Money Matters WAHM Diaries

Help! I’m Living Beyond My Means

Re-evaluating Finances

This is all so foreign to me.

I mean, I used to run a regular Finance Fridays column in my old blog, Davao Mommy. I used to spew all kinds of financial wisdom — from technical stuff like investing in stocks or mutual funds to life concepts like being contented and living beneath one’s means.

I know we used to live way beneath our means. Despite paying for the amortisation of a house and lot, we were still able to set aside ample emergency fund.

Things are different now. We’re no longer paying for amortisation (we actually withdrew our application and, with the refunded payment, bought a bigger lot just outside the subdivision). I am no longer freelancing and have been working as a full-time employee for a year now, and Job is in Riyadh. Ideally, we should have been saving more because the income is more regular, but the bitter truth is, our savings account are stagnant.

Well, it’s funny how regular salary gives you a false sense of security. I thought we were doing okay, financially, until I took the time last weekend to assess how we were really doing.

The Hidden Expenses

I found out that we were paying too many bills; unfortunately, they were either in a lock-in period or absolutely necessary. To be fair, we did not sign up for anything unnecessary or exorbitant, but the bills piled up. And I had been thinking of signing up for a gym membership. Good thing I reviewed our expenses first before doing so!

Also, we were paying too much for groceries. Is it normal to have 2-3 full grocery trips in a week? I think not! We should be minimising our household and grocery expenses. What’s worse is that we cook more than we could eat, and more often than not, we have leftovers that we forget about. Bad, bad bad.

Kimchi fried rice, yes? It needs 🍳 #kimchi #kimchifriedrice #sesameoil #koreandish #foodgram #foodspotting

A photo posted by Marie Angeli Laxa (@maanlaxa) on

Maybe I should just make kimchi rice everyday to avoid leftovers?

Another thing that was eating up the budget was transportation. I don’t have a car so whenever I go somewhere, I always take the taxi. Seems like a little thing but when I started tracking my expenses, I realised that I am paying too much for transportation each month.

Then there’s eating out and buying stuff. I must take my no-spend challenge seriously now.

The Game Plan

In my old job, where I was paid on a performance basis (which means that while I get paid every month, my pay depends on how many student essays I reviewed), I had to be thrifty in preparation for lean months. But now, it took me long before I realised that I had been living beyond my means because there’s always incoming pay to save my butt. In other words, I don’t need to pressure myself to save or be frugal because I can always count on my next salary.

I love my job but I need to re-learn the art of self-control!

It didn’t even occur to me that I was exactly my old self’s description of a person living from paycheck to paycheck.

There’s no time to feel sorry for myself, though. Through the Holy Grail budgeting app that I have recently discovered (I need to blog about it soon – highly recommended!), I was back to tracking my expenses and adjusting my budget to make way for savings and investments. That means maybe abstaining from ordering stuff, avoiding the grocery (my weakness), and develop a more cost-effective way to go to places.


Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Marie July 15, 2016 at 7:15 am

    I feel you sis, we also rely on my monthly fixed income and there is no room for savings. So far what I did was to take a small portion of my last year’s 13th month pay and bought a couple of stocks. Would love to read about your financial planning. 🙂

  • Reply tina perez July 15, 2016 at 8:59 am

    we are the exact opposite. Been working as a regular “talent” for 20+ years. NO perks of a regular employee, but at least i have a regular paycheck every month. Last year, I had the guts to say goodbye to that and opted to be a freelancer. How do I save up? Limiting time in the mall with the teens, thinking thrice before buying anything, limit grocery buying to once a week and a big NO to dining out. Just cook healthy delish food at home (c/o by the hubby)

    But do tell me about the budgeting app that you discovered 🙂

  • Reply Michi July 15, 2016 at 10:00 am

    At least you discovered that you are living beyond your means. One thing that makes me stay on budget is to record our monthly expenses, some use Excel but I only use a small notebook to track it, up to the last centavos. This helps me to adjust our budget.

  • Reply Coi July 15, 2016 at 11:49 am

    It’s really hard to save up esp when like me, we only rely on my husband’s monthly paycheck. I try my best to save up but sometimes I just want to go to the mall because I’m always here at home, and so wego to the mall every weekends and it’s not doing any good to us. Thinking about it makes me think of the money we would’ve saved! But it’s all been done. So right now I’m just trying my best to make myself busy for the weekends without going to the mall! Haha! And I feel you about doing the groceries, it’s also my weakness! Lol!

    Waiting for your post about the budgeting app already! Haha 😉

  • Reply Melissa July 15, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Saving up is really a challenge especially for me whose motto is “money can be earned again”. I used to be an impulse buyer before I got married. Good thing, my hubby is a financial analyst so all expenses are laid out every week from groceries to car gas to planned dine outs. He taught me discipline on handling expenses. Imagine mo na lang pag nag ggrocery kame, nde ko na kelangan magdala ng calculator, may kasama na akong nagmemental math at magsasabi saken kung over na sa budget. Lol!

