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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Millennials are getting money-savvy

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This year will mark my eighth year in the work force (yes, eight years, where has all the time gone?). Graduating and starting working at 20 has allowed me to experience the joys, pains, and yes, regrets in learning how to handle my money. I recall starting off with a measly salary barely enough for my gas, food and other things I wanted to buy. As any fresh graduate would understand, the first few years you are paid in experience and for a time that was okay. Thankfully, I lived with my parents and got to keep most of my money to myself. Unfortunately, this wasn’t such a good idea since I spent it on unnecessaries and I ended up with no discipline with regards to my finances.

Fortunately, my dad put a stop to it by giving me responsibilities at home and by God’s grace, at 27, I am slowly beginning to save and invest wisely. Now, we look back on the purchases I wish I didn’t spend so much money on.

Branded Bags

My parents constantly reminded me that branded bags are not an investment. And while they encouraged me to invest on a few classic pieces, they also told me to do so when I had extra. However, my persistent 22-year-old mind insisted on buying bags first before anything else (like savings) on installment. This was insane on my part because it simply meant that a) I didn’t have the money to pay for it, and b) I would still be paying for it even though I no longer liked it. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy branded bags but it would be wise to buy it when you can fully afford it and by that time, you can also choose the ones you really like instead of settling for something that’s cheap. Believe me, like in life and love, patience is also a virtue when it comes to buying stuff we really want.

Clothes on Installment

I had my first credit card when I was 23 and I immediately activated it because my favorite clothing store offered a six-month, zero-interest deal for a minimum purchase of P5,000. Thinking that the clothes in my closet were not enough, I went crazy in the store and continued paying for those clothes even though they were already faded, ripped apart, or no longer fit. The lesson learned here is to only but what I currently had the money to pay for, that way I don’t feel guilty wearing clothes that I didn’t fully pay for yet or feel bad when they no longer fit or went out of style. (Another tip: buy classic go to pieces!).

Weekly Gimmicks

I’m not saying this to be a Tita or a KJ Lola but one of the biggest money wasters for me was all the weekends out with my friends. To be clear, I have never been the party animal so what I spent on these night outs were probably mediocre compared to what other people my age have spent. Some of my former friends and I used to go around our village in the South for food, a few drinks, dessert, and coffee. I didn’t realize how much money I was spending to hang out with friends (because let’s admit it, we’re never paying just for our own food, we’re splitting the bill, period). And while being with friends is always a good thing, it’s wise to not keep up with Joneses and pretend we have a thousand bucks or more to burn every night in a new restaurant. Always find the perfect balance so you don’t eat like a peasant during the day in order to party like a king at night.

To end, spending really isn’t bad but it’s important to always be responsible. There is so much freedom in having a little money saved up every month and to not have your back against the wall. By not spending on stuff that you don’t need, you also have more room to be generous and help others who are in need. For me, sharing with others have been more meaningful than any food, branded bags, or clothing.

It is truly by God’s grace and wisdom that I can now enjoy that freedom and no longer have any Yuppie-Gets.

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