bad money manager.
I used to write regular posts about financial wisdom, saving and investing in my old blog (if you’re interested in reading them, here’s my old Finance Friday series). To be fair, I am still very much interested in learning about the proper way to manage personal finances.
Then life happens.
When I had a full-time job (still homebased but very different from my previous long-term freelancing gig), I was suddenly thrust into a fortnightly payment scheme. What a vast difference from my old once-a-month pay!
And, get this: regular pay. Haha I know this sounds weird to people who have always held regular paying jobs, but for someone who used to get paid on a per-essay basis (read: no essay/work, no pay), this was a welcome change.
So I got used to life with a regular salary every two weeks. And then I got comfortable — too comfortable. Before, because I couldn’t predict how much work I’ll get in a month, and because I receive my salary only at the beginning of the month, I needed to be careful with how I spend the money. I create budgets, follow them strictly, and even set some aside for an emergency fund and a retirement fund. Looking back, I was wise with money.
But now, not that there’s anything wrong with being paid regularly and on a fortnightly basis (in fact, I am very thankful for it!), it seems as if I forgot the values that made me financially wise before. I can spend everything I receive in one fortnight — down to the last peso — without fear because I know it’s only a short matter of time before I receive another pay. I could live from paycheck to paycheck because I needn’t worry about the immediate future.
What a dangerous mindset to have.
This year, I’m making the conscious decision to commit to growing my financial wisdom again. Here are the specific steps I plan on doing:
1. Challenge myself to not shop for an entire month.
I am challenging myself to a no-spend February, which I will follow loosely since I’ll be attending several events and going to several places this month. But as much as possible, no ordering from online stores and no buying of things that I don’t need.
2. Withdraw my salary only once a month.
My salary comes in via PayPal, and every fortnight, I immediately withdraw what I earned. Now I am challenging myself to wait until the last pay of the month before withdrawing everything. Not only will this help me budget my money, I think the savings I will get from cutting two transactions to one will be considerable.
(The bank charges P150 per transaction. Instead of 2-3 transactions a month, which means paying P300-P450 just to get my money, my transaction fee will be lowered to just P150 per month.)
3. Follow the envelope system of budgeting again.
I just made some pretty cash envelopes that should inspire me envelope-budget again! I explained the importance of the envelope system here, but I’ll try to write about it again. Aja!
What else? I’m thinking on my feet here, which means I’ll probably be doing more in order to attain a wise financial standing again. Don’t worry; I’ll keep you posted!
Meanwhile, please let me know what you do to budget your money! XOXO!