  • Reply Liz A July 16, 2016 at 12:18 am

    Felt like I was reading my own financial status. LOL! Bills piled up, my savings was drained due to emergencies and I was not able to replenish it. People owe me money and it’s taking them quite a while to pay. Haaaaays. Food and transportation eat up much of the finances on my end, too. Still trying to figure out how to lower that down.

  • Reply Denise July 16, 2016 at 2:32 am

    We basically depend on my husband’s fixed monthly salary; I also have online work and small business. But we don’t have financial plans yet ’cause we use all of what we get for all the bills and food! Malakas kami kumain eh. Hehe.

  • Reply Maine @MomsterTeacher July 17, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I remember working in Makati on a meager salary. My office was so near Greenbelt, but I never really shopped there because my priorities were having a comfortable place (I lived in a condo whose monthly rent was 1/3 of my salary) and getting to and from my office hassle-free (so taxi galore, ang mahal!) I knew that if I allowed myself to salivate over the gorgeous clothes, I’ll be broke.

    Eventually, I resigned and chose to transfer to work in the South where my salary was significantly higher. ‘Yan lang, there were no decent shopping malls and restaurants naman nearby! 😛

    You can do it, Maan! Just prioritize what are important to you. 🙂

  • Reply Sheila July 17, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Perhaps having a regular prompts us to think that even if we’re down to our last peso, something will come on the 15th or 30th. That’s why we can become a bit lax with our money management. With a freelance job, we know that if we don’t perform, we won’t get any of that amount presented to us.

    Like you, grocery shopping is one of my fave activities. My problem with buying perishables is that they come in packages that are still too much for meals for two. We’d dine on leftovers maybe three times a week. Menu planning is now the wifey chore I spend more time on because I need to plan how to cook half a kilo of chicken breast two or three different ways. But with more dedication and planning, we both can get back on the well-managed financial track.

  • Reply Jackie July 17, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Oh no! I hope you’re able to get back on track and not live from paycheck-to-paycheck. Hirap din niyan in the future! Good luck! 🙂

  • Reply Nilyn Matugas July 18, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Ako, I shop once in every 2 weeks, during paydays lang. Naa koy budget list kuno, but a lot of times, di sya masunod! Not only because there are days that I feel like I should “treat” myself for all the hardwork, naa jud pud mga unexpected nga gastos, di jud kalikayan! huhu. Kaya mo yan Maan! hehe.

  • Reply TweenselMom July 18, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Wait till your kids grow old, my gosh. For now, my only tipid tip is as much as possible, don’t bring them with you when you do the groceries.

  • Reply Lady Anne Louise Barrun July 18, 2016 at 9:14 am

    I can’t wait for you to share that budgeting app, I badly need one. I’m a over spender mom, and still trying to learn how to budget our income.

  • Reply Mommy Anna July 18, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I track my budget by listing all expenses, but need to admit that I also leave beyond our means kaya as much as possible I am trying to save.

  • Reply Jhoanna Tacorda July 18, 2016 at 9:55 am

    That’s a nice story, I’d say I can relate to it. Kasi minsan I don’t monitor my expenses. Pero tama ka na minsan pag may pera or sahod laging inaasahan na merong pera so ndi masyado nagiisip ng gastos. Antayin ko yung review mo of the app.

  • Reply Janice July 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I get you. We were forced to look at our finances this year too because we’re going to have a new baby. It was scary coz during the beginning of the year when I realized I was pregnant, I had already given up my two clients from last year and it took a few months before I got new clients again. Fortunately, things are better now. I hope you’ll be able to figure out what you should do. It’s really a challenge!

  • Reply Sarah Tirona July 18, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    galing, i really need to pay more attention to our finances now that im “getting older” haha. ive also been meaning to start an emergency fund. hirap na.

  • Reply Tetcha Figuerres July 19, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Prepare a list of the things you’ll be needing at home (food, toiletries, etc.) before heading to the grocery. You save time, effort and money that way because you only have to go the supermarket once instead of thrice and you’re limited to buying only what’s on your list.

  • Reply Ayi July 20, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Good thing you discovered it early and you took necessary actions to help you get back in track 🙂 Great post!

  • Reply Peter Kirtner August 22, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    It took me about four years of working on my habits and educating myself on how to live to get from total mess to where I am now. Over that time, I decided to start being nice to my future self. I stopped stealing from her and giving her hangovers on weekdays. I befriended my future self. I protected her. Now, I rarely feel like I’m in trouble. I don’t owe my mom money. I don’t spend my mornings waiting for my friends to wake up to explain the bruise on the side of my ass or tell me if anyone’s mad at me.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